What does Easter mean for you? Is is about chocolate? (I am not judging, chocolate is awesome.) Is today about family? Are you a Christian, have you been to church to celebrate today? Or is it just another day for you?
For me, Easter has always meant very little. As a child and a teen, I went to Church every week. On Easter Sunday, I would attend an Easter service of celebration. Along with everyone around me I would exclaim “He is Risen”. We would shake hands- supposedly sharing joy and hope with each other. Except I did not and could not feel it. I gave very little thought to (and nor did I care) what those words could mean for me.
I was being sexually abused, how could I know hope or joy? I did not see that Jesus had paid the ultimate price for me. In fact, it felt like an insult when I was told that Jesus had died to save me. How was I saved when I already felt like death had found me and condemned me to Hell?
How could I understand that Easter was to mean a time for renewed hope, when I could not remember ever having felt hope. The darkness of the abuse was like a thick black shadow over my life,- past, present and future. I could not remember the joy and hope in my childhood, I could not find any joy or hope in my present and my future did not seem to exist.
I did not care that Jesus had died to save us all, I did not care that he rose again. It meant nothing to me at all.
At most Easter was about an Easter egg hunt, eating Easter chocolate and having a lovely roast dinner with family. In some ways today is no different, it has already or will include an Easter hunt and then eating that chocolate. There will be an awesome (if I do say so myself) roast dinner with my husband and my children. Those things are traditions, I do not want them to change. But this year is different for me. I am different.
I finally feel that hope others talk about at Easter. I have enormous, wonderful hope for the future. Hope for happiness, hope for healing and hope for peace. I am not sure what that means for my relationship with God, but I am certainly less resentful than I used to be- I have hope things will continue to change.
There is so much pain evident in the blog posts I am reading today. People feeling as I have and sometimes still feel. It makes my heart ache particularly today, for those people who have seen, lived and been touched by the agony of abuse.
If you are one of those people, then I want you to know that even in the depths of despair, hope is there. I want you to know that when you cannot see past the darkness and you are feeling as if you are losing the battle, every breath you take is a win.
If you have been or are in crisis, you have probably heard the same as I have- “one day at a time,” or even “one hour at a time”. An hour can feel like a life time when you are in the agony of flashbacks, or suffocated by shame. Forget one day or hour at a time and take it by each moment instead. Each moment is step on your journey, a step further away from the past and a step forwards on your path to healing.
Please do not give in, you deserve to heal and you deserve to find peace. There is always hope.