We did everything we could, God.
We read our kids the devotionals each day, placing palm leaves (or oak, from the branches outside) in their little hands on Sunday as an object lesson. As they took their baths on Thursday, we discussed how Jesus humbly washed the feet of his disciples. When we were asked in concerned and curious voices why we were crying on Friday, we wiped our tears and spoke of mingled sorrow for our sin and joy in the only Savior who could be sacrificed for it.
We shared the good news with them, God, in word and in deed. As we apologized for snapping at them and having a terrible attitude (maybe next time we shouldn’t do those devotionals right before bedtime!), we explained that even in our repentance there is hope; Jesus died to cover this sin! And as we walked them through repentance for their own disobedience, we shared the hope here too: see how we both need Jesus?
We prepped our hearts and our homes all week, and the night before. We ironed their Sunday best–appropriately bright to represent the joy of the occasion. We bought the ingredients for the resurrection rolls. And as we refreshed their hair and lined up their shoes, we reminded them, God, as we reminded ourselves, that all of this prep isn’t really what it’s all about. These are just the trimmings around an already, independently sweet celebration.
We brought the kids to church, God. We rejoiced. We worshipped. We held the little ones’ hands as they went to hear more about this risen Savior in children’s church. We leaned over to our bigger kids during the service and whispered in their ears, “Remember when we talked about this? Remember reading this resurrection story that we’re now hearing again?”
We took pictures, lots of pictures, so many pictures. (Surely there’s a good one in there somewhere? to show how much we’re enjoying Easter?) We filled the plastic eggs because…freedom in Christ? They sat on the floor around our feet, cracking the brightly colored orbs they had gleefully hunted. We reminded them that “Jesus is sweeter than any treat,” as we once again (how many times has it been?) read the story of why we were doing all this celebrating at all.
We did everything we could, God, until we could not. Recognizing that You are the only Parent with limitless energy, we let Superbook do some discipleship reinforcement while we slept. It’s a joy to celebrate your Son with our kids, God, but we get so tired. And even our sleep doesn’t always fulfill us the way we expect it to, so even on Easter we wake from naps grumpy and with the dog barking and the kids banging on the door wondering why we haven’t done the resurrection rolls yet (we forgot about the resurrection rolls, God!). We try to remember that Jesus is risen, today and forevermore, so we can put off the resurrection rolls until tomorrow.
We did everything we could, God, to celebrate your Son, with and before our kids. We know our works are themselves insufficient to save them, but would you use our efforts to point them towards you?
An alternative prayer
We did none of it, God, none of the things.
We were too tired, weary, busy, broke, indifferent, disenchanted to engage in Holy Week and its celebrations. And now as we peruse social media, all we see are the pictures of seemingly everyone doing, with and for their kids, that which we did not have the bandwidth for. Is there space for us here, God? Have we negatively impacted our kids? Times like this, we worry that our inability to get caught up in the fanfare will leave our kids disinterested and unengaged in the gospel story.
We could only do the basics, God. We dressed the kids for church-nothing special, nothing new, and we didn’t even make it on time. We fought to pay attention to the Word being preached, to the songs being sung. It’s not that we don’t believe the words, God, but to be honest? In the every day monotony of caring for kids and keeping our home and paying the bills, it’s hard to throw ourselves into celebrating a day that, in reality, feels like just another day.
We need to be reminded, God, that the magic of Easter is no magic at all, but the miracle of resurrection life. When the weightiness of the world and the challenges of our home and the pain from previous hurt (sometimes from your own people!) threaten to steal our hope, would you renew and restore our joy? God, please let our children see that our hope is not in bunnies or baskets, in new clothes or nice pictures, but in a Savior obedient enough to submit to His Father, loving enough to lay down His life, and powerful enough to conquer the grave.
We did none of the things, God, but please help us not to burden ourselves with things you have not required. Help us model before our kids what it truly looks like to know this Jesus who is no less worthy of being celebrated whether our festivities look like everyone else’s or not.
May the love you have poured into us in Christ pour over onto them, so that every day, not just Easter, our children will be able to genuinely say these words:
I know that Jesus is alive, because I see the vibrancy of His life in my mother.
This post is a part of the blog tour for The Beauty of Motherhood: Grace-Filled Devotions for the Early Years. With scripture, stories, prayers, and practices, The Beauty of Motherhood provides mothers with refreshment and the reminder that they are not alone as they mother. Order your copy at Amazon, Target or Bookshop. The Beauty of Motherhood is available now wherever books are sold!