When It Was All Very Good

I made a chocolate bundt cake awhile back. When it came out of the oven and cooled, I flipped it upside down onto the cake platter. Most of the cake fell out while half of it remained in the baking pan. I scooped out what I could and tried to piece it all back together with icing. And while this cake tasted good it was not, in whole, very good. In the creation of the cake, I missed a wide section of the pan when spraying it with non-stick cooking spray. I managed to make it work and look okay, but it was not what I originally had planned for it to be.

This was the example I gave to my children this morning as we were gathered around for our family worship time. We had just talked about God’s creation. We read over how we were created (male and female in His image) and how God created everything else….and how He looked upon all of His creation and saw that it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)

The divine creation of all things was real and it was perfection. 

I need them to know, in this world of facades and broken up pieces, that The Creator did not make any mistakes. His creation was very good…not just broken-cake-covered-in-icing good. For when they catch a glimpse of His perfect creation, they can catch a glimpse of the cross.

Because now? The world is falling into pieces. The wars rage amongst the human race – against each other and within themselves. The oceans stir violently, the earth rumbles in rage, and destructive calamity is making its mark across the whole of creation. A fight for self-identity drags us away from the only image we are to bear; the call to die to self becomes a most difficult endeavor.

My kids see and they can understand broken; They live it and they live in it. Evidence of a curse so deep and profound that it is woven into everything and everyone, it is antithetical to the world that was once seen as very good. I tell them, “The cake that was once perfect is now smashed, messy, and fragmented”.

I take them to the beauty and perfection of creation again. We say the verse over and over – “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good…” (Genesis 1:31 HCSB). 

What could possibly restore what is so deeply tainted and broken from what was once “very good”? My own heart is taking this in and the wonder of the cross is being shed across it. I am being reminded as I tell my children how the marred masterpiece is being made new through the obedient sacrifice of flawless perfection.

The God whose creation is withering away in death, is taking back what is His. In fact, He had a plan from the very beginning on how to fix what He knew was going to break. He has been and is continuing in the process of making all things new. One day, His masterpiece will once again beat with full and complete life. All brokenness will be gone and restoration will be all-encompassing and finished.

I look over at my children. I would all but fail if I don’t communicate it to them, if I don’t make it abundantly clear, that the work of redemption is for them, too. 

We, also, are part of His creation (Psalm 139). The cross is not only where the world finds its hope to be made new, it is where WE find our hope in being made new. Our inner most being has this hope to take hold of and claim as its own. We can behold the power of redemption and complete restoration that is being offered from the Saviour on a cross…and we can accept it. We can let the healing power of Jesus flow over us and through us, binding up our tattered and broken selves. Through Christ, we can have the hope that the complete and “very good” perfection is part of our future, too.

I gather my children; I pray with them. I thank God for the hope that is Jesus and I pray that hope over their hearts. I thank God for what was once very good, so we can look forward to the promise of the very good that is to come.

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On Showing Up

I survived Day 1. 

Every time we have added another little one to our family, the first post-pregnancy day I survive by myself with just the kids is one I count as an absolute win. This time was no different. Today marks 3 weeks since the life I was carrying and growing warmly and safely inside me, entered our little space of the world. It also, so happens to be the first day I have been with all my kids…completely solo.

And quite frankly, I am feeling pretty good about how the day went.

I mean —-

• Groceries were bought. (Can we give it up to Walmart for their AWESOME online shopping and pickup thing they have going on? Everything bought and picked up withOUT having to unload my small army of children. 🙌🏽)

• Not one, but FOUR loads of laundry washed, hung to dry, and put away.

• Time outside on the porch to unwind and play.

• 3/4 kids bathed and clean before bed.

• And. No one missed a meal. (Albeit, cereal was the entree of choice for dinner 😬.)

So now, I lie here in bed reflecting on this day that I was initially quite intimidated by and I remind myself of why it went so well.

I serve a God who is rich in mercy.

A mercy so rich, it brings my dead heart to life; so rich, it is also poured out in many ways of grace in the everyday minutiae of things. He draws me to Him and refines me through, sometimes the extraordinary, but often in the ordinary.

I saw how His grace was extended through the generosity, kindness and sacrifice of others. 

People in my life…showed up. In all kinds of ways, people were the hands and feet of Jesus to my family and I. Where we needed, He provided through the outpouring of love from people we walk with in this life.

My day was good and so (dare I say) perfect, because of His provision.

For example…

I thought about the many hands who helped out when we were trying to get our little home move-in ready before our newest arrival showed up. I can’t even begin to thank those who showed up and gave of their time, energy, sweat, hard work…just for my family. I mean, my poor sister about scrubbed her poor fingers off when she set out on the task of helping with the grouting of our floors.

We had friends – dig ditches in uncomfortable weather conditions so we could run a new electric line to our house; sweat themselves to death helping with siding, installing cabinets and transferring (by hand) a monstrous pile of drywall from where it was dropped outside to the inside of our shop; my parents (bless them) worked their tails off outside to help make it our place somewhere that looks more and more like home.

Then, when the time came, we had family give up vacation days to help move us into our house…without us even asking. They just showed up.

I had a nice comfortable home to be in today with my kiddos, because of the many ways God used people to bless us with much needed help.

These last 3 weeks? Man, they have been tough for me on a physical level. C-sections—are no joke. Being 34 and having undergone a fourth c-section (with an extra little removal of tubes thrown in for fun [read sarcastically]), REALLY was tough on me this go around. The healing process was so much slower and harder on me.

But, people showed up.

My parents literally gave up a month of their lives to help take care of me and my family. They helped clean out the last remaining necessities from our little travel trailer, took excellent care of our other children, and just gave completely of themselves in every way to help make this transition a good and easy one for us.

Meals. I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Every person who showed up with a meal for my family…just completely messed with my emotions. Inside, I was a blubbery mess with each sacrificial blessing that was brought over. People are busy, teachers were soaking up their family in the last days of summer, friends with new babies, friends with their own families to tend to, my awesome mother-in-law who provided a slew of frozen meals…all showed up. 

The meals? Were awesome. But what they brought to my family and I was so much more…it showed us not only did they care, but they reminded us of our faithful God who cares, too.

Prayers. There is nothing that can make a momma come to her knees quicker than her children. When your tiny and new little life seems to be having difficulties, there is something so comforting and powerful to know you have an army of people praying for him. And when our little guy was getting bili levels checked every other day and we were worried out of our minds about unknowns…people showed up to pray. We were surrounded by prayers of peace by friends who brought our needs/anxieties before the Throne of Grace.

To wrap it all up?

Well, this extra long post of mine is really summed up in these two words – show up.

People are always wanting to make a difference and do something big…but I was shown that sometimes (probably most times) it is the small things, the ordinary things, the not-so-glamorous things that will make the biggest impact in the lives of others.

Through the seemingly boring day-to-day ways of showing up, God was glorified; I am fully aware of His amazing mercy and grace that was woven through the everyday ways people poured themselves out to my family.

I know, my successful day today is in no part all my own doing. It was because of the richness of His mercy and grace…by those who (maybe unknowingly) were being used by Him.

To all those who have shown up…thank you.


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