The weather, Will’s first paycheck from Home Depot, our date tonight, encouragement at work, great friends, a delicious omelet for breakfast…. There are so many blessings to count today when sipping on my happy hour, but the nougat of joy I really want to savor today is a reminder God gave me in the car this morning.
It’s been 10 years since the Lord start changing my life, making me into a new creation – into His bride. It all started at a youth conference called Acquire the Fire and came to a climax on a mission trip that summer to Peru. Two weekends ago I took our little sister Carrieli and our niece Chloe to that same conference. Here are some pictures from our adventures in downtown Nashville, but keep scrolling because there’s more to the post after the pictures.
It’s strange being an adult at a youth conference. It’s eerie to go back to something that was so instrumental in shaping your life – like stopping at a memorial site or a grave. Today I want to leave a letter on the fence of that memorial, some flowers on that grave.
I don’t know where you are or where you came from, but I know where I am and how far God has brought me in the last 10 years. When I went to my first Acquire the Fire I was a rebellious, flirtatious, midriff showing, 13 year old battling depression and putting on a hyperactive, fun, good-Christian-kid face around everyone else. That war defined my middle school years. Every day felt like a losing battle until God used a mission trip to sweep in and save me from myself.
It’s amazing how serving others can put our lives in perspective. It’s amazing how much God can use even a depressed teenager to radically change other people’s lives – what’s even more astounding is how He can change that teenager’s life in the process.
I don’t know where you are or where you came from, but I know where I am and how far God has brought me in the last 10 years.
I know I am speaking in generalities. Maybe that’s too cookie cutter for you. But I don’t want the focus to be on where or who I was. I don’t want to compare my story to anyone else’s, nor do I want you to compare yours to mine. Satan doesn’t need any glory for winning a few battles in my past or in your past. No matter what you and I perceive the size and severity of our battles to be, they are all already part of a won war.
10 years ago I started living in the reality of the won war. 10 years ago I laid down my battle filled scar covered life and was given a new one, a second chance full of authentic grace, love, and joy. 10 years ago I encountered the cross where the greatest Man to ever walk planet earth died for an uncoordinated mess of a teenage girl. He didn’t demand I change first. He wanted me like that. He wanted the uncoordinated mess.
After I encountered the cross, I encountered His grave – SPOILER ALERT – It’s empty. The most powerful part of Jesus finding you worth dying for is the hope and redemption of new life. 10 years ago, I put my old self on a cross next to Jesus, and walked out of that empty grave with Him knowing that the skeletons of my past are redeemed.
So today, as I sip on my happy hour from my loving husband who is a constant reminder of Christ’s love for me, I want to leave this letter on the memorial of the transformation of God in my life – I want to leave some flowers on the grave of the girl I once was. I don’t want to forget what my Savior has done in my life. I want to cherish it and ask Him to do more.
I have seen a lot about Lent around lately, and I realize that this is the perfect season of the year for this epiphany to have dawned on me. As Easter gets closer, if you’re a Christian then I challenge you to pay a visit to your own grave and relish in how God is remaking you. If you aren’t a Christian, I challenge you to consider that maybe we aren’t all crazy and religion isn’t just a crutch. Maybe there really is a power strong enough to conquer the grave out there, and maybe the person with that power truly loves you.