Easter Sunday is April 20th. It is my favourite Sunday of the entire year because it is the day I celebrate God’s deep love for me with the resurrection of Jesus. In our Sunday School group we are studying the book of Romans where it is made very clear how our faith in Christ gives us new life and the hope of heaven. It’s no surprise , Easter is a “quiet” holiday compared to hectic activities of Christmas preparation.
What would it look like to pay more attention to the true message of Easter this year? How could we show more folks the love of God in practical ways? When can we take an opportunity to explain that Christ rose from the dead and was seen by more than 500 people ? They saw him physically. That’s why Christians have no fear of death, and that is an amazing reason to celebrate !
This past winter has been a hard journey. “ People can exhaust you. And there are times when all we can do is not enough. The best of love can go unrequited.” says Max Lucado in his book “Live Loved.” I take great comfort in the words of encouragement that Lucado writes, but more so in God’s word: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you that you also love one another. “(John [13:34]) “And let us consider one another to stir up love and good works. “ (Hebrews [10:24])
Coaching farm families in transition is challenging. Many times I offer folks to consider a change in their approach to stop exhausting each other with conflict, and move toward love and respect. As I was driving on the Trans Canada highway to a family meeting I spotted a railcar with a huge graffiti message which read “ Jesus loves you !” That one can stay on that train forever as it crosses the country. Later I was in Langenberg where the “Save Room for Dessert” Café offered me steel- lasered magnets with great Easter messages: Rejoice ! Spirit ! Give ! and even Kiss ! These treasures were far move valuable to me that the 16 different rabbit statues in a popular home décor store that don’t represent the true meaning of Easter to me.
Rabbits are part of the spring fertility rites of the old country cultures, and eggs are part of the same vein of thinking when they used to roll eggs over the land to “make it fertile” in the spring. Regardless, hunting for Easter eggs can be a fun family tradition, and one that our neighbourhood used to love to share !
When a young woman marries a farmer she brings with her the traditions of Easter that her family found important. The young farmer also likely has less love for the rituals than his new wife does, and this can cause conflict. The joy and adventure of marriage is carving out new traditions and meaning for your new family unit. This is just one example of the types of adjustments that daughter-in-laws need to make when they become part of a farm family team. She also may value celebrating faith, so she packs up the children for church faithfully each Sunday while her hubby attends to the endless chores of the farm. Here is another conflict, trading time for family, faith and letting go of work. This life/work balance as it is commonly called, is not ever balance. It is an ongoing polarity or un-resolvable issue that just needs to be managed, because it is never checked off the “to do “ list.
Very soon our new book, Farming’s In-Law Factor will be printed, and we are excited to share practical tools for all in-laws to have more harmony and less conflict on family farms. Forgiveness is a key issue. The model of forgiveness that Jesus gave us helps families let go of past hurt, and embrace a new start or chapter. The families that I coach who have a model of forgiveness that they employ and a way to make “quick repair” are much better off than the families that continue to offend, hurt and frustrate one another.
As of March 15, 2014, I have been writing in this paper for 19 years. The babies who tore the pages of Grainews on the floor apart are now tearing up the gravel roads in their pickups. They are also the ones calling me for new insights on how to have their folks say “I love you son, and I am proud of you.” Ten years later they are back asking how to get some equity. Twenty years later they are asking what control looks like. Seasons of the year mirror the seasons of life. What is going to be different for you this Easter compared to the many Easters you have already witnessed?
Do you have energy to get up early for the sunrise service? Can you add a few special touches to your dinner table to make everyone who gathers around it glad that they came? Do you have the courage to invite the family members who have distanced themselves, yet really need to be loved unconditionally?
Easter calls us to look at renewal and resurrection. We are given new life in Christ when we accept his gift of forgiveness for us. We are given the comfort , wisdom, and counsel of the Holy Spirit when we become believers. God loves you more than you will ever know, and now is the time to embrace His unending love to energize your life, and give your farm family the best legacy ever: the legacy of richness in relationship towards God, and richness in relationship with each other.
I would like to know what changes you have made since you’ve been reading this column over the years. Send me encouragement , address mail to Box 957 Boissevain, MB R0K 0E0.
Have a wonderful Easter !
Elaine Froese, CAFA, CHICoach has been called “Canada’s Farm Whisperer” by Faith Today magazine. Engage her resources to empower your farm team.
Visit elainefroese.com or call 1-866-848-8311. Buy her new book for Mother’s Day !