“Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday dear Erin! Happy Birthday to me!” Okay, I know I’m being a little silly at the moment, but sometimes, you need to cut loose and have a little fun. I have to admit, my past two birthdays, I forgot that. Thirty was that dreaded number where I didn’t want to think about no longer being in my twenties. At thirty-one, my attitude was blasé. I didn’t really care and treated my birthday like it was any other day. But today, I’ve decided to treat birthday number thirty-two differently. I’m alive, and that deserves to be celebrated!
I’m not actually supposed to be alive today. I know most people can’t say this, but more than one doctor has given me a life expectancy date. Shortly after I turned eighteen, I was diagnosed with lupus. Even worse, I was diagnosed with one of the most severe kinds of lupus there is – a kind where people don’t live very long. At eighteen years old, I was told my life expectancy was a maximum of ten years. Needless to say, being a senior in high school, I didn’t take that very well.
For a long time, I chose to ignore what the doctor said. I decided to continue on with my plans, and no disease was going to interfere. Less than a year later, I realized just how much I couldn’t control what my body decided to do. After moving on from the land of denial, I quickly fell into despair. Life wasn’t fair, and I had every right to wallow in self-pity. But that got me nowhere. From there, I became angry – at sickness, the cruelty of life, and especially God. Since life wasn’t fair, I decided that meant God was cruel. But all this did was cause me to struggle even more. I lost my joy for each new day. I needed God to survive what little time I had left to live. I didn’t want people to remember me as a bitter twenty-five year old. I wanted to be remembered for the ability to laugh and for being a blessing to others. So I stepped into the world of contentment – a choice one has to daily make when dealing with any kind of suffering. And that’s where I’ve spent the past seven years, choosing to be content.
Yet I’ve realized something over the past year. As important as it is to be content in life, it doesn’t mean we should be content to settle for less than God’s best. As we celebrate Easter this Sunday I’m reminded of the importance of Christ’s death and resurrection. As Christians, we always talk about how Jesus made it possible for us to have eternal life because of His death and resurrection. And it’s true! Don’t get me wrong. If you’re not sure if you have a personal relationship with God, please message me. We should all know where we will be when we take our last breath, but Easter is about so much more than guaranteeing our place in Heaven.
The whole point of Easter is celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. He is ALIVE!!! Easter Sunday is about Jesus making His victory – His life – ours. We should never be blasé about life. Jesus made life after death possible – that includes life after destruction, life after the diagnosis of an illness, life after divorce, life after pain and despair, life after tragedy, and life after brokenness. A relationship with Jesus is LIFE!
Just like Mary Magdalene, Mary, and Salome, we can miss out on the life God has promised because we are too self-absorbed in our problems. Jesus said in John 10:10 that He came so we could have abundant life. Just because we are sick doesn’t mean our lives are over. Instead of treating each day like it’s Good Friday (the day of Jesus’ death), we should be acting like it’s Easter Sunday (resurrection day). Our story doesn’t end in death and destruction. Because of Christ’s resurrection, we have life. The choice is up to us whether or not it will be an abundant one.
It’s time to celebrate and join the living! Yes, we may have a hard life, but that doesn’t mean we should act like we’re already dead. We get one chance at life. This isn’t a dress rehearsal. Don’t waste today! Choose to live!
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” ~ John 10:10