We had moved away from our big ministry job because of a bad situation. It was hurtful and when we crawled back to our hometown with our tails between our legs, we were sad. We moved into an old, very-used house in January. It was cold, dark and brown. The trees were bare, the bushes looked like skeletons and every bit of it seem to reflect our life at that moment. What happened to God's will for us? What happened to our future?
For months, I snuggled inside with my then one-year old and hid from life and wondered what our future held--if if held anything at all. Then spring began peeking it's head around the corner. Suddenly we had rows of azaleas in our front yard--baby pink, hot pink and white all mixed together and thick and full surrounding a giant dogwood tree. But it wasn't just any dogwood tree--it was two smaller trees that had grown together, one pink and one white. Now that these trees were old and mature, it filled our yard with pink and white blossoms like an umbrella.
My daughter was a toddler but we played in those gorgeous azalea bushes and laid in the grass to look at our dogwood tree. We called it "the most beautiful tree in the world" and anyone who passed the house would have agreed. That old fashioned, dismal house with it's cold brown yard was transformed in springtime and there was nowhere else more beautiful in the world as far as I was concerned.
The surprise of those blooms was a gift to me. It was a gentle whisper from my Heavenly Father who said, "It may seem dead now. Your future may seem gone. But my power is made perfect in those places. I make all things new. I am the resurrection and the life." And soon, my heart began to mend, my future as a mom became fulfilling and clear. My life in a new town and in a new direction, unplanned though it was became the best and most perfect part of God's plan for me.
Martin Luther said, “God has written the promise of new life not just in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime.” (paraphrased, Sally Lloyd Jones) and when spring rolls around, I see each new bud, each bright green leaf and every robin in the tree as a promise of new life. It's why we celebrate the death and resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. If we didn't talk about the death of Jesus, his crucifixion and burial, how would we know the miracle of his life? If we didn't mourn on Good Friday, how would Sunday morning be a celebration?
As parents, sometimes we unwittingly skip past the hard parts of the Easter story because...well, they are hard. Who wants to talk to a kid about whips and nails when they can focus on bunnies and eggs and flowers? However, I think it's important to lead our children through winter before they experience the complete and overwhelming joy of spring.
It's not as hard as it seems to talk about Jesus' death. Even Mark, in his account of Jesus' death doesn't give a lot of details, "It was nine in the morning when they crucified him." (15:25) We can use the broken bread to talk about Jesus' death, the poured out perfume of Mary's to explain the preparation for burial, the purple robe to show Jesus' accusers, but with all of it pointing to that beautiful morning when the tomb was no longer a scary place for dead people but the place of the greatest miracle of all!
If you're shivering away during the cold winter right now, point your heart and the heart of your children to the sacrifice Jesus made for us. When you long for daffodils and azaleas, let your heart long for Jesus' resurrection. And when spring blooms all around you, rejoice in His new life!
Family activity: Join us for Sense of the Resurrection--an immersive, sensory-filled 12 activity devotional that leads families in memories and in setting up memorials to experience the death and life of Jesus this Easter. Use code MISSIONALWOMEN to get 20% off this ebook written by Missional Women blogger, Amanda White.
Amanda White is a stay-at-home mom of two who blogs at ohAmanda.com and is the author of Truth in the Tinsel: An Advent Experience for Little Hands. In her former life, Amanda was a Children’s Pastor — overseeing, organizing and developing ministry for kids in nursery through middle school, but now that she is a mom, her “skills” are used up on her kids!
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