Spring, a Blogging Break, and Easter Blessings

Spring is finally here! The robins are back! The temperatures are warming up, though there is still snow left to melt.

It’s awesome to see the birds check out nesting spots and to hear their joyous songs again. But joy often coexists with sadness, doesn’t it? Spring is so welcome after a long, dreary winter, but now we’re getting flooding in our midwestern city like we’ve never experienced before. Huge ice chunks had to be taken off of roads after the flooding receded. There are still many in the parks and areas around the river. Some roads and bridges are washed out or crumbled. Homes are damaged. It’s going to take a lot of time, work, and money to recover.

Now with the snow melting quickly north and west of here, people are preparing for even worst flooding this week. Oodles of sandbags have been set up to protect homes and businesses. The Falls and the bike trails have been closed off, and anyone who goes past the barricades will be fined. It’s for our safety, but you wouldn’t believe how many people ignore the warnings.

The Falls are really roaring lately. It has receded some, and we hope it doesn’t get higher than this.

On another note, I’ve decided to take a break from blogging. An overwhelming feeling has been creeping up on me. Last week I needed to just back up and allow myself grace. I felt God whispering to me to rest and not be so hard on myself that each Tuesday I MUST have a blog post ready.

After some prayerful consideration, I feel I need some time to refresh and renew my body, mind, and spirit. I also need to recalibrate where I’m going with this blog. I may only do two Tuesdays a month and I may alter my end-of-the month posts. I’m uncertain yet, but I’m asking God to guide me.

I hope to return on May 7. Meanwhile, I pray you all have a Spirit-filled, Glorious Easter!

Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)
by Casting Crowns

“Now may God,
the inspiration and fountain of hope,
fill you to overflowing with uncontainable joy
and perfect peace as you trust in Him.
And may the power of the Holy Spirit
continually surround your life with His
super-abundance until you radiate with hope!”
Romans 15:13 TPT

Resurrection Hope, Peace, and Joy

“Then, following him, Simon Peter came also.
He entered the tomb and saw the linen cloths lying there.
The wrapping that had been on His head
was not lying with the linen cloths
but was folded up in a separate place by itself.”
John 20:6-7

“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put Him.” Peter and John hear the weeping words of Mary Magdalene, and they rush to the tomb. Arriving first, John bends over and peers in. When Peter appears, he immediately enters the tomb, followed by John. Strips of linen, possibly still caked with scabs and spices, lie there. But where is the body of Jesus? And what’s this? The cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head is laid by itself. Not merely tossed aside, but neatly folded up.

John and Peter must have known the custom of some carpenters in first century Palestine. A carpenter carried a sweat cloth to wipe his face as he worked. To show a job was completed, an illiterate carpenter folded up the cloth and left it on or near his work, indicating to the one who hired him, “My work is finished.”

After Jesus said “It is finished” and gave up His spirit, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus lovingly took down Jesus’ disfigured body from the cross, a body that was “marred beyond human likeness.” (Isaiah 52:14) They gave Jesus a decent burial, washing his body and wrapping it in strips of linen with 75 pounds of spices, an amount used in royal burials. As was the Jewish custom, they wrapped his face with a cloth and laid Him in a new tomb.

Yet now here is an empty tomb except for grave-clothes and a neatly folded cloth. A robber would never have left order behind. If someone had stolen Jesus’ body, the grave-clothes would most likely be gone with it.

“The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.” Why? Commentator Matthew Henry believed Jesus is sending us a message: “No one stole Me away. On the contrary, I rose up alone. I walked out alone. I alone did this, for I alone could do it. I am Almighty God.”

As John and Peter gazed at the folded cloth, did Jesus’ words about the work He must do flood back into their souls? Did they remember how Jesus promised that after three days He would rise again?

According to John 20:19, we know they were afraid. The disciples had locked the doors because of their fear of the Jewish leaders. But then Jesus Himself in the flesh suddenly stood among them and breathed “Peace be with you!” Peace that bursts their hearts with joy!

Jesus has finished what He came to do – to die in our place to redeem us from sin and death, and He has risen again just as He promised. We don’t need to look for him among the dead. He is risen!

Are we still mourning the death of Jesus, or are we opening the eyes of our hearts to what Jesus has finished for us and to the hope and joy of His glorious resurrection?

“My Redeemer Lives”
by Nicole C. Mullen

P.S. This is an edited version of a post from 5 years ago, before many of you were reading this blog. I hope it will strengthen your heart to know our Redeemer lives. Because He lives, we can face tomorrow and whatever troubles come our way!

We are traveling to a family event this week to attend a special ceremony and to celebrate our son’s retirement from the Air Force after 20 years in the military. I hope to post again on April 3. 🙂

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself
give you peace at all times and in every way.
The Lord be with all of you.”
2 Thessalonians 3:16

How Can Grief and Joy Live Together?

joy-of-christmas

A building crumbled. A 24-year-old construction worker who was remodeling an old store into a new Lewis Drug buried under the rubble.  A 22-year-old woman who lived in an upstairs apartment also buried. 

Three and a half hours the girl was trapped, not knowing if she was upside down or right-side up. Hope hung on as she connected with her parents and workers by phone. Cheers, fist thumps, and high fives as the girl is rescued in good condition.

But the mood soon sobered again as the caring, dedicated rescue workers carefully kept searching for the man who was buried deeper. Hoping against hope. A search dog was brought in, and an area was targeted. Seven hours after the collapse, he was found. No life left.

So many mixed emotions in a few hours. Shock and grief but praying and hanging desperately onto hope. Elation and gratitude as God worked a miracle. Fear and a deep foreboding about the life of the construction worker. Then grief and disappointment. And ripped-apart hearts for the family who would have a missing place this Christmas.

One family can celebrate life spared. Another must grieve a life snatched away.

It baffles me. How can joy and grief mix together?

My heart rejoiced that the girl was alive. But after the loss of the other life, the miracle of life didn’t seem as special any more. Well, it still was, of course. But the joy of it drained away and seemed out of my grasp when another family was devastated with the loss of a loved one.

Pain. Loss. Devastation. Everywhere. In our hearts. In our families. In our world. How does one remember the joy of the miracles when the grief can be so heavy and overwhelming? How does one rejoice for the miracles without feeling guilty of disrespecting the grief? How can joy and grief live together in one heart?

It’s a mystery… The joy in Christmas is all about God stepping into our deepest heartache. There can be no joy at all without the broken. Because Jesus came into this world of suffering to be broken for us, joy is possible. Only because of His unfathomable love can we rejoice in anything at all.

It is descending into the dark valleys of grief that we learn to more deeply appreciate the gift of God’s love. The love that infuses light into the dark places inside. The love that seeps joy in to make the grief more bearable. The love that radiates hope into despairing hearts.

For you who are feeling downhearted and trodden down with troubles, I pray God will help you find joy in His gift of love. Grief and joy can live together. God’s love can carry us through the grief. Allowing ourselves to process our grief at the feet of Jesus brings greater joy. And joy is all the more glorious because of the grief.

Then Jesus said, “Come to Me,
all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,
and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28

But the angel reassured them.
“Don’t be afraid!” he said.
“I bring you good news
that will bring great joy to all people.

The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today
in Bethlehem, the city of David!”
Luke 2:10-11

lovecamedown

“The Gift of Love”
by Hillsong

cutecolorsanibear14
I am taking a blogging break the rest of the year.

I hope to be back in January.
My prayers will remain with you all!

christmas-blessing

Signature