Monday, April 25, 2011
The empty tomb.
What a powerful story we live in.
I sat on the banks of a lake this weekend, watching the sun go down and listening to the frogs and the crickets... music to my ears! I've thought about the past 10 months and whether I am truly living the life I hoped to live after my sister's death. At her funeral, I thought about how one day she would be resurrected- a beautiful girl, designed with such purpose and a precious gift to this world- and to me.
Just like other followers of Christ, I live a powerful and important life, because my Jesus rose from the dead! I admit, I am discouraged often, always having too high of expectations to grow past some of the sinful places in my heart. But it reminds me that I cannot do it without Him showing me the way. And He is doing it... He is changing my heart... in His perfect time.
A conversation last week made me wonder: Do we, as believers, really, truly live as if Christ rose from the dead? Do we believe Christ transforms our hearts?
O Father, forgive us when we doubt! Forgive us when we turn to self pity, doubting the change in our souls as each day comes. We deny you and the resurrection when we do this. We deny the active transformation in us, in each other, and the world.
"Oh, how slow grief is to come to understand! Grief is ignorant and does not even care to learn. When the grieving women 'were sitting opposite the tomb,' did they see the triumph of the next two thousand years? Did they see anything except that Christ was gone?
The Christ you and I know today came from their loss. Countless mourning hearts have since seen resurrection in the midst of their grief, and yet these sorrowing women watched at the beginning of this result and saw nothing. What they regarded as the end of life was actually the preparation for coronation, for Christ remained silent that He might live again with tenfold power.
They did not see it. They mourned, wept, went away, and then came again to the sepulcher, driven by their broken hearts. And still it was only a tomb- unprophetic, voiceless, and drab.
It is the same with us. Each of us sits 'opposite the tomb' in our own garden and initially says, 'This tragedy is irreparable. I see no benefit in it and will take no comfort in it.' And yet right in the midst of our deepest and worst adversaries, our Christ is often just lying there, waiting to be resurrected.
Our Savior is where our death seems to be. At the end of our hope, we find the brightest beginning of fulfillment. Where darkness seems the deepest, the most radiant light is set to emerge. And once the experience is complete, we find our garden is not disfigured by the tomb.
Our joys are made better when sorrow is in the midst of them. And our sorrows become bright through the joys God has planted around them. At first the flowers of the garden may not appear to be our favorites, but we will learn that they are the flowers of the heart. The flowers planted at the grace deep within the Christian heart are love, hope, faith, joy and peace."
'Twas by a path of sorrows drear
Christ entered into rest;
And shall I look for roses here,
Or think that earth is blessed?
Heaven's whitest lilies blow
From earth's sharp crown of woe:
Who here his cross can meekly bear,
Shall war the kingly purple there.
(From April 25 Streams in the Desert)
Posted by Katie Baird at 7:07 PM
Friday, April 15, 2011
I caught a glimpse of Calvary today... in an unexpected place.
Through a very interesting series of events, the Lord brought me to a sister in Christ that needed my help. She was hit by a car and was bleeding pretty badly from a significant head injury. I ran over to her while she was lying in the parking lot. I assessed the situation, sat beside her and took care of her until she was put into the ambulance. We shared a very powerful moment- 2 strangers united together in the love of Christ. We talked about Jesus and His presence in the midst of scary times. She locked eyes with me and I saw something beautiful and trusting there. Praise God for moments like these. I thought about the blood on my hands and arms from her holding onto my arm tightly. I then thought about the blood of the Lamb spilled on our behalf...
This kind of love came at a great cost.
God gave me a gift today in letting me take part in His work and I spent the afternoon thinking about his grace and the price that was paid.
Brothers and sisters, let your soul throb with the lonely, gushing groans of Gethsemane. Having scars from death on Calvary, let go and experience the soft, sweet, gentle, restful, victorious, overflowing, and triumphant life that flows like a spring morning from an empty tomb. Experience the healing of a heart powerfully transformed into something glorious!
- adapted from June 11, Streams in the Desert
Posted by Katie Baird at 7:41 PM
Monday, April 11, 2011
I am one of those women that reads 15 books at one time... a habit formed in college when I was taking waaay too many credits. While this might stress some of you out, I find comfort in learning different things from different people at different points along life's great and amazing journey. I'm thankful- because I came across this poem this morning and wanted to share it:
From Exodus 14:21 "All that night the LORD drove the sea back."
"All that night" the Lord was working,
Working in the tempest blast,
Working with the swelling current,
Flooding, flowing, free and fast.
"All that night" God's children waited-
Hearts, perhaps in agony-
With the enemy behind them,
And, in front, the cruel sea.
"All that night" seemed blacker darkness
Than they ever saw before,
Though the light of God's own presence
Near them was, and sheltered o'er.
"All that night" that weary vigil
Passed; the day at last did break,
And they saw that God was working
"All that night" a path to make.
"All that night," O child of sorrow,
Can you not your heartbreak stay?
Know your God in darkest midnight
Works, as well as in the day.
-From June 4 of Streams in the Desert
Some days are harder than others and the darkest midnight seems to last forever. When tasks seem too daunting, when we think we've been pushed to far and cannot take another step, when sinful behaviors keep replaying to the point where all hope seems lost, when death takes away those we love, and heartache sets in...
He is working... all that night. There is hope there. He gives us the ability to face our deepest and ugliest parts of our soul and makes a way for His Light to enter in.
Trust in the One True God- the one that parted the waters... the one that loves you desperately... and died to prove it.
He will get you through it.
Posted by Katie Baird at 6:07 PM
Saturday, April 9, 2011
"You must, by the grace of God, do the thing you cannot do. It becomes possible- in the actual doing of it. And what you gain from the blood and sweat and tears is a kind of wisdom you can't get any other way... It helps to celebrate the hurdles you have crossed to get where you are- in order to face well the ones that are now in front of you. Wisdom is found along a path that is strewn with our own sets of fears and insecurities to be faced. We must do the thing we think we cannot do. It's in the doing that the strength comes." P.R.
I am finding that there is tremendous pain in doing this type of walk with Christ. It is painful walking with Him when I constantly get hit in the face, the legs, stepped on, and sometimes even have my heart pulled right out of my chest. But I am learning about this type of wisdom. Bring on the pain! Bring it! My Jesus can take it- and He is teaching me to take it too. The result is well worth it!
Posted by Katie Baird at 6:24 PM