"He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities.
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
and by His stripes we are healed."
An unexpected winter break was the perfect chance to travel south to visit one of the historic California Missions.
A self guided tour took us through the cobblestone pathways and age worn arches to soak in the artifacts and wonder about the Indians and Friars that once lived here.
I wanted this fourth grade rite of passage to come to life for my son.
What I didn't expect was the curiosity this statue would stir in my children.
They've never seen a life-size replica of Jesus.
The man they read and talk about, study, pray to, and whose spirit is within them.
They ran ahead and began to touch and feel.
I don't believe in worshipping graven images.
But what I saw was this intrigue. The statue caused them to imagine.
Just as being at the mission allowed them to replay a time in history.
They were putting themselves in Jesus' place.
Thinking of what it would be like to carry the weight of the cross along with him.
"And come, take up the cross, and follow me."
Pondering the magnitude of what He did for all of us.
"For he made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us,
that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."
2 Corinthians 5:20-21
I see it here in his eyes. He's not just looking at a statue.
"looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,
who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross."
There's something about really envisioning the moment you'll see Jesus face to face.
It's so overwhelming my words can't describe. The awe. The peace. The comfort. The joy.
He so holy, perfect, without sin. In our flesh, we're so broken, imperfect, sinful. This child close to turning ten that has stretched me and grown me and pulled me and torn at my heart in so many ways. We're in a new territory of him trying to push away. I say I can't let you continue to sin in your behavior towards me. But is my behavior sinless, my pride, my anger I feel building inside. I pray for guidance as we navigate these new waters. I pray to keep the heart of my child in the midst of boundaries he does not like.
I need this Lent to be a time of fasting and emptying of myself in order to fill my heart with greater compassion towards my child's struggles. Sometimes I just see a battle of wills, but forget that he has his own trials, hidden behind the disobedience. A dear friend whispered this advice to me, compassion. Just have compassion. It sounds so simple, but sometimes the layers of challenges before me, weigh me down and I forget.
But the one who fathers both me and my child. He is the one carrying the weight. I need to go back to the cross. In doing so, I feel utter gratitude at His patience, His forgiveness. I pray to embody that more and more for my son. Because I am to be a reflection of his heavenly father. The One who is always forgiving.
He sees our repentant hearts, washes away our sin and makes us whole because He chose to go to the cross.
"by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands.
This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to shame,
by triumphing over them in him."
As I approached she said, "I'm hugging Jesus Mommy."
Her innocent, sweet spirit looked lovingly.
Reflecting on her Savior, the one she praises daily, thanking Him for the cross.
I join her in thankfulness for such a sacrifice and the gift of eternity by His side.
"But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives.
And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior."
303. sitting quietly
304. fresh air
305. staying calm when my flesh doesn't want to
306. being able to laugh at something that at one time would have hurt
307. sensing healing
308. knowing God is at work in the midst of a very big challenge
309. resting in Him while I have to wait for answers
310. a healthy chocolate pudding recipe made from avocado that the kids loved
311. stories at night
312. holding onto little hands
313. celebrating a friends birthday with pedicures
314. friends that pray in the midst of troubles