I never really got the message of Easter. It didn't make sense to me at all. As a child, I thought it was about getting dressed up in a new Spring dress, shiny white shoes and tights, going to church (one out of two times for the year), finding my Easter basket and having a yummy big meal. I had a cool plastic purse that played Here Comes Peter Cotton Tail. That was Easter to me.
So we observed it.
As a new Christian at twenty eight, with lots of sin under my belt (or "living" as we like to call it), and almost destroyed by the sins of others, I was enthralled by the entire Easter experience.
I was fresh with love for my Redeemer, feeling my heart beat in my chest after years of stony coldness...it was indescribable. I was overwhelmed with joy and a sense of freedom. Every worship song had a deep new meaning. The Spring season was a perfect metaphor for the new life I genuinely experienced. Forgiveness and love washed over and through me. Crazy joy.
This beautiful, tender, passionate sense of love and joy lasted for many, many years. Like being loved by a great man - a perfect Man. Easter was like our anniversary every year.
But then the world reared it's ugly head. Slowly, almost imperceptibly, the shield around our relationship drooped. I let disappointments and unmet expectations distract me from Him and what He was saying to me, both in prayer and in His Word. Just as that Word says, the cares of the world rose up, choking His life in me. He never left me - He doesn't believe in divorce - but He honored my decision to do things my own way.
Years of struggle ensued. Terrible darkness and lonely, desperate nights of worry and fear were the norm. I cried out to Him, yet refused to listen to His answers. And I blamed Him for all of it.
Easter became a time of mourning for me. Mourning over what we had, what it could have been. No joy, no hope, no heart overflowing with love and singing with freedom.
Years later I am just beginning to sense my heart stirring in its tomb. Afraid to come out. Afraid to hope again. But maybe there are signs of life.
The budding world around me makes me smile a bit; the fat robins pulling on worms almost distract me from the yard that is in disarray; white clouds against a blue sky catch my eye again, and certain songs sound like He requested them for me...maybe His tender, gentle love is winning again. Why He wants me, I still don't know. Especially now, when I've been so foolish and distrustful. A classic worrying, suspicious, nagging wife.
But this Easter feels different. This Easter feels more like a celebration and less like a wake. Resurrection? It's a big deal for me.
Bless you, my friends. May you listen to His voice wooing you today. If you hear it, don't turn away...