Good Friday Reflections

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this,
That caused the Lord of bliss,
To bear the dreadful curse,
For my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing!

To God and to the Lamb, I will sing, I will sing!

To God and to the Lamb, Who is the great “I AM,”
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing!
While millions join the theme, I will sing.
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on!
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on,
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be,
And thro’ eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And thro’ eternity, I’ll sing on.

One of H’s friends was over last night. Because last night was Maundy Thursday, she also went to church with us. (She’d never been before.) She was insanely curious about the Christian faith, and I listened as my father explained the essence of our faith – Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross… for us.

I’ve been raised in church, but listening to this explanation, I realized how cynical/ignorant I’ve managed to become. I was struck by my father’s explanation of our faith, but especially of this Holy Week which we now are in.

Holy Week – Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Easter Sunday. Today, we observed the probable hour that Christ died. As I held the heavy wooden cross in front of the congregation (I’m an acolyte/crucifer.), I thought I’m not sure I could do this. I couldn’t even hold the cross still

without my knees wobbling a little bit. How on earth could I pay for my sins in the horrible manner in which Christ died? How could I even pay for my sins at all?

But the Good News is that I don’t have to, because Jesus already has. Because he loves you, me, and the rest of the world enough to give his life so that we might have a relationship with him. And guess what? He’s alive.

He is alive. As Christians, we observe a period of waiting before the two major holidays in our church calendar – Christmas and Easter. Advent and Holy Week. Because we recognize that the joyous events of both holidays couldn’t have happened without the events beforehand.

So in this time of waiting, observing and remembering, we remember the sacrifice of Christ, and await our observance of His resurrection.

Struggling with Perfection (my story)

farmgirl-0019.jpg
farmgirl-0046.jpg

I love reading my peers’ blogs. It’s so amazing to be able to read the thoughts of girls from so many different walks of life. Lately, I’ve been noticing that several girls, who are completely amazing, have been having difficulties coping with the demand that our culture places upon it’s teenagers.

Let me tell you about my story, in correlation with blogging. It happened during the point in my life while I was battling depression, as well as after that, when I experienced a lack of creative inspiration while trying to find my purpose in life. I felt as if I couldn’t do anything right – as if everyone was so much better than I was. My motivation within music was slowly slipping away, even though I still clung to dreams of being a professional pianist.

People might tell you that blogging will help, or that it won’t help, when you’re experiencing this period of readjustment. I think it depends on your personal needs, and how open you are to your readers. Blogging only created more pressure for me – more pressure to be perfect. Just like society demanded me to be. Many, many posts that I drafted/published at the time I ended up deleting later on.

farmgirl-0065.jpg

After winning the emotional battle, I struggled to find a purpose for my life. What did God what from me? Was I good enough for Him? I buried myself in my academics, using schoolwork to fill the empty place that depression had previously occupied. That spring, I quit piano, banishing any thought of becoming a professional pianist from my mind.

The calling that eventually filled that hole was writing, and later on, photography. I’m not going to say that I was faithful during that time – I most certainly was not. But I do believe God filled that hole in my heart and mind.

Friends (all of you, but especially to younger teens), don’t believe that this transition is the end of the world. It is not. Don’t think that what you want for yourself will not change. It probably will. Don’t let the awkwardness and pain overwhelm you, and drag you down. If you’re not careful, it will. Believe me.

I know it’s hard to deal with the expectation of perfection. Our society places so much emphasis upon being perfect that those who express their pain to others, especially in written form, are often ignored. “Perfection” is only a mask. Don’t wear it, if it’s not you. You’re allowed to be human. Everyone has been through this time of adolescence, whether they care to remember it or not. Don’t let perfection drag you down.

farmgirl-0068.jpg
If you got this far, thank you for reading this. So much. This wasn’t a planned post, but it’s been weighing heavily on my heart for a few weeks now, and I wanted to express it in some way or another.

(photos are absolutely unrelated to the post. still, posts are rather bland without pictures, yes?)

Shrove Tuesday

Today is Shrove Tuesday. Today, we know it in our secular calendar as Mardi Gras.  On the church calendar, this is the last day of Epiphany, the season after Christmas. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, where we remember that we are dust, and to dust we shall return.

farmgirl--2.jpg

Tomorrow also signifies the beginning of Lent, the forty day season of fasting and repentance before the rejoicing of the Easter season. In my family, as in many others, it is tradition to observe Lent by either giving up something and/or adding something to your daily life.

farmgirl--3.jpg

This year, I’m giving up sugar, and will be running every day. Not only will this help me physically, but it will also help me to observe this holy season by denying something in order to commemorate the forty days during which Jesus fasted and resisted Satan in the wilderness.

farmgirl-.jpg

Today is a day of joyfulness. I’ll be heading off to our church’s annual pancake supper tonight, after I complete a monstrosity of homework (not the most joyful thing, but still). I may or may not be eating a bit of sugar today, in anticipation of the next forty days.

Happy Tuesday, my friends! What are you looking forward to this week?