Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A New Birth

My blog silence has been rather inexcusable of late. Though I have had some major life changes and am still in the process of settling in and feeling normal again, I also have a healthy perspective that things may never feel normal again.

That said, I think it's simply because I got out of the regular habit of journaling in seminary because I didn't have the time. It is now time to re-discipline myself, and I just haven't done it yet.

I have, however, been thinking a lot about re-birth. In the last two weeks I've been unpacking thing that were in storage for the last two years, placing objects with wonderful memories attached to them around my new home. I've painted many walls, shopped for new furniture, towels, yard supplies, lamps, and curtains. And occasionally I sit down on my sofa and look around at mostly old, familiar things. Things that were gifts, things that once belonged to family members, things I purchased on trips to see family and friends. They are things that reflect me and my life, but they are in a new place. The look the same, but they also kind of don't. And I wondered, "Is this at like what it's like to be re-born?"

Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him."

In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

"How can a man be born when he is old?" Nicodemus asked. "Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother's womb to be born!"

Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, 'You must be born again.' The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit." John 3: 1-8


I've been a Christ-follower my whole life. I did not have the "conversion moment" that so many talk about. I've just been on a journey [to heaven's own bright king]. I guess you could say I've been in the process of re-birth my whole life. And yet, I'm still me.

The familiar things that now surround me in my new home are not unlike my old self. They still look the same... by themselves. But in a new place, they are altered. So I must ask, what new place am I in right now?

The obvious answer is Arizona. But there is another new place where I reside, and it's in a place of transformation that I never grow tired of talking about. That sometimes wears me down and makes me weary, but never completely knocks me down.

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. - 2 Corinthians 4:7-9

This passage often comes to mind when I know I am being pressed, altered, and transformed. So in reading on to the rest of the passage, all of my thoughts about re-birth begin to make sense.

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. -2 Corinthians 4:10-12

I am still me, but constantly being changed by the gracious work of our Lord and Savior. But just as sure as I am in a new state, new job and new home, I am also still me. But the beauty of the gospel is that it is never stagnant. How wonderful is that?

2 comments:

Kansas Bob said...

Nice thoughts and great update Stephanie. I sometimes think that the overarching will of God is making us like Jesus.. which sometimes involves being pressed, altered, and transformed. :)

stephanie said...

I think one of the most important things I've learned on my journey is how to find the beauty in the often painful transformation, the beauty in the pressing.