Thursday, April 17, 2014

Some Before Easter Thoughts

Today, I landed on a word I don't typically contemplate.


It all started when I came across this tweet from Desiring God.

Today is Maundy Thursday. When Jesus prayed the world’s greatest prayer.

That's a big claim, and I had to check it out. You can read the article for yourself here.

In the article, the emphasis is not on the Last Supper, which is what is typically talked about on the Thursday before Easter. It's on Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Here's what Hebrews 5:7 said about that prayer:

 Hebrews 5:7 says, “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.”

The first thing that hit me about this passage was why Jesus was heard. It was because of his reverence. If you look up reverence, you'll find words similar to:

 a feeling or attitude of deep respect tinged with awe.

That was my first check of the day. 
When I pray, how do I approach my creator God? 

It was my first check, but it hasn't been my last. Even as big as that question is, it took a back seat when I read the rest of the article. In it was this paragraph:

Nothing in Jesus’s experience comes closer to this description than the prayers of Gethsemane. “Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears,” corresponds emotionally to Luke 22:44, “Being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” “Loud cries and tears” is a description of the “agony” of Jesus.

When Jesus was in the Garden, he was in agony. 


There was no physical pain yet, and the Bible says he was in agony. I saw this picture on A Holy Experience. Out of all the ones I saw when I googled "Jesus praying in Gethsemane," this one spoke to me.

So all day, off and on, at random times, I would think of Jesus in the Garden in agony. What does that mean? What exactly was he agonizing over?

The article describes aspects of it, and I encourage you to read the article for yourself to go deeper. 

But I thought I caught a glimpse of at least one possible aspect of his agony when I was taking a few minutes today to read the book my Luke gave me for Christmas. In Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath on page 148, Gladwell quotes J. T. MacCurdy, who said, "We are all of us not merely liable to fear, we are also prone to be afraid of being afraid."

When I read that, I thought maybe Jesus was a little like me. Did I really just type that? Jesus like me? Only in the sense that he was somehow fully human and I'm definitely only fully human. In my humanness, I have a time with the "before" to something that is predicted to be sad or hard. Can I do it? Will I do it, or will I chicken out if an "out" presents itself?

It hit me when I read the above quote, that Gesthsemane was the pinnacle of a complete week of  "before" for Jesus. He knew Friday was coming. A day that would be sadder and harder than any day before or since. I believe he was just as human as you and me (although I don't understand that fully) and that part of his agony was:

Can I do it?
Will I do it, or will I chicken out?

The "before" something has its own set of issues that God has to help us with. He helped Jesus in the Garden.

Please know I don't pretend to have this completely figured out. I don't even have it completely thought out. I just wanted to share what God and I have been bouncing around in my soul today.

Today. Tonight. When a little over 2000 years ago, he was in agony. 


Because he loved you and me.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Flying, Growing, Helping

When I was younger, I had some thoughts about how I would act and what I would say when I got older. One thing I used to get tired of was "old" people talking about was how fast time flies. Another  popular topic with the "elderly" was how much a child had grown. I felt if you talked about those topics with some frequency, you were officially old.

I am officially old. Time is flying. I mean, really flying. How is it possible that it is April already! And when I see young people that I haven't seen in a while,  I can't help but remark about how much they've grown.

Somebody help me!!!

I also annoy myself when I talk about how old I'm getting. Why do any of us do that? If we can talk about that, we're alive, for crying out loud. God has given your heart another day to beat. Quit commenting about how old you're getting - like that is some terrible thing - and live the moments you have to the glory of God and do something good in this world!!

I'm wondering if you can tell I'm preaching to myself today!

Today - which is a gift from God intended for His glory and our good. And He's given us all kinds of interesting things to fill those days. No day is ever the same, is it? God knew that would drive us all crazy. So, we have this rhythm of daily highs and lows juxtaposed to a relationship with a faithful unchanging God, who loves us and gave himself for us.

He so knows what we daily need and promises to help.

He's helped me this past month.

He's helped through the highs and the lows. Sometimes I wonder about when you look at my InstaFridays (or in this case, InstaSunday) that it mostly looks like I live in the "highs," but you know I have my share of "lows," right? I just typically don't feel like taking a picture of those. Who does?

God sees them, though and helps me with them. I'm very real with God - a "no holds barred" kind of pray-er. Believe me, he hears about my lows. I also have a kind husband and dear friends who often see and often hear about my lows too, and they help me with them. I know God helps you, too.

On the good note of God's help, I'll move on into my InstaFriSatSun pics. Even though it's been about a month (again!) since I last posted, I'll spare you a month's worth of pictures, and just hit the last week or so.

A dear sister-in-law, niece, great niece and great nephew came for a brief visit. I happened upon this snuggle time between 2 year old Naomi and our Elizabeth.

Want to know a delightful way to spend 24 hours? Head to a weekend retreat with 4 people you love dearly. Like 4 amazing daughters.

Mary Grace, Hannah, me, Elizabeth, Faith
At our Measureless Love retreat, we were encouraged to write verses on this strip of black paper that covered one wall. Elizabeth wrote this, which I immediately recognized as one of Lou's favorite verses. She didn't know it was a favorite of her dad's when she wrote it, but she does now.

We've started the beginning of the end with my senior, Elizabeth. The annual Rotary dinner where seniors who have excelled academically are recognized was Monday. She smiled purty when I told her to.  :)

Tuesday was "get the dog bathed" day. I love our dog, Kiowa, everyday, but I love, love, love her when she is fresh from the groomers.

At the beginning of soccer season, I had what I thought was such a school spirit filled idea. I was gonna post a clever picture every game day on Instagram that was a "Go Liberators! Beat (insert opponent here)!" kind of deal. I was hoping to have a little fun and elicit an eye roll or two from my kiddos. I posted this one on Monday:

I liked it ok, mainly because not too much of me was showing and it was funny and fierce. Such a deadly combination.

On Tuesday, we were scheduled to play Logan-Rogersville, which is usually abbreviated  LogRog. This was all I could come up with on Tuesday.

It seemed a bit lame instead of clever, and the whole vibe was not as fierce looking as the above eye picture. And I could not come up with a catchy caption! So, I'm saving the school spirit for the game and sparing the Instagram world of my lameness...

Speaking of Instagram, I hoped I helped everybody who follows me avoid the little phone adventure we had at our house this week. Our Faith took a fun bike ride to the park.  She went there with her phone, but unbeknownst to her,  she didn't leave there with it. Thankfully, she didn't have her phone on silent, but on a loud obnoxious ring, which, when we heard it right before we found it, was not loud and obnoxious, but music to our ears!

And now,  her "Find my iPhone" is on instead of off.

Our family enjoyed a walk down memory lane this week when my sister-in-law, Dona, brought home a bunch of vintage pictures she came across while visiting other family in Tulsa. The kids' main comment was how weird it was to think that their dad was ever really that little. Here he is in the early '60's with his older brother.

So adorable.

Mike and Lou

Those pictures sparked a bit of a kick to look at other old pics, and Dona and I ran across this from September 1994.

Me and Dona Ann
Here, I'm 6 1/2 months pregnant with Faith, and my sister-in-law, Dona,  is 8 months pregnant with her second son. To this day, I have yet to see anyone who was bigger than her at term.

This past Thursday was National Sibling Day, and since we were in old picture mode, I used my phone to take another picture of an old picture and posted this of me and my siblings.

I told my girls it's the only belly shirt they'd ever see me wear.
Keith, Hugh, Andy
Me, Kathy

Thursday was also "eat out at The Tea Garden Cafe and be served by the best waitress around" day. Well, it was that day in our family, at least.

Mom, Faith, Dona

We ended the week with how we spent most of this week - at soccer. The Lady Liberators played 6 soccer games in 7 days - which means I watched 6 soccer games in 7 days. I know they are tired because I am tired. We've had a great start to the year, and are having a blast. I'm especially proud (and sentimental) about the senior girls. They are a tight group and are leading well.

Elizabeth, Emma, Shelby, Jessica

I think those girls would say these last couple of months are flying by, but they are squeezing all the joy they can out of them.

Let's do the same this week. Time is flying. Kids are looking older, but there's lots of joy to be squeezed.

And a great big, loving God to help.

Blessings to you and yours!