To many Christians Easter is an important time of the year. I didn’t grow up in a traditional church and as result don’t celebrate Easter according to historical tradition, however the death and resurrection of Jesus still has significance to me. No matter what church you go to on Easter Sunday the most common subject that is usually discussed is the cross. One year during an Easter Sunday service a video of Jesus dying on the Cross was shown. To some this may have been a very moving and inspiring image, however, to me with my imagination it was incredibly traumatic. Those who have journeyed with me on my blog would be aware that I have had some beautiful moments where God has shown aspects of Himself to me. He did this to help me understand the truth of His character and how He was sufficient for me. Seeing Jesus in this disfigured, broken state is not something that He ever showed to me. I am not saying that this imagery should never be shown, it is just God knew that it was something that I didn’t need to see to understand His love.
After leaving this service, something had changed in my heart toward God. I didn’t want to see Him. Later that day in my own private time, I felt God approach and I knew that if I turned to His presence I would see Him. Instead of choosing to look at Him I turned my head away. I was afraid. I felt His presence around me. He was gentle, warm and loving; the familiar Jesus that I had so madly fallen in love with so many years ago. Unfortunately the image I had seen earlier was firmly placed in my mind and I was terrified that if I looked up I would see Him as that again.
I heard Him speak, “Cheryl, why won’t you look at me, it is me the Jesus you know. I have not changed”.
I explained to Him my terror. He assured me that He was unchanged. Eventually He spoke the words, “Cheryl I am no longer on the cross, I have risen. The Jesus you know is alive. Look at me I have not changed”.
Upon hearing these words I turned. He was as I remember. His eyes like fire and water; they were filled with a compassionate soothing love and a holy, ferocious might. His hands were open and inviting me to come to His embrace. He was my loving protector.
I was thinking about the significance of this image, the risen Jesus, and what that means in my everyday life. When I fully integrated as one person years ago, there were parts of myself that I happily embraced, and parts that I didn’t. Recently God’s been encouraging me to embrace who I am in Him. As part of this journey God has asked me to stop trying to hide parts of myself that I found frightening and hurtful. You see I have had this strong belief that if I let those portions of myself remain hidden, then I won’t harm others. Fueling this belief has been past images of what I did wrong when I was a person with a divided personality. God’s response to my fear has been, if you give all of yourself to me and allow me to use you for my purpose then I can bless others through you.