I Need a Resurrection

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I need a remembrance.

I need a table in an upper room with bread and a cup sitting as a centerpiece. Where I can leave the parts that have been taken and broken and betrayed — the parts where wounds bleed and bitterness grows — under the table at my feet.

Where I can bless the wounds and break the bitterness and give thanks for it all and do it in remembrance of Him.

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I need a ruin.

I need a cross high up on a hill with salvation pooling below. Where I can leave the parts of me that have been beaten and flogged and accused in its shadow. Where I can be saved not just from sin but from myself.

Where I can receive the forgiveness He offers me, and offer forgiveness of my own, in remembrance of Him.

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I need a resting place.

I need a tomb in the cleft of a rock where shelter and protection hide me. Where I can shed the blankets of isolation and loneliness that have become too heavy for me outside the door. Where I can receive living water and not just sour wine and be truly quenched.

Where I can wrap up the broken pieces and prepare them for burial, laying them to rest in remembrance of Him.

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I need a renewal.

I need a stone that’s rolled away and old rags folded and left behind. Where I am new in mind and spirit and body and soul, and I can walk out healed. Where thirst has no hold on me, and where isolation and brokenness and loneliness have no more victory.

Where I can roll away the stone that seems impossible to move and emerge free, showing my scars as a remembrance of Him.

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What I need is a resurrection.

I just desperately need Jesus. I need to let walls I’ve erected crumble and let Him to take these gray ashes and flickering embers and create something beautiful out of them, as only He can. I need the table and the cross and the tomb and the stone in a way I haven’t before. I need His body and His blood and His prayers and His forgiveness in an entirely new way.

I need a resurrection.

So today, I lay down my garments of distrust and cynicism and frustration and I wave my open palms and I welcome Him in. I shout Hosanna because blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord, bringing faith and hope and love. I pray I remain close to the vine and not deny Him or betray Him. I pray I remain steadfast and faithful, and on that third day I will be among the first to see that He has risen just as He said He would, and that through my tears I will see Him, as if it were the first time.

I need a resurrection.

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Building, Burning and Killing

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It’s hard to move on sometimes.

Leaving behind yesterday in order to be present today and embrace tomorrow is hard work. Focused work. Diligent work. It requires great risk to let go of what is good in order to leave room for what is great.

It’s risky, because what if there’s no there there? What if what is there isn’t all that great after all? What if I really miss what was good?

And there can be pain involved — sometimes heartache, oftentimes fleshache and fear. Always fear.

And there’s a fine line, is there not, between remembering the past and moving on? Like, Abraham and Moses built altars of remembrance to acknowledge God’s handiwork — and to remember and honor that is good.

But where is the distinction between looking back and building an altar, and looking back and turning into a pillar of salt?

I struggle knowing the difference sometimes. Knowing when I’m supposed to not look back and when I’m supposed to remember. There seems to be a blurry line that differentiates the two chasms.

And I think the blurry line is called yearning.

When I look at Abraham and Jacob and Moses, and all the others in the Bible who built altars, they did so out of a desire to remember what God did in the midst of their crawling season. To acknowledge His divine handiwork and protection. To remember they couldn’t do it without Him.

And then when I look at Lot’s wife and how she turned into a pillar of salt because she had a desire to hold onto what she had instead of embracing what was to come.

She yearned for yesterday. Longed for it. Wasn’t ready to embrace change.

And it killed her.

Oh how I don’t want to be her.

There’s this little gem of a story in the Bible, hidden near the end of 1 Kings in chapter 19. This story is only three verses long, but those verses have preached thousands and thousands of words to me.

It’s the story of when Elijah finds Elisha, and anoints him as a prophet and his eventual replacement.

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Elijah finds Elisha in the field, working diligently. There’s nothing to suggest that Elijah is unhappy or frustrated — it simply says he’s working 12 pairs of oxen and was with the last pair.

When Elijah wraps his cloak around Elisha, he knew instantly what it meant. He was chosen and anointed to take the mantle of prophet from Elijah, and to follow him.

Elisha’s response is phenomenal to me — he kills the oxen and then takes all the equipment and uses it to make a fire. And he cooks all the oxen — all 24 of them — and celebrates with a feast of the meat.

And then Elisha says goodbye to his family and follows Elijah.

Walks away completely.

Here’s what is so fascinating about Elisha’s story: working in the field was good. Working for his family was good. He was doing exactly what he was supposed to be doing, and working hard at it. He was probably even really happy doing it. He probably had no complaints.

But when the time came for God to call Elisha into something new, he destroyed everything about his old life. He gave himself nothing to come back to, nothing to fall back on. He wanted to be 100%, all in on what God had called him to.

My husband always says that God doesn’t just call us out of anything without calling us in to something.

And that’s what happened to Elisha — God called him out of his field work into his new anointing.

And Elisha was willing to follow God’s leading 100%. By killing everything that represented the old, it gave him the freedom to fully embrace the new. By giving himself nothing to come back to, he had no choice but to give everything he had to his new calling.

There have been times in my life when I’ve killed the oxen and burned the plows — completely let go of what I was doing before God moved me and never looked back.

There have also been times when I’ve built altars to remember God and Who He Is and What He’s Done to honor His work in my life.

But there have also been times when I’ve looked back. When I’ve yearned and wished and dreamed it could be the way it used to be. Times when I’ve resisted the necessary work of transforming and changing — and those are the times I’ve turned myself into murky and confusing pillar of salt, frozen in fear of tomorrow and unable to move forward toward my promised land.

Oh how I don’t want to be her.

When Abraham and Jacob and Moses were done building their altars and remembering, they got up, got going and moved on (Deut 2:24, The Voice). There were places they had to set their feet on and take and claim.

And after Elisha feasted and said his goodbyes to his family, he left and joined Elijah and became his right-hand man, eventually gaining a double-portion of Elijah’s anointing.

Building altars and killing oxen and burning plows frees me up to the transformation God is doing in me. It shows God I’m saying yes to letting the old die so the new can live. It shows Him I’m no longer yearning for what was — when it really wasn’t that great anyway — and am instead yearning for What Can Be.

And even though there might be heartache and fear involved — I’ll be more heartbroken to miss what God might have in store. I’m more fearful of not being obedient than I am of change.

I’d rather be a pillar of burnt yokes than a pillar of salt.

I want nothing to come back to, so that I can give everything I have to God’s next thing. (tweet that)

Oh how I want to be her.

What do you need to build and kill and burn in your life today? Are you ready to get up, get going and move on so you can take claim to your promised land?

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week 8: wrap-up (metamorphosis: embracing a life of becoming)

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Welcome! We’re wrapping up our series on embracing a life of becoming. If you’ve new to this series, I invite you to read the previous weeks if you want to catch up!

Introduction
Week 1 – Birthing, Part 1
Week 2 – Birthing, Part 2
Week 3 – Crawling, Part 1
Week 4 – Crawling, Part 2
Week 5 – Cocooning, Part 1
Week 6 – Cocooning, Part 2
Week 7 – Flying

Transformation is a wholly biblical concept. Not only do we see it played out chapter by chapter, as God’s people experience metamorphosis, but God has also hidden the concept of metamorphosis in multiple places throughout the Bible.

Romans 12:2 says,

“Be transformed from the inside out by renewing your mind.”

The Greek word for transformed is metamorphoo, which means, “change into another form, to transform, to transfigure.

It’s the same word used to describe the transfiguration of Jesus in Matthew 17:2 and Mark 9:2,

“There he was transfigured before them.”

And it’s also the same word used in 2 Corinthians 3:18 when Paul says to the people of Corinth,

“Now all of us, with our faces unveiled, reflect the glory of the Lord as if we are mirrors; and so we are being transformed, metamorphosed, into His same image from one radiance of glory to another, just as the Spirit of the Lord accomplishes it.” (The Voice)

This life we live here on earth — it is divinely designed to transform. To transfigure…change form. As we discussed before, a true and complete metamorphosis happens when all four stages of a butterfly’s life come to pass — birthing, crawling, cocooning, flying.

And the same goes for us.

So what does it mean to change into one with wings…one who is free and can fly?

In 2 Corinthians 3:18 above, the Greek word for image is eikon, which means “an image, a likeness. The image of the Son of God, into which true Christians are transformed, is likeness not only to the heavenly body, but also to the most holy and blessed state of mind, which Christ possesses.” (Emphasis mine)

When we metamorphose, we reflect Jesus. True Christians are transformed into the image of God. But we aren’t just made into His image and don’t just reflect His image — we are transformed into it. And not just into an image of Jesus’ heavenly body, but also to the most holy and blessed state of mind of Christ.

It all ties together? Do you see?

We are transformed by the renewing of our mind; we are transfigured into the likeness of Christ’s most holy and blessed state of mind.

And like 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, it’s a process. It’s from one radiance of glory to another — or as other translations say, “from glory to glory.”

1 Thessalonians 5:23 tells us, “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.”

From one phase into another phase — from one time of metamorphosis into another time. And each time, our wings get bigger and more beautiful until one day we truly fly the freest of all in heaven.

From glory to glory. Through and through. Over and over. Again and again. Rinse and repeat.

Paul tells the Galatians in 4:19, “My dear children, I feel the pains of birth upon me again, and I will continue to labor for you until the Anointed One is formed completely in you.”

The word formed here is morphoo.

Any guesses as to what it’s a synonym of?

Yep — metamorphoo. Metamorphosis. Thayer’s lexicon says that morphoo is: “To form, literally, until a mind and life in complete harmony with the mind and life of Christ shall have been formed in you.”

Our metamorphosis’ — our transformations, again and again, over and over, rinse and repeat — are to bring us to a place of complete harmony with the mind and life of Christ.

And since that harmony cannot be complete until we are in heaven, of course we have to continue to go through times of birthing, crawling, cocooning and flying. Again and again and again. Because to metamorphose is to completely and utterly change form, from one thing to a wholly other thing. And for us — sinful and earthly creatures, transfiguring into the image of Christ requires endless cycles of transformation.

Listen close, friend. You are not alone in experiencing this. It happens to churches and to families and to individuals and to friends. To corporations and schools. It happens everywhere and it’s happening all around you and in you all the time.

The key is to change your perspective — renew your mind — and realize it has to happen.

My friend, when you’re experiencing a season of crawling because a loss of a loved one, stand firm — because cocooning is coming. When you’re crawling through a season of lack of provision, stand firm — because flying is right around the corner. When you’re soaking in a season of birthing, gird yourself — because the crawling and testing will come. And when you’re flying freely on the wind of the spirit, nod knowingly, understanding with the mind of Christ that another cycle of metamorphosis is just around the corner.

Because it has to be.

But do not lose heart and do not give up and do not give in! God is transforming you into the most beautiful image He could ever transform you into — into the likeness of His son’s heavenly body and most holy and blessed mind.

So embrace your life of becoming. Rest and be still and trust The One who has designed this life to be one of transformation.

You’ll soon fly away, freer than ever.

Thank you so much for sticking with me through this long series. My earnest prayer is that somehow God has been able to speak through it to your specific situation to bring you hope and peace. I pray He has been able to give you a sense of anticipation for tomorrow. You are such a blessing to me.

Much love,

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week 7: flying, part 1 (metamorphosis: embracing a life of becoming)

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Welcome! We’re wrapping up our series on embracing a life of becoming. If you’ve new to this series, I invite you to read the previous weeks if you want to catch up!

Introduction
Week 1 – Birthing, Part 1
Week 2 – Birthing, Part 2
Week 3 – Crawling, Part 1
Week 4 – Crawling, Part 2
Week 5 – Cocooning, Part 1
Week 6 – Cocooning, Part 2

We are all too eager to fly, are we not?

We stare at those who are flying with jealousy — wishing we too, could soar freely, letting the wind carry us. And as we watch — jealous and amazed and yearning — we don’t think about the process that brought them to freedom. We don’t think about their birthing and crawling and cocooning phases.

We just assume they’ve always flown — always only known flying — and that we’ll never be as free as them.

And really, we are thisclose to being as free as them. The only difference between us and them is that they chose to fly.

Choosing to emerge from the cocoon is hard. The cocoon felt safe and secure and cozy and warm…and even if it was a cocoon of testing and purifying, there was a sense of safety.

But the cocoon is designed to make us fly. Because that’s when butterflies undergo such a growth that if you surgically remove one wing, the other three will grow larger and it will still. be. able. to. fly.

It’s echoes what Job said — “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.” (Job 13:15)

And coming out of that cocoon — transformed completely — requires everything different from us. It requires standing when we never stood. It requires stretching with limbs we’ve never known. It requires using all things new that were born out of our process…and that feels foreign and unfamiliar and lunky and awkward, to be honest.

And because it’s different from what we’re used to, we avoid it completely.

And we just. never. fly.

While flying is freedom and anticipation, it’s mostly uncomfortable and daunting. It’s an excitement and renewed hope — but it also requires action.

God cannot make us fly. We have to choose to fly all on our own, and trust that we will. (tweet)

And to fly, we have to be the ones to break out of the cocoon. And then we have flap those new wings back and forth and up and down to stretch them out and strengthen them and pump blood to the new bones.

And then, we fly.

The outcome of flying could be very different from what you expect because The One orchestrating our flight has ways that are higher.

And it’s scary and fun and uncomfortable and exhilarating, because we have not been this way before. 

When we allow God to bring us through a metamorphosis, we are free to fly. And that frees us to be and do everything God has planned in advance for us to do. As ones who now fly, we, like birds, are free to:

  • soar high above the earth in the broad expanse of sky (Genesis 1:20)
  • find our footing after the storm (Genesis 8:12)
  • bring food to those in a valley (I Kings 17:6)
  • be known by God (Psalm 50:11)
  • be freed from the net and the trap (Psalm 124:7)
  • be kept safe by the Lord, like Jerusalem (Isaiah 31:5)
  • soar like eagles (Isaiah 40:31)
  • nest in the beautiful cedars (Ezekiel 17:23)
  • not worry about food and drink for ourselves (Matthew 6:26)
  • fly to our place in the desert (cocoon), and are cared for and kept safe from the devil (Rev 12:14)

So we fly in freedom and in purpose, and more — because we more important than the birds (Matthew 10:31). So we fly assuredly and confidently, knowing The One who painted our wings has also painted the skies we fly in. (tweet)

Embracing a life of becoming is to embrace the ebbs and flows of being in process. It’s to recognize what phase of transformation God you’re in, and to settle into it, allowing God to make you a beautiful, flying creature. It’s to stop striving so hard to move on from phase to phase, and to patiently trust that what God is creating is more important than where you are. It’s to recognize the purpose in your phase, and to realize you are not stuck.

It’s to recognize that while you are flying now, you’ll soon be crawling again, too. And to realize that’s not just okay, it’s normal.

Embracing a life of becoming is to flap your wings and take off into the unending sky — and fly.

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week 6: cocooning, part 2 (metamorphosis: embracing a life of becoming)

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Welcome! We’re over halfway through our series on embracing a life of becoming. If you’ve new to this series, I invite you to read the previous weeks if you want to catch up!

Introduction
Week 1 – Birthing, Part 1
Week 2 – Birthing, Part 2
Week 3 – Crawling, Part 1
Week 4 – Crawling, Part 2
Week 5 – Cocooning, Part 1

If you’re anything like me, the majority of your 20s were spent crawling. Mine was a running/crawl — running far, far away from things that were hard toward anything (anything) that felt remotely not hard.

But running is still running. And running away also meant I was running toward, and eventually I smacked face-first into the wall and when I came to, God graciously met me, and it was time to cocoon.

My cocooning started with tip-toeing into the only church I felt remotely comfortable in. I slid into a pew in the back row, under the balcony, always 5-10 minutes late.

On purpose.

And I would cry my eyes out.

Every single week I would convince myself I didn’t need to pack Kleenex and every single week for six months I sat on the back row, under that balcony and almost literally cry my eyes out.

The sweet usher would always look at me with compassion and grace in his eyes but never say a word, for which I was eternally grateful. I knew his prayers covered me, and that was all I needed, because I wasn’t sure words existed that could explain what I was going through. So instead, I just sat and allowed God to wash over me with His presence and His word and His healing.

It was painful, but that good kind of painful. That fixing-up-a-skinned-knee kind of painful…it stings but you know it’s for your good, so you’re able to inhale sharply when needed but you don’t faint. A stitching-together kind of painful. That kind.

I never went on Sunday mornings during this time, or Wednesday nights. And certainly not to the singles group. What I was experiencing was so personal and so isolating that I wasn’t ready to talk about it, or try to figure it out and explain it. I just wanted to sit very, very still in it and just be in it.

And so every Sunday afternoon, I would decide I was okay and didn’t need to go to church, and then at 6:30 I’d realize how desperate I was to get there and I’d climb into my car and get to church late. And I’d slip out early as quietly as I slipped in, so as to avoid any conversation, and just sat very, very still in my cocoon for six months.

I could sense when the cocooning season was coming to a close. There was something different about me — in my soul — although I couldn’t identify it. I simply began to feel restless and bored, yet frightened and uncertain. But the overwhelming feeling was that where I was and what I was doing just wasn’t enough.

And one thing remained — I wasn’t the same anymore and was determined not to crawl back to where I came from.

And then it was time.

And one sunny Sunday morning, I used my new and foreign claws to dig myself out of the cocoon. And I walked up the steps to church and the singles group and used my new straw-like tongue to sip the sweet nectar of community.

I hadn’t expected to find others who were in varying stages of metamorphosis. There were eaters and crawlers and cocooners and flyers — but they were all walking their phases together in one big, beautiful, butterfly garden. They were cheering on the eaters and encouraging the crawlers. Praying and loving on the cocooners and celebrating with the flyers.

It was a heavenly vision — a demonstration to me that the next time I crawled, I didn’t have to do it alone. Others would be there to help me.

The Butterfly Keeper was there, in the middle of it all, welcoming me to the fold with his compassionate eyes and unwavering strength, hand extended and palm up.

And He smiled down on me and whispered,

It’s time for you, little one, to fly.

I’m so excited for next week’s post on Flying. God has given me some beautiful imagery, and I pray you’ll come back next Monday to hear what He has to say. Be blessed this week!

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