Today is Good Friday. To some, it’s just another day. To some, it’s Friday, and that means the weekend! To others, it’s a day of tradition, a day everyone else in their family has always set aside, and they have to do the same out of obligation.
To me, it marks the day Someone I know and love beyond comprehension climbed a lonely hill in a far-off land - His back beaten and shredded, His forehead mangled from thorns stuck there - and was nailed to a couple slabs of wood, and hoisted up for all to see.
Many who witnessed this saw only a blasphemer, a man who mocked God with His words, and deserved such a death to slate their blood-lust. Some saw a young Rabbi, a man who had only been speaking peace - if He deserved death, it was not in such a barbaric way. Only a few saw Who He truly was: Jesus, The Man Of Sorrows, the Messiah, the One foretold by the prophets, the One Who would save all mankind. And yet even then, those few still didn’t understand the depth of what Jesus was accomplishing - they saw only that their beloved Friend and Rabbi was being killed for no reason.
Far from that.
What category do WE - those of us who know and believe on the other side of Calvary - fall into? Is Good Friday nothing more than tradition, the only day to remember what Christ did for us? Is it just another day? Or is it a day to set aside in some way, a day to pause and focus on the fact that our Friend, our Rabbi, our Savior, chose to walk that path up to the top of Golgotha, and let His blood pour out for each person who has walked and will walk on this earth?
Take some time today to remember and ponder the obligation-free choice Jesus made on this day. He didn’t NEED to do this. He didn’t HAVE to do this. He simply WANTED to, because of His glorious love for us all, and wanting to save us from the fires we actually deserve.
You know what’s nice?
Getting hugs that last longer than the usual friendly ones.
I’m not talking about anything sappy or romantic or awkward. I’m talking about what I’ve come to refer to as “soul hugs.” They are hugs that encompass everything - feelings, thoughts, unsaid words - all into one long moment of comfort, love, and safety. These are the hugs I cherish because it means that the person hugging me in such a way not only doesn’t want to let me go, but enjoys my company and wants to be around me always because they know ME, the real Joanna inside, and not just the Joanna who says funny things and talks about fantasy stuff and draws a lot.
I thought this kind of love was specifically a family thing, but no, I was proven wrong. These hugs are meaningful from friends as well. Maybe even more so. Again, this is not a post about having romantic feels from long hugs. I’m not talking that kind of love here.
I’m talking about Agape Love, the love that knocks away any darkness and glows like the sun in people’s lives. I’m talking about the love that makes trust and confidentiality all the more important and sacred between friends. I’m talking about the love that is stronger than romance or lust because it is a love from God, and that is holy.
I’ve come to understand agape within the last year and into this one - I’ve always had it, but never knew how to show it until now. Now, with it being reciprocated through the lives of people I’ve strengthened bonds of friendship and family with, I see just how much more important Agape is than any other sort of love. At least it is to me.
I had a conversation with a friend about love, and he made a good point: love doesn’t mean what it’s supposed to mean anymore. It’s been taken out of context far too much. Someone likes something - that’s great; someone loves something - woah there, they REALLY like it. Some likes someone - well it’s a great friendship, and who knows, maybe it’ll go somewhere? Someone loves someone - well, you better either shack up or get married because that’s the only way to go about it otherwise you’ll just get hurt.
I bellow “horse hockey!” I direct your attention, dear reader, to the Love Chapter of the Bible - 1st Corinthians 13. You’ll get ALL the proper instruction there on what love truly means and what it’s supposed to be. Love isn’t just about romance or family; that’s all society knows these days. Love goes beyond the physical and into the realms of spiritual - you know it’s true, real love when you can feel that for yourself. And again, it doesn’t mean you have to be in a romantic relationship to feel that. You can feel an overwhelming love for friends, and if they take it wrong, then they truly don’t understand love. Simple as that.
It’s what I’ve needed in my life - being able to love a person fully without any cause for worry or awkwardness or concern. Because that is how Jesus is; it’s how He lived His life here on earth. He IS Agape, and when you have that love and can show it and share it with others, it’s far more of a benefit to your life in the long run, as well as drawing you closer to the Lord. I’ve experienced this first-hand, and I can profess that it is easily the best and most beneficial thing I’ve had in my life. And with this love surrounding me, I can truly say that I am content. I don’t yearn for romance like I once did - that only came about because of seeing others so happy in such relationships.
Those aren’t the only love relationships, guys. Don’t despair because you don’t have a romantic love. When you can begin to understand the beauty of Agape love as I have, you start realizing what IS important and what you truly need when it comes to love.
My theme today. No reason to complain when God is on my side.
It’s amazing how letting a little sunshine in your eyes in the morning can feel so good after a few dismal days of rain.
I had a rough morning yesterday - I tend to over-think things to the point where I become a mopey slug and feel like crap, but I had two great people on my side the whole time: God and Ben. Talk about teamwork - all the unnecessary fluff was gone instantly, replaced by caring encouragement and loving silliness.
I am blessed beyond measure to have a relationship with such a wonderful God, and also with such a dear heart like my Uncle Ben.
My devotions today were in Lamentations, which seemed odd at first to me (considering the title and the content of the book) until I read the passage in the 3rd chapter (verses 22-26):
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.’ The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”
How wonderful they are indeed. It’s a passage that speaks for itself - no commentary needed. Only meditation.
It’s been a while since I spent a good portion of time in the dark on my knees, pouring out my heart to the Lord on someone’s behalf. That happens when a family member/close friend has been rushed to the hospital, or when someone is in desperate need of spiritual protection.
It’s the latter tonight.
The frustration of the lack of sleep is getting to my Uncle Ben, and Satan is using that against him. He’s under attack, and he is alone physically - that can turn things to Satan’s favor as well. Despite God always being with us, it IS nice to have someone physical to turn to and have near at hand.
Please, brothers and sisters, uplift my Ben tonight, and continue to do so until the doctors can get things fixed for him (they’re taking their dear sweet time, of course). Pray that he will not give into his short temper and become bitter. Pray that he will lift his inner hurts and baggage to the Lord more often. Pray that God will work on his already hurt heart and help him overcome his vast stubbornness.
And pray for me that I won’t overstep my boundaries - I literally have none with Ben, but he is still my elder, and I don’t want to seem disrespectful or pushy in anything I say. Pray that God will speak through me as I uplift this man who has gone through many different hells in his life; pray that I can be that person that holds his hand through the dark times (I’ve done so once, and tonight seems to be another dark time). Pray that I will have the strength to know and understand what to say and when to say - pray that my timing is God’s timing each time.
As I text him now, some of the walls seem to be coming down a bit…
Whatever happens, God is in control, God is good, and His timing is perfect.
The sun’s breaking through
To take back the dark sky
And make everything new
We knew joy was coming
But we just had to wait
And now we sing hallelujah
‘Cause it’s a brand new day
So let’s sing hallelujah
The dark night is gone
Creation is singing
So come join in the song
The Father is calling
To come out and play
So we’ll sing hallelujah
‘Cause it’s a brand new day
It’s a brand new, beautiful day
OK, all you lovely people who follow me (and those of you who don’t but who are reading this), I have a prayer request, and it’s for me. I do my best to not be angsty or selfish in my prayer life, but as you kids well know, sometimes you need to ask for a little more attention from the Lord. And He knows that we do need it now and then.
So here’s the scoop: I don’t have my driver’s license yet. That’s the only thing keeping me from driving on the road; I’ve had my permit before, so actual driving isn’t the problem here. The big thing that scares me is the initial written test.
I’m a perfectionist, and it shines through in a good 90% of what I do in life. In saying that, testing comes as a major frustration for me because I ALWAYS 2nd guess myself, and that’s what costs me in the long run. When I fail on a test, it hits me hard - I feel like the biggest idiot and I get very discouraged. And I don’t want that to happen this time. I don’t want to fail, and keep failing and so get discouraged from taking it ever again. I don’t want to constantly have to rely on others to get from point A to point B. I want to make this further step of independence. I want to succeed.
So I’m asking you, Tumblrites, to pray for me. Pray that this is truly God’s timing, and that means it’s my time. Pray that God will give me wisdom, courage, and peace as I go to do this. Pray that He will open the doors to His mercy and shower me with it in the written and driving tests. Pray that He will banish the fear of the unknown, the what-if’s, and the hesitation. But most importantly, pray that His will shall be done regardless - let my reactions and attitude be a light and testimony to those around me, no matter what the outcome.
Phew, ok. Burden unloaded. Thanks for taking the time to read it!
If the earth could speak
It would sing of our Maker
So how can I not?