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Final Post - Happy Easter, everyone!!

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Wow, it's been a cray-zay month since I started this thing! I liked and got over and liked and got over the same guy about eighty different times. I changed my future occupation approximately forty two times while looking at colleges. (Teacher? No. Missionary? No. Rabbi? Hmm.) I met some amazing people online and got exceptionally nice reviews. :D

So today is Easter, and it's the final post! I'm already working on a buncha other stuff, so it's good to add this notch to my belt and say, "Phew. I did it. Let's throw a tea party and eat some quiche to celebrate."

What should I talk about in the final post?

Chocolate bunnies?

Mm.

Pastafarianism.

No, that's creepy.

I know! -drumroll- NUDITY AND PLAGIARISM!

Yes, on this very holy Sunday known as Easter, it is my heart's greatest content to speak to you about the Very Christian matters of nudity and plagiarism. Ah-hem. I will be using diagrams.

Just kidding about the diagrams. But I will be reposting a post from an amazing blog I read called Stuff Christians Like. It's the most HILARIOUS thing on the webs. Better than lolcats dot com. It's a Christian guy making fun of all the strange Christian things Christians do. His Easter post is entitled:

Thinking You're Naked
by Johnathan Acuff

(No, I did not get his permission.
Shhh.
Sincerely, ByYourSide.)

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Easter is about grace. And when I think about grace, one of the things that stops me short of believing in it is shame. This post, written last year, is about shame and grace and the reason we're not naked.

I don't want to brag, but I'm pretty awesome at applying band-aids. And make no mistake, there is an art. Because if you go too quickly and peel them the wrong way, they stick to themselves and you end up with a wadded up useless mess instead of the Little Mermaid festooned bandage your daughter so desperately wants to apply to a boo boo that may in fact be 100% fictional.

Half of the injuries I treat at the Acuff house are invisible or simply wounds of sympathy. My oldest daughter will scrape her knee and my 3-year old, realizing the band aid box is open will say, "Yo dad, I'd like to get in on that too. What do you say we put one on, I don't know, my ankle. Yeah, my ankle, let's pretend that's hurt."

But sometimes the cuts are real, like the day my 5-year old got a scrape on her face playing in the front yard. I rushed in the house and returned with a princess bandage. As I bent down to apply it to her forehead, her eyes filled up with tears and she shrunk back from me.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"I don't want to wear that band-aid." She replied.

"Why? You have a cut, you need a band-aid." I said.

"I'll look silly." She answered.

Other than her sister and her mom, there was no one else in the yard. None of her friends were over, cars were not streaming passed our house and watching us play, the world was pretty empty at that moment. But for the first time I can remember, she felt shame. She had discovered shame. Somewhere, some how, this little 5 year old had learned to be afraid of looking silly. If I was smarter, if I had been better prepared for the transition from little toddler to little girl, I might have asked her this:

"Who told you that you were silly?"

I didn't though. That question didn't bloom in my head until much later and I didn't understand it until I saw God ask a similar question in Genesis 3:11. To me, this is one of the saddest and most profoundly beautiful verses in the entire Bible. Adam and Eve have fallen. The apple is a core. The snake has spoken. The dream appears crushed. As they hide from God under clothes they've hastily sewn together, He appears and asks them a simple question:

"Who told you that you were naked?"

There is hurt in God's voice as He asks this question, but there is also a deep sadness, the sense of a father holding a daughter that has for the first time ever, wrapped herself in shame.

Who told you that you were not enough?

Who told you that I didn't love you?

Who told you that there was something outside of me you needed?

Who told you that you were ugly?

Who told you that your dream was foolish?

Who told you that you would never have a child?

Who told you that you would never be a father?

Who told you that you weren't a good mother?

Who told you that without a job you aren't worth anything?

Who told you that you'll never know love again?

Who told you that this was all there is?

Who told you that you were naked?

I don't know when you discovered shame. I don't know when you discovered that there were people that might think you are silly or dumb or not a good writer or a husband or a friend. I don't know what lies you've been told by other people or maybe even by yourself.

But in response to what you are hearing from everyone else, God is still asking the question, "Who told you that you were naked?"

And He's still asking us that question because we are not.

In Christ we are not worthless.

In Christ we are not hopeless.

In Christ we are not dumb or ugly or forgotten.

In Christ we are not naked.

Isaiah 61:10 it says:

For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness.

The world may try to tell you a thousand different things today. You might close this post and hear a million declarations of what you are or who you'll always be, but know this.

As unbelievable as it sounds and as much as I never expected to type this sentence on this blog:

You are not naked.

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Okay, it's ByYourSide again. One last thing before I sign off this FictionBlog for good: the gospel. Some of you readers don't know the love of God and the sacrifice of Jesus--and you're missing out. There is nothinglike it, and God will change your life! He wants you to come to Him, and He wants to show His love to you.

How? How can you experience God and His love? How can you start a real, crazy-radical relationship with Jesus today? We're messed up humans, so it's impossible to get there on our own.

John 3:16 says, For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son [JESUS!] that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 10:9 says, That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

Believe in Jesus. Trust in Him. Believe that He is God and that God raised Him from the dead, and ask Him to come into your life today. Jesus brings freedom and hope and love. He brings community and laughter and adventure and peace. If you feel it, start a conversation with Him, or start by praying:

God, I know that I have sinned against you and deserve punishment. But Jesus Christ took the punishment that I deserve so that through faith in Him I could be forgiven. I place my trust in You for salvation. Thank You for Your wonderful grace and forgiveness - the gift of eternal life! Amen!

I'm sure you have questions. I'm sure you're trying to figure out who you are, and everything about your life...but the journey is so much easier with God. Gotquestions(dot)org will answer all your questions, or feel free to PM me and we can talk.

If you did pray that prayer, or you did just ask God to lead your life, I want to know. Please, please tell me! :) And if you haven't, that's okay too. Thank you for sticking with me, and for reading this far. As for a little namedropping, check out The Boy Who Talks to God by Unbridled for an amazing story about a guy who decides to give everything he has to God, and what happens because of it.

We are

Living to make Your Name high, Jesus

Living to make Your Name high, Jesus

You gave what the world couldn't offer us

Say what they want, say what they want

We are free!

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ByYourSide is signing out. I love you guys. :)