, , ,

Today is one of my favorite days. It’s Easter. As a believer in Christ, everything about celebrating the death and resurrection of Jesus sends my heart soaring. As a little girl I remember my mind and heart connecting to how special this day was years before I was on my face seeing what the Cross accomplished for me. 

There are so many things that flow from that place. There are so many things to love that flow from that place and these verses were lived in my life this weekend: 

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. – 1 John 4:16-19

One of the things I’ve taught my kids  is that we know God loves us because Jesus was on the Cross. It’s in that place we see the depth of God’s desire to be in relationship with us at the cost of His Son, and we see Jesus and His love for His Father as well as His love for us that held Him on the Cross until death was swallowed up in victory. Praise Jesus! 

This weekend I was reminded of something so precious as I considered Easter. I was in Texas to help with a baby shower for one of the dearest people in the world, my friend Lauren. As we were working and setting up, feeling the ease of our friendly banter and teasing among all of us felt like home.

I watched two of the best ladies I know who have been friends for years laugh and tease like sisters all while loving each other and serving with ease and joy. The depth of their love for God and everyone around them made it look like ease. Thank you Debbie and Carol. You both inspire my heart and show what life-long friendship looks like loving with the depth we were given because of Easter. 

Then I got to see one of the most humble people I’ve ever met do what I’ve always seen him do- Ronnie worked to support everything going on as invisibly as he could with the most willing spirit that never calls attention to itself. Ronnie and Debbie seamlessly served and worked for everyone else’s comfort and enjoyment as such a solid husband and wife team. They never made it look like work, but it really was. I hope I learn to walk in such graciousness. 

It’s no wonder Alissa is who she is when you know her momma and daddy, Debbie and Ronnie. She was up early each day to work and get things ready to celebrate Lauren and the friendship they’ve had their entire lives. She did everything she did because of the deep love and friendship with joy in her heart to serve and bless Lauren. She even hosted me at her house while we worked to get everything set up there! We bicker like sisters and we always tease that we’re stuck with each other, but the truth is neither of us would have it any other way. 

Seeing Lauren walk in with her sweet Baby Callon bump and hugging her for the first time in so long right along with seeing her momma and getting such a wonderful hug and “I love you!” from Diane was the gentle reminder of the depth of God’s love for me and all of us. We all gathered to celebrate Lauren and her husband Lance and the sweet baby God is knitting together inside her. 

Then I consider my sweet friends I got to see all weekend. From grabbing lunch with Jaime, to cleaning and visiting, to having dinner made for me at Nana’s house, hanging out with Jan, my family driving over just to see me and eat with me, and then seeing everyone at the shower, my hearts swells, my eyes sting, and I can hardly speak passed the lump in my throat. I’m especially thankful to my husband who wanted to keep our three babies so I could have time to go and help while having a bit of time to myself in a crazy season before I start school. 

On this Easter weekend that purchased my salvation and defeated satan, I was reminded that our ability to know love from others and to love others deeply was also won this day. I sent this text message this morning as I got on my plane and was praying:

“I woke up this morning with deep appreciation for what this day means, and I prayed in thanksgiving realizing that one thing we learn today is how to love each other the way Christ did. My heart is eternally thankful for the friendships we have and the love God has given us for each other. I’m so glad that has held us all together, no matter the miles or time that passes.”

While we arranged food, teased over folding and saving tissue paper and gift bags with Ashlee and Lindsay, and talked sassy to each other, I realized that it’s been about half my life now that God has made these friendships a part of our stories.

We have walked with each other through the sunshine and through hurricanes. We have seen each other at our best and worst, and none of it changed an ounce of how much we love each other. That kind of love is a gift from God. That kind of love never fades. That kind of love was won and displayed on Easter. 

I’m thankful that these friendships have taught me so much over the last almost 15 years. I’m thankful that love like this has created friendships that feel like ease. No matter how long we’ve been apart we truly pick right back up. I think it’s because in that time apart we are always encouraging and praying for each other. How incredibly special is that? If you’re ever blessed with those kind of friendships, never stop nurturing them. 

I’m thankful at Easter always because it is the day to know that the body of Christ was broken for me. His blood was shed for me. It’s deeply personal and deeply real in my mind and heart, always, but it’s especially remembered today. 

The shirt I wore on the plane home said “Love each other deeply” 1 Peter 4:8. I had no idea how timely a reminder that would be when I packed it, but I am thankful today for the Cross and it teaching us just how to do that.