gotta make this quick because it's late and i need to hit the sack (seems like i've been starting out most of my recent blog posts that way! haha!). well, this month commemorates my 30th birthday. not going to say what particular day for privacy's sake. ah, 30. i put the following post on my Facebook wall:
sooo...my 20's brought: buying my first car, college/graduation, a few missions trips, major life changes, mourning the passing of a dear friend who forever left an impact upon my life, living my lifelong dream of teaching little ones (5 years), more life lessons/changes that strengthened & matured me (hopefully! haha!!), the love of my life Luke Grant, three years of marriage, three major moves, starting my own business lizzy grant photography, and now the answer of many prayers, my sweet Kathryn Sophia. 30's....bring it ON!!!
as much as i had been dreading in recent months a new decade of being older, i actually now feel at peace with the whole idea. kinda grateful for that. i just think of the song by Sarah Groveman with the lines: 'This is my anthem/This is my song/The theme of the stories I've heard for so long/God has been faithful/He will be again/His loving compassion, It knows no end/All I have needed, Thy hand will provide/He's always been faithful to me."
and He has.
He's always, always been faithful...
...even in darker times. in the bountiful times. in the trials, triumphs, joys, and pain.
that's what I rest on. HIS faithfulness, no matter what this new decade of my life brings.
so for some reason, i have lately been really battling the fear of death. this is not a new thing for me as i've battled fear/anxiety about such issues all my life. but it kinda reared it's ugly head afresh when we were watching a certain drama series recently (won't mention the name of it in case you recognize it and i spoil the plot for you!) in which a beautiful young woman dies shortly before she is to be married to the love of her life. that evening, after that particular episode was over, I picked up my sweet sleepy daughter to nurse and was suddenly overcome by this gut-wrenching fear at the thought of death.
i don't want to sound morbid but the fact is, we are mere mortals. that means, at some point or another, in some fashion or another, we all have to face death (unless the Lord returns beforehand!). images of my dear grandparents who are now gone; of a sweet young friend who met a tragic, untimely death; of celebrities or leaders who have recently met their fate; and then of my own turn burned into my mind's eye. thoughts of the unknown literally crippled me motionless. i say 'for some reason' but i think i know the reason. i believe it's because i'm now a mom. when you become a mother, it's like you can't get sick, you don't have the luxury to lie around doing nothing anymore...you have to 'be there' for your sweet children. i thought of this precious young lady and her recent brush with death as she bravely battled (and won!) against cancer, all while caring for a young one. "I have to keep living, no matter what" I thought to myself, looking down at Kathryn as she was happily lost in her milk-induced oblivion. it seems as though the most unnatural thing (next to losing a child) is for a young mother to pass away, leaving behind tiny mouths to feed and tender souls to care for.
In those fearful moments of pondering death and some of the 'unknowns' (will it hurt? when will it happen? how will it happen?) I clearly sensed that still, small voice say, 'I know what it's like. I've gone before you. I've been there.'
the thought hit me like a ton of bricks. My God died.
all other religions have gods who are dead or gods who can't relate to 'mere mortals' who face that certain aspect of this life. But not our God.
He not only died but He conquered death. He rose again with such mighty power that now lives in us, His precious sons & daughters.
I was freshly filled with gratefulness to my King who humbled himself 'even unto death' and rose again on the third day, forever conquering sin & death.
below is one of my favorite worship songs. one of the particular stanzas rang true in my heart yesterday as we were worshipping at home as a little family. see if you can pick it out:
|In Christ alone my hope is found,|
He is my light, my strength, my song;
this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
when fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All,
here in the love of Christ I stand.
In Christ alone! who took on flesh
Fulness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones he came to save:
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live.
There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine -
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.
No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath.
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.
yup. that's right. "No guilt in life, no fear in death..." This is indeed 'the power of Christ in me'. In and of myself, I would have stayed in that place of crippling fear (like i have chosen to do so about other things in the past) but instead, Jesus has been gently helping me to walk in faith that He will never leave me nor forsake me, even when I (we all) "walk through the valley of the shadow of death". Because that's just it. He conquered sin & death, so now we can actually live forever. Although our outward bodies are wasting away (with each passing birthday! haha!), inwardly we are being made new. We get to go from 'glory to glory' with Him alongside us every step of the way.
some of you are being led by the Great Shepherd through the valley of financial difficulty. others, heartache over rebellious children. for many, broken relationships stab your heart. and finally, some of you are perhaps staring death in the face with a terminal illness wracking your body. If you are in Him, it's only a mere shadow. You are His. He will keep you. He will carry you. He will bring you through.
Because He knows what it's like. He's been there.
He is the victorious King! That's why Easter is so precious to us believers. It's a stark reminder that our God was brutally murdered upon a bloody cross. He was killed...for us. But it didn't end there. Up from the grave, He arose!!! He is now the risen Savior. He is coming back for us in all His glory and we get to live with Him for all eternity! Amen & Amen!
Below are some pics of my Easter decorations, our Easter dinner w/ family, and my lil 'Easter Bunny'. The cutest one i've ever seen! ;)
my lil Easter BunnyGirl!
yup, we think she's pretty cute.
almond pound cake w/ strawberries & whipped cream!
isn't this orchid plant lovely?!
gracious bday gift from the Pielow's & Hansen's
(Luke's aunts & uncles)
Kathryn w/ her Great Uncle Bruce <3
"Eggs in a Nest"
beside Luke's place setting @ our family Easter dinner was this.
can you guess it's significance?
it's because Luke calls Kathryn his 'Little Pink Jellybean'.
how sweet & thoughtful of Aunt Jaye to make this for her!
(we had to 'help' Kathryn eat them! haha!)
Boulette ~ Aunt Jaye & Uncle Bruce's doggy :)
same grapevine wreath i have up all year.
just switch out the decorations for each holiday or month.
i find most of the flowers @ the Dollar Store!
had this as a teacher and my students loved it!
found this @ Michael's this year for $2. couldn't pass it up.
had this stashed away for a rain day as a single gal.
now, I can pull all that stuff out and decorate my little house.
single or married gals, isn't it fun to adorn our homes with cute, cozy little touches like this?!