Last Thursday I dressed my kids in their Easter clothes, took them out in the front yard, and made them take re-do Easter photos. I did this because Easter was rainy, hectic, and we didn’t get photos. I also did this because, apparently, I’m insane. My kids are going to grow up with stories of how their mom dressed them up a week after Easter and all their friends are going to roll their eyes and say, “You win. Your mom is the weirdest.”
The kids were good sports. That’s because I bribed them. My number one photography tip is this: jelly beans.
This year our Easter color palette was soft grey and pale pink, the boys in khaki.
I arranged the kids like this and David said, “Do you want us to sit like this and pretend we got married and got a baby?”
I responded, “Yes, exactly.”
This is Mary Virginia’s Cinderella pose, because the Cinderella on her favorite t-shirt has her hands near her face. I love it this photo because of the sweet, girly dress, smile, and hat. She is so lovely. And then you notice her dirty, fingernails with chipped nail polish. I love a little girl dressed up in satin and lace, but I really love a little girl that likes to dig in the dirt.
Done with photos, ready to cash in on the bribe.
I mentioned that our morning was hectic, and it was mostly because Thomas barely slept the night before. We hadn’t planned for that when we imagined Easter morning. When I bought cinnamon rolls and bacon, I didn’t set aside time for Tom and I to stagger around in a sleepless haze, mumbling and running into walls. On top of that, it was a lot chillier than I expected. The weeks before Easter were in the 70s and 80s, then Easter morning was cold and raining. Mary Virginia was in short sleeves, Thomas had shorts.
We did our best. Thankfully, my mom and dad showed up with helping hands and caffeine. It took all four adults to get us out the door, wearing our Easter bonnets, on time.
I love the idea of dressing up for Easter because it’s so exposing, right?
Like, I try really, really hard on Easter. What you see is my best, the absolute very best I can do. I planned for each of these outfits — I went to four different stores for Mary Virginia’s shoes, and I looked for grey overalls for weeks before deciding on Thomas’s khaki suspender shorts.
Then, on Easter morning, it all sort of fell apart. The flawless image, anyway. (And it happens every year. This is my broken record.) When we got to church, I noticed a stain on the shoulder of Mary Virginia’s cardigan, and Thomas was wearing two different socks — one was a knee sock, the other only came to his shin. And me? I didn’t even get a shower.
The metaphor is so obvious. We try to dress up, we scramble to present our best, and our best is mis-matched, stained, disheveled. I had really, really great intentions. And my kids did look adorable. But in the bright light, you can see the truth. You can see that our best is so far off the mark; even in our best moments, we desperately need a Savior.
It’s a powerful metaphor for me because it’s indicative of the rest of my life. When I show up late and unprepared, it’s not because I’m having an off day; that’s me at my best. When I snap at my kids and my husband, that’s me trying. I’m selfish, judgmental, greedy, impatient, and thoughtless at my very best.
For me, these exposing moments are precious because there is no better place, no better time to hear the good news and to rejoice in the truth that Jesus came and lived and died and conquered death so that my best effort doesn’t have to be enough. He is risen!
Tuck in your wrinkled shirt and straighten your crooked bonnet and rejoice in the living hope of Jesus Christ!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
1 Peter 1:3