It began at a tree

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IMG_1719I often wonder what pre-sin freedom felt like. The complete and total peace of love, community with God, and the joy of simply being. The not worrying about waking up with bed hair or bad breath or crusty eyes because self-consciousness didn’t exist. Swaying to the twisting, twirling dance of truth. Knowing and accepting and saying, “It’s enough. You, God, are enough.”

Did Eve wake up that morning—you know the one where it began—fully rested and meander, naked and unashamed, through Eden’s canopy-lined pathways to discover Adam had prepared a breakfast feast? Did she laugh as Adam juggled figs? Did she put a daisy behind her ear and hum a God-kissed melody? Did she bask in the warmth of the young sun? Were the colors Crayola bright and the sounds Dolby clear?

I wonder how often she passed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Was it shrouded in darkness? Did she even notice it? Or did she so completely and totally trust God that the tree meant nothing and just living with Him, for Him meant everything?

As she pushed her way through the garden of life-giving branches and ran her fingers through their vibrant leaves, did she see the slithering serpent or hear him? Did he frighten her or was she merely curious about him? As he spoke to her, planting sinister seeds of doubt, did he grin?

Did the sin-seed sprout inside her, causing her to see the tree in the middle of the garden differently? Or did her lack of faith and trust transform the way she saw the tree?

Her once harmonious, stable life was thrown off kilter by an inharmonious tree.

Genesis 3 tells us that, to Eve, the tree’s fruit looked delicious. Fruit she had seen every day with no desire to taste. Because God was enough.

But the wild and shrewd serpent whispered poison into her ears and Eve suddenly had a craving for the fruit’s wisdom.

Sin disguised as delicious, wisdom-giving fruit.

Sin began in the middle of a garden. Sin began at a tree.

The tree that meant nothing changed everything.

Years later, God sent us a Savior, One who survived the serpent’s venomous promises and Whose eyes remained focused on a tree. A tree in the shape of a cross. A tree where sin—Eve’s, Adam’s, yours, mine—would be pierced, crushed, beaten, and whipped into Jesus. A tree where He, carrying the full weight of our transgressions, would be hanged, suffer and die. For sin. All sin. Sin that began at a tree.

The reconciliation had to happen where it all began.

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You look just like Him

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My nephew is precious. Every day, he grows, morphs. Sometimes several days will lapse before I see him again, and I am amazed at how much he has changed. Whether it’s a mannerism or a look or even his height.

Could he be any cuter?

Could he be any cuter?

My sister and I are planning his first birthday party. Truthfully, the party is a celebration of survival. The adoption journey has been a tough one for the whole family, but especially for my sister and brother-in-law. You’d never know it, though, by looking into their eyes. They have nothing but love and tenderness for their son. He is a joy and has given them joy.

Any time people see him, they can’t help but smile.

How could you NOT smile when seeing such a beautiful baby?

How could you NOT smile when seeing such a beautiful baby?

People also say how much he looks like my brother-in-law. And he does. Except for the nose. He has my sister’s nose.

I started thinking about how, as Christians, we are adopted, too. Into God’s family.

  • God sent him to buy freedom for us who were slaves to the law, so that he could adopt us as his very own children. Galatians 4:5
  • See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! 1 John 3:1
  • So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.  And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering. Romans 8:15-17

He chose us. He sacrificed for us. And he looks in our eyes and pours out His love, mercy, tenderness, and grace upon us.

My hope is that when people see me in public, they smile and tell me how much I look like my Father. Actually, I hope they don’t see me. I hope they see Him in me. “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).