What Remains

“But the Word of the Lord remains forever.” -1 Peter 1:25

I was blessed enough to take this shot overlooking my parents neighborhood after a spring storm. I knew a rainbow was going to appear, everything was right; the sun was bright and the rain was falling beyond it, God’s promise was going to manifest and I didn’t want to miss it.

As I type this I realize that we often do “miss” it. We don’t walk in His promises and the farther we walk away from them the harder it is to find them again.

For months now I’ve been faced with a mountain. A, what should be, simple problem to fix has made me furious with God and confused beyond reason as to why I can’t seem to overcome it.

My problem is just one example. I know many people who’ve struggled their whole lives looking for the answer, whether that’s healing of the body, restoration of a relationship, or a dream come true.

I want more than anything to answer that deep seated question of “why?” And I know the response is always the same and never satisfying: “we live in a broken world and Jesus promised us we’d have trouble.”

But what did He mean by trouble? Didn’t He demonstrate with His own life what He meant? Trouble existed solely in the devil’s schemes, in the persecution of Christians and those who believe in Jesus.

He said the world wouldn’t accept us because it didn’t accept Him. That we may just have to face (and turn the other cheek) to verbal/physical abuse all in the name of Jesus. Many believers even suffer death at the hands of unbelievers weekly.

As far as I know and from what we’ve seen Jesus do. He never suffered illness, nor deformity. Never turned away someone asking for healing of such. And never dealt someone an ailment or injury in return.

No one can fully understand exactly what took place when Jesus died, what He did in death, and what it really signified when He arose from the grave. Likewise, no one can fully walk in all that He paid for.

You see He gave us back what was stolen from us in the garden. He bathed us and washed us white as snow, and He tore the veil, opened the symbolic gates of Eden and called us His new Holy temples!

Despite this, our minds are still caught up in the past. We spent so long as lost sheep, as slaves to sin, separated from God that we can’t readily/easily believe the Truth of the New Covenant.

We live our lives in the “in-between”, feeling broken and sinful and looking forward to eternity free of it. God wants you to live in the now and experience the freedom and gifts that Jesus has ALREADY given us.

Yes, Heaven and the new Earth will be amazing! But we are called to bring Heaven down today. To release the Holy Spirit to move through us in the Earth. What a privilege it is that we get to serve and demonstrate the love of God.

His love remains. Whether I am angry, confused, broken, and when I’m not seeing Breakthroughs. God is the same. I am the one who changes, the one who fails to get it right and see clearly the things of God.

For the first time in my life I began to experience what it felt like to pull away from God. And let me tell you that in pulling away I never felt so alone. Demons didn’t wait to torment me with thoughts and feelings that I used to never entertain.

I felt like Peter, taking his eyes off Jesus as he stepped out of the boat and stood upon the water. In no time at all he was sinking and afraid. Alone.

I’m still angry, I’m still hurting. And I still don’t have the answers I seek. But I know that pulling away from God isn’t the answer but the final blow. I won’t find my answer outside of Him, and so if I really want to have my answer I must do the opposite and run to Him.

Thank God He remains. He waits for us to return with open arms and forgiveness. I saw myself for what I am apart from Him and I really am nothing. If He isn’t the core of my being I don’t want this life, nor do I deserve it. I don’t even deserve the answer that I seek.

The rainbow in the sky signifies more than anything how lost we are. How God could very easily and rightfully have destroyed all of us. But instead He chose for us to continue. He wanted us to continue and to someday be reunited with Him.

Show Him that you aren’t done yet. That He can rely on you. That you love Him regardless of what you see and experience. Thank Him for all He has done and all the things He does that you don’t see. Thank Him for your life, your time here to fulfill your destiny and call. And know that you can never get “too” close to Him. There is always more, so much more.

After Easter

This Easter was the very first I spent at home.

I can’t even remember a time when I missed both Good Friday and Easter service! But there I lay in misery (very sick with a sinus infection), as my husband took our baby to church without me.

I knew the church would be packed, the kids ministry filled. And that America at large would be handing their children Easter baskets filled with toys, eggs, bunnies, and chocolate. After attending church (possibly for the first and only time this year).

Being stuck at home gave me pause to contemplate Easter. As a new mother I’ve come to think more deeply about matters I once overlooked. I want my son to hold Easter and Christmas sacred. I don’t want him to get swept into a sugar rushed frenzy thinking, “what’s in it for me?”

I’m not saying that Easter baskets are bad, or egg hunts and other games. So long as when you ask your child what Easter is about they don’t answer, “getting gifts, eating candy, bunnies and eggs…” etc.

I know it’s hard to grasp what Jesus did for mankind. It was bloody, it was unselfish, but it was the only way to cleanse us.

We protect children (and should!) from the dark horrors of evil. But sometimes I think we shield them too much or even unnecessarily.

Working with children I’ve learned that many of them are very aware of this world. They see it on the news, on the computer, through video games, and even from their parents and life situations.

They need tangible real truth in order to find a real hope that never leaves them, and that they never outgrow. The truth can be messy but there is a way to get the point across without going into every detail.

I mean making your kids watch the movie, The Passion of the Christ, probably isn’t a good idea. But showing them a crown of thorns and explaining that what Jesus did wasn’t joyful for him like what their coloring pages represent, but quite painful and hard.

Making them aware that evil does exist and we truly needed a savior to save us. That the devil is real and he is defeated. But he does still roam the earth seeking to destroy God’s people in many ways.

Teach your children not to fear but to put on the full armor of God. That they are powerful and have authority that makes demons flee because of the Holy Spirit within them.

As time passes, year by year, this world only darkens. And our walls of protection around our children are crumbling in its wake. It’s so vital that they don’t crumble with them. Unprepared for what’s out there.

Would you rather the world teach them what is right and wrong? Why things are what they are? Who the enemy is?

As my son went to church I cried.

You see I know a little about the pain of letting go. He’s never really been apart from me for more than 4 hours or so, and not with his dad, at church.

It might sound silly, but as a first time mother you go through this a lot. Every time you let go of your child you are letting go of control. You are letting go of your heart and believing and trusting it to come back to you.

Someday my little man will be a man, and I’ll still be feeling this weight as he walks out the door and gets behind a wheel. As he faces this world and its many temptations and fleshly desires. It’s lies and persuasions masquerading as truth and goodness. I’ll have to trust him and know that I did my best to prepare him for it all.

I titled this post After Easter because every day we should thank Jesus and remember His great sacrifice for us. Every day we live in the “after” days, the new covenant. And that is something to celebrate! Jesus is alive!

And now I get to feel an even greater depth of this sacrifice as I hold my son. Jesus died for him before I ever knew him, before his first heartbeat, his first cry…his first sin. God paid for it all.

May God bless you all, as you continue to remember Jesus and as you bring up the next generation in truth. May the Holy Spirit guide you in all things and fill your hearts and homes with peace that passes understanding. Amen.