He is Risen, He is Risen indeed! Alleluia, Alleluia!I love Easter and over the years it has grown to become my favorite holiday to celebrate. Perhaps it is the end of the long 40 days of Lent, the beautiful services of the Holy Triduum, the family traditions we have with the children or that the holy day hasn't become so commercialized. When it comes down to it, simply put it is the joy and hope that makes me look forward to this feast day with such longing. The joy that fills our hearts, knowing that the bond of death has been broken. The hope given, knowing that our suffering is not in vain. As I sat in the pew during Good Friday service meditating on the cross, I reflected on the pain, the anguish, the suffering, the love endured and poured out for me upon that wood. I began thinking of my own crosses, from the big to the small. The crosses I once carried and those I carry now. In all the sorrow of Good Friday my heart began to feel joy, true joy. I found my heart praising God, knowing what Sunday would bring. During Holy Week we grieve the wounds, the cruelty, the sins that our Savior took upon himself, but we are called to cling to the hope of Easter the promise of new life, a that promise is ours. The victory has been won! Death conquered, the gates opened. New life given, humanity restored. Our own crosses sanctified, our sorrow turned to joy. That is the hope we are given, the hope that we celebrate during this holy season of Easter. When setbacks happen, illness strikes or despair begins to creep in let us remember the hope of Easter. The story doesn't end on Friday. Christ's life doesn't end with the cross and neither does ours. I have seen this evident in my own life. The first seven years of my marriage my husband and I carried the cross of infertility and loss five babies through miscarriage. This has been by far the most painful and isolating cross I have ever carried. Struggling for years to try and see God's hand at work in the deafening silence. I wish I could say I carried the cross well, but most days I met it with resistance. Daily trying to submit to God's will and still clinging to the hope that is ours. Yet in His perfect timing the cross was lifted. New life was given. In a 2 1/2- year time period we went from zero children to four. Not every story writes like ours, but it is our Easter story. After every Good Friday we are met with Easter Sunday. No matter the cross, no matter the struggle. Every cross carried will someday be lifted, someday made glorious. It may not be in three days, in three years or even in our lifetime. But the hope is real, the promise is ours. Our suffering is not in vain. The Resurrection gives us peace, allowing us to journey in hope -- knowing that at some point we too will be victorious. As we celebrate the Risen Lord during this holy octave of Easter, may we rejoice in the resurrection stories manifested in our own lives. What is your Easter story? Let us be a witness of hope. Christ is truly alive, truly risen; we have seen him with our eyes.
Copyright 2018 Cassie Everts
About the Author
Cassie Everts is a wife, the mother to five little ones in heaven and five children on earth. She is the co-author of Nursery of Heaven: Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss in the Lives of the Saints and Today's Parents. She blogs at Everyday Ann where she writes about faith, marriage, motherhood, infertility and adoption. Before becoming a full-time mom, she was a producer at Relevant Radio.