(Thanks, Christen, for inviting me over from Heirs with Christ to guest post on your blog!)
It is the afternoon of Easter. All I can think about is our upcoming move from Montgomery to Mobile. As my entire family sleeps off the morning's excitement, I hunt for boxes.
Behind the nearest grocery store, I spot a “cardboard only” trash bin. The holy grail for movers. Within moments I am shoving empty Lays Potato Chip and Sister Schubert’s Roll cases tightly into the trunk and back seat. I look down. I am still wearing my Easter dress.
Classy. Dumpster diving in a brand new sundress.
Easter is like that, though. At first glance, it’s all pastel and smiles. Finely pressed linen, chocolates and toys. A day to hide our junk. Shine your shoes and sing “Shine Jesus Shine.” You’d think on the holiday that celebrates Christ’s death, we’d remember true beauty is battered and bloody. Even the resurrected Christ bore scars.
Yes, today, I’m hiding junk. My youngest daughter came unglued at church this morning. Normally, Amelia thrives at our church. She adores the congregation that adopted her almost as much as we did. But this holiday attracted hundreds of unfamiliar faces. Amelia clung tightly to my legs, fearing she’d float away in the sea of brand new worshippers. I left her in Sunday school. She laid on her back, shrieking in the doorway, convulsing like a fish out of water. My stomach twisted sick.
“If new crowds undo her, will a move across the state crush her?” I think this as I drive, cardboard moving boxes scratching each other loudly. My raw nerves rub together even louder.
At home, I unload the empty boxes and exchange my Easter dress for sweats and a gray t-shirt. Pastel perfection is over. My emotions are stripped sore, no longer hidden by congenial smiles. I begin the hard work of packing all we own.
From the pantry, I fill a box with glass sugar jars, salt and pepper shakers, vitamins. Out of the cabinet falls a tiny packet of seeds. I tear a corner off the paper and pour them in my hand.
Seeds. Bury a seed in the earth, and it will rise in newness of life. Kernels of hope. Promises to be fulfilled in blooms.
I could use some hope and promises right now. I lean against a cardboard box and think about moving, Amelia, pain, and change.
Change is hard. Even the change that bought our salvation came tear-stained, beaten, bruised, and bloody. The Son of God died! It was ugly.
Jesus’ disciples fell to their knees, weeping despair and wondering if they’d given their lives to a cause as fragile and temporal as human life…
…as fragile and temporal as a flower’s petal.
When the One they lived for died, did they dare still cling to tiny seeds of hope?
I flip the paper seed packet over to see an image of tiny blue buds. I remember…
Easter morning, my girls and I had clipped front yard roses. At church, we wove them into a tall floral cross that stood in our church’s lobby. It was a stunning, seven foot tall kaleidoscope crucifix of bright sunflowers, hydrangeas, spider lilies, and daises. Far more beautiful than the rough, blood-stained beams of Good Friday.
Flowers growing out of an instrument meant to bring capital punishment to God Himself.
Life blooming in color and brilliance, thanks to the Savior the grave could not hold.
The stench of Jesus’ death swallowed by the fragrance of fresh life.
And it all started with a seed of hope…
Planted in a dark, uncertain tomb…
Raised to bloom in newness of life.
Change is hard. Our family may feel beaten and bloody by the time we finish this move towards new life. We may feel as if we’re being buried in the dark depths of the earth. And perhaps, that is exactly what is happening to our family. Like the resurrected Christ, we may rise from the dust and cardboard boxes with some deep new scars.
After all, scars bring life.
We die with Christ that He may become life in us. We are seeds, entering darkness and uncertainty, trusting He will cause us to bloom out of decaying crucifix wood. We are the aroma of Christ; a fragrant bouquet, growth constrained to the exquisite shape of His death.
The question is, do we trust Him enough to enter the uncertainty? To be planted in the ground?
I seal a moving box closed and take a deep breath, noticing the scent of Easter lilies from across the kitchen. I too, will enter the darkness and the dirt and the sealed up tomb. I agree to be planted.
Father, I believe. Help my unbelief.
Rachel is a wife, mother, blogger, and child adopted into the family of Christ. You can read about family, faith, adoption, and parenting at www.heirswithchrist.com.