I open my eyes and it’s still dark outside. My early riser is tapping on my face, telling me to get up. I roll over and tell her to go back to bed until the sun comes up. It’s Sunday, I want a little more sleep. She resists and a tantrum ensues. Suddenly, cries from the other room reveal her brother is awake. So much for sleep.
We scramble to eat breakfast and get dressed for church in time to make it there before morning rehearsal starts. Amid the flurry of teeth brushing, hair styling, clothes changing and shower taking, I’m trying to get lunch in the slow cooker and prepare myself as well. Finally, we fly out the door with just enough time to get to the church.
Punctuality is one of my love languages, and the chaos of the morning plus running late has soured my mood. My family receives the brunt of my grumpy condition. My husband remarks, “Your bad mood is becoming a Sunday morning habit.” I know he’s right. But still I brood.
After church, we arrive home to be greeted by a smoky odor. Lunch is burning. I quickly assess the damage to salvage what I can while also putting the pasta side on the stove to cook. After it’s finished, I do a taste test to discover that it’s terrible. I dump the whole dish in the garbage and grab a pack of potato chips instead.
This was how Easter started for us this year. There were a million moments of mess and mania that I allowed to quickly steal my joy. I was so fixated on making the perfect dinner and sharing the picture of the perfectly posed kids in their perfectly coordinating outfits that I missed the forest for the trees. And as I sat there lamenting our then cold, burned lunch, my husband remarked, “don’t find joy in the pork chop, find your joy in Jesus. He didn’t die and rise again for Easter dinner. He gave his life so you can have joy in this chaos.”
I needed an attitude adjustment, and my husband’s kind admonishing was the antidote to my angst. I let the enemy win that morning. I behaved like Jesus was still in the tomb. Praise God he isn’t, and his resurrected life renews my mind and transforms my heart even when I live like he’s still dead and buried. He reclaims my joy when I just completely miss it. By faith I can say with Paul, I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
He didn’t give himself for me to have the perfect Easter. But he gave his perfect life that I might live. Hallelujah.
Photo credit: First Sight Photography