Tag Archives: the cross

A Velveteen Mom


2008

Ann Voskamp has written a most beautiful article on being a mother entitled Tiger Mothers? Or the Making of Velveteen Mothers that really ministered to my heart.

The first quote she used took my breath away and stopped me right in my tracks: “I learned more about Christianity from my mother than from all the theologians in England.” —John Wesley

What. an. enormous. responsibility. we. have. been. given.

When I read those words, I instantly panicked, thinking of all the many ways I have messed up.

But almost immediately, Jesus reminded me that I am His “Plan A” for Josh and Julia….that He appointed me to this role and when He did it, He already knew everything about me, good and bad (Psalm 139:1-5).

Yet He still qualified me because He is the Redeemer: He takes my mistakes, covers them with His wondrous grace, transforms them, and gives beauty for ashes.

Always and forever, He speaks grace to me.

Lord, never let me forget the awesome responsibility You have given me…and let me never stop looking to You for  Your ever-present help!

Ann speaks of becoming  “a velveteen mother—made real by the years…worn and weathered down to the exquisite beauty of the frame of the Cross.”

The longer I am a mother, the more passionate I am about leaving that very legacy for my children. All that I could teach them, all that I could dream for them, all that I could desire for them boils down to one grand, glorious Name: Jesus.

To the best of my ability, I have  tried to show them the Savior who has so radically changed my life.

I have taught them to delight in nature which reveals His beauty and creativity.

I have studied His Word with them and shown them how to apply it to their lives.

I have prayed with them over things big and small.

I have assured them of His faithfulness and goodness in the midst of pain and confusion.

I have had to humble myself and ask their forgiveness and have been gracious when they have asked for mine.

I have tried to teach them His ways and remind them of His love for the unlovely.

I have taught them to trust His plan and His timing when it differs radically from theirs.

When we have laughed so hard that our stomachs hurt and tears stream from our eyes, I have reminded them that He is a God who smiles and laughs.

I have shown them how I get back up when I’ve blown it.

I have attempted to open their eyes to the world beyond their comfortable lives  in America to the enormous need and desperation around the globe.

I have reminded them that this world is not their home. It is not all there is…and that this life is a journey that ends in seeing the face of the One who loved them enough to die for them.

Most of all, I have endeavored to teach them to cherish the cross. The cross represents their hope, their freedom, their gateway to joy, their dignity, the end of their shame, their victory, their forgiveness,  their peace, their promise of eternal life, their beautiful redemption.

I have done none of this perfectly. But I have done it passionately.

As the years have passed, I pray that they have seen less of me and more of Jesus.

Jesus has given me these children.

I have given them Jesus.

And they have given me joy.

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Because He Lives…


I have always loved Easter.

However, this year, the holiday was infused with special meaning for me. I spent all of last week with Jesus, as I immersed myself in the details of His last week on earth before He went to the cross. I felt like an eyewitness, experiencing the highs and lows with my Savior..and often being moved to tears by His beautiful spirit, breathtaking love, immense strength, and tender heart.

I saw and felt Him everywhere and His peace covered me like a blanket. Fear melted in light of the glory of the magnificent Cross. There truly is nothing to be afraid of. On that Cross, Jesus took care of my most pressing need…forgiveness of my sin. There is NOTHING He cannot handle.

As Romans 8:32 states, “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?”

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Last Thursday night, we attended the communion service at church.

Our pastor reminded us that the Last Supper was a time of intimacy between Jesus and His disciples. This, too, was a time of intimacy…when Jesus called us to draw near and go deeper, to meditate on all that He had done for us…to celebrate that because of the Cross, we have instant and miraculous access into His very heart, both now and for all eternity.

I saw Him in so many faces that night:

*a breast cancer survivor who boldly shared that she would choose to go through that journey again because it brought her to Jesus…and His love is better than life itself (Psalm 63:3)

*our pastor, whose beloved wife has long battled illness, admitted that it’s been a long time since he has felt like singing. Yet, sing he did, clear and strong…because Jesus always gives us a new song (Psalm 40:3)

*a friend who is waiting for the results of a biopsy, yet is filled with peace…because Jesus IS Peace. (Ephesians 2:14).

*a dad who is grieving the loss of a son much too soon…but who rests in the fact that God is a good God and chooses to trust what he cannot understand. (Psalm 34:8 )

That is the power of Jesus on display. Not only does He save us…but He continually gives us the power to live victoriously and joyfully in the midst of a fallen world.

Watching Jesus put a broken life back together and love someone to wholeness is a beautiful wonder.

He has done it for me and I will be forever grateful.

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On Saturday, our family watched “The Passion of the Christ.” There is one particular scene in that movie that always brings me to tears because it is so deeply moving. As Jesus is carrying His cross, He drops to His knees to fully embrace it. One of the criminals who will be crucified with Jesus rages at him: “Why do you embrace your cross, you fool?”

To the world, this looks like utter foolishness, perhaps the actions of a madman. Yet the world does not have eyes to see the beauty of redemption, particularly one that by necessity was so bloody and gruesome.

scene from "The Passion of the Christ"

Jesus fully embraced His cross…so that He could joyfully embrace all who would come to Him.

He knew that His redeemed bride was on the other side of that Cross.

Likewise, when we choose to embrace the personal crosses we carry, we will find that we are actually embracing Jesus Himself…which results in a time of unparalleled intimacy and transformation. That is when we discover that He truly is all that we need.

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On Easter morning, I awoke at 4:30 to get ready for the sunrise service. I could see the clouds moving across the moon and the fog was thick. It has snowed the day before and the ground was still covered. It definitely looked more like a winter scene than Easter morning.

However, the sun did rise over the mountains as we all gathered at the church property to sing and celebrate our risen Savior. The skies cleared, revealing a brilliant blue. Even the snow reminded me that my sins, once scarlet, have now been washed white as snow by the precious blood of Jesus.

Easter truly is the most joyous of days because…”we are the celebrants out dancing in a wild rain of grace.”–Ann Voskamp.

Dance…and celebrate for the rest of your days…because HE IS RISEN!!!

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Journey To The Cross: Snapshot 5


Years ago, a man from our church recounted to Doug and me about the first time he had met his friend Jimmy. He had been  attending a conference at a local church. As he walked past the sanctuary during a break, he heard the sound of sobbing. Curious, he quietly opened the door and peered inside.

A wooden cross stood imposingly in the center of the altar. There, at the bottom of the cross, lay Jimmy. He was clinging to that cross with both arms and he was sobbing. Deep, heaving sobs.

As our friend would later discover, Jimmy was desperate for God. And he knew the place to find Him was at the foot of the Cross.

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It is finished.”

Such powerful words.

They are among the last words that Jesus spoke before He died and the  glorious offer of redemption was made to all.

He had endured betrayal, mockery, beatings so severe that He did not even look like a human being, searing pain, shame, ridicule, brutal savagery… and the worst punishment of all: separation from the Father for the very first time as He endured divine wrath on our behalf.

“What happened at the cross was not primarily about nails being thrust into Jesus’ hands and feet but about the wrath due your sin and my sin being thrust upon His soul. In that holy moment, all the righteous wrath and justice of God due us came rushing down like a torrent on Christ Himself. Some say, ‘God looked down and could not bear to see the suffering that the soldiers were inflicting on Jesus, so He turned away.’ But that is not true. God turned away because He could not bear to see your sin and my sin on His Son.

One preacher described it as if you and I were standing a short hundred yards away from a dam of water ten thousand miles high and ten thousand miles wide. All of a sudden that dam was breached and a torrential flood of water came crashing toward us. Right before it reached our feet, the ground in front of us opened up and swallowed it all. At the Cross, Christ drank the full cup of the wrath of God and when he had downed the last drop, He turned the cup over and cried out, “It is finished.” –David Platt, Radical, p. 35-36)

Jesus took my place.

Jesus took your place.

Surely He took up our pain and bore our suffering…He was pierced for our transgressions; He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds, we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53: 4-6

The cross is a horrifying instrument of torture…but it is  the most beautiful sight in the world to the sinner who realizes their complete and utter bankruptcy before a holy God.

I never want to get over the sheer miracle of what Jesus did for me on the Cross.

If He never does another thing for me, He has saved me from the penalty of my sin! And that means everything!

I am free!

I am forgiven!

I have been redeemed!

Because of the cross:

*I have passed from death to life (John 5:24).

*I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)

*His peace and joy flood my soul (John 14:27; John 16:11)

*I live in Light, not in darkness (Ephesians 5:8)

* my future is secure (Jeremiah 29:11).

*my wounds are being healed by The Healer (Isaiah 53:5)

*all of Heaven has been opened to me (John 14:1-3).

*I need never live in fear (Joshua 1:9).

*I am out of  the enemy’s reach forever (James 4:7).

*I am held safe in His arms (Deuteronomy 33:27).

*I will never be alone (Matthew 28:20).

Because of the cross, I will see His face (Revelation 22:4).

And that is what I live for…the moment that faith becomes sight and I finally look upon the beautiful face of the One who loved me enough to die rather than be without me.

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“The cross is the lightning rod of grace that short-circuits God’s wrath to Christ so that only the light of His love remains for believers.”–A.W. Tozer. 

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“It is finished; the battle is over

It is finished; there’ll be no more war

It is finished; the end of the conflict

It is finished and Jesus is Lord.” —Bill Gaither

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