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Transforming Through Trials – Part 5

The post below is what I wrote on my personal blog right before Easter last year. It was around the time that I shared my story and experience with anxiety, and this post came from a place of deep gratefulness in my heart to the Lord. One year later, I can honestly say that I have never felt closer to the Lord and I echo everything in the post below even more now. As we approach Easter this weekend, I encourage all of us to dwell on the sacrifice and suffering of Jesus for us. Because of that horrific, gruesome crucifixion, we can live in the FREEDOM that our Savior offers!

 

Thank you SO much from the bottom of my heart for all of the support and encouragement after my last post. I told Kurt (and yes, this was anxiety talking) that I was so worried that it would come across as attention-seeking or anything of that nature. But I keep going back to the fact that when I sat down to type, I had NO audience in mind. I typed it in a Word document because it was for me and me alone. Then, the more I typed and the more came out, I felt more and more prompted to copy and paste it into a blog post. I just felt like this was something that needed to be shared, scary as it was for me. I’ve been amazed at the number of people who have texted me, sent me messages and left comments just saying how much they needed to know they weren’t alone in these types of feelings. So while I initially wrote it for myself, I’m really thankful that it seems to have been an encouragement to others.

The other day, before I wrote out my story, I was driving with the kids into town. I was thinking about Easter. Honestly – and I’m being REALLY honest here – I’ve always felt very happy and thankful on Easter, but it’s not often that I’ve actually spent time dwelling on the concept of Christ’s sacrifice for me. God really brought this to the forefront of my mind.

I think we hear “Christ conquered sin and death” really often. And if I’m being really honest, I think the word “sin” has lost its weight, especially with those of us who have grown up in the faith. We hear “sin” and it’s just such a general term, we don’t really understand its gravity, maybe?

So that led me to thinking about what the concept of “sin and death” really means. I’m definitely not a Bible scholar or theologian, but my train of thought is that ultimately, death (without Christ) would be total separation from God. And then I started personalizing it. Sin would be anything that ultimately leads to my demise and keeps me from God. Some struggle with worry; some with anger. Some really fight addiction or impurity. I really took the time to think through on a personal level what my demise would be without Christ.

So when we say HE IS RISEN!, we can continue to fill in the blank and say, “He has RISEN over my anxiety. He has RISEN over my fear. He has RISEN over my bitterness. He has RISEN over my addiction. He has RISEN over my anger” etc. etc. When Jesus conquered the grave, He conquered all of those things that would ultimately lead to our separation from Him. Do we still struggle with them? Of course. But we KNOW that He has won the war and that because He lives, we are able to go to combat with His power.

Why don’t we start personalizing what the Resurrection truly means for us? We have a personal, loving God who desires a personal relationship with us. We cheapen our celebration when it becomes nothing more than showing up in a pew and singing “Christ the Lord has risen today.” The Resurrection means that the ransom was paid for MY anger, my MY bitterness, for MY dishonesty, for MY ungratefulness.

I know that at least for me, now the phrase “He is RISEN!” will have a much deeper meaning!

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Ashley Lancaster

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