(Insert photo that would make a decent thumbnail.
Texas sunset, April 14, 2017)

I am exhausted.

Two kid of my three kids are sick today.
My husband is out of town.
My mind was a running mess last night, so sleep hardly happened, on top of being scared awake by a sick kiddo, and my alarm going off a 5:30am (and getting up after hitting snooze for an hour).

I should be napping instead of writing.

My bed calls for me.

But the call to write won't. go. away. And therefore,
Here I am.

So, Easter.

Growing up I didn't see Easter as different than any other Sunday:

I got up.
Sometimes (read: almost always) begrudgingly.
Put on a dress.
Slapped on makeup. Maybe.
Fixed my hair.
Grabbed my scriptures.
And would always make it to church on time.

And, for the most part, every Sunday we talked about Christ.

What made Easter unique to me was the candy and gifts I'd get; actually I'd expect, on top of a nice dinner, sometimes with a house filled with loved ones.

And this went on all my life.

Cut to today.

I sit in the front row. I like it here. It's less stuffy up here, although it is a little uncomfortable being right next to the person giving the lesson as many times they look to you when asking a question. However, up here I feel I can breathe and not be distracted by those in front of me.

But these past several Sundays I've found myself tuning out the person speaking and looking in this direction:

And drowning myself in that painting on the wall:

(Christ visiting Mary Magdalene, three days after His death)

These past few years has taught me many things about Christ. But it's so hard to have it summed up in a brief paragraph when a person asks, "What makes Christ special to you? What makes His atonement special to you? How has your relationship with Him been strengthened in the knowledge you have of Him?"

I can't answer with scriptures or quotes as I can with personal experience.
If you ask me, if you want to know Christ better, read the book of John.

What I will tell you is this:

I have come to many crossroads in my life, on my path to finding truth.
I have come to battle every last thing that was told to me as true, and had to go within to find if it really is.
I have waded through the murkiest, deepest waters as I realized that I am questioning everything of my mortal existence; my last 30+ years on this Earth.
Questioning everything I leaned on, everything that I was told would support me in this world and in the heavens.

And unfortunately,
I watched as everything crumbled around me. My inner empire, dismantling.
Every "truth" I ran to fell to the ground, only to turn around and find my next place to go, in shambles.
My sky was dark. My world shook. And I was alone.

But underneath it all. Underneath the rubbage, I found solid ground.

"We'll rebuild you, piece by piece," I heard God say to me. We, meaning He, Christ, and me. A team that required action on all parts.

I found that when I've questioned everything, even the most terrifying things to question, one thing always remained: Christ.

Even my believe in God has changed...but in expansion of understanding the Being that He is.

So--"What makes Christ special to you?"

How about that one day, March 2014, when I was hit with some heavy news? News that shook me to my core. News that affected the rest of my empire. News that had what was left of my beliefs cracking and finally, after my attempts to hold those remaining pillars up, I let it go, defeated.
Two days later, while walking out to get the mail, the day dreary and rain drizzling, I could feel Christ walking alongside me and I could feel Him say, "I am sending you this rain, to show you that I understand how you feel. I'm with you, Ok?" He didn't say to suck it up and feel better. No, He didn't say this was for the best. No, he didn't say that the heavy news I accepted was something I needed.
He was simply PRESENT.

What I have found is that:

Christ is a personal Savior.
What you feel He wants for you, is not going to be what He wants for someone else.
...if that were the case, we'd all be born into the same life, the same mindset, the same traditions.

Christ knows too what you need from Him.

I often wonder why Christ appeared to Mary Magdalene first, after His death. I love the idea of He and Mary being married, but not only that, He and Mary having a special bond, a soul connection so deep, that maybe she was led to find Him, as she knew, instinctively, that He would be there.

I look at that image of Mary, how she kneels before Him, no doubt in emotion, let alone to the Savior of the world, and I beg to know what's in her mind.
She reaches to Him and He tells her she can't. "Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto my Father..." (John 20:17) He sees her, before going to God. He makes it a point to be with her first. He knows she's mourning. He knows she wants Him. And He gives her that. He becomes PRESENT.
How must that have felt, Mary? To have watched a person you love so deeply, who loved you that much (and more?) back, suffer the worst physical, emotional, and spiritual pain as they die before you, with you having no way to save Him from it? How you must have felt His pain, to some degree.
How must it have felt to be relieved to see Him, but upsetting you can't express that through even the most simple of gestures as an embrace.

I wonder a lot of other things as I stare off, into this picture.

How Christ expressed his love, care, and profound respect towards women while he served during his 30+ years on this Earth.
How Christ didn't see first the sins of those around him, but the soul (1 Sam 16:7).
How Christ, even knowing the sins of others, never judged. But expressed a love so quiet, yet powerful, that it changed lives.

Just as He changed mine. And made me better.

Happy Easter. I wish you, with all my heart, a day full of love, happiness, and warm embraces.

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