Fully Known and Yet Fully Loved: He Calls Me Friend

Guys!  My mind is blown!  Over the past few weeks I have been studying the book of Matthew and today I was reading about the betrayal of Jesus found in chapter 26.  I grew up in the church and have racked up plenty of time hearing and reading about the betrayal of Jesus but I have never paid much attention to the tiny little detail that the Lord pointed me towards during my current reading.

It's one of the things I have come to love most about scripture.  It's living and breathing and it never ceases to reveal the Lord.  Each time we study we learn a little more about our Father's character, about who He is!  It just fills me with so much gratitude and I am so excited to share with you what was revealed to me today!

"Jesus, friend of sinners"  

We've all heard the phrase about a thousand times before but what is it that gives that statement weight?  We know that Jesus ate with tax collectors, mingled with adulterers, and called upon 12 non religious men to aid him in his ministry.  He was and is completely counter culture to the religious standards of the time.  He loved the broken and the weak, the seemingly hard to love.  He challenged the limits of human love and set for us a better example.

Though the above are all great examples of Jesus' love for us there is one thing that makes me feel it a little deeper and it comes from the night that Jesus was betrayed by one of his own.

It begins like this:

"Then he came to the disciples and said to them, 'Are you still sleeping and resting?  See, the time is near.  The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Get up; let's go.  See, my betrayer is near.' While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, suddenly arrived.  A large mob with swords clubs was with him from the chief priests and elders of the people.  His betrayer had given them a sign:  'The man I kiss, he's the one; arrest him.' So immediately he went up to Jesus and said, 'Greetings, Rabbi!' and kissed him."  - Matthew 26:45-49

Now pay attention to how Jesus responds to Judas 

"'Friend," Jesus asked him, 'why have you come?' Then they came up, took hold of Jesus, and arrested him." - Matthew 26:50

This is THE biggest betrayal in all of human history and yet Jesus doesn't respond in anger, he doesn't respond by exclaiming what Judas once was but no longer is.  No, he calls Judas friend, present tense.  

Though anger was absent I can imagine the tone of heartbreak that would have been detectable in his voice as he uttered the word, "friend." Jesus not only experienced physical pain during his crucifixion but every kind of pain laced throughout the human condition.  Contempt, humiliation, loss, and most of all betrayal from someone he loved and trusted.  I don't know about you but I would have drawn the line at betrayal and I probably would have responded to Judas a bit differently.  Even as they dragged me off I can think of a few things that I could have done or said to make Judas feel my anger, to make it really sting.

But thankfully, that's not our Jesus.

Here's the thing about that moment that absolutely fills me with awe and wonder towards our savior.  In that moment he still loved Judas and he loved him until he took his last breath.  It's almost as if in those last words that Jesus spoke to Judas he was pleading with him.  He wanted him to know how loved he was and that the blood that was about to be shed would cover the sin that he had just committed.  He was pleading for Judas to seek repentance and that should he seek it he would be forgiven.

Guys!  I can't even handle it!  This is the highest form of love that our father has for you and I!  That through such betrayal he not only continued on towards the cross but did so by using every last moment to show his agape love for mankind.

If you don't know, Judas' story goes on to have a harrowing end as in his shame and regret he hanged himself.

Though we may not be on the same level as Judas we have all betrayed the Lord in one way or another, I would even go on to say that most of us struggle with sin daily.  And how many of us get so stuck in our shame that we fall deaf to the voice of Jesus?

"Friend, I have covered you."

When we miss his voice we miss our freedom.

There is another man, who on the same night denied Jesus three times.  Peter.  Scripture says that when the rooster crowed Peter realized his betrayal and wept bitterly as he entered into his own shame and remorse.  But Peter's story doesn't end there.  Let's go to Mark 16:5-7.

"When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side; they were alarmed.  'Don't be alarmed,' he told them.  'You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified.  He has risen!  He is not here.  Come and see the place where they laid Him.  But go and tell his disciples and Peter, He is going ahead of you to Galilee; you will see Him there just as he told you.'"

and Peter 

After his resurrection, Jesus paid special attention to Peter because He knew the agony that he had caused himself.  He wanted to ensure that Peter knew that he was loved and that he was forgiven.  I believe with all of my heart that had Judas still been alive Jesus would have called for His disciples and Peter and Judas.

Peter went on to be reconciled with Christ and it's Christ's love that strengthened him to go on to fulfill his calling.

I am so in awe of Jesus' tender attentiveness towards His two disciples.  Both Peter and Judas were fully known in all of their sin yet they both remained fully loved.  You simply cannot escape Christ's love for you but like Peter, you have to choose to receive it.

There's a saying that I absolutely love and it goes something like this:  "There is no pit so deep that God's love is not deeper still."  I believe that it perfectly sums this all up.  There is nothing that you have done that hasn't been covered in crimson.

Receive the sacrifice and stay attentive to His voice, He is calling you, friend.

Easter Basket Goodies: My Favorite Girly Finds!

Easter is just around the corner and I just love getting to put together Easter baskets!  I have already started picking stuff up and Ezrah saw me put plastic Easter eggs in our cart at Target the other day (first mistake is taking my kids with me to shop for surprises) and she has been asking me none stop when we are going to do our egg hunt.  If I am honest, like her, I wish we could do it today!  It's the sweetest thing to watch her search for eggs around the house! 

This year I decided to put together another little gift guide to give you some ideas for your own littles!  Since I have two girls, as always, my picks are pretty girly but who knows, maybe a few Easters from now I will have to throw some boy stuff in the mix!

one // two // three // four // five // six

1.  I don't know what it is about tiny pjs but I love them and if I am honest we have a lot of pajama days in our household so I think it is always fitting to get them as gifts.  I love the bunny and sweet floral print on this pair from Old Navy.  

2.  I found the cutest bunny pouch from Meri Meri (one of my favorite party brands ever!) It's a perfect hideaway for all that Easter candy! 

3.  Lately I have had this obsession with pigs, maybe because they are the perfect shade of millennial pink?  The Land of Nod has the best selection of fun throw pillows and this one, of course, is no exception.  I love the simplicity of it and also the fact that it resembles water color. 

4.  I included these ballet flats from Gap because I though the bow detail was a great way to tie in "bunny ears" without being too literal plus they are just the perfect neutral shoe for Spring.  

5.  I don't know about you but stickers are a big deal in our household.  Ezrah absolutely loves them and it isn't uncommon for me to find them in every nook and cranny of our home.  Sometimes I will even come home from some outing only to notice that I had a sticker stuck somewhere on my clothes.  Since they are so popular I couldn't resist finding some for her Easter basket, she is going to love them! 

6.  If you have been following me and my gift guides for awhile then you will know that I always include a bow and this is what I found this year.  I am obsessed with Wunderkin's new Spring collection using Liberty of London fabrics.  This is their Elliot Oversized Schoolgirl Bow and I just think it is so precious!  I snagged it within the first hour of them releasing it.  With Wunderkin you have to be quick because they sell out so quickly but always be on the lookout because they are really great about restocking regularly.  

Well guys, that's it for my 2018 Easter gift guide!  I hope you enjoyed it and even got some good ideas.  

Wishing you a wonderful Easter celebrating our risen King!

2018 Spring Reading Picks!

Hi everyone!  Spring is just around the corner and where I live there is still snow on the ground.  In fact as I sit here writing there is a flurry of snow coming down, which will probably add another inch.  I don't know about you but one of my favorite ways to get ready for a new season is through reading so, like every year, I have gathered together some books that I think would be perfect for getting in the Spring mood.  Some I have read before and others I am looking forward to reading for the first time, hope you enjoy!

1.  Persuasion by Jane Austen

Spring is always a good fit for Austen and this year I am recommending Persuasion.  I read this a few years ago and really enjoyed it.  The story centers on Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth, a navel officer, who were once engaged to be married.  Anne receives opinion of the engagement from her friend Lady Russell and is ultimately persuaded to end the engagement.  The story picks up eight years later when Anne and Wentworth are reunited.  You get to follow these two character and see how they have both grown over time and how that might affect a future relationship.  This story also delves into family dynamics surrounding wealth and social status that were so prevalent during that time period, which is always really interesting to read about.  It's sweet and charming, as are all of Austen's novels.  Will Anne and Wentworth resume their love?  You will have to read to find out! :)

"There could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison." 

- Jane Austen, Persuasion 

2.  Nevermore:  The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

This book isn't really super springy per se but I don't even care, I will recommend it any day of the year.  Also, I know I am 26 years old but I personally love to read middle grade novels because they are always so magical and imaginative.  I feel like no matter how old you get, you can never have enough of it!  Anyways, this was the first book I read at the beginning of 2018 and I already have the feeling that it will be my favorite of the year, I loved it that much!  It follows 11 year-old Morrigan Crow who is cursed and due to her curse was supposed to die on her 11th birthday.  Instead, before her fate can catch up to her she is whisked away to the city of Nevermoor by a man named Jupiter North.  In order to stay in the magical city Morrigan must join an organization called the Wundrous Society but in order to be selected she must prove herself amongst hundreds of other determined children through a set of four trials.  This book is enchanting, charming, whimsical, and so full of clever wit.  I loved every second of it!  It also gave me huge Harry Potter vibes, which is always a plus!

"The point is -- as far as the Society is concerned -- if you are not honest, and determined, and brave, then it doesn't matter how talented you are." 

-Jessica Townsend, The Trials of Morrigan Crow 

3.  Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Okay this story alone is such a great Spring read because it is so light and fun but I wanted to take this suggestion a bit further and recommend you read the Puffin in Bloom edition, which is fully illustrated by Anna Bond.  It is absolutely stunning and each illustration adds to the already whimsical nature of this novel.  They are bright and colorful, the perfect Springy palette.  It will have you dreaming of reading it in the shade beneath budding branches!  And then you can put it on your coffee table so that you can stare at it every time you pass by.

"Have I gone mad?
I'm afraid so, but let me tell you something, the best people usually are." 

-Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland 

4.  Heidi by Johanna Spyri

This is a book that I haven't read yet but I remember watching the movie when I was younger.  I have been waiting for the perfect time to read it and the Springtime seemed super fitting.  This book follows Heidi who after losing both her parents is sent to live with her grandfather up in the Swiss Mountains.  She is content with her life in the mountains and loves her grandfather dearly but one day her aunt comes to take her away to live in the city.  I assume the remainder of the story centers around Heidi plotting a return to her grandfather and her home.  I am sure it is going to be extremely atmospheric and I can't wait to escape to Switzerland through these pages and experience lush green landscapes carpeted with wildflowers and the gentle breeze of the countryside!

"Heidi looked around with growing delight at the mountain peaks she knew so well and which seemed to greet her like old friends." 

Johanna Spyri, Heidi 

5.  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women is another book that I have yet to read but I think it's high time I read this classic!  It follows four sisters and their family life as their father is away at war.  From what I have read this book actually spans across en entire year but I think it will be a fun refreshing read about love within a family and the bond between sisters!

"Life and love are very precious when both are in full bloom" 

Louisa May Alcott, Little Women 

Well, those are my reading picks for Spring!  Of course I could have added a thousand more but those are just my top five.  Please let me know if you have any other suggestions because I would love to know.  I am literally one of those people who when their husband calls from work and asks, "what are you up to?"  I reply, "oh just reading book reviews!"  I am always looking for new suggestions to put on my list so seriously, don't hesitate!  Also, have you read any of these books?  What are your thoughts?

I hope you all have the best weekend ever and happy reading!