Letter #496: Happy Easter!

Dear Easter weekend,

You are always fun to celebrate, but I think I’m more aware and thankful than I’ve ever been of why we celebrate you. The bunnies, egg hunts and chickens are all great, but today I’m simply grateful for the sacrifice Christ made of His own life on the cross to save sinful people from eternity in hell.

In my 25 years of life, I have never been more thankful my time on earth is temporary. I look around and see brokenness, turmoil and sin. Lots of it. Sure, I see good in the midst of the junk, but the brokenness I see outweighs the good right now. People fail and disappoint us. I screw up and fail and disappoint myself and others. More importantly than others, we don’t live up to the standards God has set out for us. We fail and disappoint Him.

Every failure and disappointment really translates into sin. Christ came to live a perfect life and to become sin in His death. Our sin, my sin, separates me from the holy God. Christ gave everything to be the ultimate sacrifice to give sinners a chance to spend eternity with Him. We must respond. We must acknowledge our sinfulness, our need for a Savior and our desire for forgiveness. We must fully surrender to Christ as King of our lives.

Once this occurs, we are forgiven. We will continue to make mistakes, but those mistakes will be forgiven as well. However, no matter how forgiven we are, it doesn’t change that there is consequence to our sin on earth. Everything we do, every mistake we make, results in something. Sometimes our individual decisions only affect us. Sometimes our entire families. Sometimes an entire group of people. Sometimes more people than we will ever realize.

The Lord grieves our sin. Our sin affects much more than just our small sphere of living. Today, I think I’m more aware of this than ever. My prayer lately has been that my sin, no matter how big or how small, would grieve me the way it grieves the Lord. It is so easy for me to be unaffected by my pride, my idolatry, my callous heart. I want to see all my sin for what it is and allow the Lord to refine me to be more like Him.

I am unbelievably thankful for what you represent. Without Christ’s death and resurrection, we would be hopeless; because of it, we get to be hopeful. I’m equally thankful my time here on earth is temporary, that one day Christ will prevail over Satan for good and sin will be no more. Until then, I will continue to pray and fight against sin taking strongholds in my life.

Thankful to celebrate Christ’s death but more importantly His resurrection,

Sinner saved by the grace of God

Happy Easter to the world’s greatest readers!

Letter #210: Surgery Learning

Dear learning,

At 24, you haven’t stopped happening in my life. I hope you never do. Yesterday, I informed readers of my recent run in with ingrown toenails…I apologize if I grossed anybody out, but from the beginning I promised I would be real on here. Welcome!

That being said, something as significant as receiving anesthetic, spending 40 minutes a day with my feet in salt water to eliminate infection possibilities and being ridiculed in the process, some sort of you had to have occurred. Good news, you did!

The issue with my toes was my nails were growing where they weren’t intended to grow. This picture is a bit disgusting, but it does a great job depicting my lesson learned. My doctor let me keep the pieces of nail he cut out. I had both insides of my big toes operated on, so the nails below are sitting how they were on my feet. If you look closely the inside portions of the nails are what any Joe Schmo would have. Then, the outer parts of the nails are the issue. The left toe was just beginning to be ingrown again, the right toe was infected. It’s gross, but stick with me.

Gross, but seeing these allowed me, and every person who knew about my ingrown toenails that gave me looks of disgust, to understand what was wrong with my feet.

How the heck does a centimeter (if that) chunk of nail cause infection and severe pain? I’ll never understand, but as I was thinking about it I paralleled it to the big picture of life. How many times do I allow my little mistakes to build up and create much bigger issues in my world?

We were created to live in harmony with God. Adam and Eve sinned. Now, we all inherit a sin nature, but God didn’t choose to leave us in our sinful state. God sent His Son, Jesus, to live a perfect life, become our sin on the cross and defeat death, so we may live in harmony with God once again. So, once I accept Christ, I’ll never sin again. Awesome, but absolutely not true. I’m going to fail, sin, mess up, make mistakes. The difference is my sin has been redeemed, and I want to rid myself of the junk in my life that grieves the Lord.

So, how does this blip of theology have anything to do with my feet?! Just like my toenails were growing in places they shouldn’t be, sometimes I let sin fester in my life where it doesn’t need to be. It starts small, and I allow it to grow and remain a stronghold in my life.  I fail to confess my sin, to humble myself and admit I’m wrong. So, it continues to grow where it’s not supposed to be. The longer we allow it to be present, the more painful removing it is…just like my toes. The consequences of our sin are greater the longer we allow it to remain. Our sins are forgiven, but they don’t come without consequence.

As I physically had my ingrown toenails ripped out, I couldn’t help but wonder what sin needs to be ripped out of my life as well.

Finding ways to learn in all aspects of life,

Lifetime learner