Reason For Hope

Sunday, April 05, 2015

I'm pretty sure I've posted this every year since Whitney was born, but I just have to share it again. I can't sum up my feelings for the risen Christ any more succinctly than what I've already written. So here it is again... Plus a little bonus throwback Easter pic for you! :)

(Original Post from Whitney's Blog here)

John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they might have life and have it abundantly.

Easter has always been my favorite holiday.  In fact, I almost cringe at calling it a "holiday" because of the triviality that word connotes.  Christmas is great and birthdays are fun, but there is something so completely different about Easter.  One year in college, I had just started dating a guy around this time of year.  It was just a few days before Easter and I had told him that Easter was my favorite holiday.  Later that evening, he brought me a huge pastel pink, stuffed bunny.  It was sweet of him, it really was, but bunnies and eggs aren't why I love Easter so much.  (Sidenote: any of my college girls remember that?  I believe that was the same night as the "kids in the bannister, wives out the wazoo" incident.  "No, Sheyenne... tell us about the bunny!" haha!)

Easter represents the reason for my hope... the reason for my life... the reason I get up every day... and Easter is the day we jubilantly celebrate that!  Words are completely inadequate to describe the joy and anticipation that fills my heart in the weeks leading up to Easter.  At church last week, we sang a song that we are going to sing again this week.  It was so beautiful, joyful and victorious!  I cannot wait to sing it at the top of my lungs tomorrow.  Easter is about Jesus dying for our sins-- my sins-- and ultimately conquering death.  Did you hear that?  Conquering death.  I love the songs that say things like "From the grave you've risen, victoriously!" and "Sin has lost its power, death has lost its sting!" and "Up from the grave he arose!"  When those lines come up in a song, I want to jump up and down, shout it out and praise my Lord!  

1 Peter 1:3 
 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead..

People ask us how we are able to keep going... how are we able to keep doing what we're doing.  In a nutshell, Easter explains it all.  Sin was separating me from God.  His son, Jesus died for my sins.  He washed me clean.  In doing that, Jesus bridged that gap between me and God.  Now that's deserving of a lifelong commitment, don't you think?  And in the end, I know that I will spend eternity in Heaven with the God who sent his son to die for me.  The purpose of my life is simply to give God glory in everything I do.  God didn't cause Whitney to die.  He didn't make her sick.  For Whitney to die was never God's plan.  It wasn't his "Plan A", "B", or even "C" for that matter.  So why would I be mad at God?  And why would I ever stop singing his praises when he did give us so many blessings through Whitney?  Because of his sacrifice, his goodness and his love, I know that I will have eternity with him.  And I will also have eternity with my daughter, doing all the things I didn't get to do with her in this life.  

Easter is my favorite day of the year.  It reminds me of the day so many years ago when I, too was 'buried with Christ in baptism' and raised again as a new person.  One of those many blessigs that God gave us through Whitney actually goes back 21 years from the exact day she was born.  On February 11, 1989, my sister and I gave our lives to Christ and were baptized.  My dad acutally baptized us.  It was awesome.  On that day, my old 'self' died and Christ started in me a new life-- a life I chose to live for Him.  Though I was only 7 1/2 years old, I knew that my life was forever changed.  In the years that came after Febraury 11, 1989, I faced some hard times.  I strayed from the life God wanted me to live, but because of his goodness, I was blessed with family and friends who always brought me back to the truth.  I devoted my life to serving him, to helping others.  And in the hard times, I always went back to February 11... the day my new life began.  Every year since then, I have remembered that day as my 'new' birthday, or my 'spiritual' birthday.  Because of my decision on that day, Christ was now my Lord and Saviour, and I knew that he would not give me anything that I could not handle.

Baptism February 11, 1989

Fast-forward 21 years.  February 11, 2010.  The day my daughter was born.  I do not think it was any coincidence that Whitney was born on this day-- my 21st re-birthday.  For years I've celebrated that as my re-birthday, and from now on, I will also celebrate it as my daughter's birthday.  How can anyone see this situation and not see God's incredible goodness in all of this?  Of the 365 days my daughter could be born, God allowed her to be born on the anniversary of the day I gave my life to him.  And my mom and sister were also able to be with me!  A reminder that in every situation, no matter what the circumstance, God is still with me.  And I have promised to give him all the glory in every situation.  So you see, that's why Easter is so much more than just bunnies and eggs to me.  Easter is life!  And praise!  And HOPE!

255bFebruary 11, 2010

Romans 6:8-11 
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 28:1-10
After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."
So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

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