Wednesday, May 4, 2011

easter 2011

Easter seems like it flew by this year.

Admittedly, I didn't really do a whole lot during lent to prepare myself for "semana santa," which it will forever be called in my heart. :) And maybe that's part of it. When I was in Spain, semana santa was such a huge deal that there's no way it could "fly by" without you even it. Everyone was talking about it and preparing for it for weeks or months.

But here, I noticed the Easter candy out, and I knew I couldn't contact my friend Jenny by facebook til after Easter, and I saw ashes on a few heads at the gym on ash wednesday, and I was busy getting pinkadink orders ready and shipped out in time and making sure that my own kids' clothes were done in time. That about sums up my realization that Easter was even coming.

pretty disgusting when I think about it now.

so anyway, Good Friday comes along, and I realized that I hadn't even talked to my kids AT ALL about the significance of the week, or Maunday Thrusday, or Good Friday, or any of it. Not that they were clueless about the death and resurrection of Jesus, but they didn't realize that's what we were celebrating that weekend.

So on Friday morning I say to Lillian, "honey, do you know what today is?" and like a good public school girl she says, "EARTH DAY!" and I was like, what? beats me! turns out it really was!

But I took a little time to tell her about Good Friday and how it seems weird to "celebrate" it, but how since we knew what was happening on Sunday, it really was a celebration of God's love for us. And I wanted her to be able to talk to her friends about it if she wanted. So I made her sandwich in the shape of a cross, hoping that someone at the lunch table would make a comment and she could share. (I LOVE having her in the public school system by the way. Recent conversations have made me realize it more and more, but that's for another blog post...) So I'm packing her lunch and she goes, "MOM! I"m going to get strawberry milk at school today!" I make her choose white milk every day except Fridays, and then she gets to choose white, chocolate, or strawberry. "Strawberry milk is PINK! and it will remind me of Jesus' blood! Like when he said, 'This is my blood, poured out for you.' Then I can think about Jesus' blood all day!" and I thought it was the sweetest thing in the whole world.

But that's not where it ended. She then decided to make her whole outfit pink (a la her pinkalicious costume from halloween) so that she would never forget about Jesus dying on the cross. She looked herself up and down before she left for school and said, "woah. that is a LOT of blood..."

I love that girl.

So anyway, she went to school with Jesus' blood all over herself, and sure enough, she told her friends. And she even asked one friend if she knew Jesus. ("Mom...isn't it weird? Aashi knew about baby Jesus from a book but she doesn't even KNOW him! Isn't that weird that she had a book about him but she doesn't even KNOW him???")

Sometimes it puts me to shame that she's a better witness than me.

Okay, so after school on Friday turned into CRAZY TIME. My two sister's and one friend and Hazel and Griffin were in Omaha to drop the friend off and go shopping for shirts for the boys to wear with thier ties. So after Maddie left, they took one mall, I took the other (with my 3 kids in tow) and after hitting up like EVERY FREAKING STORE, plus meeting the Easter bunny, and then running away from the easter bunny, and then crying about the easter bunny, and needing to know where the Easter bunny was at ALL times, we found a shirt for Griffin, and Maria had found one for Josiah. PPPPPPPPPHHHHHHHHHHHHEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWW...

well, then we had to go to target for some reason. OH. It was to look for little shrugs like I do EVERY SINGLE YEAR. seriously. why oh why doesn't someone just make a little cute whiteish shrug to wear over an easter dress. We need one every year, and every year we don't have one. So this year Brielle wore her 18 month one, and Lillian wore Brielle's 3T brown sweater. ridiculous I tell you, but it worked.

ok, so I was going to feed my kids between the mall and target, but since my sisters were trying to get out of town, I just got them burgers to eat in the parking lot of target, and then ran in. Oh, but I forgot to mention that it was NUTS-O in my house right before that. All of us were in the living room (kinda small). So that's me, maria, mel, hazel, griffin, lillian, josiah, and brielle. Trying on shirts and fussing kids and figuring out sweaters and lots of noise and stuff. and I actually forget what happened at Target but I don't think it was very fun because by the time we made it home I thought I was going to curl up in a ball and die.

So Steve gets home, and I hear the angels singing. I was so frazzled by that point that he just took over and did bedtime by himself. I remember sitting at the computer stomp-typing (if you know what I mean) whatever I was writing because I was so worked up about something. the whole day. all of it. I was just DONE being a parent. I told him that I wish I wanted to read the Bible story with them, but I just couldn't. I was freakin.

and then I don't know what.

something happened.

I just got really super calm.

It was STRANGE. I call it the Holy Spirit. And he was like "nobody's gonna rain on my parade!!!" And I realized that it didn't matter how I felt, I had to talk to the kids. we had to read the story and talk about Jesus dying for us. for ME. for my SIN.

So I got our "very best children's storybook bible EVER" (the Jesus Storybook Bible) and we sat on the floor to read it. I was unsure if I was going to make it through, so I warned the kids that mommy might cry. and then we started reading. and sure enough, I cracked. I was BAWLING on the inside but only letting a little bit out so I could keep reading and not totally freak my kids out. and I couldn't stop. thinking about my sin. and my PERFECT display of it throughout the day. and his LOVE. and then my favorite line:

it wasn't the nails that held him there. it was love.

and all those "owies" on Jesus were for ME. Unfortunately, my kids probably didn't even pay much attention to the story because all they could think about was their mother falling apart before their eyes. But I can only hope that some day their own sin will bring them to tears like mine did. and they'll know how much they really truly need Jesus.

okay, phew. I can barely make it through this post. are you still with me??? :)

okay, so then on Easter we woke up and read the resurrection story first thing in the morning, and spent a little time mimicking their cousin and dancing around and yelling "Jesus is alive! Jesus is alive!"

And then came the rush to get ready for church. why is it always a rush? no matter how much time we have... There were some great songs during worship, and in my head this song played over and over all day:

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again

And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost it's grip on me
For I am His and He is mine
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

But I don't know if I did a good enough job of really talking to my kids about what happened. about what it means. about their questions. We read the story. We went to church. We sand the songs. But then the day was whisked away! It was like God put the song in my head a million times throughout the day so I could REMEMBER what it was really about. and I still just unintentionally ignored it.

So often we get caught up in the Easter Bunny and all the candy and fun. and pictures. for me it's the stinkin pictures. :) but see? they look so cute!

I don't want it to be about that for my family. I mean, of course I want cute pictures, because But I don't want it to be all about the pictures.

I want it to be about the victory over death. And hopefully next year I'll do a better job of making sure we know what it's really about. That the time away from home won't be so rushed and hectic. That we take the time to sit and talk about death. and about conquering death. and about love.

because it's all about the love. and if you don't know about the love, ask me. email me (don't call me though because my kids are loud and phone calls just never go so well.) so we can find a time to get together and you can hear my slightly pathetic attempt at evangelism. But God will use it anyway, because that's what He does. He uses sinners. and he loves them. and he loves me.


Anonymous said...

Awesome post, Andrea! Thanks for witnessing in this way. Love you!


Anonymous said...

Can I tell you something about that song? I fell in love with that song the first time I heard it several years ago. I clearly remember Jeff Barker being on the praise team at Trinity, leading worship as he does so well. That particular week your family was in church. Your mom was battling cancer. You had just given birth to Lillian. We got to the line that says:

No guilt in life, no fear in death,
This is the power of Christ in me.
From life's first to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand.
For I am His and He is mine,
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

Your whole family was sitting in front of us to the right. You were sitting next to your mom, who was in the battle of her life. Steve was sitting next to you, holding Lillian, barely a couple of weeks old. When Jeff got to the "from life's first cry to final breath" part, he looked at Steve and Lillian and sang that lyric with a wink and a smile. I saw that, and while Jeff was acknowledging the "life's first cry" part, in that split second I glanced from Jeff to your mom and was in tears by the time we got to the "final breath." In all of that -- first cry to final breath -- and everything in between, Jesus commands my destiny. It was just all laid out there before me in that simple lyric and that image of your mom and Lillian. AND we have been bought with the precious blood of Christ, as Lillian, now all grown up from that special moment burned in my memory, so eloquently described.

That song is all-encompassing of the divine story, and I get choked up every time we sing it in worship. In fact, when we get to that line, I literally cannot sing it. I try, but nothing comes out. And I think of Jeff/Lillian/Steve/you/your mom.

I have never told you that, so I thought now would be a good time to share. :)

Easter blessings to you all year long!


skykelcal said...

Andrea thanks for this post...I too tried hard to make sure Story knew what and why we were celebrating. I too had a hard time reading the Story...and hearing her sweet questions of "OH this is so sad....why does Jesus have so many owies?" Good job. You are obviously raising them well if she is witnessing at school. The faith of a child truely is PERFECT!

Robyn said...

We LOVE our Jesus Storybook Bible too and it is something I will give as a gift over and over again. I remember the first time I opened it and read the creation story to Emma, she was probably only weeks old, but just sitting there with tears running down my face holding this beautiful precious CREATION that God had intrusted me with, and finding such tremendous comfort and peace in the midst of some pretty crazy post-partum anxiety I was experiencing as a first time mom in the fact that HE loved my girl with a Never stopping, Never giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever love.

theKband said...

Love this post. And, our favorite Bible for the kids is the same.... we suggest it to anyone who will listen. I just am smiling as I think of her picking out her pink milk at school. Love it.

Corinne Doughan said...

Amen! I'm also in awe of Kris' comment too. WOW! Amen!