Our First Holiday

Our last Easter with Jane, 2019

Easter without Jane is not without hope.

It’s our first holiday since Jane passed away. We miss her terribly and the ache of her absence is profound. Of all the holidays we could have experienced first without Jane, I’m so thankful it was Easter. We celebrate Christmas big at our house. Thanksgiving bears many standing traditions and birthdays are special milestones. Though we always celebrate Easter, the specifics have varied every year since Robert and I got married. We don’t do the Easter bunny at our house and we rarely participate in egg hunts. The date, of course, changes every year and so do our plans. Sometimes we are with extended family and sometimes we are not.

But it’s not our lack of traditions that make me glad Easter is our first holiday without Jane, it’s that Easter is the most hopeful holiday of all. Acts 2:23-24 says, “This man (Jesus) was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” This necessitates repeating, it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. Praise God! God reigns victorious, sin and death could not hold him.

Perhaps it took an empty bed in our home to treasure the empty tomb so much more.

I’ve always cherished Easter and what we really celebrate. But I don’t think I meditated on how the worst tragedy in history became the most victorious. I don’t think I’ve pondered enough how Jesus’ suffering and being brought low, brought Him glory and secured my salvation. Today is hard, the heaviness of grief is great. Today is also cause for joy. The power, mercy and grace of my Savior is unfathomable. Perhaps it took an empty bed in our home to treasure the empty tomb so much more.

Living Through Saturday

Friday is good and Sunday is Coming, but we still have to live through Saturday

In the last few weeks I have been perplexed by 1 Corinthians 15:54b-56 which says “‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.’ ‘Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?’ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I started studying and praying, because maybe I was misunderstanding. Right now I feel the sting of death. Jane, my baby, is gone and her death causes a searing pain. Is my faith less than? Do I not understand the victory in Christ?

No, we feel the sting of death in our home right now because we live in a sinful and broken world. My thoughts have gone to the followers of Jesus, to Mary the mother of Jesus. I can’t imagine the shock and utter despair that Friday brought. We, in hindsight, can call it good. But why do we rush to Sunday? Mary couldn’t and neither could the others that loved Christ.

I don’t want to diminish what is coming, but instead understand it’s worth.

Why don’t we talk about Saturday? We don’t like to dwell on hurt. Our human nature rushes to avoid suffering and discomfort. I’m so thankful that I know what came on Sunday and the hope of His resurrection. I don’t want to diminish what is coming, but instead understand it’s worth. I want to learn to face suffering and understand the beauty of lament. I can say Friday is good and rejoice that Sunday is coming, but I still have to live through Saturday. This is hope. Not avoiding the present, but living through the pain knowing what is to come.

The Paradox of Good Friday

Written by Robert

“so that when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”

Today we sit in reverence and awe of what Christ accomplished on the cross. We declare this day to be good because in His ultimate selfless act a fountain was opened to cleanse us from sin and uncleanness. We sing, “There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins; and sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains.”

It is good because in the work of Christ we are made holy, blameless, righteous, a chosen priesthood. We have been made new by His grace and His work, not our own. Hallelujah, what a Savior. 

“Man of Sorrows what a name, For the Son of God who came, Ruined sinners to reclaim, Hallelujah! What a Savior!”

Yet, the paradox that in the midst of knowing, seeing and feeling this joy of salvation there is deep, profound grief and mourning. Zechariah 12:10 … “so that when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.” I can not describe to you the magnitude of pain, sorrow, anguish, and grief that losing a child bears. It is a deep, piercing open wound. So with this verse we see depth of our sin and the great cost that our redemption exacts. Today, we weep as if our only child has died at the sight of what your sin and my sin has done.

The saddest and worst day in history also created the most joyful and good day of history. Joy and grief intertwined, so join me in singing today, “Man of Sorrows what a name, For the Son of God who came, Ruined sinners to reclaim, Hallelujah! What a Savior!”