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Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

I’m Jennifer — wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, new book author. I believe in you, because I believe in Jesus. You matter to Him, and you matter to me. more »

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13

Thursday 24th April 2014

How to Get Through Your Mondays and Thursdays and Sadder-Days

Easter came, and the sun surprised us all.  The skylight of spring made our pasty skin warm for the first time in what felt like forever. It’s been a long, hard winter in Iowa.

And then suddenly, Monday came. The sun hid under the clouds. The winds slammed hard against the hopeful trees, begging to bud.

And it didn’t feel like spring anymore.

Life blows in hard like that, upending your Easter promises. And it feels like Narnia — always winter, never Christmas.

Easter Saturday felt like that. Or maybe, it was Sadder-Day. Because we walked into the sanctuary that Sadder-Day, behind Aunt Sandy’s casket. And not a one of us in the room would have guessed that she’d be gone in 2014. She was one of those larger-than-life people, a flesh-and-blood rock for the family. She seemed immortal, and in the truest sense, she is.

But her change-of-residence leaves a hollow ache in all of us. Grief is this pit in the soul that yawns open, and threatens to swallow you hole.

When we walked into the sanctuary, we saw the altar. Hundreds of lillies trumpeted the Risen King — with their fresh-bloomed faces lifted heavenward.

And in that moment, I felt the two sides of my heart tugged hard — one toward the joy of heaven, and the other toward the pain of earth.

We need a risen Christ, for every Sunday, and every Sadder-Day, until we get home. 

Because the blooms of the lillies, they die.

dying Easter lily

Our walking-around-earth lives are filled with so many Sadder-Days. 

When the bills are way overdue.
When the errant child won’t come home.
When you can’t shake the old compulsions.
When the doctor gives the diagnosis that you feared.
When your husband splits.
When the bloom falls off your best hope.
When all the nephews carry the casket to the family plot — this place just outside town where you’ve gathered under the tarp far too many times in the last few years.

I need more Easter every day. I think that thought when I’m gripping Kleenex in my fists, while standing at the edge of a hole, rectangled into the earth.

As a child, I sang this song throughout the Lenten season: “Every morning is Easter morning from now. Every day’s Resurrection Day the past is over and gone.”

Yeah. we need Easter morning, every morning. We also need Good Friday, to counter every bad Thursday. When I see Jesus dying on the cross to make a wretch his treasure, I can’t help but know that He’s capable of filling the hollow ache.

crucifixion spike

I mean, who does this? Jesus, that’s who. Jesus paid the enormity of my debt and my pain, giving up his spirit for the incomprehensible love of my two-faced, two-tugged heart.

The world has never known another god like this — a God who loves us and rescues us. Just because He wants to — not because He has to.

I need to know He is risen, on my Sundays. And especially on my Sadder-Days.

He is Risen,
not only in April, but in June and October and December.

He is Risen
at midnight and noon — and even at 3:52 a.m.

He is Risen,
on Sunday and Sadder-Day, and Good Friday, and Bad Thursday.

He is Risen,
when we feel like singing at the top of our lungs,
and even when we don’t.

He is Risen,
when we need him most —
and also in those heels-dug-in moments
when we think we don’t Him at all.

He is Risen,
— not for a day,
but for EVER.

I need a Savior like that.

And thanks be to Jesus, I have one.

  • I am so sorry for your loss…I know this sadness too… A dear friend died of a sudden heart attack this week… It’s almost too shocking to absorb… Yes…yes…especially at times like these…we need…He has risen indeed!!!

  • I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank God that our SadderDays will one day be all over! No more sickness, death, sadness and sorrow. Wow!

  • Kelly Greer

    Some days I just cannot bear another Sadder Day. It is almost too much too take. But then, I like you are reminded of the Easter Day and I know every day counts this side of heaven and soon there will be no more Sadder Days at all. Thank you Lord for holding us up and carrying us through the heaviness of Sadder Days. Thank you Lord for being with Jennifer and her family during this sad season. May the Lord be your comfort and hope. (((Hugs)))

  • Lynn D. Morrissey

    Oh Jennifer. I’m so very sorry about your dear auntie, and your lament at standing at that cemetery ground one time too many (I’ve stood at one side of the family’s plot over twenty times, wishing the earth would just swallow me up with them–I miss them so much). But thank you for pointing us to hope–real, live hope in Christ. When none of it makes sense, I need to be reminded that He loved us enough to come, and He was powerful enough to rise. And He is taking us with Him! In one sense, Aunt Sandy’s rectangle is still empty! And I pray that Jesus continues to fill your hollowed-out heart hole of grief with true, live hope. I love you, Jennifer. I’m so sorry.
    Love
    Lynn

  • I’m so sorry you lost your aunt, Jennifer. How would we ever survive any kind of losses without the Risen Savior? There wouldn’t even be a glimpse of a light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks for this heartfelt post.

  • Beautiful post. I’m so sorry for your loss. Grief is so hard, but you share your hope in the ache. Jesus IS capable of filling in the hollow ache. Wish I could give you a hug, friend. You are so loved!

  • I am SO very sorry about your dear aunt’s passing. This was such a moving post and brought me to tears. I surely know how it feels to make that lonely trek from the funeral home to the family plot…having left both parents, grand-parents, and a host of other relatives through the years. The pain surely doesn’t end as we get back in our cars and separate from those who have brought us comfort by sharing our grief and try to adjust to our new “normal”. Through it all, God is faithful. I am so thankful He is my Savior…my Comforter…my God. Thank you for sharing your heart today, and you have my deepest sympathy. God’s peace be with you as you miss your aunt.

  • good reminder. We too faced a funeral this week – odd after Easter. He died on Easter and didn’t attend church much. I know God loved him and died for him too so I am clinging to that hope. Praising that God of Hope today too.
    Sorry for your aunt’s death.

  • What is it about 3:52 a.m.? That’s about the time I’m most likely to forget, too.

  • Sadder-days…we have a few of those right now as we deal with what seems like a freight train of dementia barreling down the tracks…overtaking my mother. If it were not for Jesus’ presence in the midst of it all, every day would be a Sadder-day. Praise Him, He is making Himself very known in this situation. Wonderful post, Jennifer.

  • Jillie

    Dear Jennifer…I am so very sorry to hear of your dear Aunt Sandy. Feeling the two sides of your heart tugged hard–one toward the joy of Heaven and the other toward the pain of earth. Thank you for expressing what we all so often feel.
    Two weeks ago, we said “Bye for now” to a dear old Auntie. While many cried, it was also a wonderful, joyful celebration of her long life. We came away knowing she is with sweet Jesus now. No more pain. No more suffering.
    This week, it is my Uncle Jim…a giant of a man. Booming laugh that came up from his toes. He once told me, as a child, that peanut butter on a hotdog was the “best thing” since sliced bread! He was wrong. The saddest, hardest part is that we don’t know if he knew Jesus. The uncertainty is the hardest, saddest part. The funeral is scheduled for Sadder-Day.

  • Karrilee Aggett

    Right about now, my friend, I am wishing I could reach through this screen and hold you close… rock just a little because that’s what us Mamas do, and weep a little, rejoice a little, and just share the space in between! Love you so… praying for you and me and all of us!

  • Nancy Ruegg

    Such a beautiful, poignant post, Jennifer. I am so sorry that the joy of Easter was tainted by grief for you and your family. But thank you for sharing the glorious hope you cling to, even during great sadness. Your “He is Risen” affirmations breathe encouragement deep into our hearts!

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