Easter is My Every Day

Death isn’t theoretical for me. It isn’t the thing that “might happen one day…” A possible reality off in the mists of the future. It is in my bed. On my pillow. Everyday. 

The man I lived with every day for nearly 23 years- skin to skin and heart to heart and dream to dream with- is gone. He literally ran straight forward, smack dab into death. And life. All in a few moments on a wooded path.

So, death and I stare each other down every day. I don’t have a choice. There is no avoidance technique big enough to hide it. John has died.

And, every morning, I accept it. Again. Do you want to know the real reason I wake up in our empty bed and face death and find peace?

It isn’t a theory. or an idea. or a comforting religious belief.

It isn’t a technique or a mantra or a transforming app.

It is a person. His name is Jesus Christ. He did for John and for me what no one in all of history has ever done: Jesus said he would face death for us and defeat it. No other person has ever made that claim and lived to tell about it.

Jesus did, and so He has earned my wholehearted faith and trust and confident hope because He died and He lives.

 “Jesus who rescued us from certain doom”1 Thessalonians 1:10 (MSG)

I don’t worry and wonder, “Was John good enough? Did he live a life that earned him eternity?” These questions don’t plague me.

Jesus earned eternity for John. and for me. and for our kids. and for you. He lived the perfect life none of us could ever accomplish, and He let his perfect life be sacrificed for our sake.

He didn’t die on the cross for himself. He died on the cross for us. His death is a gift that He has given to each of us. His life makes us part of God’s family, and like all children, we look up to our Father and want to be like Him. John lived wanting to please His Heavenly Father.

When I wake up in the morning, death is real but its hold is temporary. What I am most aware of is my settled peace and confidence that Jesus is real. His Spirit is with me, and I am reassured that John is safe.

John and I are now living both sides of faith in Christ. Lives that neither of us had ever experienced before March 8. We have both experienced death’s spectrum: on earth and in heaven.

We will have a lot to talk about one day. I hope we get to. Or maybe God’s eternal plan will be so amazing we won’t want to rehash all that has happened. I can only speculate. and wonder. and dream.

We are both living; sustained by Christ’s power and presence.

All I know is what four years have tried and tested in my life: I have faced death and Jesus Christ met me on that night and He hasn’t let me go. His hope and presence and peace and strength and tenderness and reassurance woo me every morning.

Every day is Easter.

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure…” Hebrews 6:19






Grief Grows Up

My grief is growing up. This week, on Tuesday, March 8, it turns four years old.

I happen to be familiar with four year olds. A few years ago I persuaded my teenage daughter and son to help me lead the four year old class at our church. We are with them two Sundays each month. We love them.

It is quite amazing how similar a group of four year old children are: potty trained, increasingly confident, generally cooperative- they understand not to hit, and that it is nice to share, and when the teacher is talking it is time to be self-controlled. They are unique people with distinct personalities in little bodies.

Those little people have come a long way from the tiny bundles who were placed in their parents’ arms four years ago.

Right next door to our classroom is the three year old class.  Peeking in there is a reminder of the amazing growth that happens in just a year’s time. That class has a very different tone.

Potty trained? maybe, maybe not.
Sharing? not fans.
Listening to story time? sitting still is hard.
Happy to be there? not really. Being with mom and dad is always better.

It is a room full of emotions those little ones can only express in tears and limited words. Three year olds are absolutely adorable, but they are definitely high maintenance. My kids and I aren’t brave enough to take on an entire class.

But I can identify with them. And I am glad to be turning four.

If you have been in a delivery room, then you know the holy, stunning reality of birth. The process isn’t pretty,  but miraculously life perseveres, even though it is messy and howling. For each of us, our Day One begins the long process of figuring out life.

We are welcomed by grace.

Grace cleans us up. Grace comforts. Grace hushes.
Grace holds. Grace kisses. Grace smiles.
Grace whispers love. Grace embraces.
Grace expects little of us and gives us much.

And grace is there ready to do it all over again when we wake up each morning.

The graces continue as we grow.

For me, the last four years began with a sudden c-section birth into an entirely unfamiliar world:  a world where death permanently changed reality for my husband. For me. For our four children.

I was reduced to an infant. Needy, messy, undone. Nights and days confused. Unable to eat solids. Crying was my native language.

Grace embraced me.

And, I have been growing up the past four years through the early days of grief’s bewildering, needy infancy into the growing confidence and awareness of toddlerhood.

All along the way there has been God’s presence and grace for my lack of understanding, my yearnings, my confusion, my over reactions, my insecurities, my bad days, and good ones.

There has been grace for tantrums and inconsolable days.

There has been grace to love and care for four people who needed me to wake up and lead the way forward.

There has been grace as the songs of His love surround me on Sunday mornings.

There has been grace given as the sun still shines, ocean waves lap shores, birds sing, and seasons change.  All of it gently, continually coaxing me to see joy and recognize hope.

And there has been grace expressed through the people who have helped, listened, reassured, and loved. Patiently. Willingly.*

And, as we arrive at year four, this is what I know: in the embrace of grace, my grief is growing up. Grief’s infancy and toddler days are becoming memories.

I feel four.

My grief will always be part of who I am. It is my story, but we are growing up together.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy
and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Hebrews 4:16

Reading friend, if there is grief in your life, may you also find His tireless, gentle grace helping you.

thank you for being here with me~ listening as you read,

**thank you my dearest, closest family and friends. You know who you are. I love you more than I ever imagined, for reasons I never thought I’d know.