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“Very truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John 12:24)

As my mind moved toward the Easter holiday, my spirit seemed to be a little sluggish. My mother is not physically here for the first time in my 58+ years of life. My dad passed in 2013. For the first time ever, I’ve felt the trimmings of being orphaned. So much of my current “being” wanted to sulk in sadness and grief. My thoughts seemed to wreak of gloom, not focusing on the real reason to be thinking of or spiritually celebrating the story of ultimate sacrifice.

As the days grew closer to Resurrection Sunday, Easter Sunday morning, the word “rise” seemed to permeate my spirit. Rise? What is that meaning to me today? Well, to get up; to elevate from a space; to be lifted; to move from a place of sedentary ground. Yes, the rise of Jesus The Christ happened because of death. He rose from a tomb. He had to die to be in position to rise. In order to celebrate The Risen Christ, we can’t escape the death at the cross. We can’t escape the emotion associated with it. We can’t escape the visual of Jesus hanging on the cross, expecting to die. We can’t escape the symmetry of pain and anguish that He experienced in the process. We can’t escape the uncertainty that some felt, as they did not fully understand the “why”….

Wow, so much of that story is wrapped up in our natural grief; the emotions that accompany losing someone we love. As the thoughts continued to evolve, a few words started to drop in my somewhat mangled spirit… Grief—It hurts; it’s painful; it’s necessary. Goodwill—It gets extended more during bereavement than any other time, it seems. Guilt—It rears its ugly head, although it’s too late to undo the damage. Greed—It is indeed a toxin…wrapped up in selfishness; wanting what you don’t need, but more importantly, wanting way more than you deserve.

Despair—It’s the dragging and drowning of our grief-filled emotions. Decision—It’s game time! We have to make decisions that may not align with that of others…while everyone wants their thoughts and ideas addressed and accepted. Division—It is the sum total of all the negative factors associated with grief. Relationships and families often become divided and sadly, a lot of times they never recover. Destruction—It is the place where Satan finds us most vulnerable.

Prayer—It is what we don’t do enough of in the midst of pain, distress or otherwise. Positivity—It is taking the high road when folk are traveling underground. Purpose—It is what we should be seeking, no matter what. I do believe that there is Divine purpose in all things, even in death, as the scripture beautifully states. Peace—It is that thing that surpasses all understanding. The peace that can only be obtained through an intimate relationship with God.

So, as we deal with the sting that death brings, my advice in the middle of very fresh grief and pain is to: Reflect on the memories and the entire road to “here.” The good memories will carry you from a static numb face to a grateful heart and a smiling face. We then need to: Reassess everything about this new life that death has dealt. What am I doing? What do I need to do differently? Who are the key players on this journey? That would be the ones that love is shown in reciprocity or unconditionally because the love is deep. It’s without shadows, blurred lines, sidebars, muddiness or fog. It’s only because of genuine, godly love. Readjust what needs shifting. It is personal, and it is done prayerfully. It is to gain peace as we walk in purpose. Realign the adjustments. People may function differently in this new season. Relationships, “situationships”, and overall actions and responses may be in a differently structured lineup. It’s okay…It’s necessary.

As we celebrate The Risen Christ, I’m focusing on that beautiful sacred story. I’m so thankful that we are given a weekend to be fully reminded, however, we should be in a mode of remembrance each waking day as we Rise! We should Rise out of the toxins that keep us bound. We should Rise out of allowing people to dictate our peace state. Let go and let God certainly applies to people too. We should Rise out of the shame of our past, letting it positively shape our future. We should Rise out of these masks that don’t allow us to function authentically in this world. Our nakedness is not hidden from God. Let Him be the bar in which we measure ourselves. The more we lose the infamous mask, the more free we can be…to live in a place of peace; in a place of purpose; not in a place of purgatory. We should Rise above taking permanent residence in the emotions of grief. Grief doesn’t go away—We only manage it better, day by day. We should Rise above the work that has been done, and focus on the work that is left to do. One of the most powerful messages shared with me during this season of losing my mom spoke of our loved ones not being physically here, but they are with us each day, spiritually, through signs and messages. Hopefully, they finished the work that God had for them to do. We’re still here! Do the work that God has purposed for us to do while we can.

It is the season of “He is Risen.” Because of that, I am feeling a tremendous Rise in my recent sluggish spirit. God is Great! There is nobody greater! I thank Him today that Jesus is alive! Because of His death, we can still grow and blossom. I’m rising up because that is what God expects me to do. I’m also rising up and resurrecting “me” because that is what my parents taught me to do. I miss them. I love them. I’m grateful to be a seed from their beautiful vine!

Peace & Blessings, Lisa B

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