Sunday, August 15, 2010

When I survey the Wondrous Cross

By Isaac Watts, 1707

When I survey the wondrous cross,
On which the Prince of Glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it Lord that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God,
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to his blood.

See from His head, His hands, his feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down,
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small,
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

This song is one of my most favorite songs of all time. Yes, it is a hymn, and a very old one at that (over 300 years old!), but that fact, or its 'old' music style don't make any difference when you just read the words. They are timeless, a small glimpse of our eternal Father who has always been and never changes. I find it so cool that Isaac Watts in 1707 could write the words, and me, Stephanie Dietzel in 2010 can read them and still feel convicted by their truth. Isn't God amazing? Yes.

I love how the first stanza talks of looking at the cross, contemplating it and its purpose, and all that Christ did. And when you really and truly contemplate the cross, you can't help but disregard all the things you are proud of, your accomplishments, even your own spiritual maturity, which is something I easily am prideful of. And not only disregarding them, but pouring contempt on them. I love that line, and how is puts such a vivid, practical picture to something we Christians easily pass off as 'hard', or as an acceptable sin- pride is just too big, and a lot of times, its inward only. We don't necessarily go around stating how proud we are!

Stanza two: I just love how this come straight from scripture! Galatians 6:14 says "But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world." And once again, there is sacrifice, this time of our vain things.

The third stanza is unique because of the wonderful oxymorons- statements that seemingly contradict each other. Sorrow and love flowing from the same thorn-pierced head, hands and feet? Thorns composing a crown? Yes, these are contradictions, but they just make each other more extreme, and more precious to me.

The final stanza is probably my favorite. It shows how small I am in comparison to God. It shows how much God has given to me, and no matter how hard I try, how much I give, or what I do, I can never ever repay God for the incredible sacrifice He made for me. But that's ok! That is God's plan! And it is wondrous! Grace paid for my sins, and I don't need to worry about trying to earn my salvation. God did that for me. SO AMAZING! But in return, out of a gratitude to God, I give my soul, my life, my all to God. It's that simple.

The cross is truly wondrous. I am so thankful for it. Let us never grown numb to its wonder.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Just Some Random Thoughts on Life and Praise to My Amazing God

Wow. I am so bad at this blog thing. but I am going to make a commitment to post something at least once a week this semester. And if I don't, I well... fail at life. or at least blogging. :)

So what's on my mind right now? Change. Not like the spare coins in your pocket, but changes in my friends, my family, my life.
The most obvious change is that Mike's going to college. It didn't really hit me until a couple of days ago. Not being a terribly emotional person, I didn't think it would be so hard or even different, but BOY WILL IT! He's actually going to be gone. Not here. At ALL. He's going to be in Wisconsin. We're going up to northland and coming back without him. That is going to be one very long and boring car ride. His room will sit empty. He wont be here to make fun of me and drive me places and do all those 'older brother' things that he does so well. I actually have to grow up. I'm the oldest kid at home now. How weird is that?

Along those lines, I'm also going to Juco this year. BIG CHANGE. You're talking to the true home-learned home-schooled girl whose only classroom experience is Southland. And that barely counts :) Not only am I going to a real school, it's a public school. And not only is it a real public school, it's a college. YIKES. I am a little bit afraid. Especially since SCHOOL STARTS IN 3 days!!! I can't believe summer is... dare I even say... OVER??!?!?! Where did it go?

Well, the biggest, most unexpected change (even to me) is ballet. Or lack of ballet, that is. yep, you got it right, I'm not dancing this year. For reals. No it's not because of my ankle, or teachers, or anything like that. God really spoke to me this summer about how I am spending my time, and what really matters for eternity... In a nutshell, not ballet. So I am not returning to my beloved KCBS. Don't get me wrong, I still love ballet dearly and this has really been one of the hardest things I've had to do... ever. So I would appreciate your prayers on that.

But I plan on filling all the extra time I have to serve God, preparing myself for a life of full-time ministry that I know God has planned for me, whatever that may be. I am open to anything, missions, pastor's wife, counselor... I don't know for sure right now, but I am so excited to see how God reveals his plan for my life in the future.

I don't know who is reading this, but if you are, thanks. I appreciate it. And I hope even just one thing you read is encouraging :) I am so thankful for you guys, God has blessed me with the most AMAZING friends that I definitely DO NOT deserve in any way, shape or form. I am so thankful for my older, more mature friends who are an example to me of what it is to live a Christ-centered life, the friends my age who are going through the same struggles as me, who are a great encouragement and help to me. I am so thankful for my younger friends who continually challenge me and my walk with Christ, and who provide an awesome opportunity for me to learn how to be a leader and a true friend.

God, thank You for EVERYTHING. i do not deserve anything you give me. I love you.