On Resurrection and Other "R" Words...

Photo credit: J. Simpkins

Photo credit: J. Simpkins

Today marks one week exactly since my husband’s official return to our home! There are no words to describe the profound sense of joy and gratitude that I have been experiencing! We’ve had a wonderful first week filled with countless sweet and precious moments. My husband’s arrival providentially coincided with the First Day of Spring, and the beginning of Holy Week. I honestly did not plan this…it had more to do with my daughter’s Spring Break and being able to take the time off needed to make the necessary arrangements to bring him home. However, I do believe God's hand is in this auspicious timing.

The juxtaposition of his return and the significance of the past week has put me in a sober frame of mind, as I ponder the symbolism surrounding the death, burial, and ultimately the resurrection of our Lord and Savior…and of my husband, marriage, and family. Although the ultimate triumph of resurrection is our focus on this day, there have been all kinds of other “r” words going through my mind:

Resurrection.

Reconciliation.

Recovery.

Restoration.

Reinvention.

Rebuilding.

Renewal.

Rebirth.

 Every one of those words have taken on a whole new, DOUBLE meaning for me this year!

Yesterday, we watched a short film that I highly recommend, Come Follow Me.  It is the poignant portrayal of Peter’s complicated yet special relationship with Jesus, especially in His final days and shortly after His resurrection. One thing struck me as I watched the reenactment of the Last Supper, the night Jesus was betrayed in the Garden, and His crucifixion: The days prior to His being risen again from the dead were filled with a profound sense of darkness, loss, betrayal, confusion, shattered hopes, and utter horror. They lost their Master, their beloved Rabbi, and along with Him, their hopes and dreams…their vision for the future. They lost Him in the most degrading, horrific way possible. The disciples had no idea that these things HAD to take place in order for God to be glorified…the paradox was completely lost on them, until long after the fact. Even though they would get it later, in those initial moments, their world came to an abrupt end.

It is a reminder to me that every resurrection is preceded by a death. Sometimes it can be a very brutal, violent death. Resurrection requires a death to have taken place first. Not just a death, but also a burial, which punctuates the finality of the death. When we lost my brother several years ago, at his visitation I was hit hard by the fact that I was laying my eyes on him for the very last time, at least in this lifetime. There is something so absolutely final about that kind of moment…there are no words to describe it. The loss is excruciating. It literally physically hurts.

And yet…as believers, we have the hope of resurrection. This is one of the concepts that sets us apart in our faith, that death is NOT final, but actually the beginning of something greater. Yet another one of the amazing, mysterious paradoxes of God!

Along with Jesus’ resurrection came a flood of all kinds of other “R” words. Not only were the disciples reunited with their beloved Master, but something else profound took place. Everything was made new. The dreams they had lost, the hopes that were shattered, the confusion they experienced…all of that was replaced with something glorious: Renewal. Reconciliation to God. Restoration and rebuilding of faith. Reinvention of vision and mission. Recovery from the sorrow of loss.

Rebirth.

Their lives, and world history, were never the same afterwards.

I believe we can draw parallels in our lives from the example Jesus set forth with His…this is what He desires. The same power that raised Him from the dead is the power that is working in the life of my family! So this theme of death, burial, resurrection, and all the “r” words that follow, is most definitely not lost on me as my family is slowly but surely knitting ourselves back together again.

When my husband was gone, I died a thousand deaths, in one form or another. There were the daily deaths of just dealing with his absence, but there were the more “big” deaths of: hopes, dreams, visions for the future, all being gone, just like him. I lived in a state of constant uncertainty and instability. I didn’t wallow in it…I lived my life…but it was always there, lingering. Sometimes the not knowing is more soul crushing than anything else.

But because of my faith in the Lord, I had something else:

Hope.

I knew that, one way or another, my daughter and I were going to survive this. No matter what happened, deep down I knew we’d be OK. I learned to let go of my expectations and surrender all of those shattered dreams to the Lord in exchange for peace. It’s not to say I didn’t hurt at times. I am an avid journaler. It’s where I pray, it’s where I release my emotions and pour out my heart. I mostly wrote my way through the pain…and let me just say that I filled volumes.

God met me in those journals, His Word, friends, counselors…and He spoke peace, comfort, and hope to my heart. He would never let me, or others in my circle, let go of the Hope that someday, somehow, my family would be back together again.

That day is here!!!!!!!

Today, on Resurrection Sunday, I can commemorate not only my new life in Christ, but…

My husband, my marriage, and my family has been raised from death to New Life!! He is on a solid road of recovery, and we are moving towards reconciliation, renewal, restoration, and rebirth. Along with birthing my daughter, this is probably one of the most beautiful, exciting things I’ve ever been privileged to be part of in this life!!

He is Risen Indeed!!!