Those words alone have nothing special about them, just consonants and vowels that we use in our language. Oh, but those words have infinite, life-changing meaning when you grasp the Grace by which they have been formed. Too often, however, these things are lost amidst the flurry of pastel eggs, fake grass, and an oversized bunny who brings candy to our kids. We trade the cross for new dresses and ties, the crown of thorns for a bonnet.
Please don't read this and label me a "bunny hater"; I'm not. It's just that I'm tired of the bunny getting center stage while Jesus gets one hour on Sunday morning. How did this happen? And what's more, why do we let it continue? I want more than this for my kids. I want them to grasp what Easter really is, to dwell in the transformation brought about by the ressurection of the Saviour. So, here is my gift to my kids this year for Easter.
Bryan, what a year you've had. At 17, you've lived more life than most 60 year olds. You've learned to endure, to see the light at the end of the tunnel. When I think of Easter and you, I think of Christ's gift of Grace. This season, you've seen firsthand what darkness looks like. You've wrestled the demon of self doubt and depression, fought the voice that told you to end it all and be done with life. And by His grace, you've won. Hear this, Bryan, if you never hear another thing I tell you: BY HIS STRIPES YOU ARE HEALED. He paid the price on Calvary, defeating sin and everything we deal with. Your depression was cured on that cross by His Mercy and Grace. When the darkness faded and Christ arose, He knew you'd endure this season, and He made a way for your healing and redemption. It's done, my son. And He did it for you. You've already won because the Christ who conquered death dwells within you. That is the beauty of Easter, revealed in your life today. Celebrate it. Tell it. Shout it.
Your music is your gift, your expression. So let it out. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, and celebrate the victory He has given you. And never stop. Yes, you heard me. Never stop celebrating the rebirth that has happened within you. On those days when the darkness and sadness start to creep back in, say "No" in the name of Jesus. You have that authority because of Easter. No basket full of fake grass and sugar can equal this gift!
Ellie, when I think of you, I think of redemption. Your life is a living picture of Easter. There you were in Ethiopia- dirty, sick, lonely, frightened... And we came for you. But Ellie, my sweet girl, it gets even better. Because Jesus came for you long before we did! That's what Easter is! The Christ- perfect, Holy, Chosen, loving- came to us- dirty, broken, afraid, lonely. He has redeemed you with His love, His blood, His Grace. There isn't a chocolate bunny on earth that can match up to that gift! There isn't a frilly dress on the planet that will ever be as beautiful as Christ glorified in your life. So, dance and sing and celebrate that Ellie. Sing until you have no voice, declaring the love of your Saviour. Shout from the innermost recesses of your heart that He has healed you and redeemed you. He has given you beauty for ashes, Ellie. You are living proof that God redeems.
These are the things I want my kids to know for Easter. Bunnies, dresses, baskets and eggs cannot heal. They cannot save. They cannot change a life. They cannot redeem. Only Jesus can. Only Jesus does. And that's enough for me.
I have been married to my best friend for 22 years. We have an 19 year old son and an 8 year old daughter. I am overwhelmed by how much God blesses me! My desire is to be more and more like my Creator every day.
10/30/07- orientation meeting with home study agency 11-12/07- gathering documents for home study 1/28/08- home vist #1 2/1/08- immigration application and finger printing 2/5/08- home visit #2 2/22/08- accepted by placement agency (Adoppt, Inc) 2/27/08- received completed home study 2/28/08- home study received at USCIS office in Louisville 3/20/08- received I-171 H form! 3/26/08- KY state seals received for all dossier documents 4/4/08- dossier sent to Consulate General of Vietnam in San Francisco for Vietnam Embassy authentication 4/8/08- dossier received in San Francisco 4/22/08- received confirmation from the Consulate General's office that our dossier was sent to Vietnam on 4/21! 4/28/08- dossier received in Vietnam; sent for translation 5/19/08- received word that our dossier was logged in sometime last week. WE ARE OFFICIALLY WAITING A REFERRAL NOW! 8/8/08- officially told we will NOT be getting Ellie from Vietnam 9/1/08- Deadline for referrals from Vietnam... none for us. 9/3/08- requested our dossier be sent back to us; researching other options for adoption; getting info on changing our home study and USCIS forms; LOTS of prayers on where God wants us to go next 9/8/08- Approved by Celebrate Children International to begin the process of adopting from Ethiopia! 9/15/08- Ethiopia contract and fees sent in. Our homestudy has been amended, and we are waiting for our amended 171H form as well. 9/30/08- received our amended 171H! 12/20/08- saw picture of a little girl; waiting for more info. 12/27/08- received video footage of little girl; waiting on medical info to make our decision. 12/30/08- received word that she is healthy 12/31/08- dossier returned to us with US Dept. and Ethiopian Embassy seals! 1/1/09- received complete medical evaluation on child; we will accept referral!! We have found her! 1/7/09- signed the papers to accept the referral of our Ellie. 4/9/09- re-fingerprinted for our 171H, as they are about to expire. STILL waiting on a court date... 6/5/09-Ellie has been moved to the Transition House in the city! Still no court date assigned 6/9/09- Court date assigned for 6/18/09!! 6/19/09- court date reassigned to 7/2/09 7/2/09- PASSED COURT!!! Awaiting travel dates! 7/29/09- Embassy date appointed for 8/11/09. Tickets purchased to travel on August 7th!!!!! WOO HOOO~~~ 8/7/09- left for Ethiopia! 8/9/09- met Ellie face to face for the first time! 8/15/09- HOME at last!!