Monday, March 9, 2015

Don't Stop at Death...

I awoke from my nap to the smell of hot milk. Oh No! I had forgotten about the yogurt starter in the crock pot! I rushed into the kitchen to discover it boiling and scorched edges all around. I had needed the nap so desperately after the combo time change and waking baby the night before. I didn’t even think to turn the pot off before I slept. And now, it may be lost – just another mark on my inability to manage things right now. My spirit sunk once again into a deep introspective spiral. What am I really battling with right now?

I rush out the door in frustration having wasted 10 more minutes trying to figure out my yogurt problem (no time to restart it – I need it for breakfast tomorrow). Can it be saved? I don’t know yet…

I hate having my boys see their mommy like this – shipping myself out the door (encouraged by my husband) in order to get away and order my heart. If I get time away, I want it to be time to live – not time to just discover how again.

The winter has catapulted my heart into a torrent of self-preservation – a hibernation of sorts, and I’m feeling the desire to awake again. It’s not so much been a depression of sorts, but more so a measured way to survive the moments that make up my chaotic days. But this measuredness, this cautiousness has also caused a callousedness to creep over my heart – hardened to potential, thickened against holy expectation, and ignorant of abundant life. I’ve survived the winter – but barely.

Spring is coming – and with it, the hope of new life. I’ve taken some purposeful steps this spring to step away from some of those things that have been life suckers. I’ve taken some extra time to pursue the giver of life – and I guess that’s the only way to go about finding it again.

Ironically, the call in the Christian life is a call to die, to carry your cross, to deny yourself. And on initial inspection, it seems too large a demand for my already frail and tattered heart. Why would a lifestyle like this draw anyone? Turmoil, pain, difficulty – this life is wrought with them. “Try harder” is the cry of our churches – you need to be patient, kind, self-controlled – grow the fruit of the Spirit. Keep being joyful (don’t you dare let anyone else know you may be struggling), live a life of peace (don’t rock the boat or confront conflict), and Love God and others by sacrificing your life, your passions, and your desires for them (it’s not right to pursue your own interests when others have needs). 

So I struggle, I labor, I work, and I work, and I work, and I work to become the “fruit-bearing” tree that I’ve been called to. I try to catch the sun on my leaves, I laboriously pull water up my trunk, providing movement of nutrition to my branches. I dig my roots in ever deeper, but the more I try, the more worn out I find myself, and season after season, I’m discouraged at the lack of fruit in my life. (at least fruit that is worthy of being used for anything more than animal fodder.)

Here’s where I’ve found myself, and yet as spring approaches and Easter approaches, I (we as Christians) of all people should know that Death is not the end. Why do we stop there so often? Why do we speak of the resurrection only this time of year – Death – necessary? Yes, but Christ rose victorious over death and rose to life – in order that he may bring us also to NEW LIFE. Do you realize that in all gospel accounts (except one parallel account in Luke – which could just be oversight) of Christ speaking of His death, He never did so without also mentioning the resurrection!!!! So, why do we, as believers stop at dying to ourselves, taking up our cross, and counting ourselves dead to sin? Why not move on to alive in Christ Jesus?

Even Christ himself spoke of a tiny seed that went into the ground and died (the mustard seed) and once it did, it grew into the largest tree. Unless a seed dies, will it ever live and bear fruit? No, but the end purpose is not dying – it’s living!

So yes, I need to die to myself, I need to bear the cross and count myself dead to sin – but ALIVE to God in Christ Jesus. He has brought me from death to life. And his desire is to see me live – and live life abundantly that will bear fruit unto his name and for his glory.

So I am pursuing God in this season – the author and perfector of my faith, of my life – to discover the resurrected life that He intends me to live, by Him, for Him, through Him and to Him. Will you join me? Don’t stop at death – Live! He has called us from death to life – and Jesus who conquered the grave and power to bring life to our mortal bodies! Blessed be His name!

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