The Truth You’ve Got to Know – (and is changing my world)

I know exactly when it happened.

When I sat straight up in bed and began frantically thumbing through the pages of this well worn Book.

My husband laying all broad, turned over awake from my jostling. Eyes melting into mine – this loving plea to rub soft fingernails across his back.

But he’d have to wait as I flipped back and forth, back and forth all desperate between the gospels.

It was one of the times in my life when the importance of reading the Bible for myself was beyond clear. Too many times have I been intimidated by these words. Scared that this mom of six crazy, beautiful kids would get it all wrong. Nervous that I just wasn’t smart enough without a theological degree or a knowledge of Greek. But God makes His Word accessible to us all, and there is power and beauty and sweet grace that reaches out and changes lives and writes love on hearts through the reading of these holy pages.

Easter 2014

crazy Easter kids 2014

Easter pictures 2014

And there I was soaking in His truth by lamplight.

And it read differently than what I had seen (or maybe only envisioned) in dramas and in art and even proclaimed from the pulpit dozens of times.

It all came down to one of my favorite disciples. (Because who can really choose a favorite!?)

Thomas – the twin.

I’d always thought of him as the doubter – the one of little faith – a near traitor; certainly relatable to my feeble heart.

But as I glanced back through his life before the resurrection, I saw him as a devoted follower, even to death. And as he’s willing to risk his life to follow Christ, he longed to know how to actually follow Him. And here I found myself even more empathetic of this disciple that often seems to get the short end of the stick, for I’m so glad that he asked the question!

And the beauty is that Jesus tells Him right there, “I am the way…”

It’s not a map or a list of directions. It’s a Man, a Person. It’s God right there in the flesh in front of them.

What a blessing it is for each of us that Jesus explained that our eyes shouldn’t be on the ground desperately trying to find the trail of breadcrumbs leading to Him. For then we might just miss the only true way: Him.

And Thomas was quieted.

Easter kids 2014

Later we hear of his doubts. How Thomas made it clear that nothing less than touching the wounds of the risen Christ would make him believe.

“Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” –John 20:25

And right there in the midst of his doubts and fears, Jesus invited him to do just that.

And here’s the part that had me flipping like a mad-woman all across my Bible. – There is no evidence in Scripture that Thomas ever actually touched Jesus.

We don’t hear words of how the wounds of Christ felt to his touch.

Instead, the words rang from Thomas’ lips to Jesus’ heart, “My Lord and my God!”

It’s the first time anyone in the New Testament calls Jesus God.

And I smile. Because isn’t that so much like each of us – to draw a line in the sand and declare that we will not believe unless we have this much evidence!?

And yet in all His goodness, He comes to us.

This sweet conquest of the soul by Christ.

“I am.”

And He is.

Always and forever more than enough.

I can’t help but praise Him!

Did you memorize Psalm 103 along with us!? I can hardly believe these are the last two verses. Twenty-two verses of praise being sung around our house. I’d love to hear how God has worked in your heart through these words. Here are the last two verses…

21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
22  Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, my soul.
Psalm 103:21-22 NIV

21 Bless the Lord, all his hosts,
his ministers, who do his will!
22 Bless the Lord, all his works,
in all places of his dominion.
Bless the Lord, O my soul!
Psalm 103L21-22 ESV

Last week… What Every Moment Needs

What You Need to Know When Hope Seems Gone

Words etched from my heart last Easter. Truths that still ring in my heart a year later…

The sun rose on Easter morning.

Gray clouds rolled in and the earth stayed frozen under a blanket of white.

All creation sat shivering underneath – as if refusing to break free from the frigid numbness.

And we scurried feverish children around looking for springy life-breathing colors and hair bows to match and tights to scuffle over and shoes that fit and sweaters to fend off the chill.

Jesus!

And we paraded down the aisle like happy ducks in a row and sang praises to our risen Savior.

All the while a friend sat in a cold hospital room watching her baby fight for his life, while another sang with tears streaming down as she faced the first Easter without her daughter.

And who knows, but it could have been the man behind us who just lost his job and was forced to file for bankruptcy. And the one hidden in the back sobbing, too ashamed to admit of the immorality written across her forehead. And half those kids filling the sanctuary sat starving from neglect, longing for a love that would put down their smart phones.

The choir thundered that Jesus conquered death.

We tried to sing along – louder and louder, but the world’s message of hopelessness rang deafening.

We sang of His hands bleeding grace!

We sang it is finished!

We sang He’s alive!

We sang He is risen!

Hearts bellowed with the angels of hope found in the Savior.

Just for a moment the ice cracked and the Son warmed all creation.

And then we sat down (trying to keep our one year-old from adding to the sermon, and our three year-old from flashing her undies, and our five year-old from coughing on the lady in front of us, and through a clenched teeth smile reprimanded another for kicking her brother when he stole her paper) and went back to shivering.

Half of us still frozen- seemingly untouched by His love.

Half of us drowning in the sloshy mess now surrounding us.

Making Easter About Jesus(1)

Maybe it’s the ache in my soul for Spring. New life. The warmth. The beauty.

But even more an ache deep within me to stay frozen no longer.

The silent scream in my heart rings out that Jesus is alive, and I want to live like it!

I don’t know what it looks like – this growth and new life ready to blossom.

God knows the mess I am -  part frozen, part muddied, part surrendered to letting Him make something… anything… beautiful before I decay.

So I will take the mud and the muck as He works in my life.

For in the quiet of my home and in the blare of the day and with that sick baby and with hurting neighbors and with piles of dishes and with kids failing so much like their mama, I need Him so desperately!

His nail scarred hands.

His love poured out.

His life.

His grace.

His hope.

A hope not necessarily in sick free days, or children that don’t whine, or in streets free from abduction-

A hope not necessarily in pain-less nights, or a feast for the starving, or stopping the death of loved ones-

On this side of heaven. {Although I do long for those things!}

A hope in the One that meets us in all of those places.

A hope in the One that has already conquered pain and sin and death and sorrow.

A hope in the One who has already overcome the world.

A hope in the One who has the final say, and yet has not left us alone today.

“I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” –Matthew 28:20

Halleluiah!

May He continue to melt away the frozen places of my soul – and help me to live like I believe it!

Early next week, Lord willingly, I’ll share the sweet ways God has been working in my heart through the last two verses of Psalm 103. It’s changing my world – growing this faith that can move mountains. Praying you have a blessed Easter!

Happy Easter!
~Jessica

My Absolute Favorite Way to Memorize Scripture (and- Do you want to build a snowman?)

Favorite way to memorize Scripture!

The week before Easter and we’ve got this glistening of sugar snow swirling and blanketing the earth with white. And my kids look out the window and it only takes about two point four seconds before someone starts singing, “Do you want to build a snowman?” And groans of the cold that seek to overwhelm […]

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Painting His Story – Beautiful Cross Silhouettes

Cross silhouettes

God paints His glory across the heavens, and writes the story of His great love on each page of His Book. How He is mighty and glorious. How He has been King from the beginning. How He’s already won. How thousands of years before Jesus rode on a donkey as the crowds proclaimed Him king, […]

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What Every Moment Needs

what every moment needs

So it began. And so it ends. And this redeemed soul can’t help but strive to be a part of the symphony. As David penned it, so blessing God and giving Him glory must be the alpha and the omega of my beating heart – and every note in between. At 2am and in sloshy […]

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More of JESUS this Easter! (FREE Easter Devotional for the Family)

more-of-Jesus.jpg

So, yeah, the story of Easter is tough. It is painful, soul-ripping, and ultimately beautiful. In the end we find it’s a story of deep sacrifice, utmost love, and ultimate victory. But getting to that point can be quite excruciating. At Christmas we fall in love with Jesus – God with us – right there […]

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I Don’t Want to Forget

I Don't Want to Forget!

Oh, this Love that reaches through time and stretches out nail scarred hands from everlasting to everlasting – giving us always and infinitely more than enough. This Love bleeding grace – the only thing that is ever enough. I don’t want to forget. I don’t want my kids to forget. When their all kinds of […]

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When Wondering If You’re Enough

wondering-if-you-are-enough.jpg

Come the one-hundred forty-first day of school, you can find yourself standing at the kitchen sink with a girl crunching apples to the beat of the clock ticking loud – Beating as if it were your own heart thumping lower. And you can stare out the window watching snow dripping puddles and the train rumbling […]

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Before the Wind Blows Over It (Kids Memorizing Psalm 103)

The wind blows over it

We’ve been talking about how short our lives here on earth really are in light of eternity. And although one might think this reality would lead me to hurry and get as much as I possibly can done in these years that will soon be gone with a blow of the wind – it’s had […]

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How to Make a Difference When (Stuck) at Home

how to make a difference from home

My heart is all aching ready to burst – craving something radical. A deep longing in my soul to make a difference in the whole wide world. And I’m at home – With half a dozen beautiful kids and days that go by like I’m dragging our house on my back turtle fashion, and yet […]

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