In the In Between

Today is Easter Saturday.  Does it have an official name? I don’t even know.  There’s Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  But this in between day…I’ll just call it Easter Saturday (unless one of you well educated folks wants to share it’s official name with me).

In Biblical chronology, yesterday, the day we observe as Good Friday, is the day that Jesus was found guilty of being the King of the Jews.  He was beaten, tortured, ridiculed, harassed and nailed to a cross to die a most brutal death.  For those who followed him, it must have been the darkest of days.  It must have been the most painful of days.  Surely his disciples thought it was the end.  And his mother.  I can’t even. She watched her precious child suffer the cruelest fate and had to lay his broken body in a borrowed tomb.  How do mamas face such things?

In that same Biblical chronology, tomorrow, the day we observe as Easter Sunday or Resurrection Sunday, is the day that Jesus did just what he promised: He rose from that borrowed tomb and gave His children the final victory over death, hell and the grave.  It’s a day of joyful celebration, a day of remembrance, a day of honor.  His disciples were in humble disbelief.  His mother overwhelmed at the goodness of God to allow her just a little more time with her precious son.

But what about Saturday? That in between day?

I’m not at all a fan of the in betweens sometimes.  The waiting.  The knowing that this present trouble has a promise…a day of resurrection…that will redeem it.  The in between is hard.  It’s uncertain.  It can lead to places of questioning the promises that God has made.  Most of us don’t have only a 1-day in between.  Our in betweens can be days, months, even years.

The time between the awful doctor’s visit and the end of the battle against sickness and disease.  The time between the lost job and the new career journey.  The time between a child walking away from a life with Christ and returning Him with open arms.  That time between losing a precious piece of your heart to death and finally beginning to feel some mending of the broken heart.  That time between a shattered dream and restoration of what was lost.

The in betweens are so hard.  They are so real.  So raw.  They are dark.  They are lonely…even when you’re not alone in them.  The pain can be unbearable and the loss immeasurable.  And there you are, in the in between, waiting for your resurrection Sunday.  The day that this present trouble is redeemed.

Are you there right now? In an in between? My friend, let me tell you, I’ve been there.  Right smack in the middle of an in between.  I’ve been there when I felt the presence of God and promise of redemption from the onset.  And I’ve been there when I’ve questioned if God even saw me at all.  I’ve seen the promise of redemption in fulfilled right here on this Earth with a beautiful story to share.  And I’ve come to peace with knowing that on this Earth there won’t be answers, but in light of eternity, all things will be made right.  That’s the harder one.  But some things will never have an Earthly answer.  Just an overwhelming peace the my Father loves me enough to redeem it in eternity.

Friend, if you are sitting there right now, in your Easter Saturday, your in between, look to the cross.  LOOK TO THE CROSS. That cross redeemed it all.  ALL OF IT!  There is no trouble in this earthly life that Jesus did not redeem on that cross.  In your darkness, in your in between, cling to that cross.  Your darkest day has a day of resurrection that will follow.  Your darkest day is why Jesus hung on that cross.  He didn’t just hang there to give you direct access to heaven.  He hung there to redeem this life and redeem your in betweens.

That tomb? His body walked out, but your sin, your pain, your grief, your struggles found their final resting place.  That was all nailed to that cross that day.  That was all placed in that tomb that day.  But Jesus rose.  He redeemed all of it.

Tomorrow, celebrate His resurrection.  Celebrate that He paid your price so that you could see heaven.  Celebrate that he defeated death.  But also find hope that he is redeeming your present trouble.  Whatever it is.  The cross wins.

Do you need prayer in your in between? Can I pray for you? Use the contact form here or the messaging on Facebook.  I’d love to pray for you in your in between.

Humbled by the cross,

Beth

No Room For Grey

This weekend thousands will flock to the box office to watch a new movie based on a book.  A book that glorifies sex outside of marriage.  A book that glorifies the sexual exploitation of women.  A book that, because it’s marketed to women, has escaped the label of porn.  (Seriously folks, if this were written directed at the male audience, it would be sold at the store with XXX outside.)

So, if you’re all about Christian Grey and all that he has to offer, I’m certain you’ve figured out that we’re polar opposites on this one.  So before someone feels the need to defend  the book readers & movie goers, understand that this isn’t my attempt to shame or judge or guilt anyone into seeing it my way.  It’s just my belief…my heart really…on the matter.

Here’s the thing.  Maybe I’m wrong about the porn thing.  Maybe I’m wrong that it’s sexual exploitation because, according to what I’ve seen online, it’s a consensual thing.  But honestly, deep down, I think it’s a spiritual issue.

The Bible tells us that following Christ is black or white, hot or cold, light or darkness.  There’s no lukewarm.  God prefers the unapologetic sinner over the lukewarm, riding the fence Christian.  God prefers someone who totally lives in the darkness to someone who says they love Christ but loves hanging out in the grey areas.

And that’s just it.  Our society has bent the moral compass so much that this is now an area that some Christians see as a grey area.  50 years ago…even 10 years ago, this whole 50 Shades thing would have been clearly taboo.  But media, movies, books, TV push the envelope a little further and a little further until what was once uncomfortable in our spirit is now not even noticed.  Socially acceptable has dulled our spiritual senses and caused many a Christ follower to drift from that narrow road.

And that’s just it.  It’s a narrow road.  It’s a road that hasn’t widened as society’s moral compass has bent.  It’s a road that hasn’t widened as society has told us what once was unacceptable is now acceptable.  It hasn’t widened since God inspired the words that are written the Bible.  The shoulders of the road are clearly defined.  You’re either on the road or off of it.

Someone once told me that if you have to ask if it’s ok, it’s probably not.  If you have something (I call it a check in my spirit) that causes you to question if you should read that book, if you should see that movie, if you should watch that show, if you should go to that place, if you should hang out with that person (the list is endless really) then the answer is probably no.

Here’s the thing about the narrow road.  It’s clearly marked.  Very clearly marked.  It’s marked by the Light.  Do we all wander off of it? Of course we do.  We’re human…and following directions generally isn’t our strong suit from day 1.  But the more we strive to stay on that road, the more clearly the signs of the narrow road appear to us.  And the more we clearly see life’s choices through the eyes of Christ.  It’s a narrow road that’s black and white.

And on that road, there’s no room for Grey.

Coffee Talk – How Can It Be?

Mugs Of Coffee On A Table Close Up

This song.  Just…this song.  There are moments when I become keenly aware of how my flesh fails me.  Daily.  There are moments that I fully grasp how completely undeserving I am of the grace that has been lavished upon me.  There are moments when I wonder how in the world He hasn’t washed His hands of me yet.

Then there’s this song that puts all of that into words.  There’s so much about how God works that my tiny mind is incapable of grasping.

He loves me.  He stands in the gap for me.  He rights my wrongs.  How Can it Be?

One Word 2015

This is my fourth New Year of no resolutions, but with One Word that I work to live out in my year.  This year feels a little different though.  For the first three years of doing this, as I prayed and felt God lead me to “my word”, I embraced it with excitement.  Yes, those words stretched me, made me live intentionally to accomplish them and challenged me.  But they also excited me and never gave me pause.  This year’s does because I like a plan.  I like the known.  I like routine.

But God began speaking this word to my spirit through the last couple of weeks of the year and has continually confirmed it.  Finally through Scripture:

“I am about to do something NEW.  It is beginning to happen even now.  Don’t you see it coming? I am going to make a way for you to go through the desert. I will make streams of water in the dry and empty land.” Isaiah 43:19

NEW.  That’s the word of 2015.  I don’t know what that means right now.  But in my spirit, I’m ready for NEW.  There are some obvious things that go with NEW.  It’s a new year with new possibilities and new chances and a new start.  It’s a new day…every day…to live out Jesus in my life, with my family and with my friends.  But there’s a feeling in my spirit that we have new seasons upon us.  The planning-likes-to-know-details part of me struggles with embracing that.  My mind struggles with it.  My spirit is at peace.

My spirit is at peace.

Any time there is “new” there is change.  And change is something that challenges me.  But “new” is Jesus at work and beyond all else, I want Jesus at work.  The desert? It doesn’t sound fun. But He promises me a way through.  He promises me a stream of water.  That means that no matter what the “new” is, God has gone before me.  He is at work.  His peace is greater than any desert place.  And his streams of water satisfy more than any efforts to secure plans on my own.

So this year, I’ll embrace NEW.  And when NEW means change, I’ll trust the heart of my Father that what He’s doing is greater than anything I could do on my own.  NEW.  All things NEW.

Tree Skirt Provision

It was our first Christmas married.  Our first house was small and didn’t have much room for a Christmas tree, but I found one that would fit in our living room without taking up too much space.  It was small, so it didn’t cost much.  We got it home, put it in water (it was the first and only live tree of our marriage!) and started decorating.

We strung lights, hung ornaments and re-lived memories of Christmases past.  Lots of ornaments had stories.  Lots of ornaments had sentiment.  It was the perfect first Christmas tree for us…almost.

We finished decorating and I stepped back to take it all in.  But something was missing.  It didn’t take long for me to tell Chad that we had to get a tree skirt.  In all of the decorations that we brought together in our marriage, neither of us had a tree skirt.  And I NEEDED a tree skirt.  I still don’t know why that was so important to me.

But all of the expenses that come with a new marriage plus the expenses that come with Christmas made that tree skirt fall low on the priority list.  I wasn’t pouty about it AT ALL {insert sarcastic tone here}.

I knew exactly what I wanted.  I knew every detail of what my tree skirt would look like.  And the more I searched the more that tree skirt seemed out of reach.  Apparently my perfect tree skirt was going to be pricey.  And pricey wasn’t in our budget.

Christmas day grew closer and so did my wanting for a tree skirt.  It wasn’t a need that was going to make a difference in our Christmas at all.  There was still family.  There were still wrapped presents.  The sweetness of a newborn who would change the world was no less significant because I didn’t have a tree skirt.  But in my heart I so wanted one.  The perfect one.

Just a few days before Christmas, I wandered into a local store to pick up some last-minute something.  As I looked for the shortest line to check out, I found it to be in the Christmas section.  So I headed to that register to check out.  As I walked that way, I thought I may as well look at what tree skirts they had left since everything was pretty well picked over.  I decided before I even hit the aisle that if I could just find a tree skirt that wasn’t ugly and that was cheap, I’d buy it.  Just to get me through this one Christmas.  I let go of having my perfect tree skirt for that year.  There’s always the next Christmas, right?

I turned down the aisle with tree skirts and saw it.  The perfect tree skirt.  The one that was in my head and that my budget could in no way afford.  And it took every ounce of everything in me not to cry.  WHY would God let me wander to that aisle only to find my perfect, completely-out-of-my-budget tree skirt? WHY, of all the stores I could have gone to, did it have to be that one? WHY did the shortest line have to be in the Christmas section?

I was sad, but I had to get an up close look at this tree skirt.  I had to touch it.  As I picked it up, I noticed the price of the tree skirt.  It was by no means the “cheap” skirt I was looking for, but it wasn’t nearly the price I had found online.  My thought was to come back after Christmas when Christmas stuff goes on clearance.  Surely it would still be there.

As I started to put the tree skirt back on the shelf, a store employee asked if I needed help finding something.  I laughingly responded that I was making my post-Christmas clearance shopping list. And then it happened.  She turned and pointed at a partially covered sign that said all Christmas decor was 50% off.  50% OFF!

I worked my hardest to keep my composure as picked my perfect tree skirt back up and all but happy-danced to the register.  I completed my purchase and got out to the car and could not even contain my excitement.  I got my perfect tree skirt!

IMG_4617As I got home and told Chad my tree skirt story (after securing that baby around my tree!), God spoke into my spirit.  He reminded me that once again He is good and gracious and generous.  He reminded me that not only will he meet my needs, he will grant the desires of my heart.

This is our 8th Christmas with my perfect tree skirt around our tree.  And every year I remember how God met me where I was, lead me to my perfect tree skirt, and made the provision for me to buy it.  Every year it reminds me that there’s no need he won’t meet and He’ll even go above and beyond the needs to meet those heart’s desires.  In every situation and circumstance He will be faithful to provide provision.  Even tree skirt provision.