I was determined this week that I would write words to you which are very spiritual and very uplifting and very Easter-y. I would tell you about what Holy Week means to me and how I’ve spent it in God’s word and doing all kind of resurrection crafts with my children and then they listened to me with unwavering attention as I read the story from scripture.
But, as I sit here staring at a blank page in front of me, I’m struck by the fact that it hasn’t really felt like that holy of a week to me. It’s felt like spring break. My kids are out of school and we’re sleeping in and hanging out with friends and binge watching the Kids Baking Championship which has then led to quite a bit of our own baking sessions. I wish you could smell the blueberry muffins my son and I just made!
But waking up this morning I had this nagging feeling that I was missing something. Wasn’t this week supposed to feel like…well…more? Wasn’t it supposed to be more reverent and more ‘set aside’? Wasn’t I supposed to be feeling sorrowful as I think about Christ’s sacrifice on the cross? Feeling it way down deep in my soul and allowing it to change the way I approach each day this week leading up to the glorious time of celebrating His resurrection?
Can I experience Holy Week when I’m not feeling very holy?
And friends, the more I’ve thought about it, the more I think the answer to that question is ‘yes’. Because here’s the thing. My relationship with Jesus cannot be condensed into one week. It doesn’t suddenly become stronger and more vibrant around Christmas and Easter. And I’ve spent too many years feeling guilty when I’ve found myself sitting in church on Good Friday trying to conjure up emotions that for whatever reason simply would not come. I’ve spent too much time thinking that it must be a reflection of a shallowness in my faith.
Because I know that’s not true.
I know that this past year has been filled with moments between me and my Savior that are too sacred to even try and explain. Ones where I have known beyond a shadow of a doubt that He was giving me His words when I had none of my own. When He was pouring strength into me when I was completely empty. When the words of the Bible became more real to me than ever before. When He revealed the truth of His love for me through gentle whispers which could only have come from Him. I believe that the enemy of my soul wants me to question the fact that I’m not feeling extra emotions this week. I think he wants to use my deep, gut-wrenching need to please and to want people to know just how solid I am in my faith to trick me into believing that it’s a reflection of how much I’m lacking.
Oswald Chambers (of course) describes it best:
“Beware of allowing yourself to think that the shallow aspects of life are not ordained by God; they are ordained by Him equally as much as the profound. We sometimes refuse to be shallow, not out of our deep devotion to God but because we wish to impress other people with the fact that we are not shallow. This is a sure sign of spiritual pride. We must be careful, for this is how contempt for others is produced in our lives. And it causes us to be a walking rebuke to other people because they are more shallow than we are. Beware of posing as a profound person— God became a baby.”
So often we believe the lie that there is nothing holy about the shallow end. There are entire worship songs dedicated to going into the deep waters with God but I think we might all squirm in our pews if we saw the word ‘shallow’ pop up on the screen in a song on Sunday morning. We have been led to believe that honoring Christ’s birth or death or resurrection has to look a certain way.
We have to have BIG feelings, BIG thoughts, BIG revelations.
For me, it’s similar to the feeling I have on my birthday. Or should I say the non-feeling. When we’re children, there is so much anticipation and excitement leading up to our special day. The minute we open our eyes we just feel the difference in that day, the special-ness of it. And I don’t know about you, but I do NOT have that same feeling on my birthdays now that I’m an adult. Those days mostly feel like every other day with maybe the slight exception of (hopefully!) not having to make dinner and getting to have my favorite dessert afterwards. But, that’s ok. Because, as an adult, I know that one day out of the year doesn’t define me. I know that this one day out of the year isn’t my only opportunity to feel loved.
1 Corinthians 13:11 says, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I acted like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.”
As we grown in our faith, we should come to a place where although we follow the Lord with childlike faith, we live for Him with maturity.
The reality is that on our faith journey we will experience great moments of depth. Times when we are taken to new levels in our relationship with God. And sometimes those will occur in conjunction with the special days we celebrate as Christians. Sometimes we will feel all of the feelings about Christmas and Easter.
But, I think it’s safe to say, that a great deal of our faith journey will be spent in the shallow. I want my kids to know that a solid foundation in Christ is built day by day, minute by minute. It’s not wrapped up in a holiday. Yes, we will honor this time. Yes, as a family we will reflect on it’s meaning and talk about it with our children. But we will not pressure them to feel certain feelings about it. We will not have expectations of there being some sort of divine revelation during the Easter service.
Instead, I will do what I do every day. I will pray that they will know how very much they are loved by their Heavenly Father and that depth will be added to their love of Him and their understanding of His character and will in their lives. I will pray that He will give me the wisdom and the grace and the strength to be the mother they need me to be. And I will pray that the message of Holy week will be real to them all year long.
Thank you so much for meeting me at the Fence today,