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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Royal Risks

I have this tendency to play it safe.

My whole life I’ve gone to the sno-cone stand and ordered the orange flavored sno-cone; I always eat chocolate ice cream; I take the same route to and from home and in the case of traffic? I usually sit through the traffic so I don’t “risk” the possibility of getting lost. I very rarely break the rules and, in fact, I really enjoy following rules. I’ve lived a life comfortably within the confines of normalcy and mediocrity.

Comfortably.

Safe: (1) protected from or not exposed to danger or risk; not likely to be harmed or lost. (2) uninjured; with no harm done.


C.S. Lewis, in his book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, best sums up Aslan, the lion, in this quote: “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Aslan is the character that displays the character of God. Recently, I’ve been learning about risking and dreaming with God.

Risk: (1) a situation involving exposure to danger. (2) expose {someone or something valued} to danger, harm, or loss.

Safe is the antonym of risk.
Everything about the two words contradict each other.

To play it safe means not to risk.
To risk means you are not playing it safe.

God has never played things safe. He gave it all, in Jesus, to get us back. He bankrupt Heaven so that we, as tiny little humans, could have intimate interactions with a divine God.
In fact, when Jesus was on the earth, he called people to take radical risks to follow him. Matthew 8:18-21 says:

“When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the
other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said,
‘Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have
dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’
Another disciple said to him, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’
But Jesus told him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.’

Jesus demanded people’s lives. Lives fully given to him, no strings attached. No dead fathers buried, no comfort of home. Jesus demanded it all. People throughout history have given it all to follow Jesus. Risking safety, security, family, finances, comfort, and even their lives. God has had me in a process of doing the same; asking me over and over again, “Cait, am I worth the risk? Do you believe I am trust worthy? Do you believe that I am good?” It wasn’t until recently, however, that my answers went from “But God, I need to finish this. Risking isn’t logical for me right now. I’m scared but you’re still good, God.” to “Whatever You say goes. You are good. You are trustworthy.”


Whatever You say goes.

That small, 4 word phrase is the most risky phrase to ever cross my lips. I’m on the edge of a risk. Risking people’s approval, my financial security, my college degree, friends, and my comfort. But if there is one thing I’ve learned in the last 8 months is that God is good. He may not always call me to play it safe, but he will always call me to the risk that has my best in mind.

That’s what and who I am becoming. A woman of risk and bravery.
That’s who I want to be. One who will lay it all on the line to know Jesus more. Regardless of the cost.

The more I journey with God, the more I realize:

Of course He’s not safe. But He’s good. He’s the King, I tell ya.