Annie wrote an absolutely lovely post today about Good Friday. How should we react to it? Perhaps the answer is different for everyone, but I happen to agree with her thoughts. It’s sad, and so very weighty – but it’s not a funeral. We have hope, because we know what happens.
He rises again. And so will we.
This world lives in a constant Friday – there is sin, pain, brokenness, failure, death.
I’ve seen this in so many ways just this past week, through everything from my grandfather’s death to my own sins and failures and even broken technology.
We’re stuck in a place we don’t belong, as people we weren’t made to be.
But being stuck there isn’t death, and it isn’t the end. God promises that he is working in us and transforming us every day. I know that I’ll see my grandpa again. I know that one day the world will be made new.
I think this is a bit what Peter was getting at when he said to “Set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
What is hope? What do we hope in? Why do we hope?
We hope for something to be different and better. We hope in something that we think will save us, or make us happier.
And Jesus’ resurrection is all of that. His promise encompasses everything we could truly dream or long for (because I believe that even our twisted longings, or desires for shallow things, are some permutation or dim mirror of what we were really meant to hope for).
Wherever you are, whatever pain you are experiencing right now: Yes, the world is broken and everything is all wrong, dark and hopeless.
But you are gifted with a secret hope that not everyone has: Sunday’s coming.
Tonight, I didn’t edit and re-write the three chapters of my thesis I was planning to. I didn’t run more statistics or write some more pages (although I did realize that it’s due in about two and a half weeks, and that rather took my breath away).
Tonight, I didn’t write the interview thank-you notes I forgot to do yesterday.
I didn’t practice my Latin dance moves in the hallway like I usually do at night to prepare for an upcoming ballroom competition.
Instead, I’m sitting here in complete silence, reading excellent online articles for no particular reason and not really absorbing any words.
But the quiet, it is good.
My heart is praying, though my mind is not right now.
I have the privilege of being still, sending love through the quiet to my grandfather who seems to be nearing heaven’s door rather suddenly. I’m not even reminiscing through particular memories, but simply knowing that he loved me well.
And these small words, that break the silence, and the few tears – they are good, too.
It’s a peace mixed with sadness, the incredible pain of being confronted again with the world’s brokenness. And yet, the promise that Christ has defeated death itself is sweet indeed.
We are blessed.
“To be Queen Elizabeth within a definite area, deciding sales, banquets, labours, and holidays; to be Whitely within a certain area, teaching morals, manners, theology and hygiene; I can understand how this might exhaust the mind, but I cannot imagine how it could narrow it. How can it be a large career to tell other people’s children about the Rule of Three, and a small career to tell one’s own children about the universe? How can it be broad to be the same thing to everyone; and narrow to be everything to someone? No; a woman’s function is laborious, but because it is gigantic, not because it is minute. I will pity Mrs. Jones for the hugeness of her task; I will never pity her for its smallness.” (Chesterton)
(I’m concluding our series on Biblical Womanhood over at the Bloom! webzine today – here’s my thoughts on why it matters.)
Because that, lovelies, is what it is. That is God’s vision for us as His daughters.
This kind of femininity is under strong attack these days. There are plenty of misconceptions and stereotypes, and most people turn up their noses at the idea.
But it’s under attack because Satan knows just how powerful it can be when we delight in the way we were created.
When He made us women, the capstone of His creation, it wasn’t a demeaning position. To both Adam and Eve was given the command to “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Gen 1:28).
His first command. What does it mean for us as women?
To us he gave the power to be life-givers and nurturers.
To us he gave the command to rule. Girls, this means that we have real authority, capability, and responsibility from God to make the most of everything He has given us. Our talents, opportunities, possessions, relationships, education, thoughts, words, attitudes and more. The work we do matters.
He has entrusted so many things to us, and we are to be wise stewards. He’s given us power. The woman who embraces God and all that He has made her to be is the one who lives Biblically. She is not someone with no opinion who stays in the corner: she is a warrior princess essential to this life-and-death battle of eternal importance that is going on in our world.
Girls, we are made in the image of God. Believers or unbelievers, we all are all little mirrors with some mini-versions of God’s characteristics.
A Biblical woman is one who walks closely with Him and allows Him to shape her. By walking with Christ, she is continuously growing closer to Him and more like Him – and reflecting His glory to all who see her. She follows where he leads her, and contributes her skill and strength and passion to whatever opportunities and life season are given to her.
Really, it’s not a list of rules to follow and check off (I need to have my own business like the woman in Proverbs 31 – check!). Because the truth is that if you are a daughter of God, you are this woman. He is working in you, and has promised never to stop. And the more you pursue this relationship, the closer you grow to him, the more you will grow into the mindset and role that he wants to play in this great story he’s invited us into. And the more you become like him, the more you are free and the more you you become.
(Indebted to Barbara Mouser’s “Five Aspects of Woman: A Biblical Theology of Femininity” for many of the ideas here.)
It’s spring break. This means I post again. This also means that we get a little bit of quirky after yesterday’s long post. Linking up today with Ashley, because it’s fun.
| I am an undercover puppeteer. I give stuffed animals personalities and make them talk. See above (although this is Boo, who already has his own personality.)
| I hate making decisions. Okay, that’s not quite true. It just often takes me forever to make them. I usually prefer that someone else makes them if they are involved (say, where to go to dinner. Battled this with Gretchen the other day). I already have what I want: them. And I really don’t want to disappoint them with the food choice, etc. So we can go back and forth for awhile, until one of us breaks it and makes a decision. I will do so fairly quickly if I see they are equally indecisive and indifferent. But if they like making decisions, I happily let them. For big decisions, I obsess over making the wrong one. (Someone needs to learn to trust more.)
| I have a really bad habit of only cutting the ripped nail, not the rest of them at the same time to match.
| My dad was adopted, so obviously that gives me liberty to claim to be any ethnicity I want. Therefore, I’m Irish (because I have red hair and love green), Italian (let’s face it, pasta makes me really happy) and Czechoslovakian (because it sounds really cool). And German, because I actually am on my mother’s side.
| Thanks to my little sister, I’m regularly mistaken for a teen mom.
| I’m not engaged or married, but somehow that particular finger is the only one that feels comfortable with a ring on. It does make for some fun conversation starters, though.
| My favorite flowers are gerbera daisies. They are splashy and fun and there is no way you can look at them without smiling. See?
| My brain does not think in patterns. Ever. It bewilders me when other people’s brains do. Sometimes they even find patterns in my own life, which is really startling.
| I’m the first person you should call if you’re excited about something little and need someone else to be excited to. I get can be quite excited very easily.
| If you talk to me when I’m trying to wake up, I’ll wake up faster and happier. But lying cozily in bed with my pillow and not getting up is still one of my favorite things ever.
| It seems I am bit to trusting of my partner (or anyone who will dance with me, to be frank) when it comes to tricky dance moves such as lifts or dips. But I haven’t been let down yet! And I seriously love them.
| I belong in 1950s fashion.
| I don’t watch TV shows, even online, because I seem to never find time for them. Even when I’m in bed for a week with the flu.
| I’m a vegetarian. I do like mushrooms, too much onion is awful, and I hate grapefruit.
| As my friend Sam says, “If I were in kindergarten and drawing a picture of my best friend Megan, she would be wearing a green coat and a flower in her hair.” I’m almost always wearing at least one (if not both) of those.
| Total sucker for happy endings.
| If I don’t like the ending to something, I will rewrite it in my head. See above.
| I’m 5’3″, and my dad just referred to me as the “giant in the family” next to himself (over 6′). Only with my family – and my roommate – am I ever referred to as “tall”.
| My dreams for the next few years involve a city.
| I’m a fair-weather runner only who runs like a long-distance runner (slowly, consistently) but never, ever plans on running long distances.
| I’ve been known to sit down in the middle of a library or bookstore aisle with a book.
| I’m terrible at all sports, but I am not afraid of balls.
| I will leave a store if I can’t stand the lyrics to the music they are playing.
| Finally, I’m an external processor. This means I need to talk or write almost everything out. Sometimes with multiple people. It’s hard for internal processors to understand, but what this really means is that I often don’t understand what I’m thinking until I tell you. Occasionally, I need you to tell me.
Your turn! What are some fun things about you?
Confession: I feel a bit guilty coming back to blog after such a sparse writing schedule.
And then there’s the extra pressure that there had better be a good excuse and this had better be a good post to make up for it. (No promises. Sorry).
I’m home again for spring break, which is lovely and well-needed. But I’m also struck by the ordinariness of it. And frankly, sometimes it’s just plain boring. And I’ve been here for, like, two days. And yesterday was not ordinary, so it doesn’t count.
(But sometimes, as wonderful as it is, being home simply takes a bit of adjusting again.)
There’s a stark difference between my life at school and my life at home. At home, I try to combine my homework and the various things I have to do with helping out as much as I can. When you’re dealing with chronic diseases (as my mother has), things travel at a much, much slower pace that’s a bit of a shock to my overcrowded school-life. But probably a good shock.
There are limitations here. And I come home and have doctor’s appointments and my own occasional treatments as I continue to rebuild from having Lyme’s disease. And I don’t like it, being reminded that I’m not quite where I want to be and I do have some physical limitations forced on me.
At school, I feel that I can shove them under the bed and ignore them. I can fill my day with many fun and stimulating things. I’m surrounded by bright, energetic dreamers who believe they can change the world – and I also believe that they can. Kelly is off to be a wild life vet, hopefully focusing on the public health aspect of it – if she can heal and prevent diseases of livestock in Africa, it may make a big difference in the people’s health. Rachel is going to study to be the (only?) doctor that I would want to visit. Preet is going teach students to love science with Teach for America. And I have big dreams, too – working in and exploring a city, being involved with specific organizations, learning and writing and making contributions that really matter and make a difference.
And then I come home, and somehow the day manages to revolve around appointments and laundry and seemingly little things that take so much effort.
Last weekend, I was in Philadelphia at the Justice Conference. It was a great event, and I’ll share more of my thoughts later. But one thing that stood out to me was a point by Gary Haugen, founder of the International Justice Mission.
His point? While justice work does have its dramatic, movie-related moments (like brothel raids, which IJM certainly does), it’s more about the faithful, boring, behind-the-scenes moments. Six years of filling out government paperwork before any change, for example. But being there and being faithful in the mundane, boring, ordinary, and downright annoying – that is what actually changes lives.
And it’s the exact same thing where I am, where you are. Faithfulness in the mundane matters probably more than we know. It’s the hard work and faithfulness that gives dreams wings, and it’s the faithful, ordinary love that keeps a family together.
Small things matter to Jesus. What comfort in a world that overlooks them and speeds by onto bigger, better, and shinier.
But when Jesus stopped to say that even giving a cup of cold water to a child mattered – that’s kind of important. And if it matters to do that, then I’ll venture a guess that it matters to give one to my little sister, too.
So wherever you are: whether you are doing grand things or small ones; chasing dreams or walking into your Monday morning cubicle with a smile on your face and a mind ready for work – it matters.
And this perspective is why I’m so grateful for these visits home. I need both universes.
It’s the flash-mob of writing, folks, and I’m in it once again! Five minutes, no edits (and then go link up to Lisa-Jo over at the Gypsy Mama).
The word? Again.————-
It can be such a grace word, a word of second chances: again. Play the song again; that was wonderful. Or, let’s move past this and be friends again. You’re reading the same book again…and over, and over.
It can signal worth: something is worthy of being done, said, read, seen – a second time, because the first just wasn’t enough.
Or it’s a word of growth: You choose to trust again. To love again. To get back on the figurative (or literal) horse, again.
And even in the negative, when you have to do that work assignment again because you – or someone else – didn’t get it right the first time, or you’re tired of the long walk to lunch that is part of your daily routine, or whatever it is – there is still grace to be found in getting that second chance, in accepting the small things done over and over and over.
It’s a life-filled word: grace, patience, learning, joy. My little sister cries, “Again!” after we’ve played some fun game that she loves. I ask my ballroom coach to demonstrate that step again, because I haven’t gotten it yet. I curl up in my chair – like I have every day for the past weeks – to do thesis research, again.
So much to be learned in two short syllables!