March 31, 2015

Letting Go of Lent, and Leaning in to this Brand New Life - aka Easter, and Carrying the Cross...



So I was going to sit down and get all real and honest with y'all and tell you how I sort of let go of Lent this year... --how I blew it and gave up without even noticing, and how the real challenge came once I DID notice because the thing I was 'giving up' for Lent was Negativity, so... you know: Hard.

But then my friend Kim went and already wrote that post so I thought - whew... off the hook, right? 

Yeah, not so much, because lately He has been shelling out grace while calling me to lean in, stretching me thin, and He has been reminding me, once again (again), just what Easter and Lent and this whole Holy week is all really about! 

And it's all about this:




It's all about how we have been given a brand new life... how we have everything to live for, including a future in heaven - and --wait for it: that future starts now!

It starts right now! (or then... whatever. You know what I mean!)  It starts the moment we invite Him in and accept His love.  It starts the second we lean in and find ourselves living eternally, right here on earth.

We are eternal beings... living life right now.  There is no waiting until we get to heaven to start living eternal life. It is a gift that has already been given, and we are called to live it today. 

Which brings me back to Lent and Easter and Leaning in... 
I suppose I could take a positive spin on the whole Negativity Fast and tell you that I lost interest because I wasn't really catching a lot of negative thoughts.  This is true - and this is God because, well... that didn't used to be my natural bent! But it is now. I don't make room for or give in to negative talk very often.  I am not immune, but it is no longer normal for me. So instead of getting all Negative about how I failed Lent, I am choosing to give Him glory and praise for the Positivity, and just let the guilt go.

It's this LEANING IN though, that I really wanted to talk about today. 

It's become a Thing. Everyone is saying it... Lean in to this, and Lean in to that. 

This week, as I am reading through the Gospels slowly, I beg the Spirit to let me read about Easter with fresh eyes. He whispers to me to pay attention to the leaning in. It's then that my eyes fall on Simon of Cyrene and it's just a verse or two, but oh my goodness, how this man Leaned In!

I think it's funny that he is mentioned in Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but John the Beloved leaves him out. Maybe he wasn't there for that... or maybe he, always the one leaning on Jesus' breast, just so wishes it could have been him...

I'm a storyteller (or so I've been told) and this thought is what is capturing my heart, catching my breath, and calling me closer:  
I wonder what Simon caught glimpse of, as he leaned in, bowed down, and took up the Cross with Jesus. I wonder what words of wisdom or words of grace that Jesus may have poured into Simon, as He was pouring out for us?


This is our call, after all: To Lean In. To Bow Down. To Pick up our Cross and Follow Him.

The Gospels tell it like this: Simon was on his way from the fields when the soldiers grabbed him and made him help Jesus carry the Cross, following behind Him.

Jesus was beaten and near death already and as much as the soldiers knew He needed to be crucified --Jesus knew it! It was for the joy set before Him, (read: beyond the Cross) that He endured the Cross. Surely His sheer determination to make it there would be enough to get Him to that Hill, but the soldiers knew nothing of His plan. They knew nothing of the Joy. They knew only of death and violence... they knew only of His bloodied and bleeding body that was human and frail and broken already. So they pulled out a man from the crowds and forced him to help, to come alongside, --and to lift the burden of the beam and the weight of the world for even just a few moments was such a gift.

Surely, Jesus whispered something between ragged breaths and groans of agony as Simon bent down low to take the Cross and carry it for Him. Surely, if nothing else, a gracious Thank you, spoken roughly through raw and swollen flesh.

Oh to partner with the Lord...
  to give the Gift Giver such relief...
    all while possibly unaware.

I want to be like Simon... I want to be willing even if I don't know the why or the how... I want to be stopped in the midst of what I am doing, and partner up with what it is that He is doing... I want to lean in, help shoulder whatever it is that is on His heart and trust that whatever Cross He calls me to carry, as long as I am following Him, I am not carrying it alone! 

This Holy week... this Easter and every Easter and every day in between, I want to lean in and bow down and rise up and boldly go live out this Brand New Life!


After all, Jesus paid for my Brand New Eternal Life and I want Him to get all that He paid for!
     


P.S.  I'm linking up with these lovely writers:

Holly Barrett for #TestimonyTuesday


Angela Parlin for #RaRaLinkUp

Jennifer Dukes Lee for #TellHisStory


Holley Gerth for #CoffeeforYourHeart

Meredith Bernard for #Woman2WomanWednesday

29 comments :

  1. Karrilee, this reminds me of how I want to be and live and learn. Oh, to be in Simon's shoes and walk with our LORD. Oh, to be willing and able to carry the Cross of Jesus. This reminds me that me that when I fuss about carrying my own cross, I have no excuse, do I? NO!!!
    "Oh to partner with the Lord...
    to give the Gift Giver such relief...
    all while possibly unaware."
    Thank you so...visiting from Lisa's.
    Caring through Christ, ~ linda

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    1. Thanks so much, Linda! It's so easy to forget that if we are carrying our cross - we are not shouldering it on our own! He's goes before us, He stands beside us, and He covers us all around! Happy Easter, friend!

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  2. Loved this post friend!! I want to be like Simon too. One of my favorite quotes is "Easter says you can put death in the grave but it won't stay there." Resurrection hope!!! That is what it's all about isn't it?!? Have a blessed Holy Week and Easter!

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    1. Amen, friend! What a great quote! Praying for you this week!

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  3. Beautiful. When we lean into Him our lives are never the same. We are transformed. Great blog!

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    1. Thanks so much, Debbie! I am glad that we were neighbors today! Thanks for stopping by! Happy Easter!

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  4. What an awesome privilege Simon had to carry our Lord's cross! And yet, in His grace and mercy, He offers each of us the same. May we not be afraid to lean in and receive all He has to give. Thanks for the beautiful post and for your lovely comment on Saved by Grace!
    Happy Easter & God bless,
    Laurie

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    1. Amen... may we not be afraid! Thanks so much for stopping by Laurie!
      Happy Easter and Blessings to you, too!

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  5. "I want Him to get all that He paid for..." wow... how rarely, if ever, have I ever thought of it quite like that?! Have I ever had a whole season of not taking His gift for granted? Letting your words settle in over my week as it quickly approaches the cross... and the victory... this Easter. And this pops into my head now, "Because He lives, we live!"
    Fantastic. Happy Easter, and may God bless you bigger than big this week!

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    1. Because He lives... that just really says it all, doesn't it? Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a blessed and happy Easter... may He get all that He paid for!

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  6. "I want to be willing even if I don't know the why or the how... I want to be stopped in the midst of what I am doing, and partner up with what it is that He is doing... I want to lean in, help shoulder whatever it is that is on His heart and trust that whatever Cross He calls me to carry, as long as I am following Him, I am not carrying it alone!" Beautiful words, beautiful heart friend. Thank you for this, and for being you too.

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    1. Thank you so much, sweet friend! I appreciate you so! Happy Easter! Here's to Leaning In!

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  7. Just think how Simon's life changed after that. I wrote about Malchus Moments today. I want to write on Simon Moments now!!!! Awesome post and many amen's, sister! (Just a side note, my grandson's name is Simon!)

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    1. Oh yes - Kindred once again! Loved your post on Malchus Moments as well! So rich... this inheritance that we have!

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  8. Beautiful words, Karrillee. I too hope to read about Easter this week with new eyes! Have a wonderful Easter, Kim (#raralinkup)
    www.kimstewartinspired.com

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Kim!
      Happy Easter!

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  9. Just lovely, friend! I too wonder what words might have passed between Christ and His cross-bearer. I want to be one who is willing to take up my cross and follow, even when I don't know where I'm going. Just knowing I am following His lead should be enough for me.

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    1. Amen, friend! (And thank you for your post, too! It saved me a lot of words! Well - some words, anyway!) ;)

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  10. What beautiful imagery, my friend. And what a beautiful reminder that even though we have crosses to bear, Jesus is right beside us. We do it for HIM, not because of him.

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, my friend! Praying you have a blessed Easter!

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  11. You've made me think about Simon when I never really have before. Life must have changed for him the day he picked up that cross!

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    1. Don't you just love it when something 'new' stands out from Scripture? Thanks so much for stopping by! Hopefully... right? Hopefully his life changed... just like hopefully. ours did too!

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  12. I'm still learning to lean in. I get so wrapped up in the act of trying to tidy up my own issues that I forget there's Someone so much more equipped to do so than me. Just like my stop date for my job... I was so sure that I had to keep going until a certain calendar date and I was getting pretty negative about all the reasons why. And I asked for clarity...reassurance...I leaned in. And what I received was a resounding "now is the time" even though I still just didn't want to believe it myself.

    He does that. Let's me act of my own free will so I can work my way back and hear that soft, gentle voice say "See? Now wasn't that much easier?"

    This is my year for leaning in, friend. Keep those encouraging words coming. So grateful for you!!

    (PS...officially working on hotels. Now that illness has passed and resignation has been submitted. Cuz, you know...those things get in the way) ;)

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    1. Ah yes - freewill... it is such a gift but it can lead us so far away from where we should be going. Luckily - no matter what we choose or where we go - He will never leave us or forsake us... and his soft, gentle voice always does call us back! Ask me about the time I asked Him to punch me in the face... (for real) - instead, he offered something different --better! (and then He pulled back and asked, "Now wasn't that better than being punched in the face?") Yeah... His ways - in the end - are always better! ;)

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  13. It always amazes me how God NEVER fails to meet us in His word with exactly what He needs us to see - even if that means He takes the spotlight off of Himself. I planned to travel this week with Him and He shifted my eyes to the other Simon - Simon Peter and the anguish of his denials. He made me lean in (or perhaps shoved me) toward what it was He needed ME to see RIGHT NOW. His word is alive and it constantly rises up to meet us. Here's to leaning in, bowing down and rising up!!

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    1. So much Amen, my friend! Just so much! xoxo

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  14. The picture you've painted of the bowing down, partnering with Christ, no understanding, but willing... so beautiful, Karrilee. Beautiful. I believe I'll be carrying this with me for a while. Hugs.

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    1. I'm so glad you stopped by! Yes... I'm carrying this with me still! Happy Easter, friend!

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  15. So beautiful my friend. I'm leaning on His everlasting arms. Blessings!

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Thanks so much for stopping by! I always love to hear your thoughts! Remember to: Speak Life - Be Love - Shine On!
~Karrilee~

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