beauty from ashes.

Easter. My favorite holiday. Why? One word:

J e s u s.

The story of Jesus breaks through the darkest of nights, heals hearts, sets captives free, and allows people in this crooked world to be and feel deeply and truly loved by the King of the Universe. Today, Easter 2015, I’ve decided to tell a little of my story: to brag on Jesus a little bit–to look back over the course of my short 22 years and be deeply thankful. But most importantly, to look at the cross and be undone.

Undone. 
When I look at the history I have with God it can be summed up pretty well:

Mommy & Daddy, Caitlin & Calli.
Happy family.
^^ That was my life growing up. That happy family went to church every Sunday and lived comfortably and happily. I’ve never had a day in my life where I question if my family loves me. Its truly a happy family.

But growing up, I always had head knowledge being thrown my way. I memorized Bible verse after Bible verse and knew all of the Sunday School stories, but I didn’t even hear the Gospel until 3rd grade.

“A: admit we all have sinned.
B: believe that Jesus died and rose again.
C: commit your life to him!
Call upon the Lord you will be saved!”

That song ^^. That song is the song that made it all click for me. Sitting at Vacation Bible School the summer going into fourth grade, I gave my life to Jesus. But: it….all…..stopped…..there. 
I was saved.
But was it really enough for me to be sold out for Jesus? I guess so.
That was all I really knew–I was saved. I was a Christian. Jesus loves me this I know…for the Bible tells me so.

It wasn’t enough. Simply being saved wasn’t enough for me to actually love Jesus more and more every day.
I didn’t know that Jesus was crazy in love with me or that he wanted to be my friend. I didn’t know that he knew my every thought, feeling, and action and still chose me every day.

Junior High-High School: 

I didn’t have a close friendship-walking with him every day-relationship with God so I assumed he didn’t want one with me. After all, “if God really loved me…”

“I wouldn’t get made fun of.”
“The boys wouldn’t tell me I was ugly.”
“I would be really good at everything.”
“I would ACTUALLY be pretty.”

I felt like the God I gave my life to had made a massive mistake…that he didn’t actually choose me before the foundations of the earth or that he knit me together in my mother’s womb…I felt overlooked, under appreciated, and unloved.

So I found “love” elsewhere.
Enter the sound of breaking hearts.
Emotional abuse.
Guy after guy after guy leaving me feeling worthless.
Depression.
Suicidal thoughts.
Rebellion.
Addiction.

Oh how that “love” left me empty.
Summer going into college: 

“God actually loves me.
Sin and all, He loves me.”

Going into college I gave God one month to prove that he was worth following.
Day one through year one:

Welcome week.
A girl named Sarah.
Lots of love and pursuit.
Rocked by God.
Discipleship.
Brokenness.
Healing.

God came through. In my mess, he broke through.
I haven’t been the same since my first day at Baylor University.
I fell in love with Jesus in college. I learned that he actually wants to be my best friend. I learned that He’s a really good daddy, that he cares about the intimate details of my life. He’s worth it. Every bit of my life, he’s worthy of.

He’s still healing me and teaching me and cleansing me. But its good. Walking with Jesus is my favorite thing and will be my favorite thing for all of eternity.

If it wasn’t for God, sending Jesus, born of a virgin, fully God and fully man {God with a bod} to walk the earth perfectly. If it wasn’t for Jesus dying on the cross and suffering punishment he didn’t deserve. If it wasn’t for Jesus kicking death’s butt and rising again, I wouldn’t be here today. I couldn’t stand full of hope, today.

The gospel is for me.
But if you’re reading this and you’ve never heard the story of Jesus or you haven’t ever heard of being friends with him…it’s for you too.

If you have questions, or just want to talk: contact me. I’d love to chat.

Happy Easter. Jesus is alive and so am I!
May we never lose our wonder.

Today I’m thankful for the cross. That because of the cross I can walk the mountain of life and be fully alive and fully loved.

You are loved and delighted in, by someone who died to love and delight in you.

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