A New Day

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

As I write this on Easter Monday, April 18th, my mind is filled with many thoughts.

First, the day after Jesus rose from the grave, I imagine the joy and smiles on the faces of those closest to Jesus here on earth. The feeling of dread and doom that had filled them was now replaced with wonder and expectation. What was next for these men and women? They had witnessed so much in three years and now another twist in their adventure with Jesus.

Forty five years ago this evening, Dale and I made a commitment to follow Jesus. We both knew Him, heard the sermons and felt like we were pretty good. Our marriage was not only on the rocks, it was wrecked. We argued most of the time and around 6:30 p.m. on this day, we decided that we would divorce. He would stay in Japan, obviously, and I determined that I would go to San Francisco with our dog and start over.

A half hour later saw one of us asking the other what the marriage needed. The answer, “A relationship with Jesus Christ”. These were words neither of us expected. But, we looked at one another, knowing it was the truth. We went to our bedroom, knelt down and prayed together. When we finished praying we looked at one another and we knew that something had changed. We looked with eyes of love, hope and commitment.

On April 19th, 1977 I woke up different. I still looked the same, I was still the same person, but there was a deep change within. I opened up the blinds in our bedroom and looked out. The same four quad-plex buildings surrounded the grassy courtyard, but it appeared the sun shone brighter. Everything was brighter. I felt cleansed, more clean than you feel after showering, it was a deep clean. I guess the way I felt is how your home looks after a deep cleaning. The house glistens. The floors are polished, the furniture dust free, the windows clear, and fresh smells abound. That is the way I felt on the 19th of April, 1977.

Like the disciples the day after Christ arose, I was filled with anticipation, expectation and joy.

 “Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer captive to sin’s demands! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did.

That means you must not give sin a vote in the way you conduct your lives. Don’t give it the time of day. Don’t even run little errands that are connected with that old way of life. Throw yourselves wholeheartedly and full-time—remember, you’ve been raised from the dead!—into God’s way of doing things. Sin can’t tell you how to live. After all, you’re not living under that old tyranny any longer. You’re living in the freedom of God. ” Romans 6:6-14 (MSG)

Have I looked at each day like that first? No, but when I stop and quiet myself I still recognize that difference. My whole being shouts to me to be expectant and anticipate what the Lord is going to do today. Each morning is filled with the promise and assurance that God is in control. Nothing is going to happen to me that will take God off of His throne of grace, He is not wringing His perfect hands in worry. He has a plan for my life and yours.

Easter Monday

Have you ever had a day that you dread? Easter Monday is that day for me. Somehow, as a growing child I would have mishaps on that day.

I can remember my parents saying they were going to tie me in my bed so that no harm could come to me. Of course, they were joking.

Two incidents come to mind quickly when I see Easter Monday approaching. The first required an emergency room visit. My sisters and I were off school, watching mid-morning television, eating our Easter basket goodies and drinking pop (soda, coke, sody-pop, soft drink I have heard them all). Our mother was on the phone talking with a friend. My older sister asked me to go get her more to drink. I said no. She knew I would do it anyway, so she tossed her glass at me. Neither of us thought anything would happen. But, somehow the glass hit just the right way on my knee and exploded, sending chards into my knee. We both panicked and we didn’t want Mom to know what had happened. We slid by her, and went to the bathroom, I am certain she noticed that blood was running down my leg, but we were determined. As my sister was attempting to place band-aids over my knee, our Mother appeared in the bathroom door. I then went to the emergency room where our family physician removed the glass and commented that they were very pretty. They were blue and white glasses. I am certain we were corrected, but we were just being kids.

A few years went by. It was evening on Easter Monday. My sisters and I were outside, shoe-less of course. Again, my older sister asked me to go get her shoes, so she could investigate something. I obliged and ran down our sidewalk in the back of our house. I don’t know how, but, somehow I tripped, slid across the cemented back porch and the aluminum screen door stopped me, but not before I dented in the bottom part of the door with my head. No emergency room visit that time, but no school the next day either.

I occasionally hear about my adventures on Easter Monday, but it is few and far between. In jest I was referred to as Grace. All legs and feet and no coordination.

I smile as I write these memories. I can still recall the glass being removed and the doctor and my Mom laughing at our antics. I can still remember being stopped by screen door and hearing my Dad say, she dented my door.

These are the things that make parents go grey. They are also the stuff of great memories.

“And do everything with love.” 1 Corinthians 16:14 (NLT)

Did we sisters do everything in love? No, of course not. We are a real family. But, we are fiercely devoted to one another, we have each other’s back. The Lord created our family. It was not always easy for us, but, we survived and flourished. Today I would not run to get her shoes, but I would most likely trip at some point. Grace still exists, but now I pass it off to old age.