New rule. Our “Sublime Studio” features are officially going to be posted on a Monday-ish basis…which means they might come on Tuesdays. And this Tuesday, I’m thrilled about our feature because she’s another Charleston girl. Apparently Charleston is the place to be for artists. Kate Mullin is a darling, young emerging artist whose work I recently saw featured on One Kings Lane. Kate’s use of color is spectacular. She brings a modern touch to tradition composition, and now I have yet another artist to track down and meet the next time I’m in Charleston. After viewing her work here, visit Kate on her website at katemullinart.com.
We forget He already knows the end of the story. We forget He wrote it before He breathed that first puff of Life into Adam’s lungs. From Eden, to Sinai, to The Upper Room, and all the way to the cross, not once was there a surprise. God has been revealing His Gospel from the very beginning. We see a corded rope woven throughout history, linking generation to generation, revealing His grace. On this Good Friday, will you settle in with me in two places? First at Mt. Sinai, and second at the Mount of Olives. There’s a treasure to be found in both places.
Oh Peter and all his flaws. I love him for his fire, but no one in scripture makes me cringe quite like Peter. I see myself in his humanness, and I know that’s the point. But through Peter’s life, I can also see God smiling in heaven. I can see a full circle revelation being made that began all the way back with the Israelites on the road leaving Egypt.
Moses came down from Sinai with God’s requirements, with His Law written in stone, and a sacred promise for all the people if they kept His covenant.
“Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
God said “if”. If you obey me fully and keep my covenant. That word “if” terrifies me, and also brings great relief that I was not an Israelite standing at the base of that mountain hearing those words. Though the promise was beautiful, the conditions impossible; and once more we see our great need for the cross. But it’s the response of the Israelites I want us to notice. Their response will be echoed in the hearts of every man at some point in each life lived, and Peter will be no exception. Collectively, between the 19th and 24th chapters of Exodus, the Israelites responded three times promising, “We will do everything the Lord has said.”
Maybe they meant it. Maybe we mean it when we make the same promises. Or maybe it was nothing but pride speaking. Pride has reigned from my lips and actions more times than I care to admit. Regardless of what motivated their response (or ours today), there are three nonnegotiable truths we see here at Sinai: The Israelites promised to keep The Law, God knew they wouldn’t, and He entered into covenant with them anyways.
Now walk up the narrow hallway with me to the Upper Room. Jesus is teaching His men a New Covenant, and this time He will write it on their hearts instead of stone. What a sacred moment! And yet He follows this merciful revelation with a tragic prediction:
“This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ “
And Peter. Fiery, determined, meaning well but falling short, just like you and me, Peter, answers, “Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will.”
“I never will.”
Can you hear the same voice of the Israelites in that response? Can you hear your voice in that response? “I never will Lord!” “I promise I will do all that you have asked!” We all have that same heart as Adam. Each one of us. But please don’t miss the reality that He has always known you wouldn’t be faithful! And that is both tragic and beautiful at the same time. Because He went to the cross anyways, He went to the cross because He has always known we would not be faithful.
Jesus responds to Peter:
“I tell you the truth, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.”
Three times did the Israelites promise to obey God, and He chose to enter into covenant with them anyways, knowing they wouldn’t keep it. Three times did Peter disown his Friend and Redeemer, but Jesus knowing all of it in advance, chose to go to the cross anyways.
He came because He knew it was the only way. He came because we are all like the Israelites, we are all like Peter, and so He willingly stretched out His arms and bled to cover all of it.
Do you remember the promise made back at Sinai? If the Israelites would keep God’s commandments, they would be for Him a treasured possession, a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. What a glorious privilege they had before them. God would have been just to deny them the privilege. And as Peter denied Christ for the third time and heard the rooster crow, God would have been just to also disown him, but instead He came back for His beloved and called him “friend” (John 21:5). What was offered by God at Sinai in the Old Testament, is made possible in the New through Christ. From the same lips of a once denying disciple, God connects the Old with the New:
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
Only Jesus can do that. He made a way for you and me, despite ourselves. This Good Friday is a sobering reality of our own betrayal. We stand alongside Peter in our own sin, traitors. He knew even before the foundations of the earth that we would betray Him, but He came anyways. He came to make you a royal priesthood and a holy nation, a child belonging to Him. So we will endure this Friday and offer up our confessions, because the promise of Sunday is coming. And this girl whose been made holy, is excited to declare the praises of Him who has called her out of darkness and into His wonderful light. Happy Easter. And get ready to shout, “He is risen!” For He has done great things!
I get really excited when I am privileged to introduce you to an artist I have met. Today’s Sublime Studio Feature is the beautiful Cheyenne Trunnell. Cheyenne is an artist in Asheville, North Carolina. I walked into her studio on the recommendation of my dear friend Molly Courcelle, and I fell in love with her heart and her art within seconds. Cheyenne put down her paint brush when I came in, and we talked about everything from paint to kids. She’s an everyday mama like you and me, and she shines brightly for Jesus right where He has placed her. I love that. Everything about her was inspiring to me, and I know you will love her work as well.
Please visit Cheyenne online to see all of her work, as well as to view a beautiful behind the scenes video where she shares both her heart and her gift. You can find her at cheyennetrunnell.com.
Without question, I am the most unorganized human in the history of forever. Especially this time of year. With all the end of the year stuff going on, I fear I have begun a slow unraveling likely to end in hysteria. If you have school age children at home, I know you get it. Ella informed me yesterday, in the most respectful way possible for a child to insult their parent, “Mom, you need a little bit more of ‘The Word’ in you, because some of the stuff you are saying is not very nice.” Needless to say, I proved her right with the words that came flowing from my lips right after that brave observation of hers. It’s true though, I am reaching my limit, and with every passing day I am more and more thankful someone invented formal education. That beautiful, modern day reality that allows you to send your kids there from 8:00-2:30 Monday through Friday. Brilliant I tell you.
But back to being unorganized….I forgot it was picture day for Thomas at preschool. I think what was most disappointing about this lapse in memory, was I had put into place a fail proof safeguard to prevent it from happening. I taped the reminder card to the mirror in my bathroom, the place I always stand at some point every morning before Thomas leaves for school. However on this particular morning, I stayed after at Crossfit to meet with one of the trainers and decide what I need to do about my crippling back that is not healing. That extra 45 minute delay threw off the entire morning routine, I never looked in that mirror, and Thomas went to school looking like this….So then my girlfriend calls from preschool to inform me, “I saw the photographer’s advertisement poster hanging in the hall at preschool, and Thomas’ last year school picture is on the poster.” Great. Now there’s pressure to hold onto to the title, and I sent him to school destined for failure. I’m kidding of course, but not really. Something tells me he’s not going to be the poster child again next year for their company. Easy come, easy go I suppose.
This disorganization has become a pattern for me that I simply must break. My head is just so jumbled up with stuff, and I can’t get it all untangled and organized. Kev says I should make lists, which only causes me to immediately begin hyperventilating. I hate lists. They stress me out and linger over me, and eventually I always end up loosing them. I’m more of a write it down on your hand, or on your Starbuck’s cup, or on a napkin kind of girl. You know what I’m saying? When I was a newly wed, several months into nesting in our small apartment, I decided to throw away every plant in the place because I was too stressed out wondering whether or not I had remembered to water them. True story, I promise. This issue runs deep for me.
Let’s jump back to school again. Another reason I am grateful this week for formal education is my darling Ella is not going to physically survive being in our home for much longer. She must return to school if for no other reason, her own safety. While roller blading this past week (with a broken arm) she fell in the street. Hard. Really hard. I’m going to say it again just so I know you’re tracking with me here…she fell really hard. I was outside and saw her running up our driveway, she was covered (yes covered) in blood and I almost passed out. We still are not completely sure what happened, she can’t remember the details. What we do know is at high speeds, she fell and her knee took most of the impact. Ya’ll, there was exposed bone. I went white, and had to get my breathing under control, but somehow managed to get her to the emergency room. Kevin met me there, and then he turned white also. Between the two of us, we’re worthless. And now, there’s no bending or running for 4-6 weeks. Heaven help us all. She is spending a whole lot of time listening to Mandisa’s “Overcomer” on repeat, and we’re all praying for miraculous, quick healing.
Clearly there’s nothing but drama and chaos around here, but there was a hidden blessing I came to realize this week. My birthday is Monday and for some reason, I have been incorrectly thinking I was turning 38. Aside from all the obvious reasons we’ve just been discussing, I don’t know why I can’t remember how old I am. A few people had recently asked me my age, and “38″ was always my answer. I learned this week I am actually turning 37, and that has oddly been a small, sweet gift to me. I don’t think too much about my age, and I certainly don’t dwell on growing older; but now, all of sudden I kind of feel like I’m getting a “do-over”. I thought I already did 37, but now I get to do it again. And so it seems in this situation, being a day late and a million dollars short, has paid off. Maybe being disorganized isn’t so bad after all. I think next year I’ll turn 37 again, and this time I will not forget Thomas’ school pictures, and Ella will definitely not roller blade in the street with a broken arm.
Have a great weekend.