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Mar 30 2013

Embracing the Joy of His Resurrection in the midst of Imperfect Celebrations

It is Saturday night.

The boys are in bed.

This past week we have had wonderful moments as a little family celebrating and learning about the significance of the passover lamb to us as believers in Jesus.  We have had wonderful moments reading God’s Word as we read and discussed the last supper with Jesus and His disciples.  We have had wonderful moments as we shared our Maundy Thursday communion time.  We had precious moments reading about and remember Jesus’ death on the cross and burial.  We did some of the hands on activities I was hoping we would do to make it more real for our guys.

But everything didn’t turn out the way I planned.

We didn’t have time to make passover finger puppets.

We had moments of melt downs, exhaustion, frustration, and sibling arguments.

It rained today and prevented us from hunting for rocks to label with our sins to place in a basket tonight and cover with a red cloth to symbolize Jesus’ blood covering them.

I struggled to keep little Michael (just turned 5)’s attention while we made our first attempt at making Resurrection Breakfast Rolls…he wanted to play with legos.  I felt frustration.  The urge to have the “perfect night before Easter” time together with everyone focused on and in awe of Jesus’ death and resurrection began to well up inside me and I let my agitation show.

If he didn’t get the importance of wrapping the marshmallow in the crescent roll then what would I do?

Resurrection Rolls

Our Resurrection rolls came out of the oven and…ummmm…they were…ummmm…much less than “perfect”.

I felt my frustration rising and almost gave up.  But then it hit me.  The disciples were frustrated. 

Jesus was in the tomb.

He wasn’t crowned king of the Jews like they thought he would be he was tortured, hung on a cross to die and that Saturday night their dreams of the changes Jesus would make died with him.  All seemed lost.

I cannot begin to imagine what they were feeling that night.  It hit me…I don’t have to feel that feeling.  Ever. I am so thankful for that.

Preparing to celebrate His resurrection is not the same as it was in the past years…Daddy isn’t here.  Annie is with her mom and enjoying special times with her this year. The boys are more distracted this year. But that doesn’t change the most important thing.

I began to breathe again.  I wouldn’t let imperfections of our lives ruin this very special time.

So we marched into the bathroom and washed up as the water poured over two sets of little boys’ hands the reality of the precious gift of the resurrection overcame the frustration battling to ruin my evening.

As I helped dry off fingers my smile returned.

We marched into the living room to read God’s Word to us.  I breathed a silent prayer for patience and wisdom as I worked to calmed down my wiggly, excited little guys.  And the memories of earlier today flooded through my mind.

Things may not have gone as I planned them but special moments did happen.  Josh asked to listen to the Easter story from Adventures in Odyssey during lunch.  He brought his action Bible with him to read aloud from it to us as we made the trek into town to pick up a last gift at the Christian bookstore that had finally arrived.  His excitement grew as he read chapter after chapter to us in his beautiful animated way that was filled with his excitement over celebrating Easter.  And many more special moments ran through my mind from our times together celebrating Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and now preparing for tomorrow’s special celebration of His resurrection.

So after getting them into their PJs, I relaxed and pulled Michael up into my recliner with me so he could see the pictures as I read to them from Michael’s “The Bible in Pictures for Little Eyes”.  We read about Pilate trying to convince the Jews to let Jesus live.  I watched the young eyes of my boys grow larger as I read their response of “crucify Him! Crucify Him!  Michael felt comfortable asking me what exactly that meant.  What did it mean that they wanted to crucify him?  And I took that moment, that precious open moment, and explained how they nailed Him to the cross so that He would die.  His little face became very serious as he told me that if he was there, he would have told Pilate not to kill him, to let him go.

I was able to talk with them about how painful it is to realize that Jesus wasn’t forced to die.  I helped my youngest child to understand that Jesus wanted to die for us.  His eyes grew large as this reality hit him.  I gently explained that if He hadn’t allowed them to crucify him…to go through that horrible punishment, we would never have been saved from our sins.  Josh reminded him that Jesus took our punishment so that we could go to heaven one day…just like Daddy did.

I reminded him of this special verse…

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3: 16 NIV

After we read from Michael’s picture Bible, I took my bible…a special Bible that Will gave me with my name embossed on the cover as a wedding gift three years ago…and read from John beginning with chapter 19.  The boys were quiet as I read to them with occasional questions or comments about what was happening to Jesus. We stopped reading once we got to the end of the sharing of how Jesus was buried.

We took that moment to pray together as a family before they headed off to bed.

All of my plans may not have happened in the way I pictured them.  But it is OK. The teachable moments may not have been wrapped up in pretty bows, but they were there.

As I sit here in my recliner writing tonight, I have God’s peace.  I am filled with gratitude and joy.

This is my first Easter without Will here with me but that isn’t filling me with sadness tonight.

Why?

There will come a day when it is my turn to go to heaven too.

The way I see it, physical death isn’t the end…it is just the beginning.

Will is having an amazing time in heaven with our Savior!  It is because of Jesus’ death and resurrection that his being there is possible!

It is hard for me to explain how real the resurrection is to me tonight.  The awe I am filled with is deeper and more amazing than even in past years.  I am so grateful for the amazing gift of salvation that Jesus offers each one of us.  What an amazing gift that is!  We get to spend ALL of eternity with Him in heaven!!!!!  Isn’t that incredible?

He is alive!!!!!

We remember his death and burial this week in preparation for Easter Sunday, but he is not dead He is alive!!!

It is because of that amazing fact that I am filled with hope tonight.  Every day since the accident I have thanked God that He is alive!  The importance of sharing God’s gift of saving grace and our need for our Savior intensified with coming so close to dying myself and saying good-bye for now to my dear husband last summer.  We miss him, yes.  But we sit in awe of what it must be like to experience resurrection in heaven with our Lord and Savior and all the believers in heaven with them!

Life here on earth can be hard.  It can be painful and lonely and frustrating at times, but I know with everything in me that this isn’t all there is to life.

Jesus is alive!

He is with us in our hearts!  His love is powerful, saving and real.  And one day we will see Him face to face and spend all of eternity with Him because He loved us enough to die for us and rise again!

I pray you have an incredible celebration of Jesus’ resurrection this weekend!

And I challenge you to take it one step further.  Don’t let the excitement of the resurrection become wrapped up in the activities of this one weekend a year.

Let’s all remember this incredible excitement and joy of His resurrection in the midst of the messiness of each day of our lives.  And then let’s take it one step even further…and let’s share it with someone every single day.  Let the joy He gives each of us in this gift of eternal life with Him spill over into our relationships and give everyone we know the same opportunity to experience His love here and for all eternity!

Happy Resurrection, friends!!!!

Celebrating His Glory,

Mary Joy

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About the author

Mary Joy

I am a broken daughter of God and a work in progress. I am passionate about encouraging women to embrace God's grace and faithfulness as I discover and share His faithfulness, grace and even joy in the messiness of my journey as a widowed (less than 2 yrs), homeschooling mom with a missionary's heart. I am in awe of how God fills me up and carries me through each day. My Heavenly Father leads me as I continue to parent and home school my two recovering and very active boys and encourage my beautiful teenage step-daughter (long distance) during her first year in of college. In every moment I see incredible evidence of God's healing love, grace and faithfulness. I am so blessed to be the creator, manager, and an author of Unwrapping His Grace as I lean on my Savior to lead us in this special web-ministry.

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  • JOANNA SILVEIRA

    Wow, did this minister to me this morning, Mary. Yesterday we had some great family time together, but things got so busy and we never even attempted our Resurrection Rolls, or finish a Passover activity I had planned (the final plague with the blood covering the door posts!–which was pretty much THE most important one, LOL). Then the real kicker– this morning my husband and I BOTH woke up with a nasty stomach bug and it looks like not only will we have to miss Easter Sunday service, but family gatherings today as well.
    So yes, we too, are feeling the imperfections and the messiness of life. Thankful for GRACE, for the cross, and certainly for new life in Him. Blessings in Jesus, Joanna

    • http://www.surrenderedlivingnow.com/ Mary Joy Pershing

      I am so blessed that you were encouraged by my story of imperfect celebrations. Oh how I relate to what you are saying! LOL And I am so sorry that you are ill! I know that is disappointing to discover on Easter morning. It is so important to remember that God can and will still work through the messiness of life by covering it with His grace in unexpected ways. I hope you are beginning to feel better soon and that you all had a restful and special time together as a family, even with illness. And the fact that you took the time to share your story in a comment here this morning, means more to me than you will ever know. You are such an encouragement!

      Blessings!

      Mary Joy