Let’s start off with some light-hearted photos of Callie in her Easter dress before we go deep.
Callie woke up to a treat-filled Easter basket and a new toy. (She loves chopping fruit!) I got this idea for her Easter basket from the insanely-talented Sharon Taylor Designs. She used hardware store galvanized buckets and chalkboard paint. So cute!
And I made a hairbow to go with her Easter dress.
She LOVED it!
Alright, so I’m going to talk a bit about Jesus, but DON’T stop reading! Even if the name rubs you the wrong way and makes you super angry. I promise not to offend or be too hokey or bother you in anyway (do I promise that? i think so. Let’s find out…)
As we drove from church to Grandma’s house yesterday. I said to Jared,
Me- “The Resurrection is a big deal.”
J- ‘Yeah. It is.”
Me- “Like. Guy and his whole body taken into heaven? No longer here on earth. God’s only done that one time. Ever.”
J- “I know.”
Me-”Hey! Where’s Jesus’s body? I don’t know! It’s not here. ANYWHERE!”
Me- “Why isn’t everyone freaking out today!??!?! This is BIG DEAL!!!!”
then silence for a second.
Me- “Do you believe that actually happened, Jared?”
J- “Of course! (reasons I love Jared. Always 100% sure, no wavering. No over-analyzing. Just full of faith.)
Me- (after a pause) “Yes.”
The fact is I do believe it. It doesn’t make any logical sense, yet it’s true. But, I didn’t always believe it. I will actually say I spent the first 5 to 10 years of being a “Christian” actually only being a “fan of Christianity”.(1)
I liked the idea of a group of people who loved God and desired to help others and held themselves to a high moral standard. Loved it. But when it came down to the nitty gritty details on Jesus himself and the facts surrounding him, I’d get nervous and feel like my brain was going to explode, so I’d try desperately to ignore all the parts that creeped me out.
One summer, I went to Young Life Camp. My amazing-hot-joyful-encouraging-wonderful leader, Maureen Woods was the first person I think I ever told. “I don’t know if I actually believe all of this.” Which I think was the scariest sentence I’ve ever said out loud. She referred me to a book in the YL bookstore called the “Case for Christ”. (Okay the real Case for Christ is a billion pages long, so I got the Student Edition which is about 100 pages with lots of visual aid.)
Let me give you the gist. Lee Strobel is a devout atheist and lawyer. When his wife suddenly becomes a Christian, he gets super-ticked-off and decides to use his tons of resources to prove this Jesus thing wrong once and for all. In his journey of gathering archeological and historical evidence, he ended up proving it true to himself and fell to his knees bawling in awe of all that he discovered. There’s a whole detailed chapter on the Resurrection that blew my mind.
I wish I could tell you I was one of those who just says, “Of course. I believe in something that’s completely crazy-sounding.” Unfortunately, I had to reason through it logically, and decide if it was something I could potentially believe in.
For the record, as soon as I turned the last page, I too, dropped to my knees bawling. Guys, THIS IS A REALLY BIG DEAL. Even if you don’t believe, you have to admit that (hypothetically) if God literally sent a man to tell us how to live, wouldn’t you want to know what he said!?!?!??!?!
I’ve met so many ‘Christians’ that make me really upset. And I’ve met many ‘non-Christians’ who were kinder, loving, and more patient than proclaimed “Christians”. The fact is that these are people. Imperfect people making human mistakes. I don’t really want to talk about people. I want to talk about Jesus.
The guy is awesome. I’m convinced that if you actually read what he says, you’d say “THIS IS THE BEST ADVICE EVER!” He is brilliant. He is LOVE. The more time I spend with him, the more patient, loving, gentle and creative I become. (I have know idea what creativity has to do with spending time with Christ, only that when I spend more time with him, my cup becomes overflowing, and the overflow usually comes out in the form of art projects, games, laughter, joy & creativity in general.)
On the contrary, when I go a day, week….a month without checking in with him, I’m SO IMPATIENT! Oh my gosh, I don’t like myself much really, truly. I get confused why the world isn’t revolving around me and why I’m not getting what I “rightfully deserve.” Yikes. Basically when I spend time reading the bible, praying, I become the best possible version of myself. When I don’t, I become a diva. I start keeping score. And I can feel it. Down to my soul.
Phrases you will NEVER hear me say: “You are going to hell.” “You should not be gay.” (Side note: I don’t think I’ve ever met a gay person I didn’t immediately love. Actually, there was one. He didn’t laugh at my jokes, so I mean, it’s pretty justified.)
The fact is I don’t care. It’s not up to me to decide how your story will go. My favorite verse ever in that whole dang bible is Romans 5:8. Meaning, you can come to him. Right now. Exactly as you are. Then as you grow and learn from him, he will let you know what needs to change. I repeat, He will let you know. I don’t have to.
He waited 10 years to reveal to me that I was a glutton. His timing is perfect. I’m convinced he doesn’t reveal your sinful nature all at once because it would overwhelm you and you’d implode. I usually find out a new “something to work on” every few months or years sometimes. Two years ago, he revealed to me that I had been holding grudges for certain people from my past. I truly had no idea. Now having fully let them go, I have more room in my heart for joy.
He ALWAYS has our best interest at heart. “Sin” can be scary word, but when conquered it always results in more joy. He’s not trying to punish us with a list of what not to do. He’s trying to encourage us to become better! More selfless, MORE PATIENT, MORE JOYFUL! The end result for me has always been more joy.
WOW that was longer than I anticipated. If you’ve read to this point, I will mail you a friendship bracelet.
To sum it up, 1. My day-to-day life is greatly affected by whether or not I spend time with the Lord. 2. Jesus is a really cool guy. 3. Even if the concept has rubbed you the wrong way in the past, I challenge you to check into him. 4. Even if you don’t, I will love you regardless. 5. Unless you don’t laugh at my jokes.
Note: (1) Clint Coyan used this phrase “Fan of Christianity” in his talk at Cru and I loved it because it had described me exactly. (Clint in case you were wondering if that talk impacted anyone, it TOTES did.)