There’s been debate in “Christiandom” for years about whether or not good Christian parents should tell their children stories of Easter Bunnies and send them off on adventures to find hidden eggs.
Some would argue that the remembrances and celebrations of the Easter Holiday weekend should all focus on our Risen Savior and the empty tomb He left behind. “Behead the bunnies and burn the baskets!” might be their mantra.
But I would argue that a single day – or even an entire Lenten season – cannot adequately celebrate our Risen Redeemer – whether filled with chocolate bunnies or fervent fasting. You see, the whole point of that ancient crucifixion and resurrection of our Serving Savior was not for focus to be fixed on an empty tomb or for feasting on baskets full of candy.
The point of the God becoming man, dying, and rising was not to create an empty tomb for generations of faithful pilgrims to gaze into – as awe-inspiring as that may be. The beauty of what these over-crowded Easter Sunday services are trying to Celebrate is so much more than one day and a family dinner. Rather, the true Resurrection Celebration is the sudden and sustained appearance of the light of hope and life in the eyes of a person who had previously been daily trudging through a living death of hopelessness.
So eat that Easter Candy if you want to. Go to church and slice the ham. But you are only witnessing a true Resurrection Celebration when you can daily look into eyes and see a changed life.
For me, this Easter weekend was one of my best yet. I shared the weekend with a dear friend who has navigated through very similar life struggles as me. As we hiked some beautiful West Virginia trails and spoke of strong and confident personal and professional steps we would have never taken in prior years, we realized the very lives we are leading are a beautiful resurrection story.
And the weekend was summed up with a beautiful reminder of this at the close of the service of a little church we visited in West Virginia today. Unlike the larger highly-produced church services many of us experience these days, this one was small and intimate – opening with the pastor querying the entire congregation for any prayer requests and closing by asking if there was anything else on their hearts. It wasn’t focused on a celebrity-style preacher but on the simplicity of God’s love poured out on all the people as they ministered to one another. And it was that sweet atmosphere that provided the freedom for a woman near the back of the church to stand at the close of service and say, “I know He’s alive because He Lives in me!“.
And that – the unending and uninhibited passionate spark of a changed life – is way better than an Easter basket or a sunrise service.
So, not just happy Easter to you. Our Father designed us for more than just an occasional celebratory day.
Happy Resurrection Lifestyle!
Growing with you in Him,
If you’re a fan of bubble baths like I am, you probably would never add fragrant oils or soap to still water. You either add it when the water is running or you fire up those jets on the whirlpool tub. Why? Because as fragrant and lovely as that oil or soap may be while sitting still, its full refreshing, relaxing, fragrant, and bubbly impact is not released until it is stirred.
It would be sad if I sat in my big old tub and added fragrant oils and soaps, but never fired up the whirlpool jets to spread their healing beauty throughout my bath. Well, how much sadder still if we never fully release the fragrant life-giving beauty our Maker so lovingly crafted into us because we avoid the very things (often in the form of painful or challenging decisions, situations, or relationships) that were designed to stir us up in order to release us into our full potential.
So I challenge you… I challenge me… not to be so busy about avoiding the pain of life’s stirring that we miss having our full and intended impact!
Think about that the next time you’re in a bubble bath. Or, think about it the next time life’s circumstances try to get you stirred up. The stirring that rocks our predictable “safe” little worlds sometimes may not be such a bad thing after all.
Growing better together,
So there’s this tree just outside my hotel here in beautiful Virginia that started showing off these beautiful blossoms a couple weeks ago at our first unseasonably warm day. What’s so amazing about this is we’ve had more than a couple hard freezes since then. But this tree continues to blossom – blessing us with beauty in spite of harsh external circumstances.
As God does so often, He reminded me of spiritual truth through a beautiful natural example. Beauty does not have to be diminished by external circumstances.
It is not easy – but it is possible to be so deeply grounded and rooted in the strength and power of our Maker that the deepest freeze the world has to offer cannot rob us of our beauty. In fact – because of the greyness of the world around us, our beauty will be even more vivid in the landscape of the pain around us.
You see, this tree was probably planted by the hotel owners when they opened the place over 20 years ago. Even though it may not be the largest tree from what we can see, it has had years of developing a deep root structure and careful nourishing and tending to by its landscapers.
May my life be a beautiful testimony of the strength that can only be developed over time as I learn to lean in to the deep abiding power of my Maker.
“They are planted in the house of the Lord. They grow strong in the courtyards of our God.” – Psalm 92:13 ERV
“I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I to you, you will produce plenty of fruit. But separated from Me you won’t be able to do anything.” – John 15:5 ERV
Being above the clouds is always inspiring to me. Here are some pictures and thoughts from today’s flight.
So, I’ve been going through a tough season lately and allowed myself to slip into a severely depressed state. So, when I could finally get out of bed – I sought the mental, physical, and spiritual help I needed.
For the spiritual help, I sought wise counsel from my home church, Amazing Church, and was instructed to find the person in the Bible that best matched my current state. To be honest, some days it could be a different persons every minute. (If you’re not a middle-aged woman who is naturally quite emotional anyway and is now dealing with wacked-out hormones – you may not understand this).
Anyway, I was having trouble picking one. But today I figured it out. And it wasn’t a deep exegetical examination of Biblical text that brought my revelation. I finally was able to say “That’s me right now!” when the song, Lazarus, by Trip Lee dropped into my workout mix this morning!
(Click here to listen to the whole song on YouTube).
Here are my favorite lyrics from the track:
He made the blind see and got the lame up
So it’s no surprise he can raise us
Wake them up now
Believers when your life is looking tough now
When you’re at your all time low
Don’t forget that power that he already showed
Listen to the entire song these beautiful words come from by clicking here.
So… because we spend so much time looking down with our faces buried in a smart phone, laptop, or such – I am purposing to be intentional about looking up. And I’m not just talking about looking up mentally as in a positive attitude (though that’s pretty dern important, too), but physically turning my face upward.
There have actually been studies that demonstrate a physical stance of upward turned eyes actually has physical benefits such as increasing endorphins to improve mood and stretching the neck to improve posture and spinal alignment. Designers of historic cathedrals had beautiful works of art crafted on ceiling on purpose to draw the gaze – and therefore the spirit – of the parishioners upward.
So I challenge you to look up today! It will do your soul, spirit, and body good… and you may see a blessing you may have missed if you just kept staring down at that device in your hand!
Let’s keep encouraging each other to look up!
Oh, and check out the cool vintage light fixtures I got to see when I took the time to look up from my laptop in the cute little cafe (click here for more information on it) I’m writing from today!