Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Easter thoughts and gratitude

As I write today my eyes are brimmed up with tears.

It is a busy day, but I just sat down and watched this for the first time:


And as I watched, the most wonderful feeling swallowed me up.

I'm so grateful for things like that to remind me in this hustle-bustle world that Christ lives.

King of Kings,
Lord of Lords.

We have been thinking about Easter a lot around here.

I gave a combined YW lesson on the Atonement at church.  I recruited three great women to share their feelings along with mine.  How grateful I am to have been able to study the "good news" of what we celebrate this week:

That Christ LIVES.

That he LOVES us.

That he LOVES us enough to suffer through all we have ever gone through or will ever go through.

So that we can return to Him some day.

Grace gave the Young Women lesson (with a friend) in church on Sunday.  They taught about how Christ can help them (our class of 14-15 year-olds) in their individual problems and sorrows.

Elle is speaking at church this Sunday.  Dave has been teaching his Sunday School class all about the upcoming events as well.  And this week we started our traditional HOLY WEEK pondering and studying for devotional.

(Sorry, blurry)  Anyone who's been reading this blog for a while has seen those things every year, but click HERE for what we do with them if you care to know.  Scripture references are HERE.

All through all the church lesson prep and talk prep I keep being reminded of this beautiful painting my dear mother presented to me a few years back:

I love it.  

It sits in our kitchen this month to remind us of what we are gearing up to celebrate: the Atonement and resurrection of our Savior.

I love how the artist depicted Christ's sorrow in Gethsemane.  And how even He needed comfort from above as He readied and immersed Himself in His great atoning sacrifice.

All because of LOVE.

I love how Cheiko Okasaki describes the Atonement in her book Lighten Up! Finding Real Joy in Life

This is a part from my favorite chapter:

"We know that Jesus experienced the totality of mortal existence in Gethsemane.  It's our faith that he experienced everything -- absolutely everything.  Sometimes we don't think through the implications of that belief.  We talk in great generalities about the sins of all humankind, about the suffering of the entire human family.  But we don't experience pain in generalities.  We experience it individually.  That means he knows what it felt like when your mother died of cancer -- how is was for your mother, how it still is for you.  He knows what it felt like to lose the student body election.  The knows that moment when the brakes locked and the car started to skid.  He experienced the slave ship sailing from Ghana toward Virginia.  He experienced the gas chambers at Dachau.  He experienced napalm in Vietnam.  He knows about drug addiction and alcoholism.

"...He understands your mother-pain when your five-year-old leaves for kindergarten, when a bully picks on your fifth-grader, when your daughter calls to say that the new baby has Down's Syndrome...He knows the pain you live with then you come home to a quiet apartment where the only children are visitors...when your fiftieth wedding anniversary rolls around and your husband has been dead for two years.  He knows all that.  He's been there.  He's been lower than all that.

"I beg you to open the door and [let him in].  Give him your whole heart, all the pieces, and let him heal you.  He promises us, "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13.)  'With all [our] hearts.'  That means we don't have pieces of our hearts that he doesn't touch or that aren't relevant to him.

"...He is not waiting for us to be perfect.  Perfect people don't need a Savior.  He came to save his people in their imperfections.  He is the Lord of the living, and the living make mistakes.  He's not embarrassed by us, angry at us, or shocked.  He wants us in our brokenness, in our unhappiness, in our guilt and our grief.

...We need him, and he is ready to come to us, if we'll open the door and let him.

Oh how I love to read those words and remember He is there.

Always.

I'm so incredibly grateful for this week to reflect on that greatest gift ever given:  that of the Atonement.

And I hope that somehow those little yellow papers we bring out each year and the scriptures we share to go with them will sink into the hearts of my children and change them.  Mold them to be turned further toward God.  A God who loves them.  Who I believe weeps for them.  

And for me.  

A God who gave His only begotten Son to save us.

All because of LOVE.  
Tomorrow we are going to watch this video of Christ's life: https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2004-01-01-finding-faith-in-christ?lang=eng

And another great video HERE.

But I want to just put that first one on re-play over and over again, and the one I'm posting at the end, because "Hallelujah." 

"As in Adam all die.  Even so in Christ shall all be made alive." (Corinthians 15:22)

So grateful for Easter and the chance to reflect on that wonder.  This video says it all.  

And fills me with more gratitude and wonder than ever.

He lives.

9 comments:

  1. Beautiful words, Happy Easter

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  2. Easter has become one of my favorite holidays after copying your Holy Week idea and stealing your sisters Easter scavenger hunt idea. It gives so much meaning to the day. It makes it seem so real. I am so grateful for HIM. Thank you for these beautiful thoughts.

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  3. I am so very grateful for the Savior. I absolutely love the Easter season.
    It is my favorite time of year--with General Conference also very near. Thank you for sharing Sister Okasaki's words about the Savior. What a great reminder.
    Happy Easter to you and your beautiful family.
    Lisa in WA

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  4. Beautiful. The quote from Cheiko's book made me cry. Can you tell me about the painting? Who the artist is? I'm interested in finding it. Thanks.

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  5. ^ Tiffany honey, if you are referring to the painting with Christ and the Angel, that painting is called "Agony in the Garden" by Danish Artist, Frans Schwartz. And that excerpt from the book totes made me cry too. Happy Easter!

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  6. I've never seen that quote...or if I did, I forgot how beautiful it is! Love that Cheiko. This is something she knows for sure, now that she has gone to heaven!

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  7. I love Chieko and her quote. Thank you for sharing that just in time for me to use it in my talk that I gave on Easter. Also shared as a Visiting Teaching message.

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  8. Jesus knows our suffering and pain and loves us, but there's so much more than him being someone who makes us feel better about ourselves. We are sinners and therefor separated from God. In order to be able to be with him for an eternity we have to be born again. We need to see our need for a savior and repent. That means turn away from our sin and towards Jesus. When we truly repent, our sin is given to Jesus and his righteousness is given to us and we now stand justified in God's sight. It's such a wonderful exchange and proof of his love for us! I love Jesus and I want to give him all the glory for what he did for me! He is alive indeed! Love your blog, Shawni!

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