Holy Inspired Traditions {Lack There Of}

I read the blogpost last Wednesday. The post with all the beautiful pictures and holy inspired ideas for creating Easter traditions. No doubt Ann Voskamp is gifted, and her life and her writing has changed me, compelled me to know Christ more, to love my husband and children more. For her, I am grateful.


But last Wednesday, I left more discouraged than encouraged. Maybe even a bit intimidated, and definitely sorrowful of my own lack. Reluctantly, I admit, we do not have Easter traditions, apart from a hunt of candy-filled plastic eggs. Over the years, the Easter egg hunt is what my children, along with millions around the country, have come to look forward to.


I am grieved over the years wasted. I am not sure why our Easters have lacked meaning, substance and Spirit. I am at a loss to how I let the days pass so quickly, wearing me out with busyness, instead of finding ways to cultivating lives willing to bear the cross — our own crosses. Or why I have no memories of how we used this Lenten season to prepare our hearts and turn our attention to tracing Jesus’ walk. Jesus, Who exchanged streets of gold, for the Way of Suffering down the dusty Via Dolorosa.


Where have the years gone, void of Christ-centered traditions that bring life and sow to the spirit — traditions that we as parents practice for and with our children in order to leave them a godly heritage? 


I have sorrow over the answer.


For too long I have let so many temporal things of this world creep in and steal us away from things eternal. My soul weeps in repentance. Easter is upon us, and we have begun the recounting of His story this holy week, leading to His glorious, death-conquering RESURRECTION. However, I have no beautifully creative pictures to share of holy Easter traditions. Not from this year or years past, unless it involves a plastic candy and coin filled egg.

Not that I think anything is wrong with this sort of simple joyous fun, as his delight makes my heart warm, but I am hungry for so much more. Hungry after God Himself, longing for spiritual realities in my family, for my family, and not just for Easter, but for everyday. I yearn for the Spirit of God to permeat our lives so there is evidence of a difference between us and the rest of the world. That we, as the salt of the earth, would make the world thirsty to drink deep at the only fountain of Living Water.


These words of A.W. Tozer, I weave in with my own. Not for the taking of credit, but because they bear witness with my spirit, and they draw out a deep cry from my heart.


As I am unable to reconcile myself to the continual absence of fire, I desire God above all, in my home. I want the family to taste for themselves the “piercing sweetness” of the love of Christ. And it is a solemn thing and no small scandal to see my children starving while seated at our table. Man does not live on bread alone, but on every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

 

I want my children to really KNOW God — to hunger and thirst after righteousness, to have an insatiable desire for the Word, to want to offer their lives surrendered to Him and walk with Him all the days of their lives. I want to feel the heat of their desire after God. This is my fervent prayer.

 

I am not sure how else to say…

“I want MORE of GOD in our home,

and I want EVIDENCE of HIM being here.”

Revive us. Oh, Lord, Awaken our hearts to Your Kingdom.

 

I know I am hinging the spiritual climate of our home on the traditions of Easter, and do so in error, for the walk to the cross must be a daily pilgrimage. But, the absence of them in our home is revealing a deficiency. In this I am not condemning my own heart. How can I, when not even the Lord Jesus condemns my heart?


With this, my heart is broken and laid open-wide before Him, so that He may fill it anew. That with beautiful traditions or not, even my own children will be able to know that I have been with Jesus, and that I would somehow inspire a craving in them — that the mainspring of their life would be a burning desire to know Him more. Yes, this is my cry from the depths of my heart.



Fire of God, come, consume this living sacrifice I leave upon the altar for you,

God help me: I want to take my everyday, ordinary life—my sleeping, eating, doing-house-work, and walking-around life—and place it before You as an offering. I don’t want to become so well-adjusted to my culture that I fit into it without even thinking. Instead, I will fix my attention and devotion on You, and as I do I’ll be changed from the inside out. I want to readily recognize what You want from me, and quickly respond, with heart yielded to it. Not conforming to the external, superficial customs of this world, but being transformed by the renewing of my mind. So I will be able to test and approve what Your will is for us—Your good, pleasing and perfect will.


And help us create beautiful traditions

that draw our hearts closer to Yours, in the process.

Romans 12:1-2

 

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  • S.Schulz

    I found your site by visiting Holy Experience site…I was drawn by the name of your blog ‘A life surrendered’….what a glorious confession.
    I was touched by what you wrote….and rejoice to hear how the Holy Spirit is giving you the desire for more of Him, of His realness, the desire for truth in your inward being.
    Traditions….truly they keep His people stunted and rob them from the real riches of REALITY….the reality of union…of being consciously aware of His abiding presence within….of growing up INTO Him. I am deeply grateful & humbled that the Lord has kept both my husband & I from many empty traditions of man….and even now, we continue to hear the Spirit call to ‘let go’ ….let go of the ‘forms’, the ‘shadows’….to leave it and know the reality.
    The wonderful *rest* is this….knowing that all of your steps are ordered by Him….and He tenderly delights in your way….and is using everything (even what we perceive to be wasted years) to teach us DEEP truths. What a deep, glorious truth He has revealed to you….the truth of ‘Seek Me and you shall live’, ‘Seek first His Kingdom’.
    You are His workmanship! Your children are HIS workmanship! He is the teacher. He is the builder, He is the FINISHER! It is all Him, and all His work!
    Be at peace my precious sister….for you are precious to Him!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      S. Shultz,

      Thank you for taking time to visit my place, and welcome :)

      I love what you had to say hear about traditions. I pray I never get caught up in losing the heart of the reason we have them, in an effort to try and keep them. I do want to practice spiritual disciplines that my children can bring into their own families. I desire them to have a godly heritage. I think the struggle for me is that I did not grow up in a Christian home. I have had to learn and lean on Him, day by day to learn how to invite Him into our everyday life.

      Thank you for the spiritual insight and wisdom and encouragement. I agree… He is the builder and thank God, He is the FINISHER…

      Blessings to you :)

  • http://www.gettingdownwithjesus.com Jennifer@GDWJ

    I love, love, love the Message version of those verses in Romans.

    Thanks for sharing today, and for linking up this week. I hope you are having a holy day today, and that you have the most marvelous Easter! God bless you!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Jennifer,

      Yes! The Message has a way of bringing scriptures to life, although for actually study, I love the AMP. I do have a few favorites in the Message :)

      We did have a really great Easter. God smiled on our efforts here:) Thank you for visiting and blessings to you…

  • http://composinghope.com Amber

    Thank you for writing the post I have been too scare to even utter outloud! I also feel the same way about the picture-perfect things people are doing to prepare for Easter. I feel incredible guilt and the weight of it crushes my spirit. I avoid all Easter-talk because of it. It feels good to know someone else who shares the same heart as I do. In the meantime, I am just trying to live it out daily for my kids. I hope they leave my house with some shred of Jesus’ love b/c I mess it up daily! I pray fervently that God will cover all my mistakes and show up mightly in their lives. I know He is faithful and I rest in that. I also appreciate the comments from the older women. You are encouraging to me! Thank you!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Amber,

      I understand so, so well all that you share here. I have to remind myself, that pictures are still moments captured, they are not real life. Otherwise, I get trapped by the image I am trying to reproduce, when life and kids all around are fluid. You are right — God is faithful! I, too, rest in that.

      I hope that you had a most wonderful, grace-filled Easter weekend. I believe that somehow, we please God by our efforts here. Our hearts were full by the end of it.

      Blessings to you, and thank you so much for sharing your precious heart.

  • http://sixinthehickorysticks.blogspot.com Nacole

    oooh….Michele, i just came back and read my comment…and i feel i need to clarify, when i say remember your regrets, dear friend, i only mean looking at yourself through God’s lens and no one else’s, not comparing yourself, but looking at the issues when you feel convicted, or your heart is pricked, and allowing Him to draw you into His grace in those things…He always gives more grace, not more guilt. now i feel better….love you, friend.

    Ro…your comment made me cry :’)

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Nacole,

      You always make me smile big :) Your words are always smeared with so much love and grace and truth. You encourage me and you show me love. You compel me to want to draw nearer to God so that I may bask in His Presence.

      Thank you, sweet, tender-hearted, friend :)

      Love you.

  • Cathy K.

    I yearn for the same thing! “I want MORE of GOD in our home,
    and I want EVIDENCE of HIM being here. Revive us. Oh, Lord, Awaken our hearts to Your Kingdom”. Am praying along with you!!! Thank you for sharing.

    And, I too LOVE Ann V. and her website — and will never have the table or pictures she has. But, praise GOD, with Him at work in my life and family, my table and my pictures will be pleasing and delightful to Him!!!

    Bless you!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Cathy,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your heart. It blesses me. It encourages me to know others that desire the same things I do. I want God to call us higher, and then I want to be able to answer that call. Even though I do not always know how, I trust Him to show the way.

      And I learned over Easter weekend what you said is true, “with Him at work in my life and family, my table and my pictures will be pleasing and delightful to Him!!!”

      Blessings to you… and thank you, again.

  • r.elliott

    Michele…its seems like the past couple post we have written from similar places…you my friend do so beautifully…me…a little more unrefined:)….For me…what is life giving is what flows from the depth of me…I have spun my wheels in the past trying to recreate others ways of doing…celebrating. I must say…I still wish some of those creative ways came more natural for me…but they don’t…so how do I create those moments that are life giving…life changing? Memories are good for our children to take with them…but if that is all we give…we have not given much. We can only give our children seeds that come from the fruit in our lives…and than they have to choose to plant them in their lives. What is life giving for you and your children may not be life giving for someone else…we are all created different…each mom…each family. I usually would not say come over and ready my post…but just today, you might find it encouraging. I love your heart…blesssings~

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Ro,

      You offer me so much wisdom here. I am so much more creative in my mind, than in my realty, and most attempts at trying to “produce” moments, leave us exasperated.

      I must learn and I am learning, to rest and trust and keep it simply :) I need it simple, God knows that. Although, that does not removed the aching of my soul, the yearning for more of His Presence in our lives. That we can have, only by His grace, not by our striving. I am learning.

      I consider all your words carefully, and I receive them as wise counsel. None of them fall wasted and they bring me so much JOY and STRENGTH. Thank you for taking your precious time to leave them here for me. I do not take you for granted :)

      With love,

      Michele-Lyn

  • http://myfreshlybrewedlife.com Barbie

    This post touches my heart. I haven’t made a point to build memories concerning Easter, other than egg hunts and lots of food. I too cringe when I read the beautiful posts of sisters who truly strive to bring the true meaning of Easter into their homes. I too want my children to know HIM, and not just about Him. I am thinking of what I will do differently this year.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Barbie,

      I wish there was a way I could hug your neck and sit down with you and share our hearts over coffee. Every time I see your name at the top of my comment notification, I smile because I know the words you offer will leave me encouraged — strengthened. You bless me!

      And as for Easter, although the changes small and attempts feeble, I believe that God honored our efforts. I pray He will show, both you and I, how to better prepare our hearts for next Easter :) He is faithful!

      Blessings to you, and with love,

      Michele-Lyn

  • http://www.canvaschild.com imperfect prose

    oh friend, i am so glad you commented on my blog so i could find you here. there is such a hunger in your words to know Christ. and i think this, more than any traditions, will speak to your children. they will see you longing to do better, to love God more, to bring more of him into your home, and this will speak more than any craft or created thing. you are doing so well. we mothers battle too much guilt… we need to let go and let God and just hang out with our kids. that’s all they ever want in the end, anyway :) keep on sister. e.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Hello there, at Imperfect Prose :)

      Thank you for stopping by my place. Your words carry wisdom that I carried through all of Easter weekend — although, I am just finding time to reply. I purposely, cast my care and rested in Him over Easter weekend, trusting His Spirit to do the work in our hearts, I cannot. Husband and I offered all of our efforts to Him, and I believe God smiled on them. It was a most blessed weekend, and I hope yours was, too.

      Blessings to you… and thank you, again :)

  • http://homefront.prudentliving.com Nancy

    Thank you for your words and your openess to share how you are feeling. I too am a grandmother, came to faith late in life. God does redeem the time.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Nancy,

      I will trust that He does redeem the time — for He is faithful, even when we are not. Thank you for taking the time to encourage me, here.

      Blessings to you…

  • http://www.audrasilva.com Audra Silva

    Our hearts seem to be in similar places. I long for more of him in our day to day. More godly traditions, and practices. Slowly, one step at a time, I pray we accomplish these desires.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Audra,

      Yes, it is one step, even one small step, at a time. I, too, pray that as our hearts long for more of God that He reveals the way to live our lives in the reality of His presence — only by His grace.

      Blessings to you, friend. Thank you for always being so encouraging and lovely :)

  • http://jana-janascreations.blogspot.com/ Jana

    Dawn B. Thank you ♥

  • http://sixinthehickorysticks.blogspot.com Nacole

    oh, dear friend, you. are. beautiful. i don’t want to say too much as to take away from my first statement.

    *thank you* for sharing your real life with us, not the one you want it to be…i just love the scandalous picture of easter-egg-hunting–*wink* this is ok, its more than ok, if you were perfect, if i were perfect, then we wouldnt need a Saviour and none of us would need a resurrection Easter to celebrate. remember your regrets, and then drink deep of His goodness, dear one.

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Nacole,

      Here I am, only six days later :) I am slowly getting to all the correspondence and your emails are on the top of my list…

      You are so right… if we were perfect, we would not be in need of a Savior. We WERE able to draw near as a family, to the cross. God did bless our efforts to reach the heart of our children and demonstrate the truth of the sacrifice He made for us, and the victory found in Him. By the end of resurrection Sunday, our hearts were full…

      And that, only by His grace…

      With love to you, friend :)

  • http://www.messymarriage.com Beth

    I feel your regret, Michele-Lyn. I too have not made enough of the Lenten season, nor highlighted Christ and his sacrifice in our home. I don’t think we are the only ones, so I hope that you don’t beat yourself up about this too much, but use it to do what God prompts you to do in the moments and days ahead. I will pray that you and I can make this “Christ emphasis” a priority for our families. Thanks for your vulnerability and sweet devotion to Christ!

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Beth,

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts so genuine, here. I believe, somehow, even in the wanting and longing for more of God, He is pleased. Even if we do not know exactly how or fail as being Christ-centered in everything we do. As we carefully and diligently guard our hearts, I pray that God is glorified in our lives, despite us.

      I hope that you had a most blessed Easter weekend. I believe God did smile on our efforts, here. Only by His grace, always by His grace :)

      Blessings to you…

  • http://www.dschondog.wordpress.com/ Dawn B

    Dear Michele-Lyn and Jana,

    I hear your young mothers’ hearts and I just want to tell you, from a grandmother’s heart, (my children now have children) that what you do from this moment on redeems the time. I spent a lot of springs doing egg hunts and chocolate bunnies. We always went to church and talked about Holy week, but it was parallel to the chicks and bunnies. God has graciously blessed my small efforts in spite of myself. My sons lead their families in the Lord, my one daughter is seeking and my other daughter pours her life into her church and helping the poor. He sees your hearts, Dear Young Mothers, and He will bless. Begin, at this moment, to be what you see He wants you to be and have fun with those kids in the doing! All He needs is a mustard seed.

    Hugs,
    Dawn

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Dawn,

      Thank you for these kind, wise words. My heart did and still does want for more evidence of God in my home and children’s hearts. But by faith, I believe the work is really for God to do in their hearts. As long as I am faithful to plant and water, God WILL cause the growth. I love how you said “God has graciously blessed my small efforts in spite of myself.” I will hold these words close to my heart as I walk out my days, leading these little ones to God.

      Thank you for the encouragement, I treasure your words.

  • http://jana-janascreations.blogspot.com/ Jana

    I have been feeling such a burden in mt heart. Not wanting to do the whole coloring of the eggs and chocolate bunnies. Its “expected” of me by everyone around including my own children. I want the same as you…to teach my children the REAL reason why we celebrate Easter and not why the majority does. Thank you for helping me take that first step Micele-Lyn. =)

    • http://www.alifesurrendered.com Michele-Lyn

      Jana,

      Ah… I think we are feeling the same call of God — to go higher. Sometimes that longing is aching — aching for more of heaven, aching that only the Spirit of God can calm. Husband and I came together to find how we can bring the true essence of Easter, bitter and sweet, into our home so that the kids would truly know. I believe God smiled on our efforts. Only by His grace can we truly walk pleasing Him.

      Blessings to you…