Saturday, April 23, 2011

Christmas or Easter?

By the title you're probably expecting me to go into some interesting (or maybe boring) discussion about which is better or more important or something like that between the two holidays. But all I really want to say is that I've successfully turned Easter into what I believe the grand majority of Americans turn Christmas into. I've made Lent less a time of listening, praying, humility with no focus on the basics and more a crazy busy, exhausting, overbooked holiday that makes it difficult to enjoy. Easter is a bigger deal than Christmas to me in so many ways, I hope with only a few hours left of Lent that I can fully prepare myself to bask in the Easter Season. Here's to buckling down and making the most of it=D

Friday, April 22, 2011

Old Friends and New, Jesus' Disciples and Seeds

I've always had the same best friends for as long as I can remember having best friends. I mean I got along with kids in elementary school and we all played pretty well together (minus the boy here & there that teased me about wearing a bra). But for the most part in elementary school everyone is friends. It's Jr. High that starts to divide you into groups or clicks and is the point in time where you begin to make friends for life. At least that's where it started for me. I have one friend I met after Jr. High that is my best friend still but in her defense, there was an ocean lying between us=D

Anyway, I've been wondering since I've become a 'grown up' and moved far away from home to have a family and be allowed to support that family with just one income if I'll ever find friends like that again. Saying this has been a tough road with great sacrifice on our part is an understatement. Leaving our family and our friends, the people you can rely on to be there no matter what the circumstances (not to mention the free babysitting!) are so far away. It's been difficult without that support here and as much as I'd like those people to move here, I know they won't and that it is up to me to make new friends and create a similar support structure that our family and friends offer. This has been one of the most difficult parts of living far away.

If I look around me I am surrounded by some really cool/awesome individuals, some of which are much too cool to be my friend. But none the less, I try to make a connection and see if a friendship will grow. Now I'm looking for the non-judgmental, honest, tell it like it is even if it really sucks to hear it or say it kind of friendship. One where our interests are similar and we don't have to work very hard to make our paths cross, time spent together is refreshing and happens frequently.

I've felt like I've come close to something like this a few times since moving here and I've always gotten to the point where I think, "she's not ______ or ______ but she's as close as I'm gonna find." Then something happens to change things and I find myself struggling to maintain a friendship. I'm an introvert, no secret there, but to put it plain and simple, people exhaust me. They make me feel like I'm crazy and I just want to get away. Adding any other obstacle to that major hurdle I deal with daily and I find myself not pursuing the relationship any longer and I'm right back where I started.

I then go through phases of mourning, regret, guilt, and eventually I come to terms with it and move on, hoping I'll come across the person that is as perfect as my childhood best friends. I'm getting more sure that I'll never come across people exactly the same, for some reason growing up and going through puberty together and making it all the way through the nightmare that is being a teenager creates a bond that is stronger than any adult relationship you could form.

With that said I'm drawn to a moment of prayer, of silence, of listening. I know this moment represents the time Jesus spent in hell, I'm reminded of Him, the immeasurable amount of pain, loneliness and sacrifice our Maker made yesterday and the miracle of life He will be offering tomorrow. I wait with anticipation, excited with tears in my eyes.

I was reminded on Friday that we often mistake Easter as a time of God & Me when it is not about me (another one of my constant themes!) but about all humankind. I begin to think of all the other humans out there. Ones that I know suffer on a daily basis all across the world, too far away for me to see or hear, all the way to ones that are right down the road or right across the street. Ones that I have great relationships with and ones that I struggle to maintain some kind of awkward relationship with. Jesus sacrificed it all for them and offers it ALL to them also.

That brings my attention to Jesus' friends. I think about how they might have been feeling on this day. About their sadness, their hopelessness, their emptiness and I thought it is so good to know the Joy and Hope and Fullness that Easter will bring tomorrow. But thinking about the disciples made me think about my mission. The journey that Jason and I and the children are on together as we strive to love our Maker and spread His love with everyone we come in contact with.

Jesus didn't stay with His disciples forever. He gave them what He had to offer and once they had accepted all they could while in His presence He moved on and they were sent on their way to continue on with the work He had started. He did this not just in His death but at various points throughout His ministry. They had practice rounds and sometimes the disciples were successful and sometimes not.

Jesus sent His disciples out with the proper tools and seeds of life to plant amongst the lost. But as we know from Mark 4, it doesn't matter how well prepared or equipped the farmer is if the soil is not suitable for crop production. The seeds can be cared for perfectly but if there are too many weeds and not enough good soil, there will be nothing to show for all the hard work, time and effort put into it.

This, like most of my other blogs has turned into a long rambling and I apologize for that. Let me see if I can make the proper connection between Old Friends and New and Jesus' Disciples and the seeds they and we plant.

I have old friends that I love and hold dear to my heart. Our friendship is a mutual friendship and it will remain a constant for the foreseeable future. I have New friends that are not just my friends but also my disciples. Since I've been commissioned as a missionary, which means all people I come into contact with I offer what Jesus offers, in the best way that I can, I am responsible for teaching them. I study Jesus' Disciples and I try to learn from them, both their successes and failures and hope my offerings of what I have and know of my Saviour is enough to not only plant the seeds of life but to prepare my New friends, a.k.a. disciples, to plant their own seeds of life in the future.

Old Friends and New, Jesus' Disciples and Seeds. Things that make life so sweet.