This is one of my favorite Easter photos this year! Some of you will say, "I didn't know Gayla had a teenage daughter!" This is not my daughter, but my sweet and crazy friend Alyssa! I hope my own daughter will be as fun loving, athletic, and personable as Alyssa! Not only is this a great photo of both of us (it's rare to see both of us in dresses!), but this photo is also special to me because Alyssa and I had some shared experiences leading up to Easter that made it an even more exciting day!
Alyssa is part of the group of teenage girls who just finished studying the gospel of Mark. In fact, we literally read Mark 15 together on the Saturday night before Easter and read the resurrection account in Mark 16 on Easter! Alyssa, however, had already finished the book a few weeks before because she just couldn't put it down!
Before I tell you what she said about it, let me tell you about her. Alyssa is the finest soccer player you'll ever meet! She's an athlete through and through, and she works hard! She's popular at Lee's Summit High School as a freshman. She sings in women's choir at school and rarely misses youth choir at church! In fact, she'd only miss youth choir and Girl Talk Bible study if she had a soccer tournament. I adore her because she will text me both funny stuff and deeply profound stuff. I also adore her because she's plugged in enough to know what's going on with Justin at Lee's Summit West and is my informant if I need one. (I'm pretty sure Justin never reads my blogs so we're safe!) Bottom line: Alyssa is the cool girl I wish I'd been at her age...who am I kidding, I still wish I was as cool as her!
A few weeks ago Alyssa texted me the following:
"Mark 15 I thought was pretty intense, how it just explained what they did to Jesus before the crucifixion so that made me pretty upset because I never really read what they did to him. And then Mark 16 was actually happy! I'm glad I didn't stop after Mark 15 because I'd feel like I would just be depressed knowing that Jesus went through all that torture for me, but then He rose from the dead and went up to the heavens to be with God. I've never really thought deeply about what they really did to him and once I did, it made me so upset! It was crazy! I spent all night when I read it just thinking about it and thanking Him for what he did. I feel like I could never tell Him how thankful I am just because I'm like overjoyed and thankful! The other girls...they need to make sure and read Mark 16 this week!"
When I asked her to share her thoughts on the Saturday night before Easter with the other girls she said, "I'd just heard the story, but I'd never read it for myself! It means so much more! I think I really got it this time. It's been different this year."
That very week I'd been studying Job . I read in Job 42:5 what Job said after his unspeakable losses and the subsequent faithfulness of God, "My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you..." That's essentially what Alyssa was saying without having to lose everything like Job. She'd opened up the Bible and read it for herself, and Jesus would never be the same after that! Can you even imagine what God's going to do with Alyssa! I can't wait to watch her continue to grow! How overly sweet of God to increase my faith and excitement through getting to experience Easter through her eyes!