Everyday Easter Moments
I didn't go to church on Sunday because we were camping for a friend's wedding, but that doesn't mean I missed out on Easter. In fact, in a meeting on Monday, the illustrator for my picture book said, "I feel like I just had an Easter moment." For me, that means feeling God's love in a new way. I don't think such a feeling should be confined to one day a year, which is probably why I write Christian romance novels. Here are some of my personal love stories from just this week.
The moment my illustrator was talking about involved meeting with a man who'd lost his four-year-old son to cancer. I'd invited Jason Herring to look at my picture book because while the purpose is to help children overcome the pain of disease by imagining themselves as heroes, I don't want to be insensitive to those who did not survive. I asked Jason for his feedback. Not only was he on board with my message, but he shared about how his son Josiah liked to imagine himself as The Hulk. Out of Jason's own heart for other children and in remembrance of his son, he ordered an Iron Man costume to wear for visits to the cancer ward. He went on to tell me about how grateful he was that the pain of losing his son came in waves, and in mentioning this to his doctor, the doctor responded, "If the pain of losing your child came all at once, your heart would explode." The statement instantly reminded Jason of how he'd heard that the reason Jesus died why blood and water poured out his side when punctured by a spear was because his heart literally exploded. The pain our sins caused Jesus was unrelenting. He loved us so much that his heart couldn't handle it. That's a lot of love.
Another moment for me was on Palm Sunday. We took communion at church from little Covid-safe plastic packages. Afterwards, I had plans to meet my best friend for lunch. She's struggling through some of her own heart-wounding events. So I took a couple extra communion packages with me to share with her. Together we prayed and cried and hugged. And I'm reminded of how as a little girl, her parents tried to get her to sleep alone in her room, but she didn't like being alone. They told her she wasn't alone because Jesus was with her. She responded, "Yes, but I want someone with skin." Sometimes I get to be that person for her, and she's been that person for me. I love how Jesus uses us to share His love in tangible/huggable ways.
I also bawled through the wedding this weekend. The bride, Galixi, comes from a family that should have their own reality show. For example, her dad has bleached blonde mohawk, and he buys her things like a Hummer with a license plate that calls her his Princess. They have a very close relationship, and this was included in her vows: "I used to say that I didn't want to get married, but that wasn't true. The truth was that I was afraid I'd never find a man as amazing as my dad." I was struck with how marriage is supposed to symbolize Christ's love for the church. And how we should all have the kind of relationship with our Father in heaven where we know nobody will ever be able to live up to the kind of love He has for us. It's true.
I didn't go to church last year on Easter either. Because nobody did. Instead, on that morning, Jim and I sat on the back patio with our coffee, watching the sunrise and listening to worship music. It was the Sunday before my final chemo treatment, and I made the mistake of playing I Still Believe by Jeremy Camp. That was a song Jeremy wrote after his wife died of cancer.
It rocked me. I had no reason to survive more than anyone else who had died of cancer. They'd died. Jesus died. And if I had died, the only thing that mattered was that the people I loved still believe in the meaning of Easter. In resurrection.
And that's what I want for you. A heart that believes. Whether cancer takes your child, someone wounds your heart, or you're afraid you'll be let down, there's still hope to be found every day. Not only on Easter.
When did you last feel God's love in a new way?