On Easter morning two years ago, I was filled with life and filled with fear. Newly pregnant and terrified of miscarrying, I made it a habit to check for blood every time I went to the bathroom. At seven weeks into my pregnancy, I no longer expected to find it, but I felt a strange sense of security and control in performing this routine.
But that morning, there was a smear of offensive blood where there should have been white. Filth where there should have been clean. Blood is the body’s healing agent, but instead of being life giving, it seemed to be taking the life right out of me.
I wept for the baby I thought I was losing, the tears falling hot and fast down my cheeks and over the curve of my chin. They continued to fall as I worshiped the Lord through it later that day. I knew the words I sang to be true, yet I struggled to believe them.
Because he lives, I can face tomorrow. Because he lives, every fear is gone. I know he holds my life (her life), my future (her future) in his hands.”
One year later, on Resurrection Sunday, the baby I thought I was losing wakes me at 5:00 a.m. I nurse her, feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude that this is how I get to begin the day that felt so hopeless the year before. Again the tears fall hot and fast, over my chin and onto the blue floral pajamas my four-month-old daughter wears. The tears of gratitude are too sweet to hold back.
My little girl drifts off to sleep again, and I tiptoe to the bathroom. Expecting white, I am greeted with red, a frightening reminder that I am not yet healed and not yet whole. The trauma of my childbirth recovery is not finished, and I weep over the unwelcome blood.
I imagine Mary, mother of Jesus, at the cross: her feet aching and swollen from the walk through town and up the hill, her face tear-stained and puffy. She gulps down air as her body continues to heave and sob, heave and sob, and she eventually drops to her knees, scraping them on a rock as she hits the ground.
She doesn’t recognize her own Son; his blood, no longer red but an earthy brown, has dried and crusted on his marred body. The memory of his birth races through her mind, and she remembers what she shed for him—the fresh purple-red wave that ushered in his life. She’d cradled him against her skin, realizing she had nothing to clean him with then and she has nothing to clean him with now.
She can’t wipe away his blood. She can’t cradle him in the safety of her arms. She can’t save him.
He gasps a final breath. A soldier stabs him between two ribs, and a fresh wave of living red comes pouring out. Mary’s body begins to shake and she squeezes her eyes shut, her ears ringing as she buries her face in the dirt.
She doesn’t know yet that the blood pouring out of the Son she couldn’t save will, in turn, save her. The blood she couldn’t clean up will cleanse the whole world.
For now, all she can do is hope that her healing will come.
As we approach Easter, I’ve found myself hoping that this year will not involve trauma or blood or heartache. That I’ll be able to worship my risen Savior without anxiety and with a sense of freedom and wholeness.
But before Easter we always have Good Friday; every Holy Week involves pain and trauma, blood and grief, injury and death. Who am I to try to escape it?
This knowledge quiets my heart: Easter is the story of salvation, the representation of all that was wrong and all that was made right. This most holy of holy days is the ending and the beginning of a great narrative, the light after the dark night of the soul, the being made whole after the being torn apart.
Regardless of where I find myself this Sunday—fearful and broken, or peaceful and free—I have to keep on learning and trusting that Jesus will heal me—he will heal us all—by his blood.Easter is the ending and the beginning of a great narrative — and he will heal us all by his blood. Click To Tweet