though you slay me... i am #blessed

i have come to hate the #blessed. if you don't know what a hashtag (#) is... don't worry. Jesus still loves you. just not as much as he loves me #causeiamthequeenofthehashtag and #iamHisfavorite. except i am not so gung ho for that cursed #blessed hashtag. i see it mostly on photos of happy families. wonderfully sweet children. looking so perfect in their easter outfits (that match. oh, i remember those sweet days. so do my children. in their therapy sessions. and nightmares. hence their therapy sessions. enough said.) #butilovedthosedays. i felt so #blessed. so #gotitalltogether. so #bestmomever. standing in front of those easter crosses filled with flowers. sigh.

but maybe i have the wrong image of #blessed...

“They gave our Master a crown of thorns. Why do we hope for a crown of roses?” Martin Luther

maybe a bunch of us have the wrong image of what #blessed really looks like. standing in front of flowery crosses... because we aren't reading our Bible enough. (that is certainly my problem.)

here is what Jesus said was #blessed (in matthew chapter 5 from the message...)

You’re #blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

You’re #blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

You’re #blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

You’re #blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

You’re #blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

You’re #blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

You’re #blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

You’re #blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

Not only that—count yourselves #blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me.

i can only imagine the #blessed that would have come if there had been tweeting during the ancient ages...

@josephwithswagariificcloak: thrown in jail.  for resisting potiphar's hot and hot to trot wife. and for indecent exposure. #notmyfault #blessed

@jobwizardofuz: all kids and livestock dead. fortune lost AND i got a nasty skin condition now. #itchy #blessed

@virginmary: pregnant. not married. a bit of a scandal. #blessed

@thejewformerlyknownassaul: shipwrecked again (how is there wifi?) but #blessed

@peterhatesroosters: in prison. again. hope someone is praying. #blessed

@silasandsaul: guess where we are? PRISON. singing loud and proud. #blessed #letitgo

@johnlovelocusts: herod isn't really digging my message. #blessed

@noahontheboat: i cannot believe all these rabbits. #blessed #theyshouldmakeamovieofthis

last easter when i had entered the house of mourning for a very close friend who had lost ANOTHER son (one died when he was three. this one was a college freshman driving home for his dad's birthday) the first person i saw was this friend's mother. the boys' grandmother. a woman who i had known my whole life. i had grown up eating navy bean soup in her kitchen EVERY time she made it. because her daughter would call me when she made it. #nowthatisfriendship i saw this woman, this grandmother, this mother, this friend and i hugged her and had no words. but she had words. she came close to my ear and whispered them in a voice so quiet that i almost couldn't hear them. that was all the strength she had. and all that she could manage to say was this...

"He must really love us. Jesus must really love us."

and something in me wanted to yell...

what kind of love is that? how do we call that #blessed? to mourn the life of a young man who had the world by its tail? everything to live for? what kind of #blessed is it to lose a son?

the absurdity of what i wanted to yell hit me hard then. it hits me hard now. 

that is a question to ask only the God who counted it worthy Himself to lose a Son. who slayed His own flesh. for our #blessed. so we could stand in front of a cross of flowers in lovely dresses. because He hung on a thorny, dry, dusty splintered cross. naked. 

i am #blessed. even when He is the God who gives and takes away. ESPECIALLY when He takes away i am #blessed. because it keeps me at His cross. clinging only to Him...

though He slay me. i am #blessed. THROUGH his slaying of me, i am #blessed.

that is the Good News. that is the Hard News. that is the Only News from me...

I come, God, I come
I return to the Lord
The one who's broken
The one who's torn me apart
You struck down to bind me up
You say You do it all in love
That I might know You in Your suffering

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who's all I need

My heart and flesh may fail
The earth below give way
But with my eyes, with my eyes I'll see the Lord
Lifted high on that day
Behold, the Lamb that was slain
And I'll know every tear was worth it all

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who's all I need

Though tonight I'm crying out
Let this cup pass from me now
You're still all that I need
You're enough for me
You're enough for me

Though You slay me
Yet I will praise You
Though You take from me
I will bless Your name
Though You ruin me
Still I will worship
Sing a song to the one who's all I need
Sing a song to the one who's all I need

back to real life...

this pretty much sums up my last two weeks of winter break...


it is so good to take a rest. a change of pace. or schedule.

but then it is also good to get back on schedule. live life with a bit more discipline. a lot less sleep. and to get some things accomplished. things like actually cooking dinner most nights. cleaning the house. not watching hgtv shows for hours.

this week will be a bit odd as i am leaving wednesday with maxx and his choral all state group to chaperone that trip to tampa. i haven't chaperoned any of the choral events and so it will be good to get to know his chorus teachers. not as intimately as i would have had i accepted the rooming situation offered to me. one chorus teacher. her husband. their baby. his mother. and another chaperone. all in a two room suite. ummm, "i think for the good of all concerned i will get my own room", was my response. i really meant, "so i don't end up killing anyone, i will procure my own space." i like people. i like babies. but i like sleeping even more than i like people and babies sometimes/most of the time/okay to be honest ALL of the time.

in the meantime i leave you with this article from the NYtimes... can forgiveness play a role in criminal justice? (you may have to register with the NYtimes to read the article but it is well worth it and won't cost you anything but the minute to fill in your email address.) the article is about two tallahassee families. one of which i know well. the mcbrides. julie teachers art at the elementary school where my kids went. the mcbride children went to vbs at our church. and i have always loved those kids. conor and i correspond frequently by mail and we are good friends. 

the article is heartbreaking. and uplifting at the same time. it is full of moments (as john piper spoke in his last sermon as a head pastor last week) that are "sorrowful yet always rejoicing." it is a picture of the gospel message as clearly as i have ever read in the NYtimes or any other newspaper...

a thousand things are happening...

i just heard this song by christa wells (and by "just heard" i mean that i have had it on repeat since i heard and and have cleaned my entire house whilst listening to it over and over and over) and i love it. and her. and i am thinking of including her in my heavenly 'hood. but i am worried that c.s. lewis will like her better than me since she can write songs from john piper quotes.

this song was inspired by this john piper quote (and tweet)...


You’re gonna cry yourself to sleep 

You’re gonna soak the pillow
for many weeks 

You’re gonna cry
Why me? 

But in spite of the ache
that doesn’t go away 

You’ll be sharing your story
one rainy day 

And at the next table somebody catches your words 

He hears a truth that he’s never heard 

He takes it back to the marriage he’d given up on 

Hands it down to his daughter
who writes it into song 

You didn’t know 

A thousand things are happening in this one thing 

Like a thousand fields nourished by a single drop of rain 

So honey, wrap yourself in promise
while you wait the morning light 

A thousand things are happening tonight 

You’re gonna cry yourself to sleep 

‘cause for the moment all that you can see 

Is what you’ve lost, lost
Why me? 

But in the midst of the most exquisite pain 

you’re drawn into a peace that you cannot explain 

and the praises you sing of a sovereign God 

reach the girl whose last hope is gone 

she never thought there was purpose in anything here 

now the seed has been planted and it’s taking root there 

You didn’t know 

A thousand things are happening tonight 

You’re gonna cry yourself to sleep 

A thousand miracles you’ll have to wait and see