Easter, 3-year olds, and redemption. 

Hope you had a Happy Easter, complete with smiles, family photos in your Easter Sunday best, getting to church on time, a little chocolate to soothe your soul, and reflecting on redemption and the resurrection. Those are some of my favorite Easter traditions. 

This year, however, we mixed things up a bit. 

We decided to get together with my family for an egg hunt for the youngest of the 19 grandkids. All went as planned, way too much candy was eaten, and we left late for our hour drive home. I realized when we left I had not brought my 3-year old’s potty or extra clothes for our first trip across town since she’d been potty trained two weeks prior. I did ask her once while we were visiting, but in the chaos of 30 people in one house, all talking and playing and laughing, I forgot to keep prodding her (she is pretty self sufficient already) about it. 

At the end of the night, we loaded up our van, did a couple errands and headed home. As we pulled into our driveway, I decided I would bathe her before putting her to bed. That’s when my husband and I talked and we realized she probably never used the bathroom while we were gone. He said she had refused to go, and insisted on waiting until we got home to use her pink potty. I took her into the bathroom and discovered that this was the case. She had held it for eight hours. I don’t know if I could even hold it for half that amount of time! 

This basically sets the stage to let you know the strength of the will of my 3-year old. 

I had to wake her up the next morning for church. She was mostly pleasant, allowed me to dress her and curl her hair, and we managed to get to church a whopping 40 minutes….late. Because it was Easter Sunday, the choir was performing several songs and it was a longer than normal service in the chapel. When it was time to separate into Sunday school classes, I walked my 3-year old to her nursery class. She broke away as soon as she saw a friend and went to play without looking back. I went on with things, as I was preparing to conduct the women’s class during the third hour of our Sunday church meetings. 

I had just begun reading along on my phone in the manual while the teacher opened her lesson when shrill screams were heard in the halls and I was urgently summoned out. I quickly exited as I realized that was my child screaming her way through what could only be an apparent unsedated leg amputation in the hallway. 

As I hauled her out of church writhing and screaming about how much she wanted to be happy and reverent, I thought about how much we can be like that as adults. We want to be happy and to make time for reverence, or holiness if you will, but somehow we end up kicking and screaming  about it when it really comes time to show our willingness to do that. Redemption can only come if we allow it. Redemption cannot be forced or something that we check off on a mortal to-do list. We have to allow it, to allow grace into our lives, and often our own iron will causes us to need to start back at square one where we need to stop having our metaphoric tantrum in order for grace to have room in our lives. 

That is why I am so grateful for redemption that comes from atonement of Jesus Christ. No matter how hard she kicked and screamed on Easter, once she calmed down enough for a nap she got a do-over for the afternoon, and she’ll get a do-over next week at church. There may be adults who judge her or me for her total epic meltdown, but they cannot take grace away from her (or me). If she never ever needed a do-over in her entire life, her existence here on earth would be pretty pointless. 

We have to make mistakes to learn from mistakes. 

Even with all the struggles and sorrows and 3-year old epic meltdowns, we are still redeemable. We are divine, worthy of His grace (enabling power of the atonement) and His Love. And that, my friends, is waaay better than Easter chocolate.