Ahhh… the joy of Easter…

It has been a very busy weekend.

To the extent that I was physically able to participate, I exhausted a lot of energy preparing for Easter Sunday. There was a lot to be done. Saturday in particular was busy, as my husband and I went to church to help get Easter gift bags ready for all of the children. Following that, my son and daughter had a brief rehearsal for the kids’ Easter program. After that we went to pick up food for our church’s Easter sunrise service, which included breakfast. Then we had a few things we had to get–BabyGirl needed shoes to match her little pink dress, and I had a gift card that I used to buy a new dress to wear myself. After that I could do no more, although I sat down as much as I could. I capped off the night with an inexplicable stomachache, completely out of place since I’d barely eaten all day. My husband, God bless him, responded to my needs and went to the store to get a Vernor’s and, obviously sympathetic toward my pain, brought back an unexpected treat–a Peppermint Patty–that I was unable to eat. (That is how to gauge the severity of my illness–if I turn down a Peppermint Patty, it’s crucial).

Unfortunately, I have been having severe problems sleeping. Even if I am exhausted, I cannot fall asleep at night. Nothing seems to work. It has been this way for months but appears to be getting worse. I finally fell asleep sometime after two a.m.

At 5:40 a.m., it was time for me to get up and get my family ready to go.

Since I had been unable to sleep, I had made sure all of our clothes were ready, my tote bag was ready, etc. All we would have to do was get up, brush our teeth, wash our faces, get dressed and leave. Which is exactly what we did. We got to church and my husband and a team of our brothers there got started on the breakfast. The sunrise service consisted of our pastor doing a “sermonette” and various members, including myself, offering personal testimonies as to the goodness of God. I actually went first–I kind of surprised my own self when I raised my hand. I felt compelled to offer thanksgiving to God despite my struggles. How can I be bitter about this illness on this day, when I get to joyfully commemorate the event that secured salvation for a wretch like me?

I have abused my body with alcohol.

I have hurt others with my tongue and occasionally with fists and hands.

I have told lies.

I have whored myself before marriage with guys who were just completely unworthy.

I am pretty sure that along the way somewhere I turned someone off with my behavior as I proclaimed to be a Christian.

Although I am not what I used to be by far, I still screw up daily. Even if it is an inappropriate thought about a driver of a car who cut me off, it is still sin. It is sin that, by itself, would make me unacceptable to God.

Luckily my friend and Savior Jesus Christ came down to earth in order that He may fulfill Old Testament Laws by allowing Himself to be the perfect, blemish-free sacrifice, the Lamb of God, who could intercede for me and cover me in His blood. When God the Father looks at me, he does not see a screw-up. He sees me through the lens of Jesus Christ.

How do I know God is with me? I can feel him! I have experienced a gradual change in my attitude and personality as I have grown in Christ. I have typically been an optimistic person, but never to the extent that I am now. Oh, I definitely get down sometimes, but never for long. It is amazing to be able to refocus and turn the bad into the good, to always be able to find a way to look at the glass half full. That is because my relationship with the Ultimate Burden Bearer is strong. I am now slower to anger. When someone annoys me (except when I am in the car, I STILL need work there) I can take time to think and prepare a response before just flying off at the mouth like I used to. I can now walk right past the alcohol in stores now without getting the taste in my mouth. My husband and I don’t argue. We disagree, but don’t go back and forth arguing with each other. Our children are thriving. Not perfect, but thriving. I feel a sense of satisfaction with my life that I have never experienced before.

As I have discussed with my charges in Sunday school, a major benefit (to us) of Jesus coming down to experience life in human flesh is that it gave Him the opportunity to better understand our struggles, temptations, and other aspects of human life. So when we mess up and Satan runs up to God to accuse us, our Intercessor is on the right hand of the Father pleading our case: “Give him/her another chance, Father. He/she is one of mine. He/she is trying”.

Why is the world so hostile toward Jesus? Whenever I read the Gospels, I cannot believe how much love Jesus had for everyone. Yet the world hated Him then and obviously does now (society is not so kind to Christians–for some reason we are not supposed to express our beliefs, lest we be called hypocrites or accused of being discriminatory–

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/04/anti-gay-pizzeria_n_7003596.html

But I digress)

Jesus is Love.

I understand in this world things of God are difficult for some to understand, but for those of us who get it, we have a responsibility to stand for what we know to be true despite the scorn we will undoubtedly get from society. If Jesus, the epitome of love, was mocked, misunderstood, scorned, disrespected, and eventually charged unjustly, beaten, spit upon, whipped until His body bled, and crucified, then I hope believers understand that we are now taking on the world’s scorn as His disciples. We are sinners, Jesus was not–so who are we to expect everything is going to be roses and rainbows and all things cuddly? If anything, our lives get even more difficult when we accept Jesus because we are now a peculiar person in a world where anything goes. That and Satan is going to do his personal best to trip you up.

I attempted to get a headache during service that I was able to manage, because I was dead set against going home on Easter Sunday. I was able to spend a little bit of time with my parents and sister and her family before coming home. Once again I am exhausted but unable to sleep.

But I am happy. It has been a great day. I enjoy going to church. I enjoy serving others. I like that people know they can count on me for help. I enjoy spending time with my brothers and sisters in Christ. Most of all, I enjoy commemorating the most important holiday in the Christian faith (aside from the day Jesus was born, of course)–the day our salvation was secured when Jesus died on that cross for us.

Sometimes I get sad when I think about what He went through. I take it personally because I know all of the wrong I have done. I don’t go pointing fingers at anyone else. I think about how Jesus’ beaten and broken body was laid upon the cross. I had an accident where the tip of my fingers was crushed off–it hurt like nothing I can describe. Yet, Jesus, God in flesh, allowed for nails to be nailed into His hands. Imagine how that felt! To have His feet crossed ankle over ankle and then nailed to the cross. Imagine how THAT felt! To have a crown of thorns pushed down on His head. Then to be made fun of, spat upon, to have people gamble for His garments, tell Him if He is God to hop down off the cross–ALL BECAUSE HE CAME TO SAVE! It brings tears to my eyes. Then I continue with the story. Yes, He did die, a slow and particularly excruciating death for ME but…

THEN HE WAS BURIED.

AND THEN HE ROSE AGAIN!

Then my heart is joyful again!

ALL HAIL KING JESUS!

THERE IS NONE GREATER!

AT THE NAME OF KING JESUS EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW!!!

HALLELUJAH… HE IS EXCELLENT!

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