Easter weekend means a lot of things to a lot of different people. Some get really excited about taking advantage of sales (AE had 40% off pretty much everything and it was nuts). Some look forward to a long weekend of relaxing and full on couch potato-ing (#goals). Some are shamelessly in it for the chocolate and the excessive amounts of food shared with friends and family (who can blame them).
As great as these things are, this weekend means so much more to me.
I remember sitting in a chair in my room with my face in my hands. My sister sat at my feet begging me not to do it. I looked at her with a sense of hopelessness as I couldn’t imagine living for one more second. At this time, I was experiencing a prolonged period of deep depression and I can’t begin to describe how tragically unbearable this felt. She pleaded with me to keep fighting knowing that my death would be heartbreaking, not just for herself but for our family and loved ones as well.
I didn’t feel like this was enough to keep me alive.
The pain welled up in my heart in a way that I could never fully articulate. I felt the most at peace when my eyes were closed and I was tucked into my bed. As soon as my eyes opened, the battle for my life began.
I was tired. I was worn out.
Living became burdensome. I was existing in a constant state of deep emotional pain that would not subside. My friends, my family, the things that I loved, absolutely nothing could fill the gaping hole in my heart. I was numb and the joys of life were sapped from my spirit. This reality became presumably too painful to carry.
All I could cling to in this moment of utter despair was remembering Jesus’ suffering on the cross. He willingly underwent emotional, physical, spiritual and psychological pain for ME because He deeply loved me in an unfathomable way. On April 29th, 2011 I made a vow to follow Jesus and to grow in His likeness for the rest of my life. With that in mind, I was convinced that I would be making a huge mistake if I chose to take my own life.
“Wait. Just wait.”
Generally, when someone dies, I think about how their loved intentionally work towards honouring their life through what they do.
Jesus lived an amazing life. He loved in a way that I could never fully understand and drew out the hearts of people with a deep sincerity and compassion. He loved God with His entire being and cared for people in an unconditional and selfless way. Yet, He was willing to die on a cross for imperfect people while experiencing pain on every level of His being. He died in an unnecessarily brutal way knowing that this was how the world would come to know His love for them. This reality was not forced upon Him, but was in accordance with the will of God.
For what? Why would anyone CHOSE this?
He did it for ME. He did it so that I would know that He understood the pains that I go through. He did it so that I would be fully aware of His presence in my life as I experienced feelings of loneliness, discouragement, and deep emotional pain. Jesus has never asked me to do anything that He didn’t do first. He called my heart to remember the faithfulness of God when I felt like I was at my wits end because that’s what He did as He hung from the cross. Subsequently, He has helped me overcome some of the darkest times in my life. No one has been able to speak to my heart in the ways that Jesus has. So many people have hugely supported me, but He has gone to places in my heart that no one ever could. His friendship is what has kept me alive.
So, celebrating Easter means so much more to me than what the world generally chalks it up to be. This weekend is an annual reminder of how fortunate I am to know Jesus in the way that I do. Not just because I have the forgiveness of sins through Him (hallelujah), but because He saved my life.
A man who I had never met was willing to die so that I could live. The life that I have is a reflection of His undying love for me. If it weren’t for His sacrifice, I wouldn’t be here today. I hope to spend the rest of my life honouring Him through the way that I live my life.
I hope that, in reading this, you begin to reflect on what the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus means to you. I am convinced that He is at work in your life in an equally powerful way as He has been in mine.
Have a chocolate egg on me.