Easter thoughts and seashells.

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1970818_10152090714022513_2497417626409315654_nHow deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection
(Phillips, Craig & Dean)

I love Easter. I love everything it means for us as followers of Jesus Christ.

Easter means that death has no hold on us anymore. Christ took our sins and mistakes onto himself and paid the punishment for them. The punishment was death, and he took our place.

That has special significance this Easter. Mom is celebrating it in heaven because of Jesus’ sacrifice for her, and we will be together with her someday- in God’s very presence- because of that same sacrifice.

______________________________________

Easter weekend 2014 was full of new Navajo traditions. Movie night with boot-legged copies of “The Bible” and popcorn from Wal-Mart, breakfast casserole baking with Navajo friends and Story Night.

Easter weekend this year was a road-trip to Florida with my dad to look into the possibility of him relocating here sometime next year. We have had a full weekend, and he has found the area he really wants to move to eventually. We had fun looking though various communities and homes together and I’m not complaining about all this sunshine(!!!)

Easter morning 2014 began with a “sunrise service” at Rough Rock friends that didn’t start until 8:30, which left me watching the sunrise with just God and Casper by my side. The picture above is from that morning.

This Easter, we watched the sun set at mom’s favorite beach, Bean Point.

sunsetIt was beautiful.

Some of my favorite memories of my mom are at the beach. Growing up, we spent nearly every Thanksgiving break at Sanibel Island in Florida. We spent hours and hours hunting for shells. My favorites were called shark eyes. Mom’s favorite shells were called lettered olives. She liked them because they had beautiful markings and if you found a perfect one, their surface was shiny- like glass. Just before I left for Arizona, we went to Hilton Head and she and I took long, long walks each morning looking for shells and laughing at pelican dives.

I’d never been to Bean Point, a beach on Anna Maria Island, but she had told me all about it. She loved the sea grass and the long tree-covered walk back into the beach. Today I got to see it finally and it is beautiful- and it reminded me of her.

I’ve never been one to believe that people who have died spend any time communicating with the living- it seems like they must be incredibly overcome by the joy and beauty of being in the presence of God in heaven. Plus, the Bible says that there is no sadness in heaven- or tears- so how could they look back on all of us still here?

I do think that God sends us little reminders though-to tell us that they are ok- and that He loves us and understands the hurt of  loss.

Tonight we arrived at the beach, plopped our beach chairs in the sand, and I kicked my flip flops off and headed to the waters edge. Just as I put my toes into the ocean, a little wave washed an absolutely perfect lettered olive shell over my toes.

photo copy

*smile*

Dad and I will be here until Friday. We are staying with my parent’s good friends, the Harrises, and while dad golfs with friends and family during the day, it’s back to work for me! Intern travel arrangements and questions are on my agenda (although I have a beautiful table on a sunny porch picked out to work at!) It is such a blessing to be able to work from here this week!

Please pray for us to have safe travels (traffic is INSANE here!), for dad to make the right decisions about where to live in the coming years, and for my support to continue to come in.

Please pray for our interns as they raise the funds they need for this summer and pull together all of the paperwork they need to turn in beforehand.

Please pray for the youth groups all over Eastern and Central Europe that are planning camp outreaches for this summer. These camps are incredibly effective at reaching young people with the good news, and HOPE of Jesus, and there is a lot of planning to make them happen effectively. Everyone is kicking into high gear, and it is such an exciting time of year!

Thank you dear friends, for your prayers, encouragement, and support. Sometimes I feel like I am literally being held upright and propelled forward by God- through the fervent prayers of people like you all.

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

JV  signiture

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