As we say goodbye to March, I wait expectantly for Easter to arrive. Everything is greening up outside and I’ve been planning out what I will plant this spring. We’ve celebrated our wedding anniversary and the birthday of one of our pups.
Birds are singing and bulbs are peeping up from the ground. It’s that time where spring fever (and spring allergies!) gets us motivated and outside but Easter is the highlight of the season.
And Easter is my favorite season, topping Christmas. Why?
Easter represents rebirth, renewal and of course the hope that the Cross represents. It also has significance in my life.
Grab your favorite tea and scone. Sit back and relax while I tell you a story. No, it is not a Danielle Steel novel. This is real life and in a rare moment of mine, it’s about to get personal.
More than a decade ago, I lost my job on Ash Wednesday (oh, the blessed irony!) and I was in an abusive relationship. To top off already being rejected professionally, my fiance broke off our engagement during Lent. As if not having an income weren’t bad enough, I was faced with feeling rejected and isolated. Friends and co-workers abandoned me as if my situation were contagious. It didn’t matter that I was better off without that relationship. What mattered at the time was that I felt utterly forsaken.
I made it through Lent and then Easter arrived.
A miracle didn’t happen on Easter for me as I had prayed. I was, however, reminded of the hope that only Christ can offer. I am a believer and a Christian. We don’t get a good rap these days and it makes me sad. I can understand why in many cases but the more the world (Christians and non-Christians) focuses on the creation and not the Creator will cause missed opportunities to experience the confounding and undeserved love and grace of God. It’s not about us. It’s about Him.
You may not be a believer, reader, but of this I can assure you. I have seen the goodness of God in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)
Even when it felt like I was in a perpetual Good Friday moment, Sunday was on the way.
What felt like hell on earth at the time, being personally and professionally dumped, was actually God’s hand of mercy saving me from both horrible situations. It contradicts what society says that we shouldn’t feel pain especially if we are on the receiving end. I was the dumpee not the dumper but I shouldn’t have been in that relationship in the first place. If we don’t have painful situations or refining moments, we can’t appreciate the good times and we can’t empathize with others who have experienced similar sufferings and help each other. (2 Corinthians 1:3-6)
I accept the fact that I recognized the abuse early on before he’d presented me with a diamond ring. I said yes anyhow. I accept that every time he manipulated me and I reacted and when he criticized me and I took it as truth, I knew full well the relationship was wrong. I stayed anyhow.
I accept that it was a sinful relationship and I chose to stay when I should have run like my pants were on fire away from this man. I know full well and accept that I should never have gone out with this man the first time. My intentions were off when I accepted that first date. And when your intentions are wrong, wrong is sure to follow.
We’ve all heard the saying that the Lord works in mysterious ways. Why would He allow me to suffer? First, I was wrong (Have I said that enough?) and He was saving me from further wrong. I had gone so far off track that He had to make an impression and get me back on track. And boy did He ever!
Our society says we shouldn’t be disciplined because of our choices. But how do we learn if we don’t suffer the consequences of our bad behavior? Maturity causes us to own up to our wrongdoing even when it stings. And as far as losing a job goes, well that’s part of life. We can’t escape bad times. But there are good times as well. It’s all about perspective and how we react to setbacks that come with life and our own mistakes.
I could have forever wallowed in my self pity and I did for awhile. But if I had continued in that pity party for one, I wouldn’t have met my now husband who is the complete opposite of that abuser. I only met him because my career path changed (Thanks, layoff!) and I am with a man who truly LOVES me! (Thanks, badly ended abusive relationship!)
God can make ALL things new (Revelation 21:5) and every morning His mercies are new! (Lamentations 3:22-24)
Two days after that Easter, the Lent from hell, I woke up and I was OVER my broken relationship. I had been healed from the bondage of (bad, wrong) THINKING that if our relationship didn’t survive that I was doomed a failure. The years of abusive relationship and the feelings that I had chosen were gone. I got up, got dressed and went out to a social event. My broken heart had been set FREE!
Holy Week is bittersweet for me. I look forward to the joy of Easter and celebrating the Resurrection. It is also a grim reminder of the events that took place before Jesus was crucified. He went from being the life of the party on Palm Sunday as the crowds adored Him to being spat upon and mocked and taking the beating of a lifetime that I pray you and I may never have to suffer.
Our petty problems and inconveniences are eclipsed by God the Father turning his back on His own Son because Jesus bore the shame of ALL sin past, present and future in all its ugliness. Talk about rejection! Nothing I have ever experienced could compare to that kind of abandonment.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” – Isaiah 53:5, NIV
Sometimes we have to be crushed in order to be made into who God created us to be and where He wants us to be. Sometimes we must be broken in order to be HEALED.
I pray that as this Easter comes and goes that God will present us all with a renewed perspective. The days of the last year have been dark across the globe. But He is the Light that shines bright with hope in the midst of the darkness.
Happy Easter and may you be filled with HOPE, RENEWAL and HEALING!
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20, NIV