When Easter is for you, too

This week.

I can’t help but be overcome by what it means. It is a day so immensely special, there are no words which could truly describe the impact of such an event that was catastrophic to all that is broken and fallen; an event that brought about the perfection of freedom. It is where the ashes of our messy lives could hope to find beauty and where all that was lost could now be reclaimed. We are on the cusp of a day where we will sacredly observe an act of obedience that was carried out, so perfect and true; an act which resulted in our penalty being taken on fully and in every aspect – pain, death, and separation. His blood for mine. This week…well, it a celebration of justification.

The other thing? Well, as if all the above was not enough…we also get to celebrate one more thing: Resurrection.

This day we celebrate what death could not hold; we celebrate an empty grave. The humble Christ Jesus, rising victorious as King over all and with the chains of death, broken, in His grasp. A day that holds the promise for newness and holds the promise of freedom.

This day means:

  • Every wayward son and daughter, now has a new hope. Their pasts and their hearts now have a place to shed their brokenness and their rebellion. Because of the cross and because of a risen Lord, they now can stand faultless…they are redeemed, they are new.
  • The hurt and ache of a broken marriage that is held firmly in sin’s grip of death, no longer needs to despair and mourn. The fallenness that wants to destroy and steal away what does not belong to it, has no bearing when given to the One who prevails over the fallen world. In and through Jesus, there is now hope and a future for any and all marriages. Ashes redeemed.
  • The tragedy that struck without permission…stealing and snuffing out all happiness…can be given to the One who can heal hearts and redeem sorrow for true and lasting joy.
  • The heart that is held captive by the yearning to please constantly, there is freedom in Christ. The selfish and vain nature which is found at the root of this bondage, can be given a security and wholeness through the One who is perfection.
  • The heart and body who experienced betrayal and shame from another person, maybe someone who had something stolen they could never get back, no longer has to bear all the pain and “dirtiness” they carry deep in their hearts anymore. Jesus took the full weight of that on the cross and His resurrection destroyed its hold. He can wash and make new. Freedom from another’s sin imposed on you.
  • Hearts that mourn and are broken…there is healing.
  • Frustration and anger, there is a calm reprieve. A place to cast off those feelings which control so uncontrollably. The one who controls the raging waves of the sea, has the power to control and calm the rage inside of you.
  • The one whose body craves the thing that it most wants to be rid of…there is hope. Jesus is stronger than any addiction. When eyes want to bleed over images, when throats want to be quenched by fire, when bodies shake for that next fix, when minds want to wander to those places where no one returns from unscathed…There is freedom found in a Redeemer who has conquered the slave-master of your heart. The death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, is your freedom-song.
  • Pride, jealousy, greed…all chains fall at the feet of Jesus.
  • The one who struggles with self-worth, Jesus pours His love into you. You are worthy and loved by the King and He has the power to wash away unworthiness from your heart and mind.

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save the lost.

Luke 19:10

You are the lost. I am the lost. We are the lost. All was and became lost in that garden long ago. But, what was lost in the garden…was redeemed on the cross and restored because of an empty grave. What was unraveled, is knit together. What was stolen, is redeemed. What was broken and ruined, is restored.

All that He accomplished through death and resurrection is ours…free. GRACE.

For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift – not from works, so that no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

A gift. A gift of rescue, free, through our faith that He can and will save us. His gift, to be free from works…for any other way would lead to further bondage and sins of the heart – so that no one can boast. It is through Christ alone.

I hope that this Easter season, this Holy week, will resonate strongly in your heart. I pray that the impact of what occurred, will flood you. I want you to be overwhelmed by the event that changed the course of this world forever.

“Our savior displayed on a criminal’s cross
Darkness rejoiced as though heaven had lost
But then Jesus arose with our freedom in hand
That’s when death was arrested and my life began”

“Death was Arrested” – North Point InsideOut

Happenings at the Hollow

March is here and we are nearly into month 5 of this RV living thing. Our little shop home is coming along, you can follow the progress on our Instagram account: @rustlinghollow, and we are slowly making this new place more “ours”.

Most recently, we have tackled the overwhelming job of clearing brush and junk left over from the previous owner. We are trying to get as much cleared before the real warm-up begins, which will inevitably bring about all kinds of nasty little bugs and slithery creatures. Also, clearing the brush and debris of the land will: 1.)Most importantly, keep my poor husband from contracting “the rash” again and again…he has had a perpetual poison ivy rash since we moved out here. 2.) Most, most importantly – I get my space for my chicken coop/run. Ya’ll knew it wouldn’t be that long before I would find a way to get at least a few chickens. Even the kids are missing them.

Here is a “before” picture of one of the area we worked on…


Here is the “after” picture of the same area…

Life in every other sense of the word is moving along, as life tends to do with or without said permission.  I was watching the kids play a few days ago and I couldn’t help but feel that little tug that sometimes grabs my heart and pulls until I feel a little lump in my throat. The growth, I see it unfolding before me – They are growing up and they are growing to be such great friends. While the growing up piece of it is something I sometimes struggle feeling happy about, the growth in the relationship I see happening amongst them absolutely warms this mother’s heart.

Just as their little selves are growing, so also are the minds. I have one who wants to read everything his little eyes can take in, another who loves to sit and study the pictures of book after book, and one who enjoys sitting all cuddled up by someone while enjoying being read to…especially if it happens to be a dinosaur book. The weather has been particularly lovely, which has been perfect for my little nature explorers/scientists. They can spend hours and hours outside studying, discovering, and constructing various experiments and projects.

Of course, all the outside playing/working has resulted in an extra trip to the laundromat every week. So a once a week chore, has now become a twice a week chore. However, with the weather warming up, I find myself hopeful. There is talk happening between my husband (you know, the guy who is trying to renovate a metal shop into livable space for his family) and myself —- I do believe I have convinced him to build me a clothesline. The washer is an easy hook-up; so having a clothesline available and the weather being nice, my bi-weekly trips to the laundromat with three kids may soon be a thing of the past.

Well, that is all the happenings I have time for sharing this go around… my little crew is starting to getting the tummy grumbles, which means dinner time is right around the corner. So, off I go to figure out what I will be making…since it is 5:00 and all. I need to get back to my weekly menu planning…

A Place To Call Home

It is hard to believe that it has been a little over two months. If someone would have told me 6 months ago that we would sell our house and that we would be living in a 36 foot travel trailer…I would have laughed (and then taken measures to ensure that such a situation would NEVER happen). This new life of ours is not one I ever could have seen coming…even just a short time ago.

But here we are.

We have learned a lot in a short amount of time. RV life is certainly one that takes some getting used to, not impossible, but definitely an adjustment. A lot of people have questions and comments for us because of our newly acquired lifestyle. Honestly, I have a few questions and comments for us, too. I mean, after all, we are a family of five living in an RV, for goodness’ sake.

Here is the thing. Some days, we are just surviving. The waters rise and we can seem to barely keep our heads above the waves. It seems as if once one problem is fixed, 300 more arise in its place. There are also days when living in such a small space proves to be no longer bearable. The children’s voices permeate every place and space and the words ‘peace’, ‘quiet’, and ‘privacy’ mean nothing. These days, are hard. Sometimes, in these hard times, I doubt every and all decisions we have made. Were we crazy? What made us think we could do this? Are we doing the right thing? The latter one, is the one that sticks to your gut and keeps you up at night. It plays on all your worst doubts and fears. I would be lying if I said there were never times where a tear broke through here or there.

Then, somewhere in the bleak of night, the rays of sunlight come beaming through and it is like breathing in a fresh breath of hope. For the days where it seems as if survival is the only way of living, there also come the days were you can see that you will not only survive, but there is the hope to thrive.

These days are appearing more and more often. I would love to tell you that it is because of me and the things I have done…but, that would be nowhere near the truth. The only part I have in all of this turning out alright is in the surrender, the obedience and in trusting the One who holds every single moment in His hands. But, even then, I can only accomplish any of those things by and through His grace.

Since living here, we have had the opportunity to experience the lovely of His creation. We have enjoyed nature hikes, poem readings in seemingly secret thickets, we have watched the leaves perform their beautiful autumn dance, and have enjoyed listening to the calls of various birds flittering and fluttering all around us. We have enjoyed long nights under the moon and a few oak trees while listening to the crackling of a fire. Often, the tightness of our new home doesn’t phase me. We go about our day to day task with a smattering of ease. In fact, our family time has been richer and sweeter since moving out here. The close quarters is almost cozy in nature and I welcome its warmth.  These days, my heart swells and it is easy to see how everything will work out just fine; it is easy to enjoy the beauty of simple living; it all makes sense on these days. During these times, my heart finds its song again and it dances with joy.

But, there is a joy to be found in all times and in all seasons.

The hard days, they are getting fewer. I have seen where I needed to be stretched and where I needed to grow. Friends and family have certainly stepped in and encouraged us and often themselves lending a helping hand.  In the quiet moments, I have found myself giving thanks for the hard times…for the times where waves nearly drowned. I am learning there is a process – there is often a pain accompanied with growth, and not all pain is bad. I have learned that I can be shaped by hard times and grow from them or I can let them defeat me. In keeping my focus on Him, I am doing my best to let difficult times grow me. I am learning that in the growth, my walk with Him is closer and truer than I could have imagined it being.

So, the best answer I can give to people asking how life is going for us?

Well, it would be that we are learning to appreciate every moment of the journey. We are blessed with a sustaining grace that will bring moments beautiful and bring us through moments raw and rough. We are, every day, more and more confident and content in the place of life we are walking through and in the place where we call home.