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Staring into beauty: The power of a gaze.

The fog is lifting.

Shoulders relaxing.

Tears of joy.

The beast will not be one I fight today.

. . . .

My hands paused on the lump every woman fears.

My heart skipped a beat.

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath.

Maybe, my hand was mistaken. Maybe, I felt anything.

A few days later, sitting on the exam table. The doctor confident I felt nothing.

Then a pause, an ‘oh’ followed with a, “yep we need to get you in for further exams.”

The words that say nothing but could change everything.

. . . . .

The waiting game. Monday could not come fast enough or . . . slow enough. I did and did not want the news. I wanted to know, and I did not want to know what awaited the next months. Was it another 6 months of Grad school, diving deep into 1 Thessalonians. Or 6 months of something more difficult.

The worst part of waiting is all the questions. The questions I desperately wished never to ask myself. The questions that haunt every moment. Will I be one who’s life ends too soon? Will Alec remember me? Will I get to go wedding dress shopping with Lillian? Will I have to come to terms with Rob getting remarried?

Waiting is hard.

. . . .

Sunday night, curled in Rob’s arms, the tears flowed. Tears of uncertainty. Tears of fear.

. . . .

Waking early the next morning to sit in the presence of my Savior, the Lord kindly reminded me

I am one that knows God and I am one who is known by God. I know the God who created my innermost identity. The God who formed my arms, my legs, and my face in my mom’s womb. The God who knows I am terrible at details and hates email. He knows I love the present and will forgo everything for the person sitting right in front of me. He knows the battles that wage within me and the immense amount of grace I need every day. He made me and he knows me . . . and he loves me.

“An awareness of God’s holy love for us, revealed in Jesus Christ, awakens in us a longing for intimate communion – to know the love of the Father and to participate in the life and ministry of Christ.”

Worship, Community & The Triune God of Grace


Jesus offers us unlimited love and grace not once—but for all eternity—as we dwell in union with God.

“‘Baptize me! I will submit to the verdict of guilty for them!’ Jesus identified himself with sinners, that he might take their place as their substitute under the judgement of God. So he marched to the cross to be baptized for us – to be ‘circumcised for us’ on the cross, once and for all, one for all, the one on behalf of the many, the many in the one. In this way, his death was our death, his burial our burial, his resurrection our resurrection – his baptism for us our baptism. If baptism sets for the love of the Father, it is grounded in the substitution of the Son.”

Worship, Community & The Triune God of Grace


God also graciously reminded me, one is refined through suffering and then able to share grace and mercy more fully to others. I am not one who seeks suffering. I am not eager to suffer. I was not eager to have food allergies so I could understand those who do. I was not eager to have been bedridden for months to have compassion for those who have. Yet . . . the grace and mercy now residing in me is changing how I understand the sacrifice Christ made for us to take on humanity and die for my sin.

“So, at the Lord’s table we do not merely remember the passion of our Lord as an isolated date from nineteen hundred years ago. Rather, we remember it in such a way that we know by the grace of God we are the people for whom our Savior died and rose again, we are the people whose sins Jesus confessed on the cross, we are the people with who God has made a new covenant in the blood of Christ, we are the Israel of God to who God has said, ‘I will be your God and you shall be my people.’ We, today are the people whose sorrows and cries Jesus bears on his kingly heart as he intercedes for us and constitutes himself the eternal Memorial for all his creatures before God. We are what we are today by the grace of God, because of what God did for us then.”

Worship, Community & The Triune God of Grace


My temptation was to pull away from God. To be overcome by fear and frustration. Yet it is not only Jesus who can relate to my pain, but he is the answer to it.

“Jesus is the one High Priest who, by his one offering of himself for us on the cross, now leads us into the Holy of Holies, the holy presence of the Father, in holy communion.”

Worship, Community & The Triune God of Grace


While in great despair, the Psalmist in Psalms 42-43 writes three times, “Put your hope in God, my Savior and my God.” The Word of God is filled with people who suffered greatly, we can look to them for hope. We can follow the path they laid, and like them, submerge ourselves in the Father’s love as we walk through difficult and heart-breaking times. It is not only Jesus who can relate to my pain but it he who is the answer to it.

Though cancer is not a beast I will fight today, God has seen me fit to walk the road of celiac, a spinal fluid leak, debilitating back pain, and a husband who wrestles with major chemical challenges. One day, another scary monster will show, and it will be a battle I have to fight. Faith is deepened in the joy and the sorrow we walk through with God.

My friends, many of you are suffering. Christ is the answer. Our great high priest and sacrificial lamb sacrificed his life for you. Not to leave us alone on this earth to suffer, but to draw us into relationship, into a perfect and beautiful union with God. Even in our greatest despair or our deepest fears we are kept in union with God. Friends, let's submerge ourselves in the endless love of our Savior and our God.

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