Monday, April 16, 2007

New Life

About 3 weeks ago Bonnie Greuey called me to ask if I would be willing to spend a few days contemplating the meaning of new life then spend a little time jotting those notes down in the form of a sermon. She was in charge of the sunrise service Easter morning and was leaving me with the job of writing something that could be read to our congregation. I told her that I could for sure come up with something and immediately began to ponder what I would say. For those of you that know me or have gotten to know me through my blog you know I'm a girl of many words. Therefore, you'll understand why when I found myself lacking in that department I was shocked. No matter how long I thought and prayed about it the words just wouldn't come. As Friday (the day I said I'd be done) came and went I began to feel the desperation welling within me. What was I going to do...she was counting on me to come up with something. The problem wasn't that I didn't have anything to say on the topic but rather that I had TOO much to say on the topic. I couldn't find a good way to say what I felt needed to be said and so I was struggling. The problem was completely explaining the ways I have changed and found new life since getting here couldn't be summed up in a 3-5 minute talk. The problem was I couldn't figure out what words to use to best describe what was going through my head/heart. I have found a new meaning for new life since arriving in Honduras. I have received new life in a multitude of ways. I've been broken. I've grown. I've changed. Don't you worry deep down inside I'm still me. I'll still laugh at you when you fall down the stairs. (just ask Jen) I'm still the first to crack a joke or be sarcastic when the time comes. AND I'm still your go to girl if you need some craziness in your life. However, there are parts of me that have matured in huge ways. There are places in my heart that are forever changed and imprinted by the life I now am leading here. It was that imprinting that I was trying my best to find the words for. I've included the final product of the sermon that I wrote for those of you that may not have gotten to sit through the sunrise service at my church. As your reading and after I would just challenge you to really sit and contemplate what new life means to you and what you want that new life to look like.

When Bonnie first asked me to write a little something about New Life I can remember thinking “what the heck am I going to say.” I began to simply ponder those 2 simple words. What exactly did it mean to have new life? What must we do to be saved? The answer came to me almost as fast as the question. We must accept the fact that we need to be rescued and admit that we have done wrong and that we do not deserve to live forever with God. We accept the fact that Jesus paid the penalty for us long before we were born. The Bible tells us that if anyone believes in Christ he or she is a new creation — a new child of God. The Holy Spirit gives us new life. It's not just us trying to live a good life on our own strength — it is God living in us, as we allow him. It is a dramatic change, as a new nature begins to be developed within us — a divine nature. We do not live for ourselves, but for Christ. As Christians we WANT to obey God, but because of our weakness, sometimes we disobey. The good news is that God continues to love us, for Jesus' death has paid the penalty of all disobedience. We are forgiven, not condemned, with the wonderful hope of living with God forever and ever in incredible joy and love.
When I became a Christian I stepped onto the path God had set before me. However, as a new Christian I found myself stumbling and sidestepping. Often times my Christian walk looked more like two steps back one step forward. I struggled to find a consistent place with my newfound faith. I had started a new life and was doing what I could to make the best of it. However, that was the problem, I was doing what I could to make the best of it. I didn’t understand the importance of handing my life over to God and letting HIM make the best of it. I wanted to be in control of that new found life. I was thankful for it but wasn’t quite prepared to hand over the reigns that would be guiding all of my days.
The term New Life means so much more to me than it ever did before. I had found new life when I came to know Christ as my Savior but being here is completely different. Not only have I taken on a new life in the spiritual sense but also have taken on a new life as far as my role in life. I now play mom to 10 kiddos who without the orphanage they live in would never know what a mom was supposed to look like. They would never have known what a home was supposed to look like. However, they are not the only ones being changed. I have learned what it means to love another unconditionally. Not simply because I was born into their family or because I’m supposed to but because I choose to. It is a love that comes only from being care giver…from caring more about their well being than you own…from praying nightly about them and what their futures hold….from seeing their hurts and hurting with them….from playing protector of everything from their bad dreams to a nest of ants to the evils of this world. Before leaving for Honduras I never truly understood God’s love for his people. Now I feel that I have a better grip of what that love looks like…it looks like the love of a parent for their child. In fact it looks a lot like the love my parents always had for me. No matter what I did or how bad I messed up they were there to pick me up and attempt to help me find my way. Being here has given me a better appreciation for my parents and a love that runs deeper than ever before. Before coming to Honduras I was living a life for Christ. After coming to Honduras I’ve learned what it meant to live a life of sacrifice for Christ. I made a decision not only to step onto a plane heading to Honduras but also to take a step toward being a true follower of Christ. Each one of those steps took me farther from my family, friends, and comfort of the only life I have ever known. I still miss my heart people and the routine way of life there. However I have found a contentment here that comes only from answering God’s call. I have found a different sort of new life that comes solely from stepping out of the boat and trusting that my God won’t sink below the surface of the water. I can’t find enough words to express the changes that have taken place in my life. Not only would I now stick my hand in a crib to grab a spider that was crawling near my babies I am daily shouldering my cross and walking with my Heavenly Father.

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