Today was a long day. Not only did I trek all morning to get to Michigan, I also spent the afternoon helping to prepare for my cousin’s open house tomorrow, among other things (if you want to know what an open house is, check below).
I wasn’t sure if I was going to update today, or really at all this week. I was feeling especially dry because I wasn’t able to spend my time in the morning with my Bible/praying/worshiping. However, a few things happened today that sort of made me remember to worship and praise in what I was doing.
Recently, my Grandma’s neighbours had surveying done (aka they had their lot marked off by stakes). My Grandma was concerned that some of the trees she had cut down were on the wrong side of the property line (she and my uncle’s family share 20 acres … so we’re actually talking a massive yard here).
This resulted in us doing a epic journey through ferns, trees, raspberry bushes, and other sorts of wild vegetation to find the wonderfully magical corner of the lot. Two vegetational-things stood out to me on this wondrous journey we embarked on.
- Ferns. There are a bajillion of these things in her yard. We have a path that we use to walk around that the ferns have long since been cleared from, but they still like to try to grow in the middle of it. Its an easy fix though because you just step on them and they’re dead…but today they reminded me of new growth.
One of my favourite verses is 2 Corinthians 5:17. It reads “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”(ESV) The ferns brought to mind how when we start as this new creation, we’re just starting to unfurl our leaves, and its hard to see what we will become. But once we grow up into these new ferns, what was once weak is now stronger. It took time, but in the end the ugly grey stem thing became a huge, strong fern.
- “Gotcha” Trees. I’m not sure what these are actually called in real life, but my Grandma referred to them as “Gotcha” trees, because their thorns will get you. Literally. These thorns are HUGE. To compare for you, the thorn was as big as my thumb.
Her second name for them, though, was “Jesus thorns.” This one made me pause. I’ve always read that passage in Matthew 27:29 “…and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand …”(ESV) and just … ignored it. I didn’t consider the fact that these thorns could be as long as my thumb. That they could look … well, evil.
I took a small branch of the tree so I could remind myself every now and then the absolute pain he really did endure on the cross. It is much too easy to read the story of the crucifixion and just block out the horror – focus on the beauty and the love. But sometimes I really just need to realize the torture that was involved in this sacrifice. It puts me back in my place of humility when I consider all that He did for me.
As always, I have a song that I wanted to share with this. I originally had “You Love Me Anyway” by the Sidewalk Prophets … but this song comes to mind now.
Love came down and rescued me.
Love came down and set me free.
I am Yours; I am forever Yours.
Mountain high or valley low
I sing out and remind my soul
I am Yours; I am forever Yours.
This song “Love Came Down” is originally by Ben and Jenn Johnson, but I heard it via Kari Jobe. Either way, the song is a powerful statement of how we were rescued. Jesus went through nails being driven through skin, flesh, tendon, bone. All for me. All for you. He set us free from our old selves and made us this new creation. Though there is pain in this sacrifice, “…with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5c, ESV). Its still the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard of in my life, and I will daily remind myself that I am forever his.
*Open house: a “drop-in” graduation party. There is no set-time for any meal or activity, you just drop in and congratulate the grad(s) who are there. My cousin’s was a joint venture with 4 other people.