Everyone has a story to tell. When we make the connection between our story and God's great story, we come away with HIStory, which involves each and every one of us.
Easter has a way of making me think about it’s meaning. Even more so than Christmas. I mean Christmas is the sweet story of a baby King. But Easter, it’s not a pretty celebration that comes wrapped in a beautiful red bow. And this year, more than ever, is it making me think! I mean Easter at home? That’s just so crazy!
I was already working full time when I graduated from college. So as you can imagine, I was one of the oldest graduates in my class. And even with that said, I was still too young and immature to understand my calling, and so I pursued a degree in a field I would never actually work in. Preadolescence, I knew my calling, but I didn’t fully understand it. And as a college-aged adult, I think I lost it. Or maybe I was limited by choosing one of the majors offered without even thinking or praying about my calling. I’ve heard of people who change their careers in their 40’s and 50’s. I love this! But I feel like it’s a bigger waste when you know it and ignore it versus just not knowing until you’re older or having more than one career because that’s what you were called to do. I was called and I didn’t listen.
One of the things that surprised me most while on this journey, is that God gave me gifts I didn’t realize I had. Art was nowhere near my extra-curricular activities and much less curricular. I was a type-A book-smart hard worker who enjoyed Math and English. So I was extra surprised at how much I loved photography, especially exploring this art with Tachu the years we dated. Well, maybe he was the inspiration, but nevertheless I loved it! Our love of photography, and each other got more serious. And one of the first things we did when we got married was create a dark room. It was so rewarding when you had that contact sheet and could see a glimpse of the black and white images you had taken and developed. Fast forward 10 years and now I was doing photography on the side while raising my girls at home with Tachu. This was a gift. But I have to be honest, I was terrible at marketing my business. I’m a natural pleaser and the thought of disappointing a client devastated me. And I didn’t want to price out the images, I wanted to give them all of the images for free. But that wasn’t a sustainable business.
So I created an app called Dreamhouse Tasks that would help my girls learn to do chores around the house. I led the art process and the engineers and released a successful app. But ask me if I could sell it… you know the answer. It was free.
Then I began writing. And that was an art I couldn’t get enough of either. I could write for days and I could storytell with unlimited characters. It was therapy. And then I published a book. I was ecstatic when my book came out. But I realized that writing it was only the first part of this journey. So again, I crumbled at the thought of selling my work if I wanted others to read it. You put yourself out there when you snap an image someone is purchasing and even more so when selling your writing that you’ve spent years compiling and have made yourself vulnerable to. So this time I decided I could share my book but I much rather give it away than sell it.
And as I shared my home more, designing and styling became a passion I didn’t realize I had. I began helping friends and our community with creating and recreating spaces. Renovation and bringing new life and meaning to spaces became my new art of choice. But only as a volunteer.
So here I am, a lover of these art forms, yet I can’t sell them if my life depended on it. And honestly, it’s not that I lack worth. Because if there’s something I know it is that I know who I am because I know Whose I am. And I believe God has given me these gifts to bless others and I feel so good doing them.
But I have realized something of infinite worth. I have understood this by simply doing it from the heart. And that is that nothing, and I mean nothing I’ve ever done nor will ever do is as rewarding and as life-giving, as when I get the opportunity to share about Jesus with friends. Sharing Him requires zero accomplishments or awards or degrees. All it requires is an open heart willing and wanting more of Him. And He will fill your cup to overflowing. Your life to maximum fulfillment. Your heart to breakthrough truth. Your soul to endless joy.
And now Easter makes absolute sense. It all comes together in this perfect yet devastating package filled with death, a crown, and blood. It’s a disfigured Savior who allowed Himself to be beaten to DEATH. He broke so we could be whole, He cried so we could sing, He separated so we could be united to Him. Do you see, He’s the God who did it all for His children? He didn’t ask us to sacrifice our lives for Him. He’s a giver, not a taker.
And alas, I understand my calling, and it is to share and live for Jesus! And I don’t crumble at sharing Him. I don’t feel like I’m going to disappoint. Because the One won’t ever disappoint.
So in the words of my Sophie, when asked what Easter means to her, Easter is LOVE!
As you are home celebrating Easter during this quarantine, take this gift! He’s giving it out for free and it lasts FOREVER!!!
Damaris U. Avila lives with her loving husband and their two inquisitive and sweet girls. Through personal storytelling, she invites women to share and see themselves in God's story. She leads young girls through BeYOUtiful Girl Time, a sisterhood where girls are encouraged to become the women God designed them to be.
"And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people."