When I was a little girl, every Easter, my mom bought me a new dress, a flouncy, spring dress. White shoes worn with white ruffled socks and little white gloves (that came off the moment that the chocolate candy came out!) completed the Easter outfit. My mom dressed up in her best dress and my dad in his suit with a tie, and we went to the Easter sunrise service. Between services, the church ladies served homemade casseroles and donuts. During church, we sang favorite hymns: “Up from the Grave He Arose!” and “He Lives, He Lives, Christ Jesus Lives Today.” After church, our family–aunts, uncles, and cousins–crowded into my grandmother’s 2-bedroom house and ate fried chicken with all of the fixings. After lunch, the cousins hunted Easter eggs in the back yard.
As a child, I wished for more days like that one. More dress-up days. More candy days. More family-together days. I want to bottle those memories and sip them all year long.
Here are two feelings I’d capture for every day:
- Guilt-free. I carry guilt around every day. Guilt about things I haven’t done, like served a vegetable at each meal or cleaned those toilets in weeks. Then, I carry around relational guilt, like I haven’t called my family in a couple of weeks or I didn’t send a card to my friend whose father died. Beyond that guilt, I carry around guilt about how selfish or lazy I am. Until I remember that I’m free. Easter changed that guilt-carrying me into a free-living me. When Jesus died, I walked away from my guilt prison, free, acquitted. Every day, I breath in freedom from expectations and punishment.
- Transformed. I keep a to-do list in my head. Every morning, I mentally add things, and every night, I check them off. The list doesn’t just name activities or chores, it names the wrong things that I said or the jealousy that I felt. Spiritual chores are listed, too. Pray more. Read more. Say no to time wasters. Pride or self-loathing come from the list. “I’ll try again tomorrow.” Until I remember that I’m transformed. Easter changed that failing me into a transformed me. Transforming power flows through me. He powers my next thought, my next choice, my love, only requiring surrender.