That first call was from the hospital.
Right about the cracking dawn on Resurrection Sunday, her whispering on the other end of the line.
Two weeks so far. Not that we all aren’t counting or anything. Who knows how many more weeks my sister has in front of her, how many more clattering hospital trays of soggy toast and watery jello and runny eggs?
Takes about 40 weeks to unfurl the plumped soul of a baby. She’s got about 9 more weeks to pass of laying there in the stiffness of a dead woman, not moving, so she can birth a life. Strange, how bed rest can make it sore hard to find the rest of God.
There are five little girls at home (or here. or at my mama’s) who keep counting every day their mama’s laugher’s not with them.
I tell my sister we’re setting the table for her 5 and her good man to join our ridiculous 6 for Resurrection Sunday dinner and I’ve already got the two legs of lamb in the oven. Oh, c’mon, what kids don’t like a platter of leg of lamb?
Our kids straggle in from barn chores, and I’m a banshee telling them to hurry to be in time for church because only amateurs hurry, and yeah, there are days when I am sadly the reigning losing queen of amateur.
“And if you’re ready to go, Levi, clean up your room and then finish up setting the table — 11 kids, 4 adults — 15 place settings.” I’m madly squeezing garlic through a press like a woman desperate to squeeze her life right dry. Pans of roasted potatoes wait patiently for their seasoning by sprinkling. There are pans of patience waiting in the midst of every oven.
Then some kid howls bloody murder.
Like all hell can really just break loose on Resurrection Sunday morning.
Like he’s screaming and there’s this stream of blood draining from his hand and dripping across the plank floor and what in the wounded world?
How in the world do you turn around and go from a call from the hospital to 15 for dinner to clean your room and get ready for church to a bloody mess pooling on the kitchen floor?
“Yeah, we’ve got to go into ER.” The Farmer’s got Levi’s bleeding hand in his. “His finger’s cut about half way through, right there at the tendon.”
“I just . . .” Levi’s choking it out, “I just picked up that helicopter blade on the floor of my room . . .”
“See?” Malakai’s muttering. “Told you that having to clean up your room is dangerous to your health.”
Parental glare-down of younger brother.
Yeah, these are all our monkeys, and yep, definitely our circus.
The Farmer heads east in the pickup truck, toward town and the hospital, Levi hunched over his hand bound up in this towel.
And I head west in the van, toward a little country chapel with the 5 other kids with their vainly smoothed down rooster tails and cock-eyed collars, to sing about the Man who unfolded from the grave bandages and walked out of the death clothes that bound us all.
We’re the last ones in the service, 15 minutes late. Because always.
Because the whole congregation is belting out 10,000 reasons for my heart to find, Bless the Lord Oh My soul, and I dial my sister.
Turn it to speaker phone and raise the worship and the wounded high and she sings with us from a hospital bed and there are tears that taste like salted glory.
I have no idea what verse we’re crescendoing through when Archie Bonsma’s pager sirens in the middle of Diane Goodkey’s piano notes.
And all six-feet-three-inches of Archie Bonsma flings down the aisle, his lanky hand trying to muffle the shrieking pager right out the back door of the chapel.
Everybody glances at each other, hoping no one notices, because Archie Bonsma’s a volunteer fireman.
And somewhere on Resurrection Sunday morning there are flames and a pillar of smoke and a life burning down.
And Archie Bonsma flung out of his 10,000 Reasons to go put a fire out and become someone else’s reason, and my sister’s in my raised hand on speaker phone still, singing from her hospital bed with Diane Goodkey on the piano.
And the Farmer and Levi are sitting in an ER waiting room in town, waiting on a doctor and stitches because we’re gashed open and haemorrhaging a bit here and there is a fire in bones that you can’t put out.
Because we know that whatever stone that’s been trapping, whatever boulder that’s been blocking, whatever rock that’s been locking — we know our God heaves stones because He loves and we know our God tears off grave clothes because He resurrects and we know our God upends to right.
We are the Resurrection People who know that hope can rise from the dead places
and that impossible stones can be rolled back to light
and right now all the sad things are becoming undone.
No matter how the world turns, there’s no turning that stone back now.
We’re the Resurrection People and we won’t live like that stone’s been rolled back. We won’t live like it isn’t the truth: The sad things are all becoming undone now. There’s no turning that stone back now. There’s no turning back now.
What’s been wearing death clothes in a life can get up and walk, what we’ve felt as wounds, by His wounds, are being healed, what’s being burnt to ashes will birth beauty. Ashes are always the papery birth announcement of beauty rising.
Us bound in that sin that’s always been, us with that heartbreak that just won’t take a break, us who feel locked up in these patterns and someone’s thrown away the key — we’re the people who’ve seen that the stone’s been rolled away.
We’re the Resurrection People who push back against the dark of impossible, because we’ve seen the impossible stone’s been pushed back against the dark. We’re the Resurrection People who walk in strong hope because we’ve seen the strong stones moved and Hope come right out to meet us and move us.
We’re the Resurrection people who believe that we can turn back, that people can turn back, that situations can turn around, because we’ve seen that stone’s been rolled back.
Nothing and no one is impossible now
because impossible stones have now been rolled away.
And sure, let the rest of the folks go ahead and pack up their Easter decorations and turn the calendar page over and roll up the banners and swags, but there’s this Resurrection People who aren’t going back to before and we refuse to live like that stone’s been rolled back.
He is alive and He is risen and I’m going to keep that on the chalkboard and keep saying it over the burnt pots and the overflowing sinks and I’m going to keep singing it like a refrain: He is Risen Indeed— because I want Him to be risen in me.
I’m standing there singing on Resurrection morning with a bleeding kid in ER and a preeclampsia sister in the hospital and the sister and the singing are held high in my hand on speaker phone, a broadcast of defiant worship out into a world that feels like it’s burning down and I’m blinking it back:
We’re the Resurrection People and the brave Hosanna is our forever song.
The way we roll — is that the stone’s been rolled away.
I make dinner for 15, and Levi comes home with his swollen hand and stitches and the arm of his father around his shoulder, and Archie Bonsma puts out that fire.
Levi eats his lamb with one hand held over his head to help hush the loud throb.
I text my sister pictures of her girls and she texts me back tears from a hospital bed.
At the end of the Resurrection Sunday, before the real beginning again, the kids and all the cousins gather close and sing it again, 10,000 Reasons, bless the Lord, oh my soul, though we’re pretty sure there are more than 10,000 Reasons, and we’ll be singing them off key and loud for all eternity.
They say that the most hilarious line in the Bible is Pilate speaking about Jesus’ tomb: “Go, make it as secure as you can.”
Good luck with that.
Because the thing is:
We now get to live secure through family messes and wearying trials and bloody places because nothing could secure that tomb.
We can live secure through anything now because nothing could secure that tomb.
And I scrawl it across on a chalkboard on the Monday: The way we roll — is that the stone’s been rolled away.
The sun slants warm across the lawn, across the planked floors, and I go ahead and just leave a stone out on the counter, there by the worn out old cutting boards.
The practice of your faith every day is the practice of resurrection in everything.
And the light keeps lifting the dark right there across the cut up old cutting boards, like a cracking back of the black.
Question for U: We’re the Resurrection people who believe that we can turn back, that people can turn back, that situations can turn around, because we’ve seen that stone’s been rolled back. Let’s be a community and resource to cheer each other on to happier living, loving, and parenting! Jump into the comments and offer hope to another:
What verse, what song, what comfort? What really works for you to practice your faith every day?
Will you join in the conversation here? (Email and RSS Readers — come join the conversation here?)
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I am going to adopt what you scrawled on the board…The way I roll – is that the stone’s been rolled away!! Amen! In my mind I have built altars, Ebenezers to the many, many times that the Lord has showed up in my distress. With each trial that He’s faithfully seen me through, I know with more confidence, that He will see me through the next one. The grace and power that rolled away the stone is mine to have…I just need lay down my pride. I keep focusing on every time He’s held me in the past and it pushes me on through the future. Thank you for a beautiful reminder that we are to live like the people that we are – Resurrection People!
Melanie Vanlaningham says
Ann, Over and over again, I read your words and my heart is strengthened to live with joy and conviction. It seems like I get stuck often in my own struggles and the struggles of many around me (I work in a middle school) and I HAVE TO COME BACK TO TRUTH, the truth that God IS loving, faithful, good, and much bigger than anything I face. I must remember that I cannot see the whole picture but I believe He makes beauty out of the ugly in life. A song that comes to mind is No Matter What by Kerrie Roberts, and my verses are Daniel 3:17-18. Short version- God is able to save us from this fiery furnace- but even if He does not we will not worship any god but Him!! ” I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able, to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.”
Thank you for sharing truth!!
Oh, Melanie! Love your heart, sister! This choked me up…even if not, we will only worship Him! Thanking Jesus for the crazy, unexpected grace of *you* today…
Kris Boydstun says
Oh, Melanie..I too, teach middle school. So often I see the ugly, the sad family situations, the unknown stressors of my students. What a great reminder you have given me, that He makes beauty out of the ugly. I am praying for you, in your position of faith in your school. God IS able to save all from the fiery furnace if they but believe in Him. Thank you for sharing.
Love this devotion! What works for me to practice my faith every day? Devotions like this….the constant reminder of the all powerful, awesome loving God we serve. The one who heals, restores, binds up, makes whole. I want to be a Resurrection person. Always reminded of the sacrifice that was made and the power we have through the precious blood of our Lord and Savior!
yes! I am going to place a stone where I can see it throughout the day and be reminded that we can and will be stone movers. We will help and pray for others. With arms raised high in worship celebrating Happy Day.
Bev – thank you for your beautiful comment! It is EXACTLY what I needed to heard, exactly where I am at today. We had miraculous car trouble yesterday that has left us without until God shows up. I am thankful that we broke down at a beach, with a picnic lunch and family to be with. I thankful for two mothers who provided transportation both home and back out again for ice cream and soccer practice. God has brought be through so many tough situations, especially in the last few months that I too need to reflect on the goodness of the past to help birth my hope in the future. He has risen indeed! That is what I needed to hear and remind myself of as I wait for a miracle. He can provide. He has already provided. Che will provide in amazing ways. So thankful for a safe community to share my heart with. Expectantly waiting —
Tori Denton Realtor® says
Roll like the stone’s been rolled away… I love that! Thank you, Ann… I love listening to acoustic Christian music while the quiet sets in, taking the day’s layers off my heart… life is noisy! Escaping into His Peace is what keeps me up and going… it’s a blanket of comfort… then Praising Him loudly – music – such a gift from our Lord! We are the Resurrection people singing Hosanna in the Highest! Angels truly are all around us… we just need to roll the stone from our eyes so we can see them…. grateful for the reminder dear sister!
Ann Voskamp says
Good, good words here, Tori…thanks for sharing, friend.
Good, good words here, Tori. Thank you for sharing with us, friend…
“I’m no longer a slave to fear – I am a child of God” (Bethel Worship – ‘No Longer Slaves’)
This song is really hitting home tonight, and its simple truth is such a great daily encouragement, so I thought I would share with you ladies!
The bridge says
“You split the sea so I could walk right through it,
My fears are drowned in perfect love.
You rescued me and I will stand and sing
I am a child of God”
What reason do we have to fear?
Our God is almighty and has chosen us to be his children.
Our God is in every situation working out his perfect plans.
What a promise – and what hope we are allowed to live in each and every day!
Bless you all!
Yes, Sophie, yes! Your words, these lyrics — are a glass of cold water and I thank Jesus for you…Perfect love casts out all fear — with you, just leaning hard on His love.
Kim Leech says
Our daily lives can sometimes be messy. That stone was rolled away because He is the God of second chances. That is the gift of the blood that was shed for us. We all are given a second chance and sometimes more chances. We have forgiveness. Forgive ourselves for the messes our lives can bring. I love the song “Come As You Are”. We can all come broken, whole or in need of a second chance for a new beginning. I’m the one needing that new beginning and I’m conflident that every day when I come to the Lord in prayer, he will lead me.
Thank-you, your words per usual set deep. Thank goodness your son is okay and prayers for your sister. You are a true blessing….
Coincidentally I gather and stones randomly in my home without realizing why I am so drawn to them. And like you placed your stone I notice in day to day living the smallest of things are reminders of my Faith. And now that i’m a little bit older and hopefully just a little bit wiser, I have come to realize that I can’t move a mountain and I’m not settled for moving a pebble.
So day to day I have hope, read In(courage), say a prayer for another, look up and be thankful, do what can be to help to make something hopefully better for someone. Just the words “It Is Well With My Soul” quiets me.
Blessings to you and your family,
Beautiful Penny — just to whisper — I prayed for you today. With you, sister…thank you for making your life a gift.
Linda Miltzow says
“Trust in the Lord…with ALL your heart” It’s not the leaning on our own understanding, the looking to self, but giving it all to Him. My whole heart–dinged, bruised, hardened and cracked, broken–letting Him massage it to soften and remold it, smoothing it out and making it tender to accept what He has in store for me this day, this year, this lifetime. Acknowledging, turning my focus to my God and my Savior, makes clear what direction this servant daughter of His should go with a willing and faithful heart. All I need is Him. Hosanna! Christ has risen…He has risen indeed! May the loud “Hosanna”s be my forever song!!! ~~Proverbs 3:5-6
Yes, Linda…Smiling tears. Needed your words right now. You mentor me today and I count you gift, gift, gift. Thank you, Lord…
Sharon Hastings says
Conversations with God about who He says He is, especiallywhen a particular set have anchored me through a past trial, have become my way of practicing my faith every day. One recent favorite is Psalm 40:1-3 and it states: “I waited patiently for the Lord, I cried out to Him and He heard me, He inclined unto me.” This passage was given to me when He resurrected my daughter’s wayward life back toward Him. Just the idea that God leans His ear towards mine when my trouble is over my head…why would He need to lean down to hear me? He says this for me…He lets me know that is just how He rolls…as I consider this and speak my wonder and thanks back to Him my soul is filled, my focus is forward…He is the Beautiful God! He uses this to roll away the stone of lies that all is lost.
Sharon, ah yes, lays this sister right low and I whisper thanks to Jesus for you — we’ll keep pressing on to Him together. Sending you and your daughter love just now…:)
Perfect love has cast out all my fears. Having raised 7 children to love and worship God, then watch them each choose not to walk with Him has almost broken my heart. I have recently heard the Father heart of God say /I love them perfectly therefore do not fear ./ And yeah tho you walk THRU the valley of death fear no evil.
Ann, love this sentence “the practice of your faith every day is the practice of resurrection in every thing.”
Amazing Grace remains my favorite hymn and Forever by Kari Jobe so beautifully worships God’s majesty. He is risen!
And Linda, how I appreciated your words and sentiment.
As I walk through my own valley these days I have been awed by Christ’s Body. Ihave been loved, comforted, fed & prayed over when I didn’t even know I needed it. Ihave been humbled again and again…God’s love is intimate and perfect. Thank-you, Ann, for your faithfulness in sharing every day. I so look forward to reading them.
Ellen Fox says
Oh my….broken and worn over here and yet a flicker of hope because I’m His. Your words speak once more into the dark places of this heart…this life. Your words of truth and grace remind me of His love and I remember a bruised reed, He will not break and a smouldering wick, He will not snuff out.
“Us bound in that sin that’s always been, us with that heartbreak that just won’t take a break, us who feel locked up in these patterns and someone’s thrown away the key”
When I’ve said over the years, “Things can’t get much darker.” ….and they do and I watch all that I’ve poured my heart into come undone and what I’ve loved more than God (the idol of family…yes)… much of this world…shaken but I stand on the bedrock of the tiny mustard seed of His faith-gift to me, Jesus Christ….trying to be the wise man in the parable, yet the sand pours in and I shovel fast, fearing it will cover us all and choke out our life breath and I choke down anxiety in the predawn dark and I know He lives. I fight the fear looming, sometimes overtaking, but greater is He that is in me than He that is in the world and I stand on a promise because I know whom I have believed in and He is faithful. I choose to trust when I do not understand. I choose to believe that hope is in the things not seen…and on this earth, there is not a hope I can see but God…yes, God!!!
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, through the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, thought the mountains tremble at sits swelling…God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns…” Psalm 46:1-3, 5
…and Ann, I wonder when this morning will dawn and will I be in Heaven first??… though I know God’s grace will never run out, I fear the sand in the hour glass is down to the last trickling grains. And the perfectionism in me, the performance idol, the old god that held me in it’s death-grip for most of this life on earth, the one who almost choked the life out of me and all I held dear, rattles. The shackles of sin lie powerless but I can’t seem to live free. Habits die slow and the flesh in this daughter of Eve won’t surrender without a sorry fight and I ache with a Godly sorrow at my own sin. …and why won’t repentance come? Fruit-bearing submission to the God who loves me so. Impotent. Grave clothes shroud my sight.
And your words break in to speak about the impossible…
“We are the Resurrection People Who know that hope can rise from the dead places and that impossible stones can be rolled back to light and right now all the sad things are becoming undone…that situations can turn around, because we’ve seen that stones been rolled back…”
Wow….I want to be a Resurrection Person and join the ranks of whom you speak but there just is not victory…..yet but I guess there’s still a few more grains in the hour-glass and God is still on His throne so I trust in the one who is faithful, whose love is steadfast, and who is long-suffering with his daughter’s and the likes of me.
A stooped and wounded soldier, battle weary yet still in the army….
A sister from long ago years,
Ellen F (from the potatoe town)
D & R Reed says
How this account of being overwhelmed, weary, wounded and wondering when He will show up resonated with me. I know about fighting each day and night for weeks and years. For prayers reduced to groans and tears, gasps for air and chest tightness while desperately reminding yourself that, indeed He has conquered all that is evil, all that is wrong, all that assaults His children. As one of your fellow daughters of God, I beseech you to please turn your eyes toward his- even with your pain, questions, anxiety and overwhelming heart burden. Ask Him to meet you and he will. Ask that he shows himself to you and he will (he wants our total honesty, you know). Ask that he changes your heart to want his will and he will certainly honor that request. The battle has been won.
I found that I needed to let him fight mine- I kept fighting to the best of my ability until I.had.no.more. He brought me to the end of myself so that he could show me his all sufficiency. Then he held me as I watched him work on my behalf. I was in awe and life with him has never been the same since.
One of my favorite quotes is: “God doesn’t always want me to try harder. Sometimes he just wants me to turn sooner towards him.” Renee Swope
Ellen Fox says
Thanks for your encouragement Renee. Bless you for your counsel. I am to the end of myself….waiting on Him to work on my behalf. He’s holding me now. I too….I believe your right – God does not want me to try harder but to turn to Him and….cease striving and know that He is God. Love to you this day.
I think of you and offer prayer before the throne of grace. To the One who accepts our praise and hears our prayers. To the One who won the victory, defeated the grave, rolled away the stone and all our sin.
Stay stooped. He will lift you up, carry you through to taste the victory.
Ellen Fox says
Thanks Rebekah for your prayers at His throne. They do more than we know….immeasurably more….and He hears. “He won the victory, defeated the grave, rolled away the stone and all our sin.” Yes…yes. “Stay stooped.” Simple yet hard. Humbling myself before my Heavenly Father….so imperfectly. So very poor at this. Yet, I will cast my cares on Him for He cares for me. I will trust, Lord show me the way. yield. Moment by moment. One step at a time. Thanks so much for your love.
“And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.” Acts 4:33
Thank you, Ann, for helping me find this promise today!
Reaching over with a warm hug Jeannie…and yes, all is grace…:)
“…because only amateurs hurry, and yeah, there are days when I am sadly the reigning losing queen of amateur.”
Every day, the world screams at us that we are no more than losers in our efforts at “having it all together”…
THEN, when we stop & listen, running to His lap, our Father Abba, Who Has It All Together, gathers us to His Heart and reassures us that we are His, that we are Forgiven, that we are Never Alone.
And so we are free to skip away and play in His Light…
Ali Shepherd says
“Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t heal…
Earth has no sorrow that Heaven can’t heal.”
This year we celebrated passover for the first time. My husband is the pastor of a 6 yr old church plant in rural Ky. We wanted to bless our leadership- those who have been in the trenches with us and sweat and bled and cried with us- who have been brave enough to get in the messy of broken lives and share Christ. So we prepared a pass over meal and met in a literal upper room and wow- what a blessing to be with the body of Christ partaking of the body of Christ. We ate and laughed and spoke and remembered well into the midnight hour. A reminder- Jesus is worth it. All of it. Like you, Ann, I had my own hospital conversations with my mom who is laying in a hospital bed because her blood levels are dropping- they don’t know why. They give her blood only for the levels to drop again. I’m reminded- thank God- there is enough of the blood of Christ for everyone. And we all have struggle and interruptions and stories with scars, but thank God for passover, for reassurection Sunday, and for the body of Christ (people like you and all those who have commented here) to help encourage one another and to remember the stone has been rolled back. Amen!
So beautiful. Thank you.
My prodigal, almost 33 now and in prison, finally came to know Christ. After years and years of prayer, my mom’s prayers and she has been gone a few years, all the family’s prayers for this precious adopted son, my first, he has truly surrendered, while in prison and his countenance has literally changed. Because the stone was rolled away. My mama’s heart has been breaking steady since 2000, now there are tears of joy and a heart healed. Thank you Ann, your writing means so very much to me, every day. God bless you!! ♥
Oh, friend, smiling through many tears here. My heart is with yours — tucked close to our Father, flying on the wings of His grace and prayer! Reaching over with a warm hug just now! Thanks to our God who can and does and will redeem everything… because the stone was rolled away.
Thank you from my heart.
One more thing to any who might read, I am 60 and can truly say the Lord will never fail you. His timing indeed is not ours, but His faithfulness isn’t either, He Never Fails. I couldn’t have children, the Lord gave me two beautiful kids through adoption. When my husband left me for someone else, the Lord was my husband. When it seemed my daughter and I would never be together again, she came to live with me. I had been married for 17 years, and was alone an equal amount of time, wanting to remarry, but either not meeting Godly men, or any that were interested. I asked the Lord to take the desire away, instead, 3 weeks after that request, I met the man I would marry—-my daughter’s husband’s father, lol, how like Him. Eight years of unemployment ensued…..every need was met. We had nothing, but never wanted for food or shelter. When we relocated, the biggest question in our minds was where we would go to church, through a chain of events totally orchestrated by His loving hands, we had it automatically. And now, the one request that was years and years in coming, the most precious request has been answered by His incredible love. Just sayin’. lol 😉
This has been courage-giving for me lately, that he will bring our desires for goodness and faith-filled deeds to fruition. And when I think that he does this by his resurrection power, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead!!! 11 With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. 12 We pray this so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.[a] 2 Thess. 1:11-12
Yes, yes, yes! The same power that raised Jesus from the dead! Thank you for sharing and reminding us of this truth…You are so loved….
Peggy Schoulties Fury says
“When the enemy presses in hard, do not fear, the battle belongs to the Lord. Take courage, my friend, your redemption is near, the battle belongs to the Lord.” I just keep trying to remember that there’s a war going on, and I need to be prepared to stand my ground. Try to remember to keep the singers on the front lines, the way Jehoshaphat did, keep singing. Try to remember what Elisha said, “Those who are with us are more than those who are against us.” Try to keep my eyes open.
And trust in Jesus to catch me when all that trying fails, and when I forget.
Oh, yeah–and I read good blogs at lunchtime, for encouragement. 🙂
Peggy…thank you for taking just a moment to reach out and remind us how the battle really does belong to the Lord — Amen and amen. I humbly count it, *you*, a grace…. eucharisteo, sister.
Elizabeth Ann says
Ann your words have been so helpful to me. Back in October 2014, at 20 weeks into our 4th pregnancy, we found out our boy had a fatal diagnosis of trisomy 18 with other fatal heart defects. We continued on the pregnancy even given our “options”…it was a long 18 weeks always living on the edge that he could die any moment…i remember January 1st posting some of the printables about not praying for the hard thing to go away but God giving us bravery to get through it-we made it to Jan 31st-our little Gideon spent 30 minutes with us before he left our arms for Jesus’ arms-this year the open grave means even more to us all!!! I love the verses from 1 Thesallonians 4:13- 18….so thankful for the hope we have!!!
Elizabeth, your story brought tears to my eyes. I’m so glad you got to meet your Gideon face to face. There’s joy in knowing where he is, and that you will see him again. But there’s still the missing in the now. I’m praying for you today.
Oh, Elizabeth Ann, tears rolling down cheeks. Love Jesus in you. *Thank you.*
Your story humbles and ministers and edifies and points to Christ…our hope. So God takes the trembling hand of a woman in Canada and she holds the hand of a braveheart, and we hold on to each other because He’s holding on to us. You are so loved…
Kris Boydstun says
Ann, I am sitting here weeping for joy at this devotion. It seems like one thing after another these days, financially, that is. As I write, my kitchen in a mess with a leaking sink just discovered. So many others things that I need to repair…and yet He is in control. I am rolling with this new found trouble that He already knew about, is saving me from, making me strong. Thank you for your devotion today. I so needed these thoughts about the 10,000 reasons.
“through it all through it all my eyes are on you… it is well. Far be it for me to not believe…” Bethel- It is Well
This song, encourages my faith.. in the everyday, even during the last few months of some very trying times. When there have been moments of panic, sadness, confusion, fear and anxiety… I am reminded that regardless of the outcomes of the trying times it will be and is well with my soul. This Easter was well with me.. remembering the same power that rolled that stone, lives in me. And that’s miraculous stuff.
Drawing from your well of powerful poetry and prose is a refreshing drink after a hearty feast on the Bread of Life! May you be blessed as you bless Ann!
Sally Wessely says
Yes, that is the way we roll.
Ann, what a beautiful post. How like us is it to want everything to be just right and everything falls apart? It’s what we do in the falling apart times that makes the difference.
My heart is heavy for loved ones right now, whose marriage is on the brink of falling to pieces. Life is going through upheaval in our home as well, because it’s . . . life. Two songs really speak to me. Kari Jobe’s, “I Am Not Alone” and Hillsong’s, “Oceans Deep.” Each speak to me of God’s bigness, and His constant presence with us.
Spending time in Jesus’ word daily strengthens me in my every day walk. He has a way of meeting me, wherever I am, and drawing me closer to Himself. His words tend to speak to where my heart is on a given day.
The reminder that Psalm 18:6 gives me is where I’ve been meditating lately. “In my distress, I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry for help before came into His ears (NASB).” He hears our cries. He answers them. In His way. His timing. How amazing that He hears us.
Ann, as always your words are raw and true. Thank you so very much! May I ask, where did you get the hollowed out stone with its accompanying stone “door”?
Rachel Mitchell says
Pilate said to them, “You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can.”
So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.”..
If only they had believed~Behind the tomb The Way was already Secured~ The Only Way to the Cross was buried inside the tomb, waiting to Rise and Secure the lost with Grace~but they couldn’t see it.
Pilate said, “Don’t you realize I have power to free you or crucify you?” And our Brave Savior remained silent~
Sometimes silence shouts peals of thunder~
The lightening crashed, the earth shook, the thunder rolled and so did the Stone. Nothing could contain Him inside. By the Power of His blood He Arose!
Because He is Risen~He set us Free And because of His Grace~He won’t let us go. And because He is Risen the tomb is no longer sealed but by His Spirit we are Sealed. There’s no other Love like His love.
Ann, what a beautiful journey, beautiful story you took me on this morning! I felt like I was there. Thank you, Amen!
There are so many things around us that help us practice our faith. We just have to do what is not always easy – finding time for Him so that He can use those things to build our faith, to share our faith, to live our faith. Each day I write in my journal those three gifts for the day. They are not always easy. There are hard euchartisteos – how could I possibly find joy in the fact that our son was paralyzed almost six years ago at age 20 – how could I find praise in the financial strain that puts us under – but it is possible. Lives changed by our constant faith in Him – our story – ever so small – making a big difference in His Kingdom. There are your daily devotionals where I scribble down in my journal your thoughts so that I can read and re-read them gleaning knowledge and strength from them. And there are songs – songs like “Come As You Are” and “In Christ Alone” – songs that I listen to from a Christian station in the car and then at home through Pandora and other means. There are Christian sisters and brothers that lift me up on a daily basis through their love and laughter and particularly through their prayers. We are the Resurrection People who get to celebrate the Resurrection every day! Thank you for sharing your journey – your heart – your passion with us! You are a blessing!
Thanks for this Ann! I especially loved your statement:
“We are the Resurrection People who know that hope can rise from the dead places and that impossible stones can be rolled back to light”
Hope that gets me through the day is a piece of poetry I connected with so much I got it tattooed on my forearm in its original Hebrew. It is a permanent reminder that hope is not dead!
Psalm 27: 13 – For I remain confident of this, I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Thanks – no pithy response – just thanks!
Angela Maria Bauer says
Your are my blessing. I wrote this yesterday morning…
for the book One Thousand Gifts. Thank you for Ann. Thank you for her
insights and openness and eloquence. Thank you for her pictures. Thank you for the internet and the printing press that easily bring her words to me”.
Keep blogging. You are a light to me!
I am learning to embrace the wrestling match of wills…mine & His. I am learning to embrace the moment of life I’m in. I’m learning that when I embrace His will and let go of the struggle to get out or change what is then I’m one of the women running to the tomb, afraid, broken & undone who encounters the angel speaking “Fear Not…He is Risen”! At that moment I become one of the women pointing others to the Risen Savior. When I truly embrace His will I find myself in situations I never dreamed I’d be in suddenly I’m a part of His work in the life of those who He sets in my path…I am one of the Ressurection People…what a glorious priveledge!!!
Laura Thomas says
Ann- thank you SO much for these after-Easter thoughts. For me, it’s been such a glorious weekend— the joy of leading worship, drinking in the truth of the cross, basking in the resurrection, watching my youngest get baptized… quite the Easter high! And now to the everyday… I have found the words of Kari Jobe’s song “Forever” so precious this weekend, and the beauty is in the fact that He is glorified FOREVER. He is risen FOREVER. Not just when we especially remember at Easter. Forever. And we can rejoice as God’s Resurrection people every single day 🙂 Blessings to you!
Gracia @ Gracious Offering says
Ann, Thank you for this post. As I was putting away my Easter decor…yes, baskets and bunnies…I looked at my Easter lily next to my blackboard, with the words, “He is Risen!”. I just could not erase it yet! Loved your words that said, ” I want Him to be risen in me.” We have a wandering one in our family and so the other words of encouragement for me were, “We are the Resurrection People who know that hope can rise from the dead places
and that impossible stones can be rolled back to light
and right now all the sad things are becoming undone….
Nothing and no one is impossible now because impossible stones have been rolled away.” Clinging to that thought and making it a prayer today. Thankful for your words this day.
Deena Marie says
I feel a need for resurrection glory today. A chest cold is all I’m suffering at the moment and it seems like such a mountain. Compared to bed rest and houses burning I should not complain.
again, your words, experience and heart are perfect for us amateurs – we will share – we will send hope – we are the resurrection people – we will roll that way 😉
Christine P says
A friend said to me recently that His character is our rock – but this can only be because of Easter. Love the song by Newsong ‘Faithful’ – He is so faithful in the midst of our messes.
Gretchen Mercer says
Real, honest-to-goodness life happens…and I thank you for reminding us! You ask how we remind ourselves. Get down to bare bones…experience losses, life changes you were not expecting, hard decisions that will make life harder on your own family. Forced out of the forest…you WILL see the trees.
You will count every single good thing in your life…every person, every kindness, every single thing in this life that is truly good…and you will recognize that all that is good is GOD.
NEED Him. LEAN on Him. Feel the warmth of Real love from friends, family, community. See HIM in the sunshine and blue skies, in all of nature. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and pliable and willing to let HIM be the one who works everything out.
Know that I am God.”
Live it, breathe it, thank Him for it, over and over and over again.
That is how I do it, Ann. I know from living Real Life that He is far better at planning my path if I will only get out of His way and be grateful for it.
I have been in your sister’s shoes (or bed!). With my middle son I was in the hospital after already being on bedrest at home for many weeks…then admitted….with fear, worry and pain and sorrow and guilt and more guilt. Yes the toddler, middle son many years later and a husband….all with ER visits for stitches. The husband was on Easter with stitches, an infection…oh yeah…it never gets old does it? Ha ha. I can laugh now as some years have passed between these events….11 since the bedrest and guilt. Your story has brought back so many thoughts and remembrances of those times when we must remember….THE STONE WILL NOT BE ROLLED BACK indeed! We are the ones who get to live what your words tell us…what God has been telling us since the foundation of this world and the Plan He made known to us. The stone will roll, it will not roll back and we will roll on with Him in this life…we will walk out of our “tombs” of pain, frustration, sickness, loss, grief, etc. with Him…each day here and forever in eternity.
I hope to encourage your sister. While I was in the hospital…waiting. Endlessly…feeling sad, lonely and guilty for not being with my family at home. Missing my oldest baby, not rocking him or singing his favorite bedtime songs. The Lord brought me to Is. chapter 40 & 41. There are so many promises there. I was fearing the loss of my baby as I had already watched one fly away home to Jesus, and feeling terrible not being there for the one that I had at home. I know those feelings…those tears. It seems like it will never end. It will. All this will be passed and the new life will come forth and it will ALL BE WORTH IT! I know she knows this and you tell her but really, try to set aside those thoughts, fears, worries and take advantage of the hour of prayer (or hours unfortunately as I know how it rolls one to the other over days and days…I watched the Autumn leaves new colors roll over the hills and fade away…watched the frosts come and go…the rains and suns…yes, it is a long wait in a bed…with all the world around you bustling on). Still, the time spend with the Lord was ultimately so fleeting. I did not do so well pinning my mind on Him and trusting…my worry overwhelmed me most times YET! It still was sweet and I wish I had relaxed more and really gleaned all I could from Him. Get her a journal and she should read and pray and write all He will speak to her. All she has prayed over her family and unborn child. it will be a huge treasure for her in the years ahead. I clung to what I had for the weeks that followed in the NICU after my son was born prematurely anyway….despite my worry. *sigh* It’s been 11 years….wonderful blessed adventurous years. All that time of bedrest is gone and forgotten…like it never was. Tell her to hang in there dear sister…your days will pass and soon there will be a precious baby in the chaos and you will long for a quiet rest…and those days will be past!!! 🙂
Shirley Kase says
We can rest secure in anything now! This spoke hope and peace into me. My husband hit the wine a bit much Sunday. I grew up with an alcoholic stepfather and it makes me uneasy feeling. I fought with him last night over it. I apologize d this morning. Knowing I can rest secure even when things feel shaky. This is peaceful. I also burnt the macaroni and cheese on Sunday and undercooked the potatoes (even though just Friday I made same recipe for potatoes perfectly and did the same thing). I felt like we just weren’t good enough to be a Christian family again. But your words speak hope to me. That I can be secure anyways, even as imperfect as we are.
Trisha @ Free Printspiration says
“We are the resurrection people and hosanna is our song!” Love that!
Dear Annpossible! Since December 30, when you posted about praying for the impossible things, the IMPROBABLE, implausible, impractical things, I have made a daily declaration that with God nothing, Nothing, NOTHING is impossible. Your entry today is such a reinforcing encouragement!
“We’re the Resurrection People who push back against the dark of impossible, because we’ve seen the impossible stone’s been pushed back against the dark. We’re the Resurrection People who walk in strong hope because we’ve seen the strong stones moved and Hope come right out to meet us and move us. We’re the Resurrection people who believe that we can turn back, that people can turn back, that situations can turn around, because we’ve seen that stone’s been rolled back. Nothing and no one is impossible now because impossible stones have now been rolled away.”
I am believing God WILL answer my heart’s cry for a love of my own. I’m almost 52 – I have waited, not always patiently, but obediently. I thought, deep in my heart, that it was to be my “Engineer” – he was my “improbable”. If it is not him, and he was only a foreshadowing of God’s very best for me? Then I cannot WAIT to meet him. Would love your prayers for that and I promise to update you when he arrives 😉
Listening to K-LOVE radio online really encourages me and my kids. Especially as they drift off to sleep. the positive words of the songs uplift and comfort.
butterfly momma says
God knows my favorite movie is Cinderella.. all mothers “get” when she sings as she scrubs at the foot of the stairs (not that we have “singing scrubbing” every day, but that we Could)… one day, HE told me “you are My Cinderella, and all that I have is yours”…so, all my scrubbing bubbly days are in the Kingdom now, and yes..”like the stones been rolled away”..beautiful. The song Do Something by Matthew West rang in my heart these last two days…among many others. Having just come out of some “digging deep cuz your next breath depends on it” days.. touched by your blog, Again. Luv, Mrs D.
Tammy Richards says
Ann, I take time each day to meditate on God’s Word and pray. I also listen to praise music to keep my heart focused on Jesus. I love Kari Jobe’s song Forever. Recently, my faith was put to the test when my son was assaulted by a boy from school. My son ended up with hairline fractures on both sides of his jaw and required surgery. We prayed about what we should do and long story short we all agreed (including my son) that we should give this boy a second chance. We are trusting that God will help us find a way to pay for the expenses not covered by insurance and we already know without a doubt that He will. Praying for your sister to have a safe delivery at the proper time and for quick healing for Levi. Thanks for your post! God bless you 🙂
Kari Jobe is superb at leading me into Devine worship!
The hymn TAKE MY LIFE AND LET IT BE.
Take my life and let it be Consecrated Lord to thee! Take my monet and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise. Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of thy love.
Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for thee.
Take my voice and let me sing always only for my king. Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from thee.Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I with-hold.Take my intellect and use every power as though shalt chose.
Take my will and make it thine; it shall be no longer mine. Take my heart it is thine own; it shall be thy royal throne. Take my love my Lord I pour at thy feet it’s treasure store.Take myself and I will be ever only all for thee.
:’) We are all broken and so not perfect and its all o.k. Prayers for your dear sister and her soon to be born.. God’s Mighty Blessing and Strength and Protection around them and You and all of your family.. Thank-you Ann for taking the time amongst all the heavenly chaos to share and inspire and help us grow and grow and grow closer to our Risen Savior. <3 < 3 <3 Hmm Is Levi the same one who put his hand through the fan? :') <3 hugs and healing
Thank you–I needed this today! I am a professional church musician/mom/daughter of a frail elderly parent who kept the plates in the air beautifully last week and tanked after the last guest left on Sunday afternoon. Adrenaline fail. I didn’t get to count blessings last week in the midst of everything. I need to remember that the stone’s been rolled away as I return to choir/office/meetings/hurt and needy people tomorrow—thank you!
“The sad things all becoming undone now”…minutes before reading this post and all the beautiful comments I sat and listened to one of the saddest things I have experienced. My momma heart is hurting. Have you ever had your womb hurt for the child that grew there and now is no longer a boy? In an instant we are forced to say goodbye to what we knew and feel hurled off the faith cliff. If I choose faith I win. And yet winning doesn’t sem enough. Victory isn’t my goal. Just the sadness to go away. This is all less than an hour old, raw, and unedited. After reading all the comments I felt this would be comforting. Thank you for this spot of peace.
I never chime in with a comment, but oh His goodness! Thank you for your authenticity, Ann without an e! This family rolls loud and dirty and late and disorganized and happy and blessed and overwhelmed by His mercy. Bless the Lord, oh my soul. He is risen. He is good. He is faithful, among countless other acts, to bless this messy mom with your poetic written perspective. May your cup overflow, sweet sister.
Stella Whitcombe says
This is one of the best devotionals I have ever read, and definitely the best on Easter. It left me fired up! Encouraged! Motivated! Believing that anything is possible. Thank you for being so real and so passionate. All morning I’ve beenn thinking “the stone has rolled away” and I can’t wait to get down to the beach later to find my own stone so that ‘The practice of MY faith every day is the practice of resurrection in everything!’
Patricia Miller says
I remind myself each day that “I’m not that powerful” because that allows me to let the Lord be the power He must be each day in the lives I’m blessed to touch as the Director of Adoptive Homes. Yesterday was the birth of a lovely child from a beautiful birth mom who loves her child enough to give him to another family for more life than she has at this time. So many tears that I’m”not that powerful” to roll away, yet the Lord will in time. So many hearts and lives renewed yesterday and remaining to be restored over time in ways that only He can mend, “I’m not that powerful,” and He’s that good.
Beth Williams says
This sounds so much like my Easter last year! My dad was in rehab-just got out of hospital. I had all my sisters here and had to miss church. It was a struggle but I keep on singing!
My song is Matthew West’s “Leaving Heaven” from Heart of Christmas. It talks of God leaving the splendor of Heaven to come down into this broken world. As I go through more and more trials I realize that God will see me through. It will get better on the other side! The stone’s been rolled away HE IS RISEN HALLELUJAH!!
I’m watching an Easter Lily open up brave to the world today. She’s daring me to keep on trusting. For our Lord called out to the people to ‘Consider the lilies’. If He takes care of them, how much more does He take care of His children. So Much more.
Oh, the stone, it’s been rolled away. The power of the resurrection—how I want to know it. And with it must come sharing in His sufferings. He does not leave us alone, not matter how weary we become. We only begin to doubt His love because we’ve focused too much on what we think we deserve and not on who He is.
I know what it is to be parted from my children and days turned to months in the hospital. It’s desperately hard. Heart-breaking hard. But God, He continues to pour out grace upon grace. And we keep preaching the stone rolled away. For as the Light cracks the darkness there is our Hope. Glorious Hope cracks into our broken hearts and His grace keeps on healing them and God receives all the glory.
Looking to Jesus,
“We are the Ressurection People who know that hope can rise from the dead places”
“We are the Ressurection People and Hallelujah is our song”
Yes, just that… isn’t that, Good Friday, Jesus who took our place, and walked the road of suffering, who conquered death, who took our sin upon him… who suffered so much yet also rose again from the grave so we can live….
Life really IS a gift, it’s all grace, and that should be reason enough to give Him thanks. To look for the small things, like beautiful clouds, a sunset, green grass, blossom.. because all is a gift, and all is grace.
I don’t know what it is, but every year when we’re in the Lent season, and Good Friday is here and Easter… it hits me even more than just on an “ordinairy” day, and I’m feeling humbled, feeling small, left speechless when I’m reminded what He did for us, for me, because He loves me.
Thanks Ann, for the reminder once again, that all is grace, and we have EVERY reason to give thanks to Him, because He deserves all of our praise (and even more).
Singing a 1970’s version of Habakkuk 3:17-18 in the most difficult of life’s experience is always a reminder that I can choose to trust the Lord, regardless of the view from ‘here’:
“17 Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls:
18 Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation.”
Lindy Davison says
One of my favorites:
“You will go out in joy
And be led forth in peace;
The mountains and hills
Will burst into sing before you,
And all the trees of the field
Will clap their hands.
Your post made me cry because it was so beautiful, honest and real. This is how we truly share the love of Christ. Not just as a healed body but by sharing our brokenness and our true selves. Letting people know that our lives aren’t perfect but we have a loving Father who gives us peace and rest through all of our circumstances. Bless you and your beautiful family!
“Good luck with that.” Love that line. Pilate, nothing, NO ONE could have kept that stone in place!!!
What a friend we have in you, Ann, and, as the song reminds us, “what a friend we have in Jesus,” our Holy Brother, who brings our woes, our cares, our gratitudes to our Heavenly Father, with words and sighs and groanings provided by the Holy Spirit who lives and works within us. “Hallelujah, hallelujah, revive us again!”
My simple song, “lord prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true!
With thanksgiving, I’ll be a living, sanctuary, for you.”