Saying “Yes” This Easter

This week, I had the opportunity to speak at a ladies’ event at my church. Being so close to Easter, I was asked to share about my response to Jesus’ death on the cross.

At first, I had absolutely no idea what to say. What is my response to the cross? I feel as though I can’t fully take in all that Jesus has done for me, and therefore can’t come up with an adequate response to the cross. The cross overwhelms me.

But as I thought and prayed about it, what I began to realize is that Jesus is continually teaching and moving me, and my response to what He has done for me is always changing. As I learn and grow in my relationship with Him, I am able to respond in different, and hopefully deeper ways.

Right now, I am in a season of learning to say “yes” to God, in many different kinds of situations. But each time, I do this because of what He has done for me. I step out in faith, because He has shown He is faithful.

This adventure I’m on with Him has shown me that the cross not only gives me eternal life in the future, it gives me abundant life¬†right now. That’s what is blowing my mind this Easter. So I respond by saying “yes” to Him, again and again and again.

What is your response to God this Easter?

It’s Friday, But Sunday’s Coming

It’s been years since I first heard Tony Campolo preach his “It’s Friday, But Sunday’s Coming” message, but it will always be my favourite thing to listen to on Good Friday.

If you have time to listen to this today, it is so worth it!

(This is not a video – just audio with pictures.)

Have a wonderful Easter weekend!

Easter Weekend Favorites

I love being at my parents’ house. It’s been awhile, because they’ve been gone for the winter, but this weekend, it was fun to come back.

I am such a prairie girl at heart. Living in the Whiteshell has been great, and I have loved the lakes and trees, but there is this part of me that breathes a big sigh of relief when I get out to the wide open spaces where I grew up.

Everything is just different here. It smells different, the trees are different, and even the birds sound different. It’s been a nice change.

And then there was Easter.

Lots of treats, and time with family, and the much-anticipated wearing of the Easter dresses.

Our visit to my parents’ house is not quite over. Ben has been painting for days at our new house, so we’re trying to enjoy this time, even though I think all four of us are ready for him to stay home. Forever.

The end is in sight, thank goodness.

In the meantime, it’s good to be here.

An Easter Confession, and Plans For Next Year!

I’m feeling like I dropped the ball this Easter.¬†

We have not decorated any eggs, made any special treats, or read any Easter books.

I even forgot to get out our Veggie Tales Easter cd.

Things are a little crazy right now with moving in three weeks, so I won’t beat myself up about it, but this weekend, I am thankful for two things:

  1. I have another chance next year.
  2. The grandmas have stepped in for this year.

Ben’s mom put together some fantastic Easter baskets which instantly became the girls’ most treasured possessions, and my mom had an Easter display waiting for us when we arrived for the weekend that made Anika gasp loudly. There are also some plans for dressing up some gluten-free raisin bread to look like Easter bread…

The holiday is saved.

I am excited about being in church, and singing all the old favorite Easter songs. I’m glad to have a weekend off from the packing, purging, and preparing to move, and getting the chance to celebrate spring, new life, and spending time with family.

But I’m also looking forward to next year.

Next year, things will be different.

You see, as I was getting ready for Advent this last Christmas, I learned that Advent came about because of Lent. There was this great time of preparation before Easter, and it was decided that the same effort and preparation should go into Christmas.

So somebody thought up Advent, and it’s been happening ever since.

I put a lot of effort into Advent this last year. It was tiring, and took a lot of planning, but I’m glad we did it. I felt that we thoroughly prepared ourselves for Christmas. I was intentional about the memories we made, and the things I taught our girls about the meaning of Christmas, and how we celebrate it as a family.

But this weekend, as I thought about how I had done nothing to prepare our family for Easter, I felt disappointed. And I decided to do something intentional about it.

I want our girls to know how important Easter is.

When I made a list of Advent activities to do this last Christmas, it was a mixture of old traditions from my growing up years, and new ideas that seemed like special, fun, meaningful things to add to the story of our family and how we “do” Christmas.

That’s what I want for Easter.

I think our girls are a little on the young side to understand giving up something for Lent, but they’re old enough to learn about it, to watch Ben and me giving something up, and they’re old enough to learn about that season of waiting and preparing.

I like a mixture of spiritual stuff and just plain fun kid stuff. I loved Easter as a kid, and I want to pass that on to our girls.

I’m thinking my list for next year will include:

  • baking Easter bread
  • teaching them my favorite Easter hymns
  • memorizing verses
  • decorating Easter eggs
  • planting bulbs
  • getting out the Veggie Tales cd!
  • learning about Lent
  • making these chicks
  • going to the conservatory at the Assiniboine Park to see the Easter display
  • reading any books I can find about Easter (like Star of Light – loved it when I was a kid, and Anika loves it now!)
  • making this Grace Garden
  • learning about Easter traditions from other cultures
  • reading the Easter story from the Bible
  • having an Easter egg hunt

I know a few things already – since Lent is about six weeks, and Advent is only four, I will have to keep some things really simple in order to keep it up! I also know that I need a lot more ideas.

This is where you come in! What did/does your family do to celebrate Easter?

Un-Easter-ish Easter

Yesterday did not feel like Easter. For me, it feels like Easter when I’m in church singing all the classic Easter hymns, spending the day with family while everybody eats ham, Easter bread, and chocolate eggs, and there must definitely be Easter lilies around.

But today we had to stay home. We get Easter next weekend!

So today, we sang our own Easter songs:

And relaxed:

And dyed Easter eggs:

So even though it didn’t really feel like “normal” Easter, it was still a good day!