For many, Easter preparations are alive and well this week and our house is no different. As my kids have gotten older, I’ve tried to find ways beyond the Easter Bunny to celebrate Easter. We’ve discussed Holy Week and they are very familiar with the passion of Christ, but as I look around me, there are several symbols of the magic of Easter that I see every day.
Every single day. Not just this week, and it has nothing to do with chicks or bunnies or pastels. Even though I love pastels. This year, my symbols of Easter are simple. They are a book, a baking pan, and a messy closest.
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The Book (Disclosure: I am a B&H Lifeway Blogger and I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions are my own. )
In case you don’t know her, Beth Moore is a writer and teacher of books and bible studies. She lives in Houston and is president and founder of Living Proof Ministries. Her latest book, Audacious, has been 30 years in the making and it was a perfect book to read during this Lenten season.
The word audacious means showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks.Some synonyms of that word are bold, daring, fearless, intrepid, brave, courageous, valiant, and heroic. And according to our dear friend Ms. Beth, we all need an audacious love for Jesus, the exact love that he longs for from us.
And in light of everything that happened during Holy Week, it’s kind of apropos, you know?
Beth mentions that this book has been 30 years in the making. It’s taken her 30 years to realize that in all of her teachings, she’s neglected one thing in her message to women across the world. As we study the Bible and learn the scriptures everyday, and if we think about the fact that we should be striving to reflect the spirit in our lives, we must look at his life first.
His life where he performed audacious acts and duties. You know, acts like feeding the masses with five loaves and two fishes. raising Lazarus from the dead, and the healing of physical ailments. He was brave, he was daring, and he was bold. And living like Jesus would require us to do the same thing.
The book opens with these words from Abraham Joshua Heschel and Samuel H. Dresner:
“Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the hears. Audacious longing, burning songs, daring thought, an impulse overwhelming the heart, usurping the mind — these are all a drive towards serving Him who rings our hears like a bell.”
Until I read this book, when I thought of living for Jesus or living like Jesus, I thought it meant to be nice, kind, helpful, and a champion for others. Sure, I knew Jesus did many audacious things, the most of which includes dying on a cross for our sins. But to be honest, I never thought that I should be living the same audacious life.
I now see why this book was 30 years in the making. And it has changed my prayers to include:
“Dear Lord, thank you for all you have done for me. Thank you for my past, my present, and my future, and most importantly, thank you for your son Jesus. Teach me Lord, how to life my life with the spirit and audacity of Jesus Christ, as I am forever grateful for Him and for You. In your name I pray, Amen.”
The baking sheet that survived it all.
After the demise of my marriage in 2007, the last thing I was thinking about was baking, or cooking, or enhancing my homemaking and culinary skills. Somehow when we moved, my pots and pans didn’t survive the division of property. and it seems that I only made it out with a few items from our previous collection. I’ve never really worried about it because I could always buy more baking dishes, and I have. Since the divorce, I honestly haven’t cared or gotten too attached to those pans, except for one. The very first pan I bought in my post-divorce life because I wanted to bake cookies for my kids.
This pan, to be exact.
If this pan could talk it would tell you how cookies helped rebuild our family after the devastating loss of divorce. Specifically, the five dozen cookies all four of us baked together every week from scratch for the hospitality table at church. In those early years, we learned that giving to others helped ease our pain and navigate the new normal. We loved cookies, and baking them reinforced math skills for the kids, but it forced us to get out of our funk and do something positive for a greater purpose.
Experiencing divorce is tough. It would seem (and still does sometimes for the kids) as soon as we felt stronger and as if we were healing, there would be one event had the potential to send us spiraling back to a place of despair. It could have been a bully instance at school, it could have been navigating dyslexia with one of the kids, and it could have been the realization that we had to move from private school to public school.
But just like we learned from Jesus in the sacrifice for our comfort, our family also learned from this baking pan. As it continues to suffer extreme temperatures and being tossed around in our cabinets, it still produces the best and tastiest cookies we have ever baked.
Just as the love of Jesus produces the best miracles and hope for our future.
The messy closet, make that three messy closets.
We all have the household chores we can’t stand, don’t we? As a mom, I’ve learned that even if I can’t stand them, those chores still have to be done…and done correctly. But the one chore that all three of my children cannot stand to do – and do correctly – is to organize their closets.
The closet situation is one that we revisit every single week. Especially if someone announces that something they need is “lost.” Lost among everything else that hasn’t been folded, hung up, or pit away properly.
Through the years I’ve taken photos of their messiness, I’ve complained, I’ve taken away cell phone and technology privileges, but they don’t seem to get it. They will maintain organization just long enough to get out of trouble and before you know it, we are back in the same place all over again. That place requires grace and mercy. My grace and mercy. (I’m revisiting that topic a lot this spring.)
So I prayed, and I had rethink a few things about the messes. The messy closets are messy, I get that. And no one likes to look at messy. But here’s what the mess actually means once you bring grace and mercy in the picture.
We are blessed to have more than enough clothes than what we truly need.
We have a place to live that can house those clothes and shoes and everything else.
There’s a spirit of sharing in our house that no matter the mess, allows our family to share those items with one another.
Through the messy closets, we are teaching and learning how to be better each and every day.
And if we can better, if we can more closer to Jesus, and if we can be audacious in our living, that is worth more than a ton of messy closets.