Monday, April 6, 2015

The day after Easter.

Last week, as Easter weekend approached, I felt the desire to write a post in relation to the wonderful holiday. As the days ticked away, I felt left with nothing more than trite words that left me underwhelmed. The weekend came and went with the flurry of excitement of my oldest's first baseball game and the creation of an Easter feast in my kitchen (with help from the hands of that same baseball playing child.) Then, Monday morning came with the jig-inducing Celtic rock tone I have as my alarm and the poignant words I longed for never came.

When I arrived in my office today, I was the only one here, as I often am early in the mornings. I turned on my office lights, put my food in the fridge, put away my bag, unlocked my files and pulled out my Bible (turns out getting to the office early leaves me with some perfect time for quietly reading my Bible.)

I opened to my current bookmark (I have many,) tucked away in the Psalms (going through them again, for the second time in the last year.) There, in black and white was a verse so perfect for what was on my heart:

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
Psalm 32:1

Yesterday morning, I woke up with my neck hurting and my arm numb because my little baseball player had managed to wander across the house in the middle of the night and stake claim on my side of the bed. I pulled on my soft blue flannel as I sleepily made my way to the kitchen, excited to have a cup of coffee and get started on my meal preparations for the day. We have had some warm weather the last few weeks, but yesterday morning was cool and rainy, which only increased my excitement for the coffee.

For Lent, this year, I gave up sugar. Not just sugar, but any and all added sweeteners. The only sugars I consumed were naturally occurring sugars in things such as whole fruits. What I didn't realize when I made the commitment to give up sugar was how many other things I would end up relinquishing for the time. Coffee was one of the side products of my fast; I tried a couple of days with coffee with milk only, but it just wasn't worth it, so I ended up going the rest of Lent without coffee (or any other form of caffeine.) 

As I opened the kitchen curtains and began my work in the kitchen, I couldn't help but think of how immensely blessed I am. I am married to a man I am head-over-heels in love with, he is an incredible father to our two amazingly beautiful, healthy, intelligent boys, we own our own home, I have a job I enjoy, I have my health... the list goes on. Though our lives are far from perfect, I have to be deliberately ungrateful to not acknowledge my many blessings.

While allowing my thoughts to dance across all the ways I have been blessed, I came to pause on a simple thought, that really is not that simple: What if I didn't have all of this? Could I still easily call myself blessed? Instantly, my Christianese kicked in saying, "Yes, of course. His grace is sufficient...." But I halted the thoughts and made myself really consider the question, truly evaluate where my heart stood before God.

I continued to flit about the kitchen, soon being joined by my oldest, who was eager to help Mommy get the cake baking. I stared at his smiling face, with his freckle splashed nose crinkle, and my heart kept going back to the consideration of my blessings. As much as I love my husband, my children, the few luxuries we have, and all these other worldly blessings, I realize that none of these blessings would mean anything without my salvation.

The gift Christ gave on that cross truly is the greatest blessing I will ever receive (and not just because that's what I feel like I should say to be a "good" Christian.) At my core, I am a mess; a mess that has learned well how to look like I've got it all together, but still a mess. I know the ugly thoughts I have kept to myself because to share them would cause people to judge me disapprovingly (they cause me to judge me disapprovingly.) Yet, Christ has also known these ugly parts, and said He loves me anyway.

Short of denying His grace, there is nothing I can do to stop His love for me (even then, I don't know that I actually stop His love...) When I fail as a mother and a wife, He still loves me. When I fail as an employee, He still loves me. When I fail as a person, He still loves me. When I choose to be selfish, His forgiveness stands ready and His love never ends. He stretched His arms out wide on the Cross and said, "I love you this much." He meant every word. He meant it for good days and bad days, for Lent, Holy Week, Easter and all the mornings after. 

We did communion as a family last night, it is one of our own little Easter traditions. As we read the story of the Last Supper and broke our crackers, I was never more aware of how His body was broken for me. As I took a sip of the bitter wine, I thought of how sweet His sacrifice was: He poured out His life and took my death purely that I may know Him more. He took on my death, so that my mistakes would not hinder me from knowing His love. Wow. If that's not a blessing, I don't know what is.

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