Ratchet, Remembering Cross

Simply writing because I think that Jesus deserves honor.
Writing because my history, penned along the lines of this simple blog help me remember.

Re-member.
Remember how good God is.
Remember what Jesus did.
Re-member my heart back together again.

Gazing backwards over the course of my most recent life at the biggest “But Jesus” moments. Those moments that would never have happened if Jesus hadn’t have come through. If he had never laid down his life. Resting in the holiness of this Easter holy week.

“The love of God, how rich and pure, how measureless and strong!”

You can hear the cackles of Iraqi, Syrian, and Congolese children drift across the air of Lesvos, Greece– making the atmosphere just a little lighter. Where grief and loss hang a little too close for comfort in refugee camps that are havens of safety to people who have fled some of the most horrific situations on the planet…BUT JESUS steps in, with nail scarred hands, tangley hair, eyes like fire and meets people where they are at: not trying to manipulate them to a place of healing or salvation, but simply introducing people to his heart. Because when Jesus hung on that cross, he did it because he knew who he was dying for… he knew us, every detail of our hearts and our lives– our pain and our victories, their pain and their celebrations. I can hear him saying: “I died to be a safe place for you, a place of refuge for you. I am your refuge and your strength, a very present help in trouble.”

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And as he hung, lungs collapsing from the gravity pulling downward, hands burning with rusty nails pierced through them, he hung as a banner of love over every pharisee and scribe, every disciple and friend, every simple citizen and every leper….he hung, full of grace and truth, as a tangible refuge for humanity.

“And the truest sign of grace was this, from wounded hands redemption fell down, liberating man.”

I can’t help but think of my life. More recently, I don’t brush my hair, my makeup looks a hot mess, I curse frequently, I process emotions more freely, and my life is more rough around the edges– sometimes when I get around churches I feel like I need to clean up or get my “ish” together in order to blend in and meet with God. But then I look at that man on the cross, that banner of love….

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BUT JESUS,

died for me at my worst, when the f-bomb flies freely out of my mouth.
died for me when the pain of heartbreak cripples me to my core and I can hardly breathe.
died when pimples cover my face and no amount of makeup can cover it up.
died for the moments that I wake up, screaming in pain and no amount of medicine can touch it…and no doctor can find the real solution.
died for the shame I carry because of cancelled dates and the failed dates and the multiple failed online dating profiles I’ve created.
died because he looked at the messiest Caitlin I could ever be and he said, “I love you and I can’t stand to live without you, so I’m buying you back with my blood.”

AND HE DID.

He took it all.

the shame and lust and lies.
the heartbreak, defeat, and disappointment.

He took it all.

“IT IS FINISHED.”

And it is.
Finished, I mean.

Even when it doesn’t all feel finished. Even when it doesn’t all feel healed and made whole. He’s a safe place. Safe to throw all of our unfinishedness upon and receive grace upon grace upon grace. Safe to throw all of our dead things on–dead dreams and goals and hopes.

He defeated death.
He died and then rose 3 days later.

He carries life in his very breath.
Life.
and love.
and hope.
and joy.

So when that heart shatters into a million pieces?
“It is finished.”
When you hate everything about who you are?
“It is finished.”
When your job is less than ideal?
“It is finished.”

We can cling to Jesus’ final words because he proved them to be true. He’s faithful and he’s true. And for every moment in our lives…there’s a BUT JESUS moment attached to it. He won.
I’m so thankful.
Thankful for the refuge I have in Jesus.
For the savior I have in Jesus.
For the friend I have in Jesus.

Oh, He’s good.
and he’s worthy.
Be still my heart.

“Therefore I’ll reward him extravagantly–the best of everything, the highest honors– Because he looked death in the face and didn’t flinch, because he embraced the company of the lowest. He took on his shoulders the sin of the many, he took up the cause of all the black sheep.” -Isaiah 53:12

 

 

 

 

 

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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.