Happy Easter!

I announced to you all last post that we are expecting our second child! I am so very excited, but I will be bluntly honest and just say its much different the second time around! I took all the steps to prepare for this pregnancy, and was fit and healthy with good habits in place, but because of past complications and just because pregnancy is hard, I have been hit with a wave of weakness this time around – (possibly running after 2 other toddlers may contribute to that as well??). In the beginning, I was still trying to be as active as I could but just collapsed on the couch one day, wallowing in this new sense of weakness. I had been feeling so strong, and then it all came crashing down. I absolutely hated that feeling, and am still fighting against it to a degree. I couldn’t watch the kids without needing a break when they took a nap. My energetic attack on my to-do list during times of freedom dwindled down to half-hearted swipes of the kitchen counters to make them appear clean, and remembering to do laundry once every two weeks. Workouts pared down to just about 10 minutes of excruciating movements a few times a week because of how my body had changed from my first pregnancy and the surgeries that came after it.  I felt like a fish out of water – every day I was fighting fatigue, a sense of weakness, and pain throughout my body as I just tried to do the simple things.

One of the things that I have been trying to keep up with is hosting a Bible study for some amazing moms – thank goodness they are an amazing group and we had already been meeting virtually, because I have relied on their support and prayers during this season! Well, we had wanted to spend some time working through an Easter devotional leading up to this holiday, and the one we chose was entitled “For the Joy Set Before Him”, referring to Jesus’ suffering on the cross. Something not written in the devotional, but that smacked me right between the eyes was the fact that you will endure absolutely anything “for the joy” set before you. I would gladly go through the discomforts of pregnancy 100 times over if it meant I could hold my sweet babies in my arms and love on them. Every pain I felt melted away as soon as they placed my daughter in my arms for the first time – it all became worth it. And I know it will be the same when this baby is here. That’s the depth of love I have for my children.

Now, I am not comparing myself to Jesus at all, but just the correlation at this point in my pregnancy journey opened my mind to remember all that He had done for us, and made more real just a tiny bit of the pain that He suffered for us because He knew of the ultimate outcome. That is some amazing love, y’all, and if you’ve never stopped to think on it – I mean REALLY think on it – please do this Easter. Jesus went through more than we could ever begin to imagine because of the joy set before Him – the redemption of His children and being able to hold them in heaven one day. We can’t even begin to understand how much He loves us!

I was reading through the Easter story the other day and just had the thought this morning that the timing of this virus outbreak and quarantine can’t be an accident. The evil one is out to kill and destroy and discredit God, and would like nothing more than for us to all sit at home and moan that “Easter is cancelled” because we can’t do all of our normal things – no frilly new dresses, colorful Easter egg hunts with our communities, and lavish family dinners. No moving church services where you may focus on Jesus for the only time that weekend. No perfectly posed family portraits, and staged visits to the Easter bunny.

Well, I have news for you — this is the absolute PERFECT time to celebrate Easter! It is a necessary time for us to remember that no matter what else is going on in this crazy world that we can’t control, the one thing that we can count on is that Jesus won the battle over sin and death, once and for all, which means that our future is totally secure if we trust in Him! That can never change! Nothing that happens on Earth can change that “given” in our lives.  The enemy would like us to forget that the same Jesus that was victorious over the grave is living in us with the same power, regardless of our earthly circumstances. That is something that he can never destroy and is something we should be celebrating regardless of our circumstances!

So, I have another question for you that I’ve been pondering for myself the last few weeks…. What in your life needs to die this Easter? What needs to die so that something greater can be born with the power of the Lord? What habits, preoccupations, or distractions need to go down into the grave and stay there? What if we aren’t supposed to “just get through” this? What if this time was meant for evil, but God wants use it for good? What if we are supposed to be transformed and raised to new life through this? With new intentions? New focus on different things? New relationships? This is the perfect time for renewal and being raised to new life in Christ….the world has been stripped away from us, and we have been given a gift of time and distance to reset and refocus.

Happy Easter. Endure this for the joy set before you – a simpler life, focused on, and driven by the power of Christ.

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