We have spent the last few wonderful days in Atlanta with family and this morning, as we woke up early to have our own sunrise service on a hill overlooking a lake, I reflected on the emotion that this Easter holiday has stirred in my soul. It is amazing and hard to describe. So instead of trying, I think I'll let my post from 2 years ago speak for itself. We are definitely not two months out from that sacred day with Maddox and the pain is not as it was in those early days... But I can still tell you that as I sat with my Bible opened this morning in the warm sun, tears were still streaming down my face.
Tears of joy. Tears of thankfulness. Tears knowing that because of what Christ did on the third day after His crucifixion, we are all forgiven and all can have the promise of eternity. Tears knowing that Maddox's eternity was sealed from the moment of his conception because of this beautiful truth. Thank you, Lord God, for overcoming the grave!
March 23rd, 2008
I've thought about this day all week... the day seemed to jump off the calendar as I continued to see "Easter," and written below it "Maddox~ 2 months." Although this is hard, as it is one more day to mark a short milestone in this journey, surprisingly, I looked forward to it with great joy and anticipation. How incredible that exactly 2 months after Maddox shortly graced us with his presence, we find ourselves on Easter Sunday! Here we are again where the time that has passed seems so short, and yet so long.
Now that I'm here today, in this moment, I realize that it is definitely one filled with emptiness. My arms are empty. The place where Maddox took over my heart is empty. The room in our home where he should have laid is empty... But, you know what else is empty?... The tomb where Jesus was laid! The emptiness there in that garden, 3 excruciating days after Jesus was nailed to the cross, is now the most wonderful promise offered to anyone who will accept it. Jesus Christ has risen. He is alive and because of that empty tomb, we can be eternally filled!
The sermon this morning spoke of these very things. Ben Young preached of the emptiness that so many people experience, and that, incredibly, some times emptiness is exactly what God wants. He wants us to come to Him empty-handed, looking only to Him to fill us back up. Ultimately, God's Son died on the cross and rose again for the emptiness that filled the world. Now each of our lives can be completely filled, and overflowing, when we look to Jesus Christ to be the only true Life Giver.
No doubt many of you have heard very similar messages repeated each Easter as followers of Christ throughout the world celebrate the Resurrection. But something that hit me, something a little different this year was when Ben mentioned the empty places in our lives. Many of us aren't empty, or lost... in fact, many of us know the Lord and ask him to walk with us daily... But, I would venture to say that most every person has an empty place in their life. A place that continues to hurt. A place that causes us to stumble. A place that isn't allowing us to live fully for Him. In that place, that is where I am to ask the Lord to fill me up. That is where I come to Him, on my knees and on my face, asking that He be my provision.
I'll be honest... I've asked for many, MANY things these past 6 months. I've asked for many things for myself, for many things for many of you... but for some reason I haven't asked that the Lord completely fill that emptiness in my heart, in my arms, and in my home that Maddox has left. No one will replace my son, but the Lord can surely fill that space with something glorious! Him.
So on this day that I celebrate Maddox's 2 months in Heaven... mostly I celebrate the fact that the tomb is empty. Christ rose from the dead and through His resurrection, I am promised to spend eternity with my tiny boy who is already in the arms of his Maker. And wow... if He can do all of those things, He can surely fill the empty places in my life! This is sure to be a beautiful, blessed day.
CHRIST IS RISEN!
The Empty Tomb
"Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!" So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)
Then the disciples went back to their homes, but Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?" "They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him." At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. "Woman," he said, "why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?" Thinking he was the gardener, she said, "Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him."
Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.' " Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: "I have seen the Lord!" And she told them that he had said these things to her."- John 20:1-18