April is coming to an end, and part of me is relieved. I love everything about spring, especially Easter. There is nothing cuter than baby chicks and bunnies. I always think of new birth, of our new lives in Jesus. It’s like the whole world is new again. And it’s a kick in the gut – every single year.
It was 12 years ago this April that my family went through our first Easter without her. Then we went through her birthday – without her.
My grandmother was only 62 when she passed, and it left a huge hole in our family. Every year, I think I’ve gotten a handle on it, and every April rolls around and swipes the rug right out from underneath me. I know she’s with the Lord and has never been happier than she is at this very moment. But I feel so robbed, having to go another year without her.
The problem isn’t just that she passed away in April, or that her birthday is in the same month. The real problem is that all that beautiful, sweet stuff that I love about spring – every single petal and bunny ear – reminds me of her. She loved all of it as much I do, especially Easter.
A couple weeks ago, when I was feeling especially raw, the Lord showed me something pretty neat. Philippians 4:8-9 tells us, “…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things…and the God of peace shall be with you.”
Whenever I see something sweet and wonderful, I think of Grandma because she was sweet and wonderful. Similarly, we are to think about those things that are honorable and right, pure and lovely, excellent and praise-worthy, because God is all of these things. When we focus on them, we can’t help but think of Him. That’s what Paul was trying to say in Philippians: Jesus is right there with you, and you can experience His presence more if you just think about all those beautiful things in life that remind you of who He is.
Yes, it hurts sometimes to think of Grandma, but I’d rather remember her and miss her than to forget her and all the beauty she brought into our lives. This is why I keep her pictures up on the wall; why I wear things that remind me of her; and why I’m drawn to sweet, beautiful little things throughout the year, such as bumble bees and pictures of baby hippos. I surround myself with the things that remind me of her so that I can remember who she was, who she still is in Christ.
I am convicted to do the same for Jesus. To hang His picture in my house; to keep His book by my bed; to keep His Word in my heart and on my tongue; to look for His handiwork everywhere; and to speak with Him every day. If I focus on the things that remind me of Him, I will be able to keep my focus on Him…and He will keep His peace in me.
A note from Miss Kristen: I’m so excited to have my friend Ashley Jones contributing to Think True Thoughts! I’ve created a new category called “Big Sister Knows” where you can find her posts.