In 2010 I went on a mission trip to Rwanda and came home with a souvenir. Latent Tuberculosis. A couple of doctor visits, xrays and skin tests later and I was a member of a new positive club. As a result I spent nine months on antibiotics, undergoing periodic liver tests and managing odd diet restrictions. Eight years later I still find myself grateful whenever I read mention of TB, consumption or other accounts of wheezing, coughing heroines dying on couches. Another age and that would have been me.
When the doctor told me my diagnosis and the required treatment I grumbled for a few days and then kicked my attitude into gear and dealt with the facts. I had TB. Didn’t want to have it activate. Didn’t want to spread the disease to anyone else. Didn’t want to die. So I took the medicine.
I didn’t like it. Didn’t really understand it. But I was grateful for the cure and that’s all that really mattered.
Good Friday hits me in the same place. I don’t know why sin requires blood. I don’t like the violence of the Roman crucifiction. It’s sad and awful and gross and humbling. The idea that the Creator of everything came to be with his people and they mocked and killed him makes my stomach hurt. The fact I believe my own mess was part of his pain is burdensome. (I don’t live there....I’m an Easter girl....but on Good Friday the reality strikes close).
I know people who looked at the cross and the questions it raised and walked away, They rejected the solution because it made them uncomfortable.
jesus said he came to seek and save the lost. When you are sick and someone offers a cure can I recommend you take it?
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
Good Friday isn’t fun. It’s painful. But it’s oh so good.
I really like to eat. I married a fantastically talented and thoughtful chef. It was one of my better decisions. My girls and I are always thrilled when he tells us the dinner tonight is special. Tonight's meal was a Holy Thursday dinner complete with homemade unleavened bread, watercress bitter salad, roasted garlic, olives and apple raisin relish. It was delicious Each item had symbolic meaning back to Passover and the last supper Jesus had with his disciples.
The night before Jesus died he took the time to make preparations for the traditional dinner. He found a room. Invited his guys. He served dinner. He included everyone even though he knew they would let him down, would run away and would betray him.
Jesus knew this evening was going to be his last on earth. He could have preached a massive sermon, performed miracles, chased hypocrites out of the temple, walked on water, raised the dead. All important. But his very last action before going to the cross was dinner.
Why I think dinner matters? Because my girls tell me things about their lives when we slow down enough to listen. Because my soul reflects on what really matters when I sit and pay attention to what is directly in front of me. Because when I'm sad or friends are hurting and we share a meal we generally feel better at the end. Perhaps not totally healed from our troubles. Likely not. But at the end of a good meal made by someone I know cares about me I feel hopeful, encouraged and rested, Dinner has a special magic.
Our crazy culture preaches fast food, multitasking dinner, grabbing a bite and eating on the run. I believe one of the best things you can do to invest in your kids, to work on your marriage or to dive beyond shallow friendships is to share an actual dinner. Put the cell phones in the other room.
Take the time. Eat dinner with your people. It's holy work.
The day my mom and my daughter spent at the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris is one of my favorite memories. Sad day today. The burning of this beautiful building makes my heart understand the laments in the Bible when the temple fell. And it reminds me that all things here are temporary.
We spent part of yesterday at a family funeral for a cousin who battled cancer at far too young an age. Today my chest is constricted. I am distracted. Sadness is an appropriate response to tragedy and loss.
I'm preaching the laments to my own soul. Feel deeply. Grieve greatly. Stand in solidarity with those who have lost. And also - hug people tighter, forgive faster, travel more often, give more generously. Live big and bold. Its temporary here but its beautiful. And the beauty is a reminder of the things that are eternal.
My first born turns 13 today. There are things I'm grateful this bright soul knows how to do already. She can ride a bike, swim and dive. She cheers loudly when the Seahawks play. She reads. Lots and lots of reading. She's always game to try new foods. She can cook better than her mom. She can rock a jazz solo.
There are a few things I'm hoping she knows by now. Harder to pin down. So here you are baby girl. Things I hope you know:
You are loved. Every bit of you. All the time. Nothing you can do can increase it or decrease it. You are loved because God made you. You are loved because you are ours. The love you have from God and from us is secure. You can count on it on the good days and the bad.
You have power. Power to make the world a better place. Or a worse one. You actually get to decide. Your smile and your friendship and your spunk are gifts you can use to encourage friends, to win over enemies and to pave paths for others to thrive. Sometimes power looks like doing the dishes when no one is watching. Sometimes it looks like saying sorry. Sometimes it looks like standing beside the kid no one likes. Sometimes it looks like standing alone. But you have power.
We are proud of you. Amazed at how you face the world head on. Proud of how you willingly take a stage, welcome new people, face hardship and remain tender. Nothing in the world can make your dad and I smile like watching you and your sister. Proud.
You are allowed to change your mind. You have the right to quit things. You can stop when its too hard or you just aren't sure. We're first born driven parents of you, our first born driven child. So we tend to push. And you push yourself. Mostly that's a good thing. But on your 13th birthday I want you to know that sometimes saying nope, nada, I'm done or no thanks are perfectly good responses in life. You aren't perfect and you don't have to be. No one is.
You aren't ever alone. You have tons of fans in your corner. Friends and family and we'll all line up at your side. And I hope you know even on the bad days when it seems like friends and family have disappeared you still aren't alone. Jesus has you in his hands. All the time. Never alone.
You my love are the toughest kid I know. I'm proud of your cheerful spirit even when you've had tough things thrown your way. You know how to persevere. The ability to bounce back will serve you well. I've learned how to do so better in my life because of watching you. Nice job. Thank you.
I hope you know how stinking cute you are. The freckles kill me. I hope you know not to compare your body to anyone else. God made you and them differently on purpose. Your value and your appearance aren't good or bad based on what magazines say. Your value isn't defined by how many likes you get or what any social media platform is trending. Your value isn't based on how many friends you have online - or how many friends you have in the real world. (Although friends in the real world are infinitely more valuable than friends online) Your value is based on your status as a child of the Creator. Period.
Happy Birthday my girl. We love you.
Review of the movie Pilgrim's Progress
I've been thinking lately about the goals I have for my two daughters. We spend time coaching manners and encouraging homework, adding prizes and ultimatums for piano practice and clean rooms. I've coming to see though that none of that matters in the long run. I believe in Jesus. I believe in eternity. I believe in grace. As a results, my primary goal for my kids is that they grow to see faith as their primary purpose.
Have you read the book Little Women? If so, remember how the March sisters grow into women through hardships great and small? At one point their wise mama gives each a copy of the book Pilgrim's Progress and encourages them to play out allegory in their own lives.
"Our burdens are here, our road is before us, and the longing for goodness and happiness is the guide that leads us through many troubles and mistakes to the peace which is a true Celestial City. Now, my little pilgrims, suppose you begin again, not in play, but in earnest, and see how far you can get before Father comes home." Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
I want to be this mama.
I want to find all the tools to give my kids to grow in faith and courage. To that end, I'm excited to share with you a fantastic new rendition of the classic book Pilgrim's Progress.
We previewed the movie a couple of weeks ago and my six year old keeps asking questions about the characters and talking though concepts like redemption, legalism and perseverance. Any movie that encourages my little one to learn about living her life in grace and freedom and gives her tools to understand hardship is a win.
Pilgrim's Progress is a creative, colorful, engaging retelling of John Bunyan's classic book. The story is an allegory which explains spiritual concepts like faith, hope, redemption and perseverance.
The movie is in theaters two days only. April 18th and April 20th on Easter weekend.
You can buy tickets HERE.
As a member of the movie launch team I've been given a SIX tickets to give out as prizes. I'll be drawing THREE winners FOR TWO TICKETS from anyone who COMMENTS on this blog, or comments on this related post on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
WIN THE ILLUSTRATED STORYBOOK
I've got 3 copies of this gorgeous illustrated storybook to give away. I'll be drawing three winners from the QuirkE-Mail subscriber list next SATURDAY. If you are interested in being entered to win make sure you sign up for the subscriber list HERE.
WATCH THE TRAILER
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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