The family was up early getting ready to celebrate Easter morning like usual.
Clothes laid out,
hair fixed a little more carefully,
and sifting through all the treats left out for five kids on the dining room table.
I was finding the fun in new white jeans, a bright blue shirt, and finally some sandals in Seattle (praise), while Jesus and I were having a chat about the way He emptied out that grave.
Looking into the bathroom mirror while shaking my head at the way He appeared to His people, I thought about how much I would have LOVED to be there! Can you even?
Don’t the holidays have a way of rolling in and catching our hearts by surprise?
I don’t know about you, but I usually bank on having my “moment” with Jesus at some point in the chaos of the seasons.
You’ve been there…
Like the Christmas you weren’t prepared for, that snuck up on you and you caught a fresh glimpse of God. Maybe because you were too busy to notice Him the entire season – but all of a sudden you were there standing in the delight of the baby Jesus in the manger.
Your heart soars with joy right?
Or maybe it could be the months and hours of planning out that first birthday party! The exciting ideas, dreaming of perfect themes, and drafting up the guest list is great fun.
It all keeps us so distracted, that we don’t feel the weight of our baby moving from tiny to toddler…until that first bite of cake.
This Easter was different from any other year to date.
In years past, I (and maybe you too) anticipate Easter Sunday like no other Sunday. God has a way of gut punching my spirit and waking me up to His resurrected reality – and I so look forward to THAT moment.
All of the heavy and hard stuff comes into view and Jesus removes the doubt and fear and replaces it all with a rich hope.
This particular morning He spoke powerful reminders to me.
I heard Him say, “Jenny – we have been walking out this reality for a solid year haven’t we? Aren’t you glad that today feels like a normal celebration for your heart?”
And then it hit…For the first time ever, I didn’t feel differently about Easter this year because I had been living in the power of Jesus of Nazareth EVERY single day.
For better or for worse – I had been walking with Him.
Maybe you have lived your entire life close to Jesus like it is Easter morning on replay… I definitely have not.
Easter didn’t feel different, because I had been practicing the presence of Jesus more constantly than all of my forty-one years on earth.
The big brothers gathered the little ones, jumped into the mini van, and we headed towards Seattle.
Mountains, jam-packed with towering trees shouted praises to King Jesus! Fog settled up in those forests adding mystery to His resurrection.
I was enjoying the drive, but my 2-year-old was sick with a nasty cough and relentless waterfall of a running nose. I had hopes of keeping him with me for the service – but we all know how that usually turns out…so I made my swift exit to the van.
Honestly – any other Easter I would have felt so heartsick that I missed my chance to really worship, to relive the words of scripture, to sing my heart out, and praise like I hadn’t all year-long.
I definitely made up for the singing as we drove back along the scenic route, and even detoured for ice cream. Win!
Even though the timing of sickness caused me to miss our first Easter at our new church, it was a strong day of recognizing the actual power of Christ in my day-to-day living.
Jesus used these moments to lift my eyes and dial back to all the ways He has demonstrated His sacrifice and rising from the dead power this year.
We don’t have to wait for that perfect message, that favorite song, or the “just right” vibe to draw in to all that Jesus has for us.
We get to offer Him our highest praise Monday through Sunday all year round. May we be the ones who don’t hold out for the big moments to enjoy His powerful presence.