For the first time in 42 years I fast in preparation for Easter. In the year I name freedom I determine to prepare for resurrection power to wash over me fresh and anew. I give up Diet Coke though I’m a little embarrassed to admit it. Unless you know me well, that may not seem like much of a sacrifice.
Five days before Resurrection Sunday I break fast. On Easter’s eve I break down.
Recurring stomach issues plagued me. I was on the road, meeting appointments when I chose the only remedy left—Diet Coke. Shaking off the guilt of breaking fast wasn’t terribly hard at first. I know the importance of fasting but I also knew I couldn’t stop Easter from coming. My body was worn. Weeks of battling congestion and sinus issues, strange stomach problems and the none too subtle symptoms of perimenopause can wear a woman down.
So close. As Easter neared, I danced to the tune of my preconceived notions of how freedom would show up Resurrection Morn. On its eve, I succumb to life’s pressures and I break.
Still learning, in the midst of reading The Resolution for Women, I’m faced with resolving to do and be what He calls me to. I stumble, saying, “yes,” instead of, “no.” Sick, exhausted, worn, I feel nothing close to freedom. And then my Mama comes over.
Her presence alone was enough to expose my vulnerability. But after weeks of hearing her concern that I looked “tired and weak”, I broke a messy, ugly break. I ranted my concerns and how sick of being sick I was. In desperation, I cried for help. I needed help because—BREAKING NEWS!—”I JUST CANNOT DO IT ALL!” I was failing. Failed fast, failing my kids. As I spewed all manner of evil in words that shouldn’t be said in front of your mother let alone the Almighty, Mama was steady calm.
“NO, you haven’t failed them . . .” She spoke calm truth. She could’ve admonished me for my harshness, scolded me for my unseemly fit with five-year-old nearby. But Mama hugged me and reminded me that we’d keep praying and that things weren’t as bad as they seemed. She reminded me that my hormones were raging and everything was magnified. Mama was soothing balm. As my tears slowed, Mama told Daddy of a change of plans. Instead of having him drop her to clean her own home, she would stay while he painted Sophie’s room. She would clean bathroom and floors and help her weary child.
I couldn’t have made it through the day without her. I dare say I’d have passed out from fatigue. But she was calm and she was help. By day’s end I was still worn and I was ashamed. Yet hope stirred again. I tuned my spirit to the songs of Easter and hope. But I also entertained those preconceived notions of how He’d show up once again.
Funny how we decide how He should show up. We dress our best and bring our smiles and our loved ones who’ll join us this time around. This morning I stood in church worshiping with my brothers in sisters in Christ. Guilt gnawed at me. I’d blown it. At what seemed like the worst time ever I had broken. Filthy wretch that I am, how could I expect Him to show up?
I closed my eyes and He showed me Mama. Beautiful grace provided, truth spoken, help given. Yes, I’d blown it. And I’ll blow it again. My own Mama will blow it. But we can still fall on grace. And that’s exactly what she showed me. And He will always, always show up.
I basked in the glory of His Presence this morning. Because Easter isn’t for those who haven’t blown it. Resurrection power isn’t for those who’ve got it all together and don’t need it. I couldn’t stop it. Sin could never stop it.
Easter came. He’s alive! And Resurrection power is always fresh and anew. We needn’t wait another year to experience it. Just surrender. Surrender all. Because we’ll never be able to do it all. Truth is, we can’t do any of it without Him.
He died. And He rose again. He’s alive and now we’ll never have to live this life alone. We’ll never have to do it own our own.
And that’s freedom.