He IS Risen.

Easter means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.  For some, it is the one day of the year they wear a flowery dress and go to church.  For others, it's a cavity-inducing sugar overload, filled with brightly colored, barely hidden plastic eggs that rattle with candy once they are discovered.  Some families are all about the fluffy guy with long ears who leaves behind little treat baskets for all those who believe.  Others are completely focused on the broken Man with deep scars who takes EVERYTHING from those who believe... and replaces it all with Something better.  One kind of gift grows stale if not consumed immediately, the other is eternal and only becomes more beautiful with time.

My life has been a mixture of both.  I won't lie: I still become positively giddy over the prospect of a new Easter dress every year.  And there was just nothing better than pulling into the garage in our '89 suburban and pouring out of the doors to find the magical "key" taped to the garage door, revealing to my sisters and I our jelly bean color for the year.  Once the door to the house was opened, we were transported to a magical land of jelly bean trails that twisted and swirled all over the place, eventually ending at our delightful wicker basket of treats.*
Joelle and I in our Easter dresses before church. :)

But this Easter, God's message to me is one of restoration.  He has restored me.  My past sins are washed away.  I'm no longer defined by the ugly, horrible mistake I made a few years ago.  The pride I've had.  The lies I've told.  I'm pure again.  He is proud of me.  I bring Him JOY.  Not because of anything I did, but because of His tremendous, overwhelming, all consuming, unconditional, lavish, EXTRAVAGANT love.

I am so blessed by friends who love and accept me, regardless of my mistakes. They are earthly reflections of the love of my Heavenly father.

He has restored my family.  My parents' marriage was not what we had hoped it would be.  My sisters and I desperately clung  to a false sense of security in the even more false sense of stability we saw in our parents' marriage and our childhood home.  When it broke, our world was shattered.  Our sheltered bubble burst and I know I personally felt like I would never find a safe place to land again.

Looking at the situation now, I see the tender buds of hope bursting forth.  God is so good.  He causes all things to work together for good for those who love Him.  He brought beauty forth from ashes.

My parents are both significantly happier now and I know the Lord is blessing them in their new marriages.  He is also blessing us, my sisters and I, with new additions to our families that fill voids we never even realized we had.  Oddly enough, this separation has actually drawn us closer together as a family unit.

God is restoring the Hoffmans.  Their years of pain and longing, their battle with infertility... it's OVER.  Their fasting for children is finally replaced by feasting.  Kendra and David rejoice with their two beautiful, healthy, perfect twins - still so fresh from Heaven.

Luke on the left, Abbey on the right.  Could they be any sweeter?

Tony and Risa sings song of praise as they prepare to finally bring their THREE adopted children home with them.  

    God has blessed us despite our undeserving human faults.  He has blessed us in abundance!

I praise You God for conquering the grave.  I thank You for bearing all my ugly, painful sin and shame, so I can live wholly and holy again.  I know I am unworthy, and yet You love me nonetheless.

"Mostly what God does is love you.  Keep company with Him and learn a life of love.  Observe how Christ loved us.  His love was not cautious but extravagant.  He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us.  Love like that."
Ephesians 5:2 (Message) 

Thank you for restoring us.  Thank you that you ARE risen today, tomorrow, and forever more.


*P.S. Mom, if you ever decide to revive this tradition, I promise I will gleefully assist. :)


Vanessa's Dad said…
Thank you for sharing your heart of gratitude. By looking for things for which to be grateful, you will find them everywhere.

Happy Easter,