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Come and See

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Jesus is risen (Matthew 28:1-10)

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified.He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

 I love that the resurrection of Jesus begins with an invitation for the doubter and the believer alike, for those “afraid yet filled with joy”, for “the ones that worshiped” and the ones that “still doubted” – “Come and See the place where He lay “, said the angel.

Before the commission, was an invitation to partake, to come close, and to experience the resurrection first hand. While His salvation is universal, His invitation is deeply personal – Come and See. There is something movingly hopeful and enticing about this provocation for me, partly because I hear a pledge and a promise: the promise that I won`t leave empty handed and the promise that if I come close, He will show me.

If responded to the invitation He so graciously extends towards us daily, I think our understanding of the resurrection would not become a once a year celebration, but a daily intimation. I feel overwhelmed by the simplicity and depth of this invitation, one that is extended to me, every hour of every day. The invitation however does not end in simple admiration and bewilderment. The invitation prompts a delegation, a commissioning to “go and tell” (v.7). It is the women`s response to the invitation that catapulted them into their assignment. First, the angel invites the women to experience the resurrection of Jesus and then to “go and tell “. This is the kind of invitation that leads us to first gather at the empty tomb and then to ” go and quickly tell the others”. There can’t be commissioning without an invitation because it is the invitation that draws us into His heart first. It is this invitation that brings transformation to every part of who we are. It is this invitation that brings us face to face to a loving Father with a persistent affection.

Sometimes I think we get this backwards. Sometimes we are fueled by the commission more than we are consumed by the invitation to Come and See, to come and experience the fullness of His presence. I don`t want to miss His invitation because I am too busy “doing”. I think the times we are now living in have exposed that reality more than ever. We have exchanged His invitation to commune for the restlessness and agitation of this world. I am not by any means belittling responsibilities, working, school or anything of that sort. What I am simply pointing out, even in my own life, is the constant burden and expectation to perform, to achieve and to do (even if that involves good things). So many of the things that preoccupy our lives are what the author of Ecclesiastes would call “chasing after the wind”. In all honesty, all of those things are indeed meaningless when juxtaposed with His beautiful invitation.

I have identified this ” Come and See – Go and Tell ” pattern on three other occasions in the gospels( there are many more but these three stood out to me today). For instance, Jesus himself extended this invitation to His soon to become disciples in John :

John 1:35-42

The next day John was there again with two of his disciples. When he saw Jesus passing by, he said, “Look, the Lamb of God!” When the two disciples heard him say this, they followed Jesus. Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, “What do you want?” They said, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are you staying?” Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” So they went and saw where he was staying, and they spent that day with him. It was about four in the afternoon. Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard what John had said and who had followed Jesus. The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, “We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ). And he brought him to Jesus.

Do you see the pattern again? Jesus himself is asking His disciples to Come and See. He actually makes an affirmative statement. This indicates an acceptance or approval towards a previously expressed idea. Grammatically, an affirmative statement states a truth (retrieved from https://legalbeagle.com/7413395-affirmative-statement.html). Jesus is affirming the inevitable: those who come will see and those who seek will indeed find (Matthew 7:7). He is assuring his disciples of an obvious outcome produced by their willingness to come – when they Come, they will See.

Notice what Andrew proceeds to do after spending a whole day with Jesus : he finds his brother Simon (soon to become Peter), and tells him of his encounter with the Messiah, bringing him to Christ. Andrew responded to Jesus`s invitation and “found” what He was looking for but that is not where he stopped. He needed to tell his brother about this too.

In another instance, a rejected Samaritan woman who has an unexpected yet profound encounter with Jesus, extends an invitation to her neighbors.

John 4:29 – Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?” What I hear in her statement is a longing for people to come and experience what she had experienced firsthand. And we know that later on in the story, many Samaritans from that town believed firstly because of her testimony and secondly because of their own encounter with Jesus. They too Came and Saw:

John 4:39-42

Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers. They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”

The woman`s testimony was incredibly powerful- it prompted faith and stirred up belief but that wasn`t enough. The woman`s testimony was the beginning of the “come and see for yourself” prompt. It is when “they came to Him” and “heard for themselves” that they “knew that this man really is the Savior of the world”.    

I really believe that at the heart of Jesus` invitation to Come and See is a desire for intimacy.  Mark`s gospel paints this best when he describes Jesus`s process of choosing his disciples. When Jesus picked His twelve disciples, He appointed them “that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach” (Mark 3:14). I don’t think that Jesus` motives when choosing his entourage were stated by Mark in that particular order , by accident.  I think Mark wanted to highlight the heart of Jesus and the purpose of His motivations in the process. He hand-picked His best friends so that they may first and foremost be with Him; secondly, so that they may go out and preach the gospel. This statement does not belittle or underestimate the call to “go and tell”, but it sure serves to reorient and debunk our priorities and preferences.

I am deeply touched and challenged by this simple invitation. It is this very invitation that has transformed my life. It is this very invitation that continues to transform my life. Oh, how I never ever want to trade it for approval, the pressure of achievement, or works. Oh, how I never want to live in the inverse and deception of false religion. 

Come and See– this has been the steady invitation for over 2,000 years; for the doubter and the believer alike, for those “afraid yet filled with joy”, for “the ones that worshiped” and the ones that “still doubted” .

Are you doubting? – Come and See.

Are you afraid? – Come and See.

Are you skeptical? – Come and See.

 Are you weary? –  Come and See.

Are you angry? – Come and See

Are you disappointed? – Come and See

Are you in need of a miracle? – Come and See

Are you confused? – Come and See

Are you anxious? – Come and See

Are you full of faith? – Come and See

The Come and See persuasion is not my own, but maybe we can walk this invitation alongside each other. Whether you believe in Jesus or not, whether you are wrestling with faith or not, I hope you feel the depth of His invitation extended towards you. Whether you take a first step or a step closer towards His empty tomb, I pray that something deeper awakens in you – unquenchable passion, unquestionable love, undeniable peace. I pray that whether you stumble or march towards the rolled away stone, your heart will hear the surest voice calling “Will you Come and See?  “

Good News

Good News

There has been a fanfare of ail wrapped in nuances of brokenness, sickness, heartbreak, rejection in the air. I have been thinking a lot about the nature of this season- for a lot of people, this season is not crowned with pretty dazzles, bright lights and warm filled carols; Christmas is synonymous with pain, betrayal, heartbreak, rejection, burnout, loss, sickness. It seems as though I cannot take a step without feeling the heavy burdens, noticing the silent tears and witnessing the dullness of stories untold; stories buried in sighs and hidden defeat of those around me. I have been pondering what the Good News really means for those of us who are honest enough to embrace our humanity, for those who are willing to pull back the curtain of their souls and let the obscure parts of their stories be unveiled in the Presence of Light Himself. I have been pondering how the sacred melody of the best news ever received might soothe the grieving, troubled, the crippled, the bruised and the disappointed this season.

If you don’t think this message is for you, I would challenge you to stick around because what I am about to say is for everybody- and if not for you right now, maybe later and if not , then for the person beside you who is silently praying for breakthrough.

We hear the phrase” Good News” all the time around Christmas and Easter- we recite the birth of Jesus story generically, perhaps painting it as unremarkable at times and outdated. You might be wondering or thinking “how does the birth of a baby 2000 plus years ago impact my life today? My circumstances? My sickness, my grieving, my hurt and pain, the exhaustion and burnout I am experiencing? How does the birth of Jesus change the narrative of where I am currently finding myself? ” What is this good news anyway?

Luke 2:8-12 says

 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

The Good News came first to the Shepherds living in the fields nearby. Shepherds had an unsavory reputation. Jeremiah cites rabbinic sources that confirm that shepherds were dishonest, thieves at times because they rarely had supervision. They would sometimes be accused of stealing some of the increase of the flock (Wilson, 2019). Shepherds were also not allowed to fulfill a judicial role or be admitted in court as witnesses (Wilson, 2019).  The job of a shepherd was anything but glorious and highly regarded (Wilson, 2019). While there is no suggestion in the text that the shepherds to whom the angels appeared were dishonest, they were certainly part of a despised class.

God chose to share His glory with simple, ordinary, unapplauded people who in many regards found home on the fringe of society. I often wonder why the first receivers of Good News were the poor the same way I wonder why the lowly in spirit, the hungry and the meek are recipients of heaven in a world that accolades the powerful and the potent, the famous and the wealthy. Perhaps Jesus, who had fellowship with the despised and the sinners knew them and wanted them to be on the front seat of the greatest story ever told. Jesus seems to, in every way , time and time again speak the language of the humble, sitting and eating with the unwanted, undervalued, the overlooked and the jilted. We can maybe all relate to feeling that way one way or another because pain does not take sides or pick favorites.

But the Good News is that the time has come- the kingdom of God has come near (Mark 1:15). The Good News is that Hope is birthed amidst brokenness and pain. The Good News is that “the people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine”. The Good News is that “the yoke of slavery will be broken and He will lift the heavy burden from their shoulders “. The Good News is that “a child is born to us, a son is given to us, and the government will reside on his shoulders “. The Good News is that He is  ” Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace and His reign and Peace will never end “. The Good News is that “He will rule with fairness and justice for all eternity “because of the passionate commitment of the Lord of Heavens armies (Isaiah 9:1-7).

Can I be bold enough to say that the Glory of God wraps around darkness? The Glory of God wraps around your pain and circumstances the same way the Spirit hovered over the dark, formless, empty waters at the beginning (Genesis 1:1) and the same way the Glory of God shone around the darkness of the fields the night Jesus was born?

Matthew mentions how there was no room available for Jesus to be born in so Mary gave birth to Jesus in a manger. This isn’t the polished manger we see in Christmas settings. The manger was filled with animals and unpleasant smells and was no home fit for royalty. He was wrapped in simple cloths and laid in a feeding troth. The Jesus story in its historical context is a display of human fragility and divine love; it is a display of God becoming vulnerable, poor and purposefully displaced to unveil the injustice of tyrannical power but also to meet with us right there in our own. Jesus was born in the turmoil of the most cruel, tyrannical, unjust political system (Luke 3). The Good News is that Jesus was born in the mess, though He is orderly. He is born in your mess too which does not mean everything magically goes away but it means that a new narrative is now written, a stamp of glory and purpose is revealed amidst ashes.

This is for me and you– The Good News isn’t for the stable, but for the feeble minded and faint-hearted.

The promises Jesus makes (Matthew 5, Luke 6) are really for the poor, the hungry, and those who weep. The promise is for the burdened who receive rest, for the hungry who are filled, for the grieving who receive comfort and laughter, for the unnoticed and the humble who inherit the earth, for the hated and persecuted who inherit the kingdom of heaven, for the ones who do not grow weary in doing justice who reap a harvest, for the merciful who show compassion in the face of betrayal, for the poor who inherit the kingdom of heaven. The promises are for those who find themselves low, those who are bold in their sensibility of unveiling their bareness, weakness, and need.  The promises are for the weak and the broken- they are for me and for you.

The presence of pain is opportune ground for the King to arrive. The birth of Jesus and its reveal to the shepherds did not make everything else going on in their world disappear- there was a sense of relief and rejoicing for they knew Jesus was a Savior. He was there to rescue them and He is here to rescue you and me again and again. God’s way of rescuing us looks a lot different than what we maybe have hoped for – they wanted a Savior who would overthrow the government but instead the government rested on His shoulders. They had hoped for a Savior who would come militarily, but instead, He fought with compassion and love. He always comes to the rescue; it is who He is and what He does. He has been doing it for a long time and He is way better at it than any of us would ever be.

My heart has been so much more awakened to the pain and ache people around me have been faced with. I have been asking the Lord how those who find themselves in harsh and dire circumstances this season might be impacted by the Good News. The answer was very simple but so powerful – Immanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23). The very presence of Jesus in the midst of pain is the very gift of heaven to me and to you. This season has not necessarily been smooth for me. This season has been filled with questions, deconstruction, broken promises, confusion, and disappointment. In my weakness and failure to understand things, I have been filled with strong awareness, (maybe more than ever) of His goodness, His tangible, real presence. This, my friends, has been good news in my life.

To the sick, the hurt, the ones who lost all hope, to the tired and the weary, to the ones that have been wronged or have wronged, to the ones struggling with depression and anxiety, to the ones who self-harm, to the ones in need, to the ones fighting suicidal thoughts, to the ones that have lost a child or loved ones, to the ones that have been rejected, overlooked and misunderstood and the list goes on and on – the promise and certainty from Isaiah 9 is for you ” For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine “. A light has shone, and it is Immanuel, God with you.

I may not know the depth of your pain and your circumstance or dare to compare my own to yours. But what I am convinced of is that the Good News is for you reading this, regardless of where you find yourself in this season. I pray that the Good News will find you and that Light Himself will wrap around your grief and the shadows of your circumstances. He is kind and good and comes to our rescue. May you let Him be born in your heart, whether messy or polished and like the shepherds rejoice that the glory of the Lord is being revealed in the darkness!

Merry Christmas! You are loved!

Unraveling- Planted Feet

Unraveling- Planted Feet

Hi there! I’m so glad you found yourself here- whether your fingers accidentally slipped over the board or whether you have intentionally clicked on this post- it was not by mistake.  Let me first introduce myself a little bit- my name is Sara and I am first and foremost a follower and lover of Jesus. He has changed my life and I testify to His real, powerful presence. I’m a dreamer and a planner, spontaneous and calculated (weird huh?), wild (maybe not in the way people typically envision this) and careful, sensitive and strong-headed, ambitious, deep and full of life. I also laugh way too much at sometimes not so funny jokes. I love the Bible, flower gardens, flowers (obviously), coffee (classic), good books, chocolate (and just about anything sweet), going on walks. I love writing and exploring depths of my heart and also walking through them with others. Music is something that makes me come alive because it points me to the heart of the Father where I can freely dance and be myself. I am completely undone by the love and grace of Jesus.I am always drawn to adventure and unsatisfied by scratching the surface of things- friendships, concepts, ideas, dreams, you name it. I feel drawn to the depth of it all because that is where I found the richest treasures. I love to challenge my feet to explore new places and ideas; I love to climb impossible peaks and mountains with Him. I love writing and there’s so much more, I could honestly write a book about it.

This isn’t your typical blog post- to be honest I am not sure there’s a magical formula when starting something like this but maybe that’s a good thing.

Why am I starting this? I am not sure, but I felt prompted to. I’ve been afraid for too long, hiding behind the shadows of my own insecurity and comparison when it comes to writing – I have compared myself more than I’d like to admit to everyone else who is a pro at this(and who I really admire btw). I know I do not come close to being a good writer but I love to dance my way across painted pictures of words, images, dreams, thoughts, heartache, doubt,failure, and success- It’s how I process life. Lately, the Lord’s been teaching me to take off the bow-tie of the box I so easily put myself in and let it unravel- the beautiful, the ugly, the unexpected, the mundane, the colorful, the grey, the tears and the laughter- all of it. So maybe this has more to do with being obedient, taking risks and stepping fiercely into foreign land than showing off my writing skills. Maybe this has more to do with letting go of comparison, dueling failure, battling self-doubt , discounting norms and polished thoughts of “being perfect” . And if you’re anything like me, maybe this is giving you a little bit of courage and hope to do something you don’t feel entirely qualified for.

If you care about any of it and want to journey with me through this sometimes simple, sometimes complicated
thing we call “life” then this might be for you. If you love the sound of different dimensions pulverized in scented waves of depth and newness then this might also be for you. Maybe this will encourage somebody out there to do
something they never thought they would do- if this pushes someone over the edge of expectation, causes someone else to sail above their fears, or it nudges another to venture out into uncharted, undiscovered fields – then I’d say this was worth it. My heart for you is that you reach the shore of familiarity and comfort only to abandon security and let yourself be swept over by courageous oceans of novelty. My heart for you is that you will taste the sweet depths of His love and delight, as you let your heart be exposed before Him.  My heart for you is that as you read these words, and take a front seat on witnessing some of my battlefield, you will leave changed by moments of victory in your own life. My heart is that you will feel seen, loved, challenged in your mind and heart and that you will be prompted to explore and wonder in curiosity and courage, until you reach the other side of yourself- a new, unexplored ground.

I want this to be a space for your heart and mind to land when you’re burdened, but also a catapult when you need to be challenged. So bear with me as we begin this new thing together.

You might be wondering why I chose to name the blog “Planted feet” (sounds really weird so bear with me). I asked the Lord to give me a name for a blog if He wanted me to begin one and the first words I heard were “Planted Feet”. I thought it was a little bit lame, but I did not want to offend Him. I soon began asking Him why He chose that name and what He wanted to do with it. He pointed me to Psalm 1 and I did a little digging.

Psalm 1 MSG

You’re a tree replanted
in Eden,

bearing fresh fruit every month,

Never dropping a leaf,

always in blossom.

To plant means to “place or fix in a specified position”.  The word “replant” implies a do-over (something that has to be done again). We were once planted (fixed) in Eden, in the presence of God, in His heart. We were meant to be planted in a state of unbroken intimacy and communion with Him- we chose differently and it costed us greatly. However, the beauty of His love does not stop at promises of a coming Savior- it continues in passionate showers of mercy through the incarnation of Christ. When Jesus came, He facilitated a way for us to be replanted in Eden- in the state of perfect, unbroken communion with Him and that is the most beautiful thing I have ever come to know.

Everything we are and any fruit we bear comes from being planted in Him- if we aren’t planted there, we’ll be placed somewhere else. If you’re anything like me and have put yourself in all the wrong places, you’ll know that the devoid, dry and vacant spots you found yourself in are lifeless. But when I finally stopped searching for water in empty fountains, I found myself at His feet, washed over by His love. And then He started to engrave truth inside my heart as He taught my feet to remain firm and steady, planted on the foundation of WHO HE IS.

It is possible to be in a dry place and blossom- it is possible to be flooded and still bear fresh fruit; it is possible to experience angry wind and raging sea, yet never drop a leaf if you’re planted in Eden because it is a place of life and hope- it’s a place where Love does not run dry and where we discover His original design for us. We were created to be there, we were made for His presence. When we’re planted in His love, in who He says we are we understand our original design and we can begin to live out of a place of purpose- our defense drops, insecurity and fear bow, anxiety faints, depression lifts, doubt runs away because where the Lord is none of those things belong. Eden is the place of intimacy and unbroken communion and WE ALL HAVE ACCESS TO IT- isn’t that amazing?

I continuously go through processes and seasons of grounding myself in Him. I admit I am not perfect at it, but that’s the best part because where my strength ends is where His begins. He’s had and still has to replant me in Him at times by pruning different areas of my life- relationships, desires, passions, dreams. The alignment of my heart with His has brought me all those things I initially desired and more. So when I stand on solid ground, the lies coming at me drop. When I am secure in the place I have in Him, circumstances cannot waver the essence of my being-though they threaten with loud voice. I believe that He is rising up a generation that will be firmly planted in His love, unmoved from His truth.

The Planting Process

We can’t’ be replanted somewhere if the soil of our hearts is not malleable. The replanting process involves “inspecting roots and removing any dead, diseased, broken, or twisted roots” (taken from University of Maryland
“Planting Process”). As painful as this is, it is necessary. Freedom comes at the cost of us dying to ourselves and giving up something we were never meant to be in the first place. But He is patient, kind and gentle and Holy Spirit is the best gardener. I came out of a winter season about a year ago, which was incredibly lonely, painful and discouraging. I can’t tell you enough about how many times I wanted to sit on the sidelines and drop in harsh abandon. I felt tired of pursuing, hoping and worshiping. I felt tired of showing up for battle every day, only to see bruises of defeat as the victory mantle I was not supposed to carry. I doubted His goodness, His grace, His presence in my life. In spite of my doubt and shortcomings, He was working everything for MY GOOD. What I didn’t see is that He held on to me even when I wasn’t faithful. He gave me strength even when I felt too weak to ask for it. So I held on to His promises for me with everything I had .He did bring me back to the shore. I asked Him why I was in the winter season for so long and He said “I was cultivating fertile soil so that the mustard seeds (seeds of faith) can be planted in you”. The winter season was a season of replanting all the things that didn’t belong so that I could freely step into who He wanted me to be, unrestricted by fear. The Lord doesn’t do this because He is mean, but because He loves me and He loves us. And though we don’t see the full picture, He holds the full outcome. And I am so glad that He took me through that season of uprooting and re-positioning things in my life in order to be FREE; Freedom called forth my dreams back to life.

John 15: 9-10 MSG

“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me.
Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain
intimately at home in my love”.

This is the best place I have ever found myself in. His heart is an invitation for us to be at home. And no matter the things I face, His presence is the constant melody that soaks up inequity.

Here it is friends- this is why I chose to name the blog “Planted feet”. I continuously come back the simple truth of be grounding myself in His love, in who He says I am. I am on a journey of discovering more and more of Him and I am not sure I’ll ever arrive to the shore on this side of eternity. But I sure am excited to go deeper with Him, layer after layer.

If we’re planted in Him, we are not restricted- in fact, we’re freer than ever because He does not restrain us, but releases us into adventure with Him. Being planted just means you will never have to be suffocated by fear, paralyzed in hopeless circumstance or unsettled about where you belong- because it is always with Him. You will discover that being replanted in Eden opens up doors you never thought would open up before you. You will find that His love is truly the only thing that satisfies and you will venture heaven-ward, dancing along wavelengths of freedom. Being planted in His love and holding unyielding assurance to who He says I am continues to change me. I hope it changes you too…