Easter is one of my favorite Holy days. Christmas and Easter are really the only two holidays that I "get into." But somehow I let this Easter get away from me. My focus was all wrong.
I had great intentions of observing Lent this year to prepare my heart for Easter, but I didn't manage to follow through. Instead of fasting, I was going to try to do one thing every day that was a little out of my normal routine to remind me of Christ's sacrifice. Some ideas I had before getting started were...
Purging my closets (sacrificially)...
Writing notes to people that I know could use a little encouragement...
Taking goodies to some neighbors that I still haven't gotten to know (and we've lived here three years)...
Doing crafts and projects with my girls to help them understand the true meaning of Easeter...
The list is endless, but you get the idea. Unfortunately, I only managed to incorporate two of these ideas into the last month and a half. Two. And, as if that isn't embarrassing enough, one of them was prompted by someone else. (Thanks, Aunt Sissa, for the resurrection roll recipe.) So, on my own, I'm batting one for forty. Sad.
Lent failure aside, Easter weekend didn't prove to be much more successful in terms of focusing on God's sacrifice, Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection, and the amazing gift of salvation.
Easter or not, the girls needed shoes. Unfortunately, I put off the shopping trip until Good Friday. We left the house about nine o'clock Friday morning. Twelve hours and innumerable stores later, we finally head home with full bags and empty bellies. Who has time to eat when you are on a shopping mission?
Let me break here to tell you about a small victory for momma. This is going to be a run-on paragraph, so hang with me. Before leaving on our shopping adventure, we ate a quick granola breakfast. We had to stop at Wal-Mart on our way out of town for a couple of items. What should have been nothing more than a hiccup in our hour-long drive to the nearest city, became an hour-long adventure all in itself. The girls love to look. So, while I was picking up nail clippers, they were pulling all the finger nail polish off the racks. (Just for fun, try putting finger nail polish BACK in those spring-loaded slots sometime.) While I was grabbing wipes, they were checking out all the kid soaps. And while I was grabbing some non-perishable groceries, they were trying to find their own snacks. After numerous please for a snack, I finally broke down and bought them some Goldfish to eat in the car. And I grabbed a bag of Cheetos puffs--an oddity for me. So, we shared the Goldfish and Cheetos on our drive, and when we would normally be eating lunch, we arrived at our first store--Target. Ahhh, Target. All three of us love to go in there, whether we need a thing or not. We could spend hours in that store, but we were on a mission, so we only spent one hour this time. Since we were headed for the mall next, I knew we needed to grab something to eat before we got sucked into the abyss of door-to-door stores. So we hit another one of our favorite places--Panera. I ordered sandwiches, soup, yogurt, and a baker's dozen of bagels (to take home and freeze). The only things the girls ate were the bread off the sandwiches and yogurt. Lovely. Now armed with bellies full of carbohydrates, we tackle the endless stores at the mall. Baby girl falls asleep, big girl needs to but won't, and I want to but obviously can't. To ward off the sleepies, big girl and I grab some caffeine. I took mine in the form of a latte, she of course had lukewarm "hot" chocolate. A couple of hours later, baby girl wakes up and is not happy about it. I still have not found their shoes and so, to buy some more time, I buy them Auntie Annes Pretzels and Icees. Supper served. When we finally leave the mall at 9 pm--at least an hour past their bedtime--my big girl tells me she's hungry. I was too. But we are all tired and we still have an hour drive between us and our beds. I am not about to stop again, so I fish through our bags to find the bagels I bought. Second supper served. And here, finally, is when I scored a victory. After consuming the bagel, big girl said, "Mommy, I'm still hungry. Will you please stop and get us something healthy to eat?" I loved it! Their little bodies recognize junk and crave good stuff. Score one for this real mom! Now back to the real story...
So, after spending our entire Good Friday in an unparalleled arena of worldly consumerism, we arrive home too spent to even read Bible stories. But His mercies are new every morning and Saturday was more relaxed and arguably a little more focused. This is when Aunt Sissa visited and we made resurrection rolls. We got to read (or paraphrase) the story of Christ dying, being buried, and resurrecting on the third day. We used a marshmallow to represent the pure Christ, butter and cinnamon-sugar to represent the embalming oils and spices, crescent rolls to represent the burial cloths, and the oven to represent the tomb. When we opened the tomb (oven) on the third day (13 minutes later), the cloths (crescent rolls) were there, but Christ (marshmallow) was gone! Big girl wanted to know what really happened to Christ.
After the girls went to bed, I recalled a list of things I needed to do, which at the time seemed quite daunting.
Give myself a pedicure. (This was a need, not a want.)
Iron my skirt and the girls' dresses.
Fix Oriental coleslaw to take to Easter lunch at Aunt Becky's.
Review my Bible study lesson.
I crawled in bed after midnight, having barely reviewed the lesson. I set my phone alarm for six so I could get up and review it one more time before teaching, and I'm pretty sure I fell asleep before I even laid down the phone. When my alarm sounded, I quickly turned it off to prevent waking anyone else. However, I rolled over and fell back asleep. I woke up again shortly before 8, and since Bible study is at nine, this sent me into my usual Sunday morning psychosis. I got ready in record-breaking time and then turned my attention to the girls. After telling them to "eat quickly" at least 30 times, I gave up and just started getting them ready at the table. I brought brushes, barrettes, and the hair dryer into the kitchen. When the bed-head look was gone, I stripped off PJ's and put on shoes while they slowly chewed granola bars and their boiled,colored eggs. I wiped hands and faces and dressed them before pushing them out the door. No time for Bible study review. No time for heart preparation.
My Bible study class--self-dubbed the Naomis--is full of great women. They teach me more than they will probably ever learn from me, and they are extremely forgiving. When I tumbled into class late, they smiled. When I admitted my lack of preparation, they encouraged me. We stumbled through the second chapter of Revelation together, and if they received any revelation, God is even better than I already know Him to be. (Which I know He is.) I certainly had an "aha" moment or two. (Thanks, Naomis.)
The rest of the day seemed to slow down a bit, but still lacked the focus I now wish I had been more diligent in creating. Serving in the nursery was a sweet time with little crawlers and toddlers. They couldn't have been better. Lunch with my man's family was good, as time with them always is. An afternoon nap was very good. And being outside tonight with my girls and our man was sweet.
Please don't misunderstand, this Easter Sunday wasn't a bad day. I simply wish I had taken more time to pause and remember what it means to me. And not just Easter, but Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and the waiting period in between.
God is so good. I am amazed that He loves me passionately even when I lack the passion that I want to have for Him. But knowing that His mercies truly are new every morning, makes every day an Easter. Jesus is alive! I may not have been able to concentrate on Him as much as I had hoped to this weekend, but I can live for Him today, tomorrow, and (because of His resurrection) forever!