Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Break Through

So far this Easter has been unlike any other, and it doesn't make any sense except that Jesus has purposely made it that way.

First of all, we all know the story of Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. Even if you're not a Christian, chances are, you've heard it. It's an amazing story, but one which I've always distanced myself from.


I am the queen of the scaredy cats. I hate horror movies, anything graphic or gory, and basically anything that makes me uncomfortable. The story of that selfless act of Jesus is all of the above.

Many have seen The Passion of the Christ movie that came out around Easter in 2004. Many lives were forever changed because of that movie and it's graphic depiction of how Jesus laid down His life for us. I sat watching it and tried to force myself to cry. Grown men all around me were sobbing, people of all ages were having these incredible revelations and couldn't control their emotions, and I felt it was only appropriate that I squeeze out a few tears for this God that I love and serve. I had distanced myself from the story as if my dad were trying to read it to me on a road trip while I quietly slid on my headphones, which had become a reoccurring Easter tradition for us while I was playing travel basketball as a teen. I did not want to hear it. And in the years since Mel Gibson's hit, I have actually refused to watch The Passion again on every occasion offered.

How uncomfortable a thought it is think that some stranger, seemingly, would go through so much pain for the likes of me? Would I do that for my children? I love them more than anything in this world. I would die for them, but I would exhaust every and all other options before I would willingly submit myself to that kind of pain, torture, and suffering to save them. I would organize an elaborate escape, complete with disguises and deception, and we would make a run for it to some deserted island somewhere. I would likely kill anyone who tried to harm us along the way. It would make a wonderful, and thrilling "based on a true story" book, which would later be turned into a movie staring the beautiful daughter of Meryl Streep, Mamie Gummer, but I digress. What does all of that make me? Human. Jesus did not run, He did not kill anyone who tried to harm him. He didn't even squirm or fight them as they nailed his wrists to the cross. Biblical historians believe that even Gibson's theatrical depiction of Christ's suffering still didn't come close to the true horror which was His death. It could have rivaled anything you've seen in any horror movie, and likely (I know in my case) would have induced vomit.

This Easter, God has opened my eyes and allowed me to fully understand and receive this blessing; this incredible gift that I have the choice to refuse, but that which I can never, ever repay. How do I know that? Well, if I just told you how emotional I've been just thinking about it, or how nauseous I became after listening to a radio broadcast about it, you might say, "Of course! You're pregnant!" And I would laugh and somewhat agree. However, I have been pregnant at Easter two other times. This is my third hormone raging Easter, and it is still like no other. Yesterday, in the car, I heard men talking about Christ's crucifixion on the radio. They talked about how it's believed the nails were actually hammered through the wrists and not the hands. The major arteries and nerves there would have caused shattering pain that I didn't think I was even capable of imagining. But while I was listening to this description I became nauseous...very nauseous. I imagined, for an instant, that kind of pain. My weak flesh would have passed out and died with the first wrist! I thought I was going to have to ask Jelani to pull the car over, I was feeling so sick. He asked what was wrong, and when I told him, he promptly changed the radio station.

He meant well, and that was a very husbandly, sensitive thing to do for his pregnant wife, but something in me, nauseous as I was, did not want to run from the discomfort. I replied with as much strength as I could muster, and a somewhat embarrassed chuckle, "It is a very small discomfort to bear, Jelani."

He laughed and we imagined that Jesus was watching me, saying, "Really? A little nauseous? REALLY?"

Through the emotions and the nausea and the chaos of the holiday, Jesus is showing me what it's about, and guiding me in what to really care about. I did not go shopping to fill Easter baskets this year. I bought some candy, but other than that, the kids are getting one homemade gift each. I made catastrophic mistakes and messes in the kitchen today in preparation for Easter dinner tomorrow that stressed me out, nearly to tears. The bread wouldn't rise, and then wouldn't bake. It tasted like hot, raw dough. The chocolate frosting would not get thick enough, and kept dripping down my cake. The counters were covered in dirty dishes, flour, powdered sugar, and splatterings of chocolate frosting from a mixing accident. To top it all off, I gave myself mild food poisoning with one lick of cake batter, and wasn't feeling up to the challenge of the mess. My incredible husband didn't bat an eye. He told me to sit down while he cleaned it up.

How blessed am I? Jesus cleanses me from sin. He went through pain that I can't even fully comprehend so that I may enter into Heaven.

Then, after He'd done it all; given the gift that can never be topped, He had it in mind to give me a husband who spends two hours in the kitchen cleaning up after me...cleansing me from my own disasters.

I will stop coasting and step out of my comfort zone any time to see how I have been blessed. The view is much clearer on this side. :)

I am very blessed indeed.

Happy Easter, everyone!

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