Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Lamb has overcome

Sometimes the power of the gospel can just punch you in the gut and take your breath away.

Throughout the course of a Christian life, Jesus dying on the cross somehow becomes ordinary. It's no big deal that he took on ALL the sin of mankind and was punished for something he never did--because that's just how the Bible goes.

But every now and then, it just sneaks up on me.........I'm able to see Him as an actual human being instead of a savior in a faraway story. The reality of what he must have been feeling in the hours leading up to his crucifixion is so staggeringly sad.

I rarely think of him actually having to go through something HARD for me. As Christians, we have the standard cliches of , "Anything you've been through, Jesus has been through," and we always talk about the sacrifice he made for us. In my mind, I think I've filed it away as something someone who loved me was happy to do for me. Like our parents. We take for granted the hard things they've done in life to get us where we are because....well, they're our parents. And that's what they're SUPPOSED to do. And they're supposed to enjoy every moment of it, right?

Except he was human. And he sacrificed himSELF. And it was hard.

In Matthew, it says-

"Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray." 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38 Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me." 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

This scripture is hard for me to read. I've been at the point where my soul was overwhelmed to the point of what FELT like death--with fear, with pain, with exhaustion, with sorrow. But I always had the certainty that I would live and get through it. Knowing that's how he felt gives me just the smallest glimpse into that night...the darkness, the anticipation of what he knew was to come. While it was the greatest sacrifice of all time, it breaks my heart to know he did it for ME; the most undeserving. If no other person on this Earth existed, he STILL would have done it.....for me. Can you imagine knowing exactly how your death was going to come about, the pain you would endure, the humiliation, the disgrace, the torture surrounding the end of your life.......and walking straight into it? So a sinner...a liar...a person capable of jealousy and judgement...wouldn't have to spend eternity in hell. 

Mind blowing.

Unfathomable.

Awesome.

I encourage you to read the gospel. As you read each passage, close your eyes. Picture him there. Make it personal. Imagine the coolness of the night air as he was praying. The stillness of everything around him as the whole earth anticipated what was to come. The wild thumping of his heart as he begged God for the answer to be different. The fate of the world literally on his shoulders.

The breath of Satan on his back...the glory of God before his eyes.

Imagine the soldiers coming to arrest him. The dread he felt as he heard their footsteps coming closer. The goosebumps of fear at knowing his torture was just beginning. The roughness of their hands as they took him captive. The utter HEAVINESS of it all.

Imagine him carrying the cross through the town on his back--whip marks all over, blood dripping off his body. The weight of the cross pressing into his wounds. The people jeering at him and calling him names as he endured the hardest moments of his life to save theirs.

Imagine him being nailed to the tree of Life. Spikes being driven into his flesh. The pain of his body weight pulling on his arms and legs. The crown of thorns piercing his head---while the people below were casting lots for his personal property. Heaven looking away as he drew his last breath because the tragedy of it all was THAT unbearable.

It makes me sick. It makes me humble. It makes me grateful. It makes me feel ugly (because I know I'm no better than those mocking him) and it makes me feel clean (because I know he did it to make me new). His death gives me a better understanding of his life.

And I wonder why? Why does he love me? Why does he love you? We, as a world, are so far from the Truth. So desperate for love that we create it where it shouldn't exist instead of taking what He is holding out to us with open arms. So desperate to FEEL something that we go with whatever emotion we have in a moment and take it to the extreme. SO DESPERATE to belong to somebody or something that we throw ourselves into unthinkable situations and compromise everything he died for.

I don't know why. I don't deserve it. But I'm thankful for the moments that the truth of the Gospel knocks me off my feet and onto my knees.

 Listen to this song and let it overcome you!!


"Forever"--by Kari Jobe

The moon and stars they wept
The morning sun was dead
The Savior of the world was fallen
His body on the cross
His blood poured out for us
The weight of every curse upon him

One final breath He gave
As Heaven looked away
The Son of God was laid in darkness
A battle in the grave
The war on death was waged
The power of hell forever broken

The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome
Now death where is your sting
Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated

Forever, He is glorified
Forever, He is lifted high
Forever, He is risen
He is alive
He is alive

The ground began to shake
The stone was rolled away
His perfect love could not be overcome
Now death where is your sting
Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated

Forever, He is glorified
Forever, He is lifted high
Forever, He is risen
He is alive
He is alive
Forever, forever

You have overcome
Your resurrected King
You have overcome the grave
You have overcome

We sing Hallelujah
We sing Hallelujah
We sing Hallelujah
The Lamb has overcome

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Riverfest 2015

Let me just start off by saying.......I hate Riverfest. SO many people. SO many cars. SO much walking. SO HOT.

But I go every year. My husband's company hosts a little petting zoo and carnival games one evening every year, so me and the kids always head up there for a little "fun" and to support the hubs.

The first year I went, Tommy was barely a year old and I was 7 months pregnant with Tessa. And it sucked. Tommy was too young to play any games. I was miserably hot and sweaty and trying to hold my pregnant belly up with my hands. All I wanted was a funnel cake and I couldn't find ANYWHERE that sold them. Tommy started screaming about half way through the evening and didn't seem to stop. One of the worst things about Riverfest is the parking and we ended up parking at least a mile away from Nick's event. By the time I got back to the car, my ankles were swollen and huge and I was SO over it.

The second year, Tommy was 2 1/2 and Tessa was about 9 or 10 months old. I don't really feel I need to explain beyond that sentence why that year was horrible. I'll boil it down: 2 small people, 900 degrees, walking for miles.

Last year..........not so bad. My mom came with me, so it was a little more manageable. I didn't have to worry about each kid taking off in a different direction! Riverfest is SO full of people that I get nervous that if they wander off even a little, it would be impossible to find them. We always go to Nick's area, but he's always working a booth, so he can't really help me. Having another adult changed the game! It was still hot and full of crazy people, but the kids were old enough that they were able to play a few of the games and have fun!

Which brings us to 2015. Definitely a step in the right direction! Nick's parents brought the kids to Wichita and I met them after I got off work.
Having 3 adults to 2 children.......that ratio is MUCH easier :) And the kids were SO great. They played well and didn't whine (too much!).

They got to walk in the huge water fountain and I soaked my feet in it for awhile and that kept us all from getting too hot. There were kids literally swimming in this water feature. It was hilarious.......and it made me wonder what their parents were going to say when they found their kids in their soaking wet clothes.

This is Tessa's ornery smile that says she's getting ready to do something naughty....
I TOLD her not to kick water on me....
And yet, here she is.......winding up for a big kick.
.....AAAAAND a huge splash. Luckily, she turned the other direction JUST in the nick of time so I didn't get soaked.


These two cuties have my heart!
They had fun playing all of the games!Their favorites were tractor races and picking marbles up with their toes (which was fun for them, but......ew. That water was GROSS).

 

Tommy wasn't having it at all, but Tessa took a ride on a "mechanical bull" and loved it !!

And of course, we topped the evening off with snowcones!
  

This year was much better than past years, so I'm hoping that's a sign of things to come!


I find that the older they get, the more I enjoy them and doing things with them. Don't get me wrong, I love my kids in every stage of life, but I'm not one of those who wants their kids to stay little forever! I LOVE watching them enjoy things and I love that they're old enough to walk and follow instructions (for the most part!) and do a few things for themselves.