I’ve experienced 26 Easter Sundays in my life, and I was pretty sure I had it all figured out. Of course, I knew Easter wasn’t about a bunny, gift baskets, and colored eggs. I was very young when I learned that, when my parents taught me the real meaning of Easter – the death and resurrection of our Savior so that we could have a relationship with our Heavenly Father. So every Easter Sunday, we celebrate Jesus and the gift that He gave us through His sacrifice. What I had never known, though, was the depth of that sacrifice. I thought I knew it, felt it, appreciated it. But on February 15, 2015, the day my son was born, I felt something I never felt before. The first time I held him in my arms I suddenly understood the depth of the Father’s sacrifice, and it brought me to my knees. Motherhood paints Easter in a whole new light for me, and it’s overwhelmingly divine.
Postpartum hormones are a force to be reckoned with. Or at least that’s what I blamed all the tears on at first. For about the first two weeks after Jacob’s birth, I cried all the time. Not out of sadness, but out of pure joy. I cried when I held him, looked at him, rocked him, and when I gazed at him sleeping in his crib. I cried out of my great love for him, and sometimes I still do – I keep a box of tissue next to the rocking chair in his nursery just in case. Now I realize that all of those emotions came from something much greater – a sudden and immense understanding of how wide and how long and how deep is the love of Christ, that I could cradle my newborn son in my arms because a sinless Savior died in my place. Now I understand it as much as my human nature will allow. This love is unsurpassed (Ephesians 3:19). And He meant for it to be beyond our wildest dreams, because we couldn’t have ever deserved it.
I love my son so much that I can’t fathom something bad happening to him. It’s hard to know that things will happen, and to know that I won’t be able to protect him from everything like I wish I could. I look at his precious little knees, knowing that one day he’ll fall down and scrape them. I look into his sweet little eyes, knowing that one day they will cry real tears of grief, hurt, and disappointment. But I also hope and pray that his life will be filled with immeasurable joy. I know that this is life, and that he’ll experience all of it, the good and the bad. I would give up anything, even my own life, for him. He is my most precious treasure. The other day it occurred to me – isn’t this how the Father feels about us, His children? We are His treasures, the ones He chose, ransomed, and set apart. He wants immeasurable joy for us (John 15:11), yet He hurts when we hurt. Easter is right around the corner – the day that He gave up what was dearest to His heart. It represents the day He watched His one and only Son face excruciating pain, torture, mockery, and ultimately death. I’ve never felt the depth of this undeserved gift as much as I do now.
When I delivered Jacob and the nurse placed him in my arms, I was overcome with emotion. Tears of joy, awe, and gratitude came like a flood. Suddenly nothing else mattered in the world other than his well being. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do to protect him. I imagine the Father felt the same way on the night Jesus was born. I can’t imagine gazing upon my newborn son for the first time, knowing the moment he was born that he would endure such horrific pain. The Lord of lords, the King of kings, our Abba Father looked into the stable that beautiful starry night and saw His Son. He saw the precious head that would be pierced by a crown of thorns, the soft, flawless skin that would be bloodied and torn by whips. For my sake and for yours. His sacrifice has never been so real to me before. When I picture having to sacrifice my son for a world of sinners, most of whom would never appreciate or accept him, I’m overwhelmed by our Father’s grace and mercy. Because I just couldn’t do it. That’s why He did. How difficult it must have been for God not to take His pain away. I remember the week Jacob was born so clearly. He wasn’t eating well, and we had to take him back to the hospital for his blood to be drawn. I held him in my arms the whole time. I saw the needle go into the bottom of his foot, and he screamed in pain and fear. He was trembling in my arms and I felt helpless. My tears fell all over him as I watched. How the heart of God must have broken as He watched the suffering of His Son. How great the pain of searing loss as He looked upon His only begotten Son, marred for us so that we could experience an intimate relationship with Him. It amazes me that the Great I Am cherishes us so much that He gave up His most precious treasure just for a chance at a relationship with us (John 3:16).
I’ve come to realize in my first month of motherhood that the desire I have to fiercely love and protect my son mirrors the ultimate love and sacrifice of the Father. I believe that’s how God designs and molds the heart of a mother. I believe the most incredible part of motherhood is that sacred glimpse into His heart. His sacrifice allows us to experience the depth of His love. Jesus’ death, resurrection, and what we now refer to as ‘Easter’ is love defined for us by the Creator of the universe, the One who stretched out the stars in the sky and knows them each by name. Jacob brings me and his dad so much happiness, and most of the time, I feel I don’t deserve such a profound blessing. The fingerprints of his heavenly Father are all over him, and I can’t wait to watch God’s plan for his life unfold. Just as The Lord promised, he is fearfully and wonderfully made. Every day, despite the challenges, I’m thankful for this gift of motherhood, and I relish every moment. I don’t want to miss a thing. My love for Jacob is so small compared to the love the Father has for us, and I can’t even comprehend that. I know that Jacob belongs to The Lord and that He can take him back at any time, so I enjoy every single second of life with him. He is a daily reminder of my heavenly Father’s grace. He’s a picture of His mercy. His sweet little life reminds me of the One whose life was taken so that I could experience these moments of joy. Jesus’ crucifixion paid the price so that I don’t have to. For that I am indescribably grateful. And I praise God for Easter, because His Son’s sacrifice means that I can spend eternity with mine.
“How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure. That He would give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure.”