rejoice for He is risen!

I had a really cool Easter. 

I started the day with my 3rd ever Easter church service of my life, and it was awesome.  It just felt really energizing and focusing and fantastic. 

I then got to hang with one of my girlies from youth where we mostly played with my camera and she hugged me a lot :).  Love the girls I’ve had an opportunity to get to know through my church’s youth program.  Also, one of the other youth leaders found candy canes on his dresser and brought them to church.  Because, really, what says EASTER more than candy canes?

This was followed by spending some chaotic time in the three year old room, where everything simmered down when they got in for stories and worship.  I had a little buddy who was so adorable through the time we spent in the teaching portion.  He’s three but has just started talking, so he repeats EVERYTHING you say, and decided I was his friend for today.  Three year old cuddles between praise songs are the bestest.

At home while waiting to go to family dinner I did some varieties of running around because the city turned off our water so they could fix something at our neighbours’ place.  Once that calmed down [aka we had showered and acquired a port-a-potty from my grandparents—gotta love being lake people] I read some of the Easter story in the Bible which just felt super awesome. 

"display the bright splendor of your Son, so the Son in turn may show Your bright splendor"

John 17:1

Intermingle this with a lot of praise music, and even the chaos can be really refreshing.  I think that’s kind of a reminder of where I should be ALL THE TIME.  In the chaos, REJOICE.  PRAISE.  SEEK.  And I have to get better at that.

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i only notice Your face, no matter what You’re gonna break my shell

I’m Sorry | Flyleaf

So the day started off sucking.  I woke up to a nosebleed [which like, never happens but has happened twice this winter], both my debit cards and my bus pass were missing, and you know, it was early.  I was pretty much ready to write the day off before it even started.

Starbucks fixed me.  Not only because of the copious amounts of caffeine and sugar it caused me to consume, which did help, and not only because it was delicious, but because out of nowhere, Starbucks messed up both mine and Terina’s drinks which we looked at in confusion as they arrived on the counter:

DSCF7345

That is one heck of a Frappuccino.  Not only that, is that I discovered White Mocha Frappuccinos, which are delicious and I was okay to consume a large amount of white mocha Frapp due to that delicious.  But yes, huge.  Thank goodness for Tiffani sitting beside me helping me with it throughout the service this morning.

The Frappuccino sat under my chair as the service went on and as the service ended awaiting consumption, perhaps awaiting when I would need another cheer-up. 

Our latest series is on tough stuff in general–today was no exception, today delivered, because life can be hard.  They’re services that it’s hard to get through if you have any sort of personal connection to the topic.  Today’s service was especially hard for one of my friends sitting beside me, and it spoke to parts of my past, too, parts that I have overcome with Jesus . . . things that Jesus is working in my friend to overcome.  At times like that, He Loves Us is more impactful than it is on a non-heavy Sunday morning.  I definitely didn’t get through “I don’t have time to maintain these regrets when I think about . . . how He loves us.” without some tears (which happens more often than not.  I mean, how GOOD is that lyric?]

I firmly believe though that tears are outward signs of God working on the inside, outward signs of beginning or continual healing, and that is a really cool thing.  A thing that lead to the end of service, sitting with my arms around the same friend from above and just praying for God to help her feel that He is walking with her through this . . . tears heal.  Love heals.  JESUS heals.

And Starbucks to pick you up again doesn’t hurt . . . prayer being draining is definitely a good thing too.  There is LIGHT in all of this.  But if darkness didn’t exist . . . light wouldn’t matter.  It is amazing how God created such things to complete one another.

The irony is, LIGHT ended up being our unintentional theme in our room today with the three year olds.  I was trying to think up a quote about children [since our Bible verse had already been there a month] for our board.  I got this:

photo (14) The lady at the desk behind me told me I was very creative when I was drawing stars all over it.  I think being creative is a prerequisite for working with three year olds.  So, I guess I’m in the right place.  [See also: I know how to deal with criers and new kids ;).  New kiddo today and it was her family’s first time at our church.  She clung to her mom, I showed them around, she got excited by the trains, and did not care about her mom leaving anymore (though, she did wait for me before going anywhere, but that works, whatever).

Here was our craft:photo (15)

photo (16)

How cute is that?

LIGHT, hugs and high-fives from three year olds and goofy praise songs were exactly what I needed after the service.

(Oh yeah, and my bus pass and one of two debit cards were found)

. . . Cause there’s a light in your eyes, and it tells me that God is on our side.

Light in Your Eyes | Flyleaf

Yahweh, look what You’ve done for me

look what You’ve done for me / Your blood has set me free / Jesus my Lord, look what You’ve done for me / i haven’t been the same / ever since that day i called Your name / Yahweh, Yahweh, look what You’ve done for me

what can i do for You, my Lord? / i want You to know my heart is Yours / it’s not a question of what You can do for me / but what can i do for You my Lord?

up to Your cross I crawl / now i am standing ten feet tall / Jesus my Saviour, look what You’ve done for me / free at last, i’m free / i owe You my life completely / Yahweh, Yahweh, look what You’ve done for me

look what You’ve done // tree 63

So because I was playing with cute three year olds [read: being hugged, being followed, being used for a chair, making endless bathroom trips, reading stories and being ignored until I stopped, etc] I missed service today.  We only had one service, so therefore I missed Tiffani getting baptized, and I missed the epic music [sans Drew.  Still have not been to a Drew-less service, and I assume it will be lower on the awesome-level, albeit still awesome, because that’s just how my church family rolls] that commenced today.  I love my church family so much.  I am starting to feel really, really settled and I am so, so happy.

I missed Look What You’ve Done, He Loves Us [what is this song actually called, anyway? ‘He Loves Us’, ‘How He Loves’ or ‘How He Loves Us’?] and another equally awesome song upstairs in service.  I haven’t been to a legit service in a couple weeks, only playing with adorable three year olds, I really miss it.  Next Sunday, I will do both!

Jesus, look what You’ve done for me.  Brought me from the depths of self-absorption of depression to this.  This abundant, never-ceasing feeling of being ALIVE.  What else can I do, but use my life and my love to praise You?  Use all that You allow me to do in this life as a form of worship to Your never-ending love, Your love that heals, changes, ignites life.  A love I don’t deserve.

What can I do to show You more love . . . to love You more and more as You love me?

kid quotes: "what’s special to you?”

I volunteer with the three year olds during second service at church.  They are awesome and do and say very cute things that are often really touching.

Today, one boy was very gently “taking care of” the dolls.  He took them shopping and just LOVED them.  When I asked him what his baby’s name was, he told me his brother’s name.  When I realized he had two babies in the shopping cart a few minutes later, I went and asked what the baby’s name was again.  He pointed to the other baby and once again told me his brother’s name.  Soon enough, he accumulated four babies [one of which, he pointed out to me “This baby has no eyes!” and so it was that the doll’s eyes had been pried out.  Poor doll.], all of whom were named after his brother.  So, so cute.

Then in small-group time, this happened.

ME: What’s special to you, T?

T: *looks at me and smiles* R!

R” is one of our three year old girls, who is an absolute sweetheart [well, they all are, but she’s little spunky, wide-eyed three-year-old fashionista.]

Terina asked one of the kids what was special to her . . . THIS just makes my heart so, so happy:

“I have this friend . . . he’s a guy.  He’s always there for me.  His name is God.”

Goodness.  Goodness goodness goodness.

These kids and this God . . . make my heart so, so happy.