I’ve shared the words of my friend Amy before, and I’m so honored to have her here again with the perfect words for this Easter, especially considering all that our world is going through right now. My friends all have unique gifts which provide me with quite a buffet of wisdom and support to choose from for any and all situations in my life. Amy is my Empathy & Understanding girl. She’s also wicked smart. She can hold the most vulnerable of stories and wisely extracts meaning from them. Her heart beats for the hurting in the world–anyone who knows her feels that.
She and her husband wrote the most beautiful parenting book that will be out in the world this June (you can preorder it here!). The book is a loving friend who makes you feel normal and a parenting compass all in one. I’m lucky to have her love in my life beyond her words and am always thrilled to share her gifts and heart with you.
This is Amy and her family…
And this is her Saturday gift for us…
As we live through this moment in history, I’ve been thinking a lot about the stories we tell. We humans want to make sense of things, so we look for a narrative that helps us understand what we’re feeling, especially when our feelings are intense. This can make us write endings to our own stories too early. And the endings we allow ourselves to believe in our darkest moments usually aren’t true, even if they feel like the truth. Life’s best stories rarely end at their worst, most desolate points. There are truer, better endings to come, but we have to travel through trouble to get to them.
On the Saturday after Jesus was crucified, there was no story of Easter. The truest story of the day was that Love had been defeated and death had won. Jesus’ friends and family were likely heartbroken and terrified. The story was over and their ending was written. They didn’t know there was anything more to come, so they had to wait in the darkness with death for a while.
Right now the whole world feels like it’s suffering through a long Holy Saturday. The grief and stress levels for many people are high, and you may be struggling, too. Interpersonal conflicts can escalate when we’re stuck together. Rates of domestic abuse are on the rise, as are our feelings of fear, insecurity and sadness.
If this is a hard time for you, what story are you telling yourself in this moment?
We will never recover
There is no escape
They will never appreciate me
This is too broken to heal
I will always be lonely
I am a terrible parent because of what I did to them
They are a disappointment
And on and on …
If anything like this sounds true to you, will you try to focus your thoughts on this different mantra instead?
This is not the end of my story.
This moment is hard, your experience is valid, and it’s important to acknowledge the pain of it. But I’ve seen enough death and resurrection in my own life to know that, in time, our stories can be transformed. The darkness of this moment does not need to be the end for you.
On resurrection Sunday, women gathered burial spices and went to Jesus’ tomb, doing what was needed to prepare for death. Like them, we must keep moving forward, even if we can only see darkness ahead. Easter proclaims that God is not dead. Love is alive, and Love is with us wherever we go.
Like the woman at the tomb, I pray you’ll be met by a transformative love so good and surprising that you won’t recognize it. May you experience love so far beyond what you have known that it shatters injustice and turns every final story of death into a lie. May Love hold you and calm you, equip you and guide you until, over time, it transforms your pain into joy.
PS You may be interested to know that there is science behind our human tendency for telling our stories about ourselves too early. My husband and I write about this science in our upcoming book, and I’ll share it here too, just in case it helps:
“Sadly, the human mind is very biased toward information that confirms our emotional hunches. If it feels true, we look for evidence to prove that it is true and resist evidence to the contrary, especially when we feel strongly about something.
The best long-term strategy to help children expand their thinking is to help them look at all the evidence both for and against their thoughts. When we take this approach to our inner thought lives, we often find that the evidence for any one conclusion is mixed. I’m not all good or all bad, and neither are others. Sometimes people are happy with me; sometimes they aren’t. Sometimes I get the answer right, and sometimes I get it wrong. Sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I fail. Sometimes the scary thing I thought would happen happens, but more often it doesn’t. And if the evidence is mixed, it means the extreme thing I tell myself can’t be true.
Helping our children understand this information is often enough to help them forgive themselves and others and keep moving forward with hope and bravery.”
If you need someone to talk to someone today, please consider calling one of these numbers:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1–800-273-8255
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1–800–799-SAFE (1–800-799-7233)
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN): 1–800–656-HOPE (1–800-656-4673)
Childhelp, a nonprofit dedicated to the prevention of child abuse: 1–800–4-A-CHILD (1–800-422-4453)