I tend to think of Easter as full of hope. I think of new life and bright, spring days. We wear pastel colors and smiles.
It is full of hope.
But in the days leading up to Easter, at least this year, my heart has been hurting and heavy.
In fact, I've been so reminded of the ache in our hearts the Easter we were pregnant with Ellie and didn't expect her to live.
I stood in my kitchen this afternoon, tears streaming down my face as I washed the dishes.
My husband came to me and asked why I was crying this time.
I've been crying for days now.
Long time family friends - friends I've known for 26 of my 32 years, they buried their daughter today. Just a few years younger then me, a wife & mother of four young children, she became sick just last week. Today, her family buried her. My heart has hung heavy for their family this week. I've watched as my parents have struggled in grief for their friends- friends they spent building the foundations of their families and marriages with. In the last few years, my parents have had too many friends bury their young adult children and it is heartbreaking.
My phone gave me an alert today from my calendar - it is the anniversary of the birth of a precious baby whose parents I was honored to meet as they walked the road of carrying a child with a poor prenatal diagnosis. She lived for fifteen days. I was honored to meet her on her birthday - one year ago today-
but the phone alert and the texting with her mother whose arms are empty today brought such an ache.
Then I learned of another friend who has buried one child and learned this week that their other child has a scary diagnosis.
Another text and heart full of hurt for my hurting mama friend.
I came across an easy passover meal menu and script for families. I made it during nap time on Maundy Thursday and together, our little family remembered Jesus and the Last Supper He shared in with his disciples.
The children loved the Haroset and Matzoh and lamb. They hated the maror (bitter herbs.) We eat the bitter herbs to remind of us the Israelites in slavery. As Christians, it reminds us too of the agony of Jesus as he prayed in the garden the night of his arrest and the torture He endured in the hours leading up to His death on Good Friday.
I wept today and told my husband that I was struggling to feel hope this Easter. I know in my heart God is always good. I know He is sovereign even when I can't possibly wrap my human, finite brain around His plans. I know He desires our best and we may never understand His ways.
I know all of this.
But I also know too many mommies with breaking hearts.
And that is when my husband reminded me of the disciples. Upon the death of Christ, they hid.
They ran away from the cross and cowered in fear.
We know that the Resurrection comes three days later.
But those disciples? Those best friends of Jesus? They didn't get it. So they hid in fear until He appeared to them.
When I told him I was struggling to find hope today, struggling to know how to comfort a friend or feel peace or rest in the promise of new life, he reminded me that I am not the first to feel this way today.
He reminded me of those cowering, fearful disciples. And then he reminded me of the hope that always comes. Always - even if it doesn't come in the way we had planned or prayed for. Hope always wins.
— Max Lucado, Six Hours One Friday
My heart is hurting. My heart can not make sense of the pain but I know that maybe I'm not meant to. It doesn't make sense.
Neither does my God coming to this earth to redeem His people in a gruesome death.
That's where faith and hope and living under the Resurrection come in.
Faith is knowing there is Hope to cling to. Faith is knowing that even on dark, heavy days - there is Light to come.
Faith is resting in knowing He is good - even when circumstances and life are hard.
Faith knows New Life is just around the corner.
*passover script and menu ideas found at www.holyexperience.com