“Is that your Easter dress?”
“Yes!” The 9-year-old smiled proudly dressed in skinny jeans and a salmon Easter dress with purple and white flowers.
“You look so pretty!”, I complimented her as I watched the third-grader shuffle down the hallway in her white sandals, brunette pony-tail swishing left and right.
As I stood in the hall greeting children coming in the day after the long Easter weekend, I remembered my own Easter dresses long ago.
One year my sister and I wore matching yellow shift dresses with daisies sewn in a row down the front. White gloves and white patent leather shoes. White lace-topped anklets. Mom sewed our dresses each year and she and Dad took us to church. We got to run in the park in our dress clothes as fast as we could to find the colored plastic Easter eggs filled with candy or money. Dad hid them behind the trees, under the picnic tables, and throughout the grass.
We always had dinner at home with ham, green beans, rolls, and mashed potatoes. Mom made us a homemade cake from a box for dessert. We got to lick the beaters from the icing when she made it the day before. Usually chocolate.
I didn’t really remember much about the church service, just that Jesus died on the cross. I was too excited about the Easter egg hunt and admiring my new clothes and pretty shoes. I do remember feeling safe with my family. My people.
Fast forward over fifty Easter Sundays and I was excited about wearing my new dress with turquoise print. I’ve moved three states away from my childhood home, and dinner was at my cousin’s house where I joined over thirty extended family members. Ham, mashed potatoes, potato salad, green bean casserole, rolls – a similar menu including Texas sheet cake and a cousin specialty strawberry cake. We laughed and enjoyed watching the children run through the yard picking up their Easter eggs in the hunt, each one wearing their Easter clothes. Adults joined the fun smashing confetti eggs on each other. Thousands of colored bits of paper littered the grass.
I did remember more of the church service. And I felt safe with my people– church family and extended family.
And the Pastor did speak of Jesus dying on the cross. But there was more. He spoke of Resurrection Power. And a new beginning.
When my first son was born the nurses brought him to me and placed him on my chest. He’d just been delivered by C-section and in the moment of physical trauma seeing his tiny face, fingers, and toes brought unexplainable joy to my soul. My immediate thought was, “How in this world can anyone not believe in God who creates a life as amazing as this!”
As I grew older sitting in church on Easter Sunday I began to hear about Jesus dying on the cross, being buried, and rising on the third day. Pastors often talked about ‘resurrection power’ throughout the year and not just on Easter Sunday.
As I turn the corner in an older season in my life, I have hope for eternal life because of Jesus’ shed blood on the cross. I also have hope for that power that’s spoken of, and see it growing stronger in my life. I really never understood it before.
My life hasn’t turned out the way I’d planned. Maybe yours hasn’t either. A failed marriage, losing my mother to cancer at an early age, and a son with years of drug addiction. Other situations I couldn’t speak of.
God has seen me through it all, and most recently given me the strength and courage to pack up my things and start over, leaving years of familiar surroundings and relationships. To move along His path into the unfamiliar and unknown.
Easter Sunday is now a memory past. New clothes are put away, and plastic eggs are stored for next year. All the candy and boiled eggs have been eaten. Leftover ham is gone.
The power the pastor spoke of? It’s still available. A week later. It will be available to us all year.
What are you facing today? What are you struggling with?
If you’ll just call out to Him, He’ll hear you. I promise.
There’s hope for a new beginning, because of what Jesus did on the cross. I’m living it.
So I’ll keep believing, and in the meantime plan a trip to go see some of my ‘people’. The guy who hid the Easter eggs for us. He’s still around. One of the people who made me feel safe.