Resurrection. A word that is deeply woven into the very fabric of all that is the Jesus story. One that is argued and disputed and yet held as a non-negotiable doctrine of Christianity. For once, I am not arguing. I’m not interested in that discussion today. What I need to say about this question is that resurrection does matter. It matters in such a significant way. A way that shapes all of us, even when we think we are not part of the story. Resurrection is the moment that life returns from death – when we think that the darkness has won and yet it does not have the last say.
“They were afraid.”
“They were filled with fear.”
“Do not be alarmed.”
These words depict the moments that the women came to Jesus’ tomb and they knew something was not right. The followers of Jesus knew about death, they knew about separation. They knew about having their very hope ripped from their hands and lives. The darkness won on Friday. The pain seemed everlasting. They had every reason to be afraid, and they were.
I get this. I have known moments of the deepest fear. A moment of looking over a bridge thinking that the world would be better without me. A moment of waking up still drunk and knowing that I was killing myself. A moment of removing a loaded gun from a desperate friend’s hand. A moment of crying on the floor of my closet wondering if my child would be alive in the morning. I know about fear. I know about the moments when things seem unfixable. I know about the times that by all worldly accounts, there is no good to come. I know about the kind of fear that can easily feel like the entire world is shaking at its core, earthquake like.
But I also know resurrection. I know the voice that says, “Do not be afraid.” I know the friends that walk into your life at the moment that you didn’t know you needed them. I know about the doctor that takes the time to listen and help. I know about the words of truth that call forth hope from moments of death. I know about the kind of resurrection that transforms the pain so much that recognition is unclear. This is why we can’t deny resurrection. Resurrection is the reshaping, the breath giving, soul returning patchwork that God has done and is doing in our lives every day. Resurrection happened and it is happening – ALL AROUND US!
I have been in a bit of a lifeless season. It was time for some ways of thinking and shaming and self-betrayal to die. I have spent the last two months working incredibly hard to breathe some life back into places in my soul that have seen death. 6 weeks ago, I began an intentional journey with these questions thanks to my girl, Glennon. In her new book Untamed, she unpacks this line that took me out at the knees:
“You need to make sure that the eyes in the mirror are the eyes of a woman you respect.”
And then she went on to pose some ass kicking questions that I have used as a resurrection standard for the next season of my life. What is my root belief? Do I value that belief? What is my boundary? What is true and beautiful? I have spent hours writing and shaping these truths about myself. It has been such a gift of new life. I am breathing life into and embracing the woman that I know God has been calling forth for some time. But it does not come without pain.
Resurrection requires death. To believe in the gift of resurrection is to trust that in dying to self (or lies, or systems, or erroneously owned labels) we are allowing and believe that something new can be reborn in its place. Resurrection means that we aren’t always in control, because new life comes from a Divine source that we have to allow it to heal and shape. Resurrection is the absolute best but it takes the most excruciating pain to experience. I don’t want to sugar coat this, the dying part sucks. It feels like your insides are being ripped out and exposed for all to use at a dart board. But, oh, the other side. The beautiful, brave, bold, subversive, honoring, life breathing side of resurrection. It’s time for you to see that side.
So what’s it going to be, my friend? What needs to die so that you can live? Let’s do this together.