as a little girl, easter meant a new dress. preferably white but most assuredly spring-like. i'd let the new fabric fall over me as i got dressed that morning, anxious not for church but the basket of goodies waiting for me on the table. my memories are painted pastel with hidden treasures in ankle high grass and the familiar sound of family laughing. honey ham. cascarones. afternoon naps. school holidays. warm sunshine and a belly ache from too much sugar. a rugged Cross never filled my senses because i was too busy biting the ears off chocolate bunny and shaking free the pennies and dimes from plastic easter eggs. now, it's different because i realize the cost. i know my filth.
and i know pain.
this isn't the dull ache from a disappointment. i'm not talking about failed expectations or the anger from arguing with a loved one.
this pain comes with the electric shock of memory. it suffocates and breaks and steals my words. there have been nights where i grab the hand of my husband who loves me even still and i'm forced to let the deepest places mourn. the tears don't stop easily those nights, and i usually wake up with the puffy-eyed look of spending my dreams walking on the holy ground of suffering.
the pain is raw and new and i still struggle with the desire to push it down into the crevices of my deep-dark. but it always comes again - there's no hiding from memory, and i've learned the quickest way to heal is to let Him break clean and swift. i've tried coping mechanisms. i know what it means to eat my pain and i know the feeling of detachment.
and falling into those habits again leaves me breathless for One who purifies wounds most infected with lies.
this is what makes me desperate for the Cross - He is the only One who knows the pain of breaking to be made whole.
i was slow in learning this. for 28 years i lived with the thought of His resurrection as my ticket to freedom. i never anticipated the community of suffering. i never imagined i'd find myself bent double with pain and gripping the bloody scars of His own hand just to stay upright.
but here i am. and in the midst of pain and tears and an exhaustion that goes marrow deep, i've never felt more hope.
and isn't this how it's supposed to be? isn't this the story of redemption? the greatest Story mirrored in our own three-act structure of conflict and minor resolution? at the darkest hour, when all seemed lost and mary wept for her son and His best friends questioned the purpose of pain, hope shook the earth clean. and as my sister says, "while Easter morning sings of salvation, it also brings a deep, unmoving, Strong Tower of Joy to those who are in pain."
my heart still cowers in the corner. there are days where my pain clouds my view and detachment is far easier than taking off my mask and showing vulnerability. even on my best days, i fight the inclination to hide. but i know now the moment life's pain came crashing into my comfort was a blessing from One who loves me enough to break me so i can be made whole.
and though i may walk with a limp, my gait sings of someone who knows the heart of One who Defended and Protected when no one else claimed responsibility.
i would take this truth over pastel colored memories any day.
she speaks is a conference where women learn how to step out with the message God has given them. in her post, ann quoted job 32:18 - "for i am full of words, and the spirit within me compels me." it was this verse that pushed me to submit a post for consideration. my words are not my own but His, and i feel Him leading me to share my story of healing. i am not there yet - there are days where i still thumb my nose in rebellion because the pain seems too great. but He is faithful and there is Hope in our darkness because He conquered the grave. and these past few months i've learned whatever the memory, whatever the pain, He knows and desires nothing more than to heal.