I find it's so easy for me to connect with the meaning of Easter, even more so than Christmas. Something about realizing that Jesus MADE the choice to die for me is humbling and moving. While his birth is what started it all, his death and resurrection are what gave us life and hope and ended death. I am always grateful, and often quite emotional, on Good Friday and today was no exception.
I can connect with Mary Magdalene...not so much in the way of her life choices, obviously, but in the way that she and I were both forgiven and loved for who we are, regardless of whether we deserved it or not. Jesus looked past her sin and saw her heart, the way that he still does for me (and for each of us). The mercy poured out on me in my short 34 years of life has become more meaningful to me as each year passes. Even as a child, I understood and connected emotionally with the fact that God loved me and that he forgave me, but it wasn't until I became an adult that I really started to grasp the depth of what his sacrifice meant for ME as a person, not just for the spirit part of me.
While I walked this morning, I thanked Jesus for what he did. I sometimes forget to do that. I thank God for giving his son to die for me, but I sometimes overlook that it was Jesus' choice, as well. How loved we are! I mean, really. While we were yet sinners...amazing and so humbling. I'm still a sinner, but I know that I'm a forgiven sinner. Sinners who know that they are forgiven and loved learn to be forgiving and loving with others...I hope that I learn that more and more.
I feel like getting in touch with God and with my gratitude has tenderized my heart. Tenderizing is a rough thing sometimes...you get a little beat up. But in the middle of the times where I've felt the most beaten down, God has poured out love. When His love touches the beat up parts of your spirit, you can't help but be made new.
So today, I'm grateful for...
A beautiful day with my family. Sean was home and working on his to-do list. My kids played outside for most of the day. I had a long walk in the morning and relaxed as much as I could this afternoon. Tonight, we had a bonfire with the boys and sat around the fire talking. It was such a lovely day.
Jesus. Words fail me.
Music. Without it, my life would be missing a big piece. God created it and creation sings it and I connect to it. Sometimes a song has touched my heart in a way that no spoken word could. It's an amazing and powerful tool that God uses with me, and many times the music through which he touches me most doesn't even mention his name. I don't have to hear his name to feel his presence...it's incredible.
Encouragement. I sometimes feel that people forget about you once you have children. It's like they think that your life ends as soon as you pop out a kid and you become invisible. They can forget you exist and they think you never go anywhere or do anything or have other life aspirations. I feel like this once in a while, but God always speaks to me in moments like that. He encourages me in the fact that the choice I made to become a parent was incredibly important, and that the gifts he gave me through my children are gifts that no other person can replace. I am so blessed to have the friends I have, and I'm thankful that many of the people who surround me really "get" me.
Faith. It truly is a gift from God. I can't drum it up. I can't fake it. It is what it is. It's the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of the unseen. I know in my knower that God is who he says he is and does what he says he'll do. That's faith.
My hope for you is that you truly connect with God and the sacrifices that were made for your spiritual freedom. Something about knowing for real that you are loved and forgiven, and that there is someone who looks at you and sees beauty (even when you're feeling far from beautiful), is a life-changing thing. Gratitude has not only gotten me in touch with my feelings about God, but it's also gotten me in touch with his feelings for me. It's beautiful, and I hope you learn to develop that connection with him, as well. I'm still learning, but I am glad that God doesn't grade me the way I grade myself.