_DSC7688The scents of urine, hay, animal sweat, urine and feces filled our noses. Bray’s, squawks, quacks, baa’s and squeals filled our ears. Rough wood, the prickle of hay and the gravel-like feel of feed filled our hands. A parade of on-lookers filled our peripheral view.

“Peace” is not exactly how I’d describe the feeling of our trip to a local petting zoo for a birthday party. More like “chaos” and “cacophony..”  Overwhelmed by scents,sounds,  new experiences and smells children’s responses varied from tears and fear, to delight. Parents responses varied from shouts of “Keep your fingers away front the teeth.” to- “At least use hand sanitizer after you touch that.”  I think I saw one parent crouched in a corner, clutching a child’s blanket and rocking back and forth…. there was no baby involved… just a parent. Who’d lost it. Pretty much. ( It may have been me. Justsayin. Petting zoos make me nervous.)

As a life-long suburbanista- girl scout camp and childhood visits to a friends farm house and petting zoos are about the sum total of my barn experience. Girl scout camp involved horses and screeching pre-pubescent girls …. (Not peaceful.) Visits our friends farm involved much chasing of chickens.. (rather fun if you ignore the smell.)  squeeing over pigs and brushing of horses manes while trying not to get stomped under hoof.  Fun, but again: not peaceful.

As a mother of 3 boys, owner of 2 dogs and 2 cats- I often feel like I LIVE in a barn. (And, while I remember their births as taking place in nice, clean hospitals, I sometimes wonder if my children were actually BORN in a barn. They are genetically hard wired to leave messes and doors open. IMO.) With the exception of stolen moments in the early morning and late at night, my home is filled with video gaming college boys, 6th graders, nerf battles, lego battles and little knight stories…Not much peace. (It also kind of smells like a barn, with overtones of Scentsy….)

Barns do not produce peace. They produce poo. And noise. And chaos. And stink…with maybe quiet moments of peace…as a lamb lies nestled with it’s mother or piggies lie in a sleeping mass of pink.

And yet- over 2,000 years ago- a barn did just that. It produced peace.

There was braying and neighing and stink and wallow. There was squalor and chaos and a parade of on-lookers.

But, wrapped in swaddling clothes-amidst the chaos-  was born peace. A miracle on so many levels.

This year, I feel like my life is a barn. It’s drafty, it’s overwhelming, it’s noisy and to be honest? With the continued battle with my husband’s cancer along with the stress of life and family….. it’s been stinking. It’s been painful. Pain is not peaceful. There have been moments of peace.. (mostly on beaches:P)  But it hasn’t been peace-Full. I miss peace.

This morning.. I again read the story of that barn. I read of how peace was born into the world.. in the middle of chaos. In the middle of a tyrant’s slaughter of innocence….and I remembered peace.

I also remembered a teenager. One who’d already attempted suicide. (Sometimes a #fail is a good thing) One who was depressed and overwhelmed. One who was desperate for something.. and had been looking for it- in all the classic wrong places…. one who knew the chaotic effects of a parent’s substance abuse. A teenager who unexpectedly  found what she was looking for. In a barn. A barn that was on a stage at a children’s Christmas pagent….where she found what she was really looking for-

Peace.

The peace  found in love, acceptance and  forgiveness.  The same peace that was born in that barn so long ago. Instead of peace wrapped in swaddling clothes- it was wrapped in her heart…tied with a ribbon of grace and  laid in the barn of her life.

She, is me.

And today, in the middle of this barn, I again found that peace. In the fact that the chaos of my worries can bring peace. Peace that I don’t have to be enough. In the fact that I don’t have to have all the answers. In the fact that God is more than able to get us through whatever comes our way. (And whether we like it or not.) In the fact that I’m not alone.

Peace born in chaos. The dichotomy of Christmas. The mystery. The miracle. The beauty.

My life feels like chaos…. But–I’m asking God to sustain that manger miracle of peace in my heart….and I’m praying he does the same for you.

Maybe chaos doesn’t mean God isn’t involved.. it means he’s again- about to birth peace….

Dear Jesus- I can’t pretend to grasp the sacrifices you’ve made in coming to earth, being born into chaos to bring us peace.. but I am desperate to embrace it. Even here. In the middle of the chaos that my life feels like. In the middle of this barn…. I pray for anyone who reads- who feels like life is chaos and that peace isn’t even a possibility- that they would find your peace- in the chaos. In the barn. In the manger, and at the foot of the cross. I love you Lord and trust you with all my what if’s- even here- in Jesus name- amen

The barn… 

Repost from last year…..but still fitting… some struggles  improve..(A year after my hubby’s diagnosis we are in an upswing… last PSA was undetectable. We now test eery 3 months….for now- cancer takes a back burner. but then…. new struggles develop. And we get through them. together.

0001Caution: morbid, possibly melo-dramatic post.

(If you’re my mother- or a close friend- don’t freak. I’m fine. I’m just being honest about the fears that happen when Moms face surgery and or chronic illness. )

Purpose: To give voice to those concerns so that moms find out they aren’t alone.

What if: I die?

  • Have I done enough?
  • Have I loved my kids, enough?
  • Disciplined them enough? Too much?
  • Taught them enough?
  • Modeled enough healthy things? (Lord knows, I’ve modeled enough NOT healthy things.)
  • Loved God, enough?
  • Loved others, enough?
  • Will I go to heaven?
  • Will someone do my hair and make up so I look like a supermodel instead of just a dead version of me?

Who will:

  • Counsel and explain this all to my kids?
  • Keep up the laundry and the house? (I mean: who will remember to flip the couch cushions so they don’t break down.. and keep my OCD positioned pillows in their correct places????THIS IS IMPORTANT.)
  • Make time for each kid.
  • Encourage my husband. Be there for him. Love him? (Not sure I want anyone else to do that.. also: don’t want him to be without support)
  • Find all the things that are right where they should be- in plain sight?
  • Remember to lock the patio door-  front door and the cars?
  • Feed, water and groom the pets?
  • Remember garbage night? (and keep it holy…. sorry- sounded like the Sabbath there for a minute… oopsy told you- dramatic)
  • Mediate all the things that require mediation?
  • Throw out the underwear and socks with holes in them?
  • Clean up cat puke? (It’s a scientific fact: Only moms can see cat puke. To others it is invisible. Cat vomit creates tiny tears in the time/space continuum that can only be bridged by moms. Apparently.)
  • Throw out all forms of junk mail, so my family doesn’t smother in advertisements for credit cards and window replacements?

What if:

  • It hurts and I can’t hide it, and it scares my kid? (My kid- not a fan of seeing mom in pain. Nether am I, actually.)
  • It hurts and doesn’t get better?
  • The surgery doesn’t work?
  • The surgery makes it worse?
  • I end up paralyzed?
  • The surgery works, all goes well- and then it turns out I DO have Lupus and everything else body-wise goes straight to H***?
  • I can’t do my make up after surgery? (hello, vanity- party of one.)
  • The surgery works, I DO get better and i don’t have an excuse for why EVERYTHING still, doesn’t get done? (It won’t. Trust me.)

What if:

  • This is just the beginning?
  • I don’t heal according to my “Schedule?”  (Hello- 6 weeks puts me at mid august, I have a vacation first week in September, and school starts after the holiday…)
  • I lose more range of motion than I want to? (Seriously? Spinning my head around as a PMS warning sign- is just so: effective.)
  • I get addicted to the stupid meds, stuck in a burning crack house and fall through the floor only to have my friends and family watch me  die as the building explodes? (Sorry- just re-watched the last season of House…..PS: not faking my death. I promise. )

These are the thoughts and fears the fly through my mind like mosquitoes, as I clean house, wait for more blood tests and get ready for surgery. They don’t stick around long… just long enough to suck a bit of my peace out and give me a rash. They need to be recognized, addressed and then smooshed. Preferably before they have sucked up enough peace to leave a smeary mess when I splat them.

They need to be smooshed.

Because the truth is- in all likelihood…. All will go well. I will heal. I won’t die. Whatever autoimmune thing I have going on can be treated and managed. If I do die? Well, God has been there taking care of my family all along, and he will continue to. Even there.

I wish I could say I’m not afraid. That my faith means I know that all will be fine. But it doesn’t. My faith means that whatever happens…. God is present. Right there, in the messy middle of it. In pain, in sickness, in grief and fear. In celebration and healing. In all things. Present.

So that’s my prayer as I finish getting ready for surgery and for facing whatever autoimmune thing I have going on… (or don’t) …

“Dear Lord, I love you. I don’t like pain. I don’t like surgery. I don’t like fear. I don’t like the questions that I have. I don’t like the lack of answers to those questions, or even all the answers I do have.. it’s possible the house could overflow with junkmail and cat vomit if I died.. it’s just a fact…. But, lord,  I love you. I need you. Lord- whatever happens… be present. Be with me and my family… even here. Amen.”

So readers…. how bout you? Fears, rational or irrational as you face surgery, or serious illness? What do you do when they buzz in your ears like mosquitoes ready to suck the peace from your life? 

I:

  • Tell myself the truth.  (God is in charge and able, I am not. The world does not actually, revolve around me.  My kids and husband would be fine and are brilliantly capable of handling the house and life.)
  • Talk about the fears and concerns.
  • Talk to friends who’ve experienced what I’m experiencing.
  • Pray. Listen. Read and listen to the things that fill me with peace.
  • Do what I can to prepare what I can prepare.
  • Feel the feelings- then move on.

Do the next thing.

Which today, is: Get ready to meet friends for lunch, instead of worrying myself into a headache or working myself into so much pain I can’t stand it.

See you after surgery! Prayers appreciated- As of now, I’m scheduled for 11:00 A.M Eastern time- tomorrow- July 3.

beauty in winter...

In the detritus of loss, are the seeds of hope.

I grabbed my camera, and took a walk, desperate to find beauty.

I had to look beyond the gray, overcast skies and mud  to find it.

But, I did.

I found it in unexpected places. I found it in places that [at first glance] looked barren. I looked closer. I found the beauty of life to come.

In….

Seeds.

Pods.

In fuzzy, prickly burrs that hitchhike to better ground. I found it in stubborn lichen and moss that refuses to give up it’s hold on life. I found it in evergreens that defy the season of cold.

In the detritus of winter- I found beauty in the hope of spring.

It’s always there. Even in the darkest times. The worst days. Like moss, and evergreens, like seeds, pods and burrs.. if we look close enough.

Today- I’ll be joining Moms all over the world- as we pray that those suffering in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting can find hope. we’ll pray that they find comfort for their pain. That they feel love, in a time of loss.

In a world that has been feeing dark- cold and lonely- there is beauty in the connection of mothers’ hearts reaching out to pray for each other. There is beauty in community. There is beauty and something holy in shared suffering. I wish I could change what happened… I can’t. But I can do something….I can pray. I can pray for mothers whose children who are troubled. I can pray for mothers struggling with fear as they send little ones off to school. I may not be able to change a mom’s circumstances- but I can make sure she’s not alone.

If you’re feeling afraid, alone, overwhelmed or are longing to do something to support those who suffered such loss -I hope you’ll join with us in prayer.

It’s a step in making the world a more beautiful, peaceful and loving  place.

I was fine, until I tried to move. Then pain shot across my shoulders like a lightening bolt in a July thunderstorm. It feels like there is a bungie cord stretched just beyond it’s limit, holding my head and arms captive at risk of a sudden “POP!” followed by  a breaking of the cord,  that will send my arms in opposite directions and my head shooting up like a rock-em-sock em robot.

“Maybe, I slept wrong.”  (Sheesh, I’m a perfectionist even in sleep, now? Is there even a right way to sleep?”

“Maybe, I did too much yesterday.” ( I have no idea how what I do everyday could suddenly become too much..”)

As I wrapped my hands around the warm coffee cup and sank into the couch this morning- I realized the truth: I’m experiencing  Empathy Exhaustion. I’ve spent so much time thinking about how the kids, parents and teachers all feel- felt in the mess, agony an aftermath that is Sandy Hook, that my body is screaming a pain-filled response.  How do I know?

I recognize the signs…

  • I’ve caught myself clenching my jaw, almost non-stop. (TMJ- it’s my first line of defense stress symptom. It’s like my body tries to clench out the stress… FYI? It doesn’t work. Just hurts.)
  • There has been a stiff- tightness across my shoulders up my neck and into my head since last week. I thought it was the weather and my stupid spinal arthritis… (I am approximately 1.2 billion years old in dog years. At least- my body is…:P)
  • My stomach has alternated between… well.. let’s just say fits and starts…. for days.
  • I’ve had a low grade headache for days.

It’s not all from Sandy Hook. I’m not that compassionate. I’m selfish… and well- distracted and conflicted.  It’s also- the Christmas Crunch. The battle between stress and joy and time pressure and financial pressure and the struggle to keep my mind focused on the real meaning of Christmas… all rolled into a giant stress wad the size of Texas. Not to mention the almost constant “Breaking News” induced- mini panic attacks.

All of which creates tension. Tension that today- demands attention.

If I don’t manage this tension better- I’ll be good for nothing. Not my family. Not my friends. Not my todo list or those in Sandy Hook. (As if I actually can do anything to make their pain less…)

This morning- I waved goodbye to my youngest with less fear but more pain, than yesterday. The feeling of vulnerability and helplessness is toned down a few notches- reason and trust are speaking louder to my fear. However, my body is screaming for something…..(The cookies I gave it at 2:00 A.M. while tasty- didn’t do the trick.)

I think it needs a break. So, I called an audible. Instead of the wrapping and housework that my todo list demands- I’m going on what I call- a camera walk. (Confession- I’m a photography nut.It’s close to creating art as my fine-motor challenged self gets)  It’s a way that I can re-focus my eyes on world around me and find the beauty in the simple creation. It’s a way for me to connect with God.  A camera walk- just involves me- and my camera- taking a walk and taking a fresh look…. at the world and capturing what I find.

It’s amazing how your perspective can change with a macro or zoom lens attached…I’m also:

  • Turning off the TV. I don’t need to keep feeling that PLOP of my heart dropping every time “News” breaks…. (Funny how often the news is old……) I’m turning on music that fills my soul…
  • Putting away my laptop. Today, I don’t need to constantly check my “feeds” to see how friends are doing or responding… or not doing or not responding….(Being all judgey- judgey- can wear a girl OUT.)
  • Taking a long hot shower. Without rushing.
  • Spending time listening to God- not barking out orders and questions to Him….
  • Checking my lists and crossing things off that just. Don’t. Matter.
  • Making soup for dinner…. something warm and filling and comforting.

It feels kind of self indulgent to do this. It’s almost embarrassing to post such a frivolous list for the world to see. But here’s the thing- if I don’t do these things- my body will continue to rebel. It will get worse. I’ll end up curled up on the couch with an immobilizing migraine. I’ll end up at urgent care because the physical pain is crippling. I’ll end up snippy and snotty with my family because the tension I feel is snapping out where ever it can….

Not good.

There is nothing to be ashamed of. Today- I’m taking care of momma- so momma can take care of everything else.

Tomorrow- I’m joining in prayer with moms all over the world- to pray for the moms of Sandy Hook and every mom who’s struggling with the impact of the unthinkable becoming real.

Why? Because I’ve taken enough flights and [half] listened to flight attendants enough times- to know that before I can help someone else with their oxygen mask….. I need to properly adjust my own.  MOPS is a place that cares for moms. Every mom. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, afraid, in pain…..or just plain want to do something… anything to help the mothers of Sandy Hook….

Please join MOPS International- in a Moms’ call to prayer- tomorrow- Wednesday, December 19 at 9:45 Central time. I’ll be there.

Moms Call to Prayer- MOPS

So… what are you up to today? How are you feeling? Are you seeing any signs of stress in your body? Your mind? Your spirit? What are they?

How are you taking care of momma, so momma can take care of: everyone? I’m starting with prayer….

Dear Lord— my body hurts. My heart hurts. Honestly? I feel guilty for even expressing my need to take care of myself, when so many others are in incomparable pain. But I know, that in order to do the next thing, and the thing after that…… I need to take care of myself. Please help me see you. Help me release the tension and trust you even more. Help me be a light in the dark….by recharging the battery of my heart-with your presence. I love you Lord- amen. 

A blue backpack has taunted me all weekend. “How are you going to send him out into this kind of world? What IF….”  The backpack stops from this:short.  Even an inanimate object doesn’t want to voice the fear we all feel.

My brain battles back… “What are the chances? Our school is safe. I have to trust God….”  But, still. tonight, I’ll pick up that backpack and do what moms all over America are doing. I’ll check homework. I’ll pack a lunch. I’ll sign notes and layout tomorrow’s clothes. Only, tonight, instead of a soundtrack of mental to do list review and complaints about smelly lunch leftovers in a lunch box, there will be a cacophony of fear:

  • “Maybe I should homeschool.” (Again. I’ve already been there.) 
  • “Are there flak jackets that fit under uniform shirts?” (I’m afraid to google this. If child sized flak jackets exist… well.. it just makes me sad.- Sadder. Which is hard to imagine.)
  • “Can a backpack be retro-fit with kevlar? Are there bulletproof backpacks? Should I talk to my kid about what to do…. IF?”

If I were a bazillionaire- I’d be tempted to buy an island and build a compound where my family and loved ones would be safe from sick or evil people. I’d put a bubble over it to protect us from chemical and biological warfare. I’d filter our air- and be sure to have a sustainable agriculture model that would feed us healthy, chemical free foods. I’d make sure we are UV protected. I’d have internet filters that would keep inappropriate content from ever being visible. (I can’t imagine surviving without the internet at this point…) I’d stockpile:  food, medicine, books and yarn. (We all have our vices.Oh and probably have weapons.. but as you can tell, i’m more about comfort than weaponry.) We could probably survive a zombie apocalypse, but, I’m not sure we could survive each other. I’ve been with these people on car trips.

We’d probably die of suffocation. Emotional or otherwise. Which- would make me a mass murderer, wouldn’t it?

It’s probably good that I’m not a bazillionaire.

Since I’m not, and honestly- even if I  were- I’m not sure I want to be locked away on a secluded island with even just my own brand of crazy….What DO I do next? What do I do Monday morning? After 20 children and their teachers were killed…. in their classroom? And a mother was killed in her home. And a broken, sick, messed up 20 year old killed himself?

Parent’s everywhere have experienced yet another paradigm shift. What once felt safe…. feels unsafe. What once was unthinkable, is more than real. I’ve spent the weekend trying not to think about it. I turn off the news after brief updates. My husband put up the Christmas lights. I did laundry and knit gifts and ordered other gifts.

But now- it’s Sunday, and the blue backpack beckons. The clock is ticking. Monday is coming. So is: carpool and pickup and leaving my child all day in the care of others….

Out of my control. (As if I have control here… but that’s another article, altogether…)

What next?

There’s only one answer….. I will pack the lunch. I will check the homework. I will pack the taunting bag and make sure he doesn’t forget it. I will layout the school clothes. I will wave goodbye as he carpools. I will be there to pick him up. I will do the next thing. Because that’s what moms do. To do anything else would be to let sickness and evil win.

I will be nervous. You may be too. I will have fleeting thoughts of island oasis’ and stockpiles that would make a “prepper” look like a sadly outfitted overnight camper.

I will pray. I will trust.

I will pray that God will protect…… I know He does… but I will also pray that God will be present – even here. Regardless of the circumstance. As he was- in Sandy Hook. In the heroic acts of teachers- and first responders, and the invisible loving arms that welcomed little ones too soon, into eternity. After a year of facing several surgeries, and cancer and financial struggles and all the rest of life we’ve experienced…- I know this for sure: Awful things happen- But- he is near. Even here.

Friday- I chose love. Today? I choose trust. In my fear. Trust that no matter what happens Monday- God will get us through- as he will those so hurt on Friday and everyday.  To choose to withdraw and to try and seclude ourselves into safety… would only be letting evil win.

Which is all grand to say… but that backpack. It still taunts. I am still afraid. The world is not safe. I want to choose trust… but how do I manage the emotion?

What works for me:

  • Honesty. I will talk about how I feel. Even though I’d rather avoid it.
  • Connection. I will listen to the fears of others. I will find solace in not being alone.
  • Compassionate Action. I will do something to help others. I need to remember that this isn’t about ME. Nor, is life.
  • Prayer for me. I can’t change my emotions…. but God can, and He can help us get through anything- even a normal Monday shadowed by fear- which is what most of us will experience tomorrow.
  • Prayer for the grieving. I don’t have words- but I can weep with those who weep- and pray that God will be present in their pain.

So- let’s start now…. together. Pray with me?

Dear Jesus-  I come to you with a weary, fear  and grief burdened heart. I come to you with a backpack taunting me…. how can I send my child out into a world that is so dangerous? A world so full of all the things that cause tragedies like the Sandy Hook shooting? How can I trust …  when I know that death, murder, sickness, abuse  and accidents all happen? I trust by remembering your presence in other pain. I remember your tender care at the cancer center. In hospital rooms. In funeral parlors. I remember your love in the darkest pains of my life and how you [eventually] bring light into the darkness. remembering helps me trust. I love you Lord- and ask you to be near the broken hearted. I ask you to be with every parent fearful as they pack backpacks for Monday. I ask you to be present as we face fear and choose trust. Lord- I know that in the end- sickness and evil will not win….let the defeat begin in me. In Jesus name- amen.

Moms, dad’s how are you feeling? How are your kids feeling? What works for you?

And… if you happen to be a bazillionaire… do you have any room for a nice family of five in your compound? (Just saying…… still feels like an option….) If you’re new to my site- and are wondering why the nest pic? Enter  “Even here” into my search bar…. you’ll find the stories of how God has shown himself  in nests….

**note: I use the term evil — not as a moral judgment- but to represent all that can break people and create fear and acts like SandyHook… – abuse, mental illness, sin, evil…

The whimpering, shaking cry was not the typical “I didn’t get to pick the game we play and my feelings are hurt, or the “Everybody hates me. I have no friends” Kind of cries I’ve come to expect midsummer. This was a “I am in mortal fear.” Type of cry. And I don’t mean mortal fear of grounding. I mean- my youngest was crying like someone had threatened his life. And he believed it.

To say he was hysterical is an understatement. His words flowed out like an avalanche. They picked up speed and lost organization as they flowed. “”****y’s Dad.” (Name with held to protect the not so innocent- but still cared for.) Was the only thing I could make out. (That whole- Mom’s always know what their kids are saying, thing?  Total lie. )

Fortunately, I had an interpreter. Unfortunately- he was almost as hysterical as the emotional  avalanche in Nike’s. My oldest. Who at 22, is usually pretty much not hysterical. My interpreter told  me how he’d overheard a parent (male- 6’4″) screaming at and threatening (a veiled threat- but to a child- a threat- all the same.) my youngest. The interpreter suggested that he’d  go out and “take care of” the adult.  I didn’t think this would help the situation.

Once my youngest heard his brother lay the ground work- of the story-he gathered his thoughts into (mostly) sentences and filled me in.  He was shaking and crying. He also told me he  had to change his pants- before telling me the rest- because he was so scared he’d wet them. (He’d not had an accident since pull-ups- he seriously thought this dad was going to hurt him. And he was scared to death.)

The bottom line- The neighborhood kids had done  what kids do- they decided that one kid would be left out of a game. (To make life more interesting- or to shoot for a reality show based on our neighborhood- or just because kids can be mean.) The child went home upset- and the parent came out furious.

What followed could have been the pilot episode of “Real Momma Bears of the Cul De Sac.”

As my guys told me what happened- I got more and more angry. It wasn’t just emotional- it was primal. I wanted to hurt that man. At least- I wanted to scare him so bad he wet HIS pants- but- at 5’4″ I knew I didn’t have much a chance at that. I considered taking my oldest up on his suggestion. But, I was pretty sure the police would end up involved- and that couldn’t go well for a college kid- even if he was provoked and protecting his baby brother.Besides- honestly?  I wanted to be the one to take this guy on.

I marched across the street and rang the doorbell. (more…)

The sound was deafening. The crunch, smash and explosions of the collision could be heard through out time and across space.

They still echo today. In our questions….

“If God is loving and full of grace- how can he allow anyone go to hell?”

“If God is just and we all sin…how can anyone o to heaven?”

Are these ideas incongruent?  Is one statement a lie and the other true?  It just doesn’t make sense.

In a world of mathematical “if, then” statements… can both statements be true? What would happen if they were?

I think they are- and I think that seeming conflict, that incongruency and nonsense…. caused a violent collision.

At the corner of justice and grace.

There was no squealing of tires.

There was no ambulance wail announcing his injuries or quietly driving away carrying his body to the morgue.

But there was a sound. One that had never been heard before or since. The sound of God taking on flesh- of justice colliding with grace and causing carnage to his body.

It was brutal. Bloody. Painful. Horrifying. Some wept. Some cheered. All were affected. Many still are. I am.

He was more than mangled. He was:

Alone.

Cast off.

Forgotten.

Abandoned.

Left in a tomb. To rot.

Except, he didn’t.

He could have escaped.

Except, he didn’t.

He could have called down angels to save him….

Except, he didn’t.

The story didn’t end with carnage. Instead- Somehow- the brokeness, the abandonment the pain… transformed. On a Sunday morning 3 days later.

He rose. I don’t know how.

But in that moment- carnage and death and sin and pain were overcome. They became: Freedom. Peace. Love. Joy. Salvation. Forgiveness. Life.

I don’t know how.

I believe that the only way for grace and justice to both exist and both be true- was for them to collide. And become one. Transformed. Then risen.In him.

It wasn’t a collision at a crossroad…it was on a cross. The transformation happened in a tomb…. and over 2000 years later-it happened again, in my heart.

Today- I celebrate the sacrifice that Jesus made, not in a joyful party or in some sick relishing of his pain… but in thanks, for what it accomplished.

I don’t have all the answers. (The truth is I probably have more questions than answers.)  But today- when reading the story of Good Friday and Easter Sunday….I heard the collision’s echoes. Did you?

Dear Lord- I have so many questions….the truth is it doesn’t make sense that you’d take on flesh live perfectly and then die innocently and that would be the final perfect sacrifice that would free us all from sin and pain and death…it doesn’t make sense that Christ would die and then rise again… it sounds like a fairytale. And yet- the sound of that collision still echoes. It echoes in the prophecies that were fulfilled. It echoes in the evidence and the stories…but most of all it echoes in my heart. Where once was just an empty tomb…. but now is life and joy. I love you Lord- and celebrate your sacrifice….thanks is not enough- but it is what I have to give. I love you Lord- amen

For my readers and friends-

Maybe you have questions. Maybe you don’t think this makes sense either. I get it. But today- and through this weekend- as so many celebrate not just the collision- but the fusion of grace and justice….I ask you to listen. Take a few minutes to read the prophecies about The Messiah, and see if and how they were fulfilled. Maybe read the whole story  in the Gospel of John….see if it echoes in your heart…

There is so much more to Easter… than eggs and chocolate….;)

Happy Easter-

And for those who believe differently?  Thank you for grace and patience as I express what I believe… ;)

Also- I have to thank Dan Pratt- one of pastors at our church– for speaking the simple words: Where grace and justice collide…. and inspiring this post…. some words just resonate when we take the risk to share them:)