Easter Changes

The chocolate is staring at me from the kitchen counter, daring me to take one more bite.  Just one more.
 

The remnants of the ham dinner are stored away, covered in crinkly tin foil and ready for the leftover casserole that needs to be made. 

 
It’s Monday morning.  The day after, and I’m trying to capture with words what this Lenten season has meant to me.  
 

I can tell you that I have been more aware, but I’m not sure I could explain it to you.  I just know that awareness has settled over me and in me.  I can tell you that I have been more emotional, not in an irrational way, but in the way where words about crucifixion, suffering and triumph move me to the point where my throat feels thick and tears threaten to spill.

 

I cannot recall an Easter where my soul has had such a keen awareness of the mercy and gift of the cross. 

In the days leading up to Good Friday, it was my hope to follow Lent with intention.

With purpose. 

Oh, I started out of the gate with such gusto, such determination and about four steps in I tripped and fell flat on my face. Time became my enemy, emotions became my nemesis and mental illness clung monkey-like to my back. All of which had me grasping for normal just so I could make it through each day. 

Lent and all its intention took a back seat to my last grip on sanity.

My first reaction, my normal go-to, was guilt.  I felt so much like Peter and the others in the Garden.  Could I not even watch and pray?  And I rested in this for a while, the guilt of losing my hold on the best of intentions.  

I tried desperately to find my early morning time with Him as had been my habit.  For months previous my alarm clock would chime at 5:30 and my feet would hit the floor.  Every. Single. Time. 

But not these 40 days. 

When you battle with depression and anxiety – the kind that ebbs and flows with the seasons – your body craves sleep and just putting feet on the floor is chore. 

A mountain that needs to be climbed every single day. 

So my mind waged a war with itself through some of the hardest times.  And the nasty self-talk had teeth that bite and grip.  Each day was a struggle, each hour a battle, each moment a mental exercise to keep my head above the water that left me feeling deflated and exhausted by the evening.  Most nights my head would hit the pillow and I would fall asleep wondering if I had it in me to do it again.

Good Friday dawned.  The weather cheerfully mocking the occasion with a bright blue sky and brilliant sunshine and we loaded up and headed to Good Friday service – the first time in over 5 years our family had darkened a church door for this special service. 

God was there – He met me right there.  I could see Him laying there on the cross, His face pressed against the wood, His arms outstretched, His spirit ready to accept the will of His father.  In that moment I realized…

In the space between Him arms – were all those parts of me that I wished I could keep hidden.  All of those parts of me that I wished I didn’t have to live with or endure.  

And friends, the relief is palpable.  I am His.  I always have been – but He has been waiting for me to walk into His embrace with all of me. 

I am uncovered, bare.

Mess, anxiety, depression – all of it He held in the space between the nails.  

So on this Monday after Easter I stand before you changed.  Broken and changed.   I didn’t “fail” Lent; instead God found me this Lenten season right where I needed to be found.

He took all of my pain to the cross with Him and when He rose from the depths of His own dark tomb He called me sister.  And because of this I can come boldly before God.

“Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16)

 

8 Comments

  1. Your journey to Him is beautifully covered in His wondrous grace. Lent was just as it should be…redemptive.
    so proud of you, friend. love you much. {HUGS}

  2. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing your journey with me. May the warmth of his embrace encircle you and pull you back to him each time the guilt-monkey jumps on your back.

  3. You write my story with these words. Praise God there is no failure in Him – only grace poured over brokenness.

  4. How many times have I started out with the best of intentions and fallen flat on my face? And how many times does God have to teach me the same lesson over and over? Thank you for your transparency, friend – there are so many of us who can relate.

    • I think that I might not be able to count how many times – but so grateful that He is always there and He turns my face to His every single time. {Hugs}

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