Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter!

This week, I sort of fell into a rut...
AN EASTER SUGAR COOKIE RUT!

 
Cookies for MOPS... 







Cookies for a Final Four Party...
(We were assigned to represent the Tennessee Volunteers...I thought it was a joke and that we were the clean-up crew or something.  Obviously, I should just stay in the kitchen!)




 
Cookies for our Easter lunch...

Cookies for the kids...







Cookies for our pediatrician...
(I know that's a little overboard.  We just really like him, and his wife likes my cookies...I guess I'm a little bit of a kiss-up!)






It got a little cookie crazy!
So why am I showing you all these cookies?
It's not like I'm actually sharing them for you to eat and it's not like I'm a professional cookie maker who you'll want to copy.
It's because baking and frosting these cookies gave me lots of time to spend in thought, reflecting on the meaning of  Easter to me as a follower of Christ.  I want to share some of these thoughts with you!

Leading up to Easter, we have been studying C J Mahaney's book Christ Our Mediator: Finding Passion at the Cross with out college students.

Here are a couple excerpts from a chapter that really stuck with me:

(speaking of Jesus Christ dying on the cross)
There in the Father's sight is the monstrous, unbounded totality of human sin resting upon one Man.

(speaking of the miracle of the cross)
The personal desolation Christ is experiencing on the cross is what you and I should be experiencing--but instead, Jesus is bearing it, and bearing it all alone.  Why alone?  He's alone so that we might never be alone.  He cries out to God, "Why have you forsaken Me?" so that you and I will never have to make a similar cry.  He was cut off from His Father so that we can boldly say, "Nothing shall separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus."  
He's forsaken so that we might be forgiven.  
 Please don't ever grow over familiar with forgiveness.  What a miracle it is!  What a gift from God!  Our forgiveness is a fact that not only was accomplished through Christ's rejection and abandonment on the cross, but was confirmed in the most incredibly glorious way possible: "Christ has indeed been raised from the dead," Paul proclaims, and it's the most thrilling and affirming part of the good news; for "if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins."

As if this amazing book hasn't provided enough to fill my mind with good things to process, Practical Theology for Women whipped out an amazing blog on the resurrection.  Here's an excerpt:

The resurrection is the fuel of our faith.  It is the thing that allows us to believe in the hope that will not disappoint. 
Romans 10:11 (NASB)  For the Scripture says, "WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED."
For every loved one who struggles with cancer, family member sinned against by their spouse, friend betrayed by another, job lost, miscarriage endured, engagement broken -- for every disappointment we face, for every circumstance that does not reflect God's good instructions for His children or His glory on earth, the resurrection is the assurance that EVERYTHING is under His feet, and we who believe in Him will NOT be disappointed when we sit with Him face to face.  He has done exactly what He said He would do.  Praise God, dear sister, for the resurrection does indeed change everything. 
 
These two pieces of excellent reading and studying material really helped focus my mind and prepare my heart for what would happen in real life over the Easter weekend:

Good Friday started out with a wonderful morning at MOPS.  This sweet girl came and spoke on finding our identity in the Resurrection.  Whew...as a girl, a wife, a mom, I'm always seemingly trying to find my identity in some skill, ability, checklist, accomplishment...  However, those things always come up short, empty, discouraging, and always imperfect.  By finding my identity in Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the dead, I am given a changed perspective, a changed goal, a changed heart...  Because of God's Son sacrifice on the cross, everything I do will be directed for His glory and will pale in comparison to what He did for me!  It was excellent, Liz!
Our Good Friday service was dark, candlelit and sorrowfully beautiful.  Another talented girl from Willow Creek wrote an amazing reader's theater with Biblical characters reflecting on their interactions with Jesus Christ.  We sang one of my favorite songs on the death of Christ...
How deep the Father’s love for us,
how vast beyond all measure
that He should give His only Son
to make a wretch His treasure.
How great the pain of searing loss.
The Father turns His face away
as wounds which mar the Chosen One
bring many sons to glory.

Behold the Man upon the cross,
my sin upon His shoulders.
Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice
call out among the scoffers.
It was my sin that held Him there
until it was accomplished;
His dying breath has brought me life.
I know that it is finished.

I will not boast in anything:
no gifts, no pow’r, no wisdom.
But I will boast in Jesus Christ:
His death and resurrection.
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer.
But this I know with all my heart:
His wounds have paid my ransom.


Saturday was a family day of fun times with our church family!
We all had a great time at the Easter Eggstravaganza!

A great story from a beautiful Mary Magdeline, Easter eggs, bounce houses, carnival games, and lots and lots and lots and lots of friends!







Later on, we had some more great fun with more awesome church friends at a Final Four Party.  Everyone got so creative dressing for their teams.  Of course, I forgot to capture the fun with my camera!

Sunday morning came bright and early and brought so much excitement!  We were all dressed in new matchy matchy clothes and headed out the door by 7 am!
(Please disregard that I obviously needed to do a few more sit-ups!)

I loved every minute of our Celebration Service!  The Resurrection of our Savior became so real and special as we sang together in worship and thanksgiving, watched four of my new favorite people share their testimonies of accepting Christ as their Savior and get baptized, and see faces of people who don't know Christ hear about our Savior and His Gift of salvation for them!  One of my very favorite older ladies came up to me after church and in the midst of a great big hug, broke into tears saying, "I've never experienced such joy about the resurrection of my Savior!  It's just incredible that He loved me and chose me to be His child!"  It pays to hug old ladies--they always grab your heart!
We packed up these three sweeties and headed home for a fun family Easter lunch and a relaxing afternoon...well, relaxing until the neighbor kids started pelting our kids with their Easter eggs...but that's another story!
And that, my friends, is my enormously long and wordy recap of our Easter celebration!

How did you celebrate your Savior's Resurrection?

5 comments:

Amy Kramer said...

What an adorable family!!! And btw, you look GREAT!!! :)

I'd still personally love your cookie recipe. (especially if there's something sneaky in it!) :) They are so fun and professional looking! How do you make your fancy frosting??!!

Thanks for the long post. I personally enjoyed it! :)

Elizabeth said...

I could comment for a week about this post. Great one. Your cookie rut made me laugh out loud. I think if there was a professional-cookie-making-decorating-sickness, you'd be clinical. They simply look awesome. I still think the carrots look exactly like Campbells Nutrition's brand.
Your Easter was great. Thanks for all the positive comments and directing our attention to the focal point of the the day - our IDENTITY with God's power and the IDENTITY He gave us that weekend.

Amanda said...

Oh. My. Word.

Those Easter outfits are the Bomb. I LOVE them!!!

And LOVE all your cookies... you are AWESOME girl!! A total pro!!!

And the theology part.. brilliant. I just sat and soaked it all in!

Be blessed-
Amanda

une autre mère said...

I feel so blessed that I got to indulge in a few of those scrumptious cookies! You could seriously set up your own bakery. I would be your #1 customer!

Your family looked adorable yesterday. Love all the matchy-matchness!

Hmm... seems we did a lot of the same things this weekend. :) I, too, was highly impacted by Liz's message at MOPS. It really made me feel "lighter" realizing that I didn't have to assume so many identities - just one - the Resurrected Christ!

peter marie said...

What a great recap. I think Easter should be a weekly holiday. It's just so awesome!

Your cookies were all amazing! And delicious. And cute. I don't know where you find the time, but I'm sure glad you do. :)