09 April 2012

an easter heart

Yesterday was my birthday. For the second time in five years, my birthday was on Easter. It had never happened before 2007 and won't happen again until 2091. I won't share my day again. And neither will the Lord--at least not with me. All last week I joked that no one remembers my birthday when it's on Easter. The focus in on Jesus. And rightfully so. I'm so insignificant when it comes to him.

I'm funny about my birthday. I don't want a big deal made over it. I like for friends to remember it, but I don't get offended if I'm forgotten. I don't publish the date on Facebook because I don't want 200+ birthday wishes from people who wouldn't know my birthday except for the little birthday reminder. This year, I am thankful for my family and a handful of friends who remembered.

Do you know what I like for my birthday? Besides something chocolate in the form of a cake? A new outfit. Something cute and spring-y. And maybe some new sandals. I mean, it's the beginning of April, after all. Do you know what I must have for Easter? Besides a basket with chocolate candy? You guessed it: a new dress.

On Friday afternoon, I ran by the mall to find a dress. I grabbed a half dozen possibilities and headed to the dressing room, not once looking at a price tag. Almost any price (within reason) would be justified by the fact that MY BIRTHDAY WAS ON EASTER. In actuality, I deserved two new things: one for my day and one for Easter. First world issue, I know. I found one dress that would work. It was cute, if a bit too long.

Then, my friend, Chandra, came over on Saturday morning. We hadn't seen each other in quite a while, but had no trouble talking for a few hours. We talked about everything we could think of: work, submission in marriage, children, spending time with the Lord, party planning, blogs we read. And then I recommended a book: Seven by Jen Hatmaker.

One of my sweet friends, Allison, sent me an email at the beginning of the year, recommending Seven. I quickly put it on my Amazon wish list. [Side note: when Allison and I ever live in the same state again, I will be ecstatic.] Then I started hearing about it from other people. And then Allison blogged about it. I caved to indirect--or non-existent--peer pressure and ordered it that day.

Turns out, Chandra had read about Seven on another blog. She knew about Jen Hatmaker and her radical-ish thinking. She'd read Jen's posts about Easter (here and here) that were on my list of things to read this weekend. And then she mentioned something about Jen not buying a special Easter dress. At this point, we proceeded to talk more about the book, but that whole no Easter dress thing really stuck with me.

As is typical, I tried on the new dress Saturday night. I looked in the mirror, at every angle. It was a weird length. Even Husby agreed. Ugh. I attempted to do a quick "hem" by bringing the waist up just a bit and securing it with safety pins. It didn't work. I removed the pins, folded the dress and placed it in the shopping bag to be returned.

But returning the dress is more than a weird length issue. It's a heart issue. I knew after hearing about Jen's decision that I'd return it. See, I grew up in a church where clothing seemed like a big deal. The church I attended as a single seemed to place a big emphasis on outer appearance. I have judged people for not wearing appropriate clothes to church. A few years ago, I MADE myself wear jeans to church week after week because I had a heart issue that needed to be worked out, and this was one step in the process.

The Easter dress issue seemed a repeat of the same heart issue. I've always had a new outfit for Easter. Everyone at church dresses in their finest that day. Everyone has something new. But this year, I didn't. I wore a three year old dress from my closet. And do you know? I'm pretty sure no one noticed. Mainly because I have NO CLUE if others were wearing new dresses or three year old dresses.

I'm sure that I'll have a few new outfits for the season. But it's not this dress, not for Easter. Slowly, I'm learning that Easter is just about Jesus. It isn't about baskets or egg hunts or pretty clothes. It's about Him, even when it's on my birthday in 2091, Easter--Resurrection Sunday--will still be about Jesus.


Christine said...

Dangit, I saw on my calendar that yesterday was your birthday but forgot to text you! Sorry friend! And you're like the 1,000th person to recommend the book 7. Guess I have to read it!

allison said...

I'm so glad that you still consider me your "sweet" friend after I (once again) failed to wish you a happy birthday. You wanna know the truth? I remember your b-day EVERY year. The problem is...EVERY year, I remember it LATE. Thankful you don't hold it against me & that you will still be ecstatic if/when we're in the same state again. I feel the same way. :)

Stefani said...

Hey Kristina-

Thanks for checking in on my blog-- I'll try the savory oats soon!!! My birthday was on Easter March 23rd, two years ago...

Love keeping up with you.


michelle ellis said...

I adore this post. What a beautiful way to put things into perspective. Thank you.

Happy Belated Birthday to You!