On Sunday morning, I didn't know if I was going to be able to go to our Easter service or not. Pace was not quite stable on Saturday, and I knew she shouldn't be around other children just yet. So, after Jeremiah left for work, I got back in the bed with my Bible and poured over the Easter story, through the eyes of John--the self-proclaimed beloved disciple (that tickles me for some reason). And as it is the living Word of God, something fresh welled up inside me as I read the same old story, this time.
At first it was awe in the deep love of a God who stands on the eve of His own gruesome death, and is so concerned with the welfare of his friends:
"I will remain in the world no longer, but they [the disciples] are still in the world and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name..." John 17:11a
And with me:
"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message [me, ME!], that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me." John 17:20-21
And what that meant for me, lying there in my bed and taking care of my children and cooking dinner and sinning like the sinner I am, is that Christ, in the form of the Holy Spirit dwells within me!! What in the world?! Just as I carried two little lives inside of me, before Pace or Mary Aplin were born, I carry around the God of all Creation ALL the TIME!
"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever--the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you." John 14:16-17
How would my life look differently if I truly walked as though I believed in that powerful truth? That is when I found myself at His feet, crying out "How can I deserve such a gift?! How does any earthly blessing compare to this--this that I so seldom even recognize, much less thank you for? How can You bear it? To see all my sins, and abide within me despite my ugliness? Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! I don't deserve all the ways you bless me. I can't fathom why you continue to love me, but thank you. Grace. Grace. God's grace. Grace that is greater than all my sin."
Those were the cries of my heart, as my head lay in his lap, and he smiled down on me in spite of it all. As my heart finished, I asked a little sheepishly--not knowing if it were an appropriate request, "Do you think you could tell Mom, that I said 'Happy Easter'?"
And he said, "Why don't you tell her yourself?" And there she was. Even in her surprise presence, I didn't dare lift my head from His lap. But she understood. She knelt down, even with my face and she looked like my 45-year-old healthy Mom. Not the 18-year-old with long flowing hair, that I've been imagining her to be ever since she went to heaven, but my Mom. And she quickly poured out all the things a girl-woman longs to hear from the lips of her own Mother. Affirmation and encouragement about the woman I am now...the Mom I am now. As though the Holy Spirit weren't gift enough :)!?
I laughingly asked, "Is this real?" I opened my eyes and I was still in my bed. I close them again, and I'm in Jesus' lap with my Mom kneeling in front of me. His answer, "It's not your imagination."And I smelled the squash boiling low in the kitchen--just like she used to make it, and I stepped back into "Easter Sunday" a blessed woman indeed.