Some weeks are filled with ordinary days. Days when we follow familiar routines. Days that seem to come and go without particular notice. While I have my ordinary days, just as you do, this time of the year also brings some special occasions. Days to celebrate and days to reflect. This past month my family celebrated my little granddaughter’s second birthday and the precious blessings of love, joy, and hope God gives us through her. Later in March we all opened our doors to spring. A season of new beginnings. A time to clean out the dust and clear away the clutter of days passed to make room for the changes in store. It’s a time to plan and plant, then wait in anticipation of what’s to come. It’s a time of hope. A few days ago I celebrated another birthday. How old? Well, let’s just say my granddaughter can’t count quite that high. Actually, this is a good time in my life. I’m taking opportunities to reflect back on the blessings that have been a part of my past and am looking forward to new memories yet to come. While I’d like to avoid any more gray hair or aching joints, I do want to see what God has in store for me in the days ahead. For me, it’s a time of hope. As March came to a close I also took time to remember when God reached down from Heaven a few years ago to take my mother’s hand and carry her to the place He prepared for her to share with Him. She left this world behind and stepped into an eternity with the One whom she loved most of all and spent her life serving. While our family misses her dearly, we believe without a doubt she’s experiencing a joy she never knew before and a peace that surpasses our understanding. Death may feel like an ending. And yet, when you have a relationship with God you know it’s not an ending at all but rather a time of transition from a temporary place here on Earth to an eternal home. It’s a time of hope. In just a few days Christians will gather to reflect on the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. As this Easter celebration nears, I’ve been thinking about how his followers dealt with those events as they witnessed them first-hand. They had spent three years believing they were on a journey toward deliverance and that he was the Messiah they’d been waiting for. They sat at the feet of their teacher as he opened the eyes of their hearts to a deeper understanding of God. They stood by his side, ministering to others. They shared their hearts with him as they broke bread together. The future looked full of promise. Then, suddenly, their dreams shattered and their joyful hearts flooded with fear. Hope seemed to slip through their hands as they watched their Messiah taken from them, crucified, and then buried in a tomb. Imagine their sense of loss, their pain, and their feelings of hopelessness. The next day for them was the Sabbath, a day of worship. What a challenge to draw close to God in worship and obedience, in the midst of what seemed like profound loss and future uncertainty. Yet, God carried them through that Sabbath into a new day and showed them that what felt like an ending was in fact a part of his ultimate plan for their lives and for ours. Once again their hearts overflowed with joy as they met their risen Savior. God’s promise was fulfilled and hope was restored: for them and for us. Whether these days are ordinary ones for you, days filled with special remembrances, or perhaps days filled with struggles, disappointments, even pain, I encourage you to draw close to the Lord. Be still and feel his presence. Listen for his voice. Remember his promises. Reflect on his faithfulness. Celebrate his love. Thank him for his blessings. Then let a spirit of hope fill your heart and guide your steps as you press on toward the future he has planned for you. Happy Easter! Nancy Williams is a licensed counselor, life coach, speaker, and author of “Secrets to Parenting Your Adult Child” (Bethany House, 2011). Send comments or questions to her at www.nancywilliams.net.

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