Sunday, April 24, 2011

He's Alive!

Easter Story.
Adapted from Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24 and John 20-21.
© Copyright Jennifer June DeMoss, 2011

Mary, still aching from the loss of her friend, went to the tomb with some other women to anoint Jesus' body. It was a custom then to do so, and to pray over it and wrap it. As they walked to the simple hole in the side of the mountain they were all surprised to see the stone that had covered it to keep the animals and bugs out had been removed. Mary was a little petered at this - it was a sign of disrespect to leave a tomb unopened. She saw the gardener standing with his back turned, so she walked up to him, with the full intent of griping at him for such a mistake.

"Why is this tomb open?" She demanded. She then turned to look inside to check on Jesus' body, but it was empty. Angry and upset she returned outside to find her companions staring in awe at something behind her. She turned and shock filled her body. There, atop the stone, sat a man all in white. He was smiling joyously and had an ethereal glow about him. "Why are you looking for someone that's not there! Jesus isn't in that tomb, HE HAS RISEN!"

Mary and the others turned to return to the base camp. Faster than she, the other women went ahead. Mary weakened and collapsed to the ground, sobbing.
"Woman," sad a voice with a familiar kindness and love, "Why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?"

Mary looked up and her heart soared with joy and love as she saw the man standing before her. How was it possible? Through some wonderful miracle of the Lord, Jesus was standing right in front of her. He gently touched her cheek, and wiped away the tears that were streaming down her face in rivers. "Mary . . ." he whispered.

"Rabboni . . ." Mary managed to choke out.

"Mary, let me go. I still have to return to the Father. Go tell our brothers that you have seen me and that I am returning to God."

Mary kissed the ground at his feet. She didn't want to leave, she wanted to hold on for dear life. But she knew that He was right. She turned to return to the inn where they were staying.

"I have seen Him," She said breathlessly as she ran into the meeting room. "He's alive. He's risen again!" The men stared at her - she obviously had had a little too much wine.

"Who are you talking about, Mary?" Peter asked.


Then men all stared at her, mouths open. Thomas' face betrayed his thoughts - he thought she was a loon.
But Peter got up, placed his hands on her shoulders.

"Mary, are you sure?" Mary nodded. Without hesitating, Peter ran out the door.

Thomas got tired of waiting, and left the room. A while later,Peter returned, holding some of the burial cloth in his hand. "He wasn't there . . ." he said, sadly. "He just . . . wasn't there."

Then a voice sudden said, "Peace be with you!" The room fell silent. All eyes were on the man that had just appeared in the room. "The father has sent me, now I am sending you." He touched each of their heads and breathed on them. "Receive the Holy Spirit. Forgive others of their sins" he commanded. Then he left.

Soon after, Thomas returned. They told him what had happened. He thought everyone must have gotten into whatever wine Mary'd been drinking.  "Unless he appears to me right now and shows me the marks in his hands and the wound in his side, I will not believe it."

A week later, the men were sitting down to dinner. Then, as before, a familiar voice said, "Peace be with you!" He looked at Thomas. "Hello Thomas." Thomas could barely stammer out a "hello". "Here," Jesus said. "Touch the wounds. Put your fingers here, in the hole. Here, put your hand in my side." He took Thomas' head in his hands and turned it up to face him. "Stop doubting, Thomas. BELIEVE."

Thomas wrapped his arms around his friend in a sobbing embrace. He was embarrassed to have doubted the truth. "My Lord and my God" he exclaimed.

Jesus stayed with the men for some time, teaching them how to run the church now that he was no longer going to be able to. He told them to go and tell the world what they had witnessed. Then, one day, he turned to them all. He blessed them. And then the men witnessed Jesus being taken into heaven by the Lord.

"His return is very soon, and so you better be believin' that our God is an AWESOME God . . ."
- Rich Mullins

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday . . .

Today is the day that our Savior took away our sins.
A friend posted on Facebook that he recently watched The Passion of the Christ again, a movie that I would actually like to watch again myself.
But it reminds me of something that breaks my heart and lifts my soul with joy all at once.
HE died for ME.
ME - who is completely unworthy of salvation.
ME - who spent much of my early adulthood denying His existance
ME - who is a sinner through and through

A few years ago I went with my church's youth group to church camp. At the end of camp we had a walk through, where I'd lead the kids through a maze of dark rooms. In each of the rooms, there are sounds, smells, flooring, even tactile items to make it seem that you are there listening and experiencing the last few days of Christ's life on Earth. You experience the last supper, the arrest, and the trial. But the one thing that got every child in that entire camp, the one thing that affected ME more than anything, was the death. In a dark room you only hear three things. First, the crack of a whip, over and over. Then, the sound of nails being driven into a piece of wood. Finally a man cries out in Aramaic: "Eloi Eloi lama sabachthani? My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"

Even now this simple scene gives me chills.

Jesus knew what he was on Earth for. It wasn't as though he WANTED this to happen to him - on the contrary, he asked God many times to save him from this deed. But he knew that God's will must be fulfilled, and HE was God's will.

So he took it. Every lash of the whip. Every drop of saliva that the soldiers spit on him. Every drop of sour wine they shoved into his face to drink. Every pound of the hammer. And every. single. nail.

He didn't see our faults. He didn't see our sin. All He saw was God's will and His love for us. For ALL of us. He wanted us to have salvation, weather we wanted it or not. His undying love and grace and mercy saved us all  from an eternity without Him.

We are filthy. All He sees is clean. We are ugly. All He sees is beauty. We are unworthy. All He sees is worth.

There is a song that I am reminded of right now by Nichole Nordeman called "Anyway". There is a line that goes:

"You called me beautiful when you saw my shame, and you placed me on the wall anyway . . ."

God sees our beauty and our worth. He knows our needs and fulfills them.
Almost 1000 years ago He fulfilled our need for salvation by sacrificing His own.
God Bless you all.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Raising a Child With Encopresis . . .

This is such a personal issue. I almost didn't blog about it. But then I realized how important this topic really is and how much it is overlooked in the mainstream.

My child lives with a disorder called encopresis.
If you don't know what encopresis is, you can Google it and get a wealth of information.
These sites will give you the ins and outs of the physiology of it all - how it's caused by constipation and a blockage in the lower colon. Or how it is liquefied fecal matter seeping around the blockage. Or how the lower colon will become stretched.

But what these web sites won't tell you is the emotional distress it can cause. On my child. On my family. On me. On her educators, sitters, grandparents, ANY one she comes in contact with.

They don't tell you about the embarrassment you will feel as you walk into a store with your child as they smell like a bathroom, but don't notice it because they're so used to it they can't sense it.

They don't tell you the frustration you will feel as you help your child clean themselves up for the 1000th time, or throw away three pairs of underpants in one day.

They don't tell you the anguish you will feel ans your baby girl cries on your lap, saying her friends don't want to play with her because they tell her she smells bad.

They don't tell you the anger you will feel at your child's school for not doing enough to ensure she sits on the toilet during school hours. Or the anger at her doctor for telling you to do the same treatment over. and over. again. and again.

They don't tell you about the cost of medicines, doctor's visits, x-rays, new clothes, new sheets . . .

Every day I look at my child - my unbelievable blessing - and I pray for God to PLEASE make my baby be normal again. My soul is crying out in anguish for this problem to just go away.

It is so hard to raise a child with a problem like this.
No one likes to discuss it.
No one wants to know about it.
Everyone wants to hide it and pretend it doesn't exist.

But it does exist, and it's very visible.
Thanks for listening.