I'd be willing to bet that pretty everyone reading this has at least heard of the movie "The Passion of the Christ." The majority of us have probably seen it.
I know the movie is not a 100% accurate picture of the crucifixion. I doubt any Hollywood portrayal could pull that off. But the movie made one thing clear: He suffered. And we were the reason.
A few years ago I read an excerpt from Lee Strobel's book "The Case for Christ." This was just a few sample chapters pulled together in a little booklet called "The Case for Easter." I'm telling you, that little book completely changed my view of Christ's death. (A couple years later, I was able to read the book in its entirety; I highly recommend this book!) The suffering Jesus went through, before he even encountered the cross, humbled me. It opened my eyes to what my Savior went through to ensure my salvation. It opened up a deeper love and appreciation for that sacrifice.
While the movie and the book were very different in approach, both accomplished something. I see the crucifixion differently than I used to. Whether accurate or not, I see the pictures of a blood-soaked Savior struggling to carry the cross. The cross I deserved. The medical description of what his body went through after that night in Gethsemane, through the brutal flogging, and finally hanging by those Roman spikes through his hands and feet will never leave me.
And I'm glad those words and pictures are embedded in my memory. If He was willing to go through that excruciating agony, to pay my debt, why shouldn't I be uncomfortable with the reminders? And by the way, did you know that the word "excruciating" actually came from the crucifixion? (According to Lee Strobel.) There was no other word to describe the pain those being executed on the cross, that they had to come up with a whole new word. Thus "excruciating" means "of the cross." So, the next time you use that word to describe a pain in your head or a broken bone, you're literally comparing it to Jesus' death on the cross.
I don't claim to live with the knowledge of my Savior's suffering every moment of my life. I, like every other human on the planet, get distracted by life. I get too busy or complacent in my Christian walk. I acknowledge that Jesus died for me, but I don't always stop to reflect on the fact that Jesus DIED for me. I try to slow down sometimes to meditate and remember. Especially this time of year, although I know I should every day.
One thing I strive for is to live with passion. Passion for Christ, for His word. He showed His passion for me when he allowed mortal men to pierce his body and hang it on a slab of wood. The least I can do is try to live my life for Him.
I hope this Easter you will stop and consider, really consider, what this day is about. It's not about the presents that everyone rushes out to buy their kids. It's not about hiding a bunch of eggs. It's not about buying a fussy new outfit to wear to your annual visit to church. And it's certainly not about a goofy bunny hopping around giving out chocolate.
It's about a Savior, a King, a Creator leaving His heavenly kingdom to be wrapped in human flesh. Flesh that experiences hunger, weariness, and pain. A lot of pain. Then that Savior lived in that flesh for 33 years, before laying it down on the cross. For you. For me.
That's what this weekend is about. THAT's what we should be living for. THAT's what we should be passionate about.
May you have a blessed Easter, my friends. But do not be offended if I hope and pray that your holiday be interrupted with images or reminders of a brutal death Someone encountered so that you could live. So that you could be saved. So that you could live free and eternally...
In His Grip!
My sister and I were sitting in my room, discussing where our lives were at that point. I won't deny that some frustration was expressed. We were both single and ready for something to change. And obviously we couldn't snap our fingers and change our single status. But we could change something about ourselves. As the conversation wore on, we both decided that we were done letting our singleness hold us back from new challenges.
So the next question became, what can we do NOW?
If you've ever been a part of our conversations, you know that we bounce back and forth among multiple topics, and always seem to bring it back to the core topic. At some point, we lamented how hard it was to find the kind of clothes we like. You know, typical sister, women chatter. But I finally stopped and looked at Holly and asked, "Then why don't we open our own boutique?"
I could tell the idea had instantly taken root in Holly's mind. We continued to talk about the possibilities and the potential problems. Who were we to think of running our own business??
At this point, I have to pause and explain that a couple of our cousins had recently opened their own shops in our small town. Both were smart, capable women, but as far as I knew, neither had any training or certification in the business world. But their shops had garnered attention and they were enjoying the experience. It's thanks to those two ladies that Holly and I realized that opening our own boutique WAS possible. And we were capable!
From that conversation in my bedroom, things steamrolled. We discussed it with our family, researched, dreamed, planned, and prayed. And then we finally took the plunge, stepped out on faith, and made the announcement to the world. We would soon be the co-owners of Potosi' newest small business, Wish Granted Boutique.
Emily came up with the name. We had gone over lists of potential names, but either they were already taken or they just didn't fit. We liked how our name was represented, and considering that we were going to focus on modest clothing that traditional, conservative women wished for, we thought the concept was fitting.
I know our announcement raised a lot of eyebrows and drew a lot of skepticism. Neither of us are considered to be at the height of fashion. There's no denying we like our comfy, casual clothes. But casual girls like pretty clothes, too, just like the majority of the female population. We sensed a lot of doubt and even more apathy from our friends and family. Fortunately, there were some that showed their support from the very beginning, and continue to do so.
But we pressed on. And we did it. I can't say the road's been easy or even wildly successful at this point. But the experience is one neither of us would have had if we'd not taken the initiative and just did it. I for one, have no regrets, and I know that Holly feels the same.
We learned a lot about ourselves. We developed a stronger relationship with each other. We found out who our friends are. We discovered the joy of having something to offer to the community. We had fun playing with clothes.
And we're not done yet. We have dreams and plans for our little boutique, providing we can keep it up and running, of course! Lol. And even if everything falls flat and it doesn't work out. Again, no regrets. :)
I guess if I had one moral of this story, it would be this: don't wait. Don't wait for things to get better or for that significant other to show up or for a more convenient time. If you have an opportunity, take it now. Pray about it, plan for it, prepare for it, pursue it. Don't stop dreaming!
We love you guys and want to give a shout-out to all those wonderful people who continue to support this endeavor. Thank you! It's because of you that our store has lasted this long. We've made it past our first year mark! And still counting.
God bless you all and may the Lord bless you and keep you...
In His Grip!
Crystal and Holly