I’m published! Well, at least published in the sense that a piece I wrote has been included in our church newsletter–tee-hee! I was a little embarassed to find it on the front page…I think I was hoping it would be buried towards the back. Oh, well! So, without further ado, here’s my piece…
I lay there, shrouded in “death,” my body entombed in leaves the children had piled on top of me. I could hear the rhythm of my own breathing, the drum-like beating of my heart echoing in my ears.
“Cover her feet.”
“Pile the leaves higher.”
“Get the rake!”
I heard them working faster, piling the leaves higher, making my grave secure. My children and their friends, all motivated by the same goal.
“I can’t see her at all!”
“I think we’re done…yeah, we’re done. She’s dead now.”
I heard a bird faintly chirping one of the season’s last songs high among the trees overhead, almost a mournful melody, calling us to take notice of Fall’s fleeting beauty. I heard the muffled noises of cars passing by, knowing they were straining to see what the pack of children was doing. I waited, resting on the bed of fallen leaves, listening to the beauty of God’s world going on around me. How long had it been since I enjoyed the simplicity of God’s creation? The texture of the leaves was beautiful. I gently stroked one that had fallen into my palm. It was still supple from the life that had previously coursed through it. Soon, it would become brittle, eventually crumbling into a thousand pieces before returning to the earth as dust. It would provide sustenance for the tree which had birthed it, but there would be no resurrection for this small leaf.
“Jesus! Come out of the grave!”
I waited. I could still hear the pattern of my own breathing. It was slower, more relaxed now. I closed my eyes and listened to the children shuffling around… such amazing creations. How could I have imagined such joy in knowing them; in the way in which I have been changed these last six years? My former self, unrecognizable; the childish, selfish girl gladly exchanged for a woman, a mother. I am re-living my childhood, enjoying each moment of theirs, trying to capture these precious moments on the canvas of my mind. Today’s picture will take a prominent place in the gallery. I lay there, knowing I would never want to resurrect my former self. “No, child,” the Spirit whispered to my soul, “the old is gone, the new has come. You are a new creation.”
“Jesus! Come out of the grave!”
I continued to wait. I could hear the children scurrying about, waiting in anticipation for their make-believe savior to emerge triumphant. I contemplated the beauty of each of them– their births and how creative our God is in His design of them. I thought about this stage of their lives. They are still being birthed, spiritually speaking. The oldest ones are awakening to the calling of God on their hearts…a calling sent out from before time began. They love Him… unconditionally… passionately… wholly… simply and with purity, and with all defense of His omnipotence. They know only that their Jesus loves them and has befriended them and this knowledge is more than enough to skip down the path of life. The younger ones are grasping His holy name tightly, allowing the Holy Spirit to intertwine His loving grace around their still-tender hearts. I see the holy reflection of my Maker when I see them bow their sweet heads in adoration, giving thanks for beetles and snails, and stretch their hands to heaven in praise of bicycles and sunshine. They have hold of the Lord Jesus, and have not yet been tempted to emancipate themselves from His love. That day will come…and when it does, I pray the Holy Spirit resurrect the tender embers of this childhood ardor and fan it into an unquenchable flame that consumes all sense of self.
“Why isn’t she coming out?”
“Maybe we have to put more leaves on her.”
More shuffling, more leaves…then silence.
“Jesus! Come out!” a chorus resounded.
I remained in my decaying bed, breathing in the sweet smell of grass and dirt, enjoying the solace of the grave. If Jesus tarries…someday, a real grave will embrace this body. I will no longer walk this earth, breathe it’s air, feel the warmth of it’s sun on my cheeks, turn my face into it’s harsh winds or finger the falling snowflakes. No, one day, this fallen body will fail. Sin will have victory over my body and the rhythms my heart and lungs have been beating out since my birth will stop.
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26
Do I believe this? Do I? I do. Oh, Lord Jesus, I do! My heart soars when I think of the day when I will see Your face. An eternity awaits my adoration of You. You are my resurrection—my re-birth, the renewal of Your intended design in me. That thought alone carries me along the winds of change, knowing your plan does not.
“No, child, I do not change. I am the Lord.”
The children began to conference. “Why won’t Jesus come out? Who can get Jesus out of the grave?”
Finally, the older two chime in together, “Only God can get Jesus out of the grave!”
(With deep, booming voices…) “Jesus! It’s God, your Dad, come out of the grave!”
I sprang from my leafy coffin and said, “I am the resurrection and the life!” amidst a chorus of delighted cheering. They were on their feet, hands stretched to the heavens, whooping and hollering, “He did it! He came back to life! He was dead and now He’s not! Whoo! Whoo! All right, Jesus! You’re the best!”
You are more than the best, Lord, God. You are more than I can imagine, or dream, or ponder, or conceive. You are. You were. You will be…there when we are all resurrected in You.