I Found Jesus

I wore jeans and a t-shirt that Easter.

But what I remember most was the thick, dark cape I wore over them.

It was soft and warm and it had a hood that hid my face. I needed that hood because I was portraying the woman caught in adultery at all five Easter services at our church.

I needed that hood to hide my shame and despair.

To this day, it remains one of my most memorable, intimate Easters. I didn't have to worry about dressing up; our wonderful wardrobe department took care of that. I didn't fuss in the kitchen; Corey and I planned to attend our Sunday school's class potluck after church. And since this was before kids, I didn't mess with any of the cultural Easter trappings. There were no Easter baskets, dyed eggs or chocolate bunnies. (Although I'm sure there were Peeps. Marshmallow bunnies, five days stale, have long been my favorite springtime treat.)

It was just me and the cape and the exposed nerves of my soul.

Dramatic dialogues were scattered throughout the service. In personal vignettes, they worked their way toward the cross on Good Friday and ultimately the empty tomb on Easter Sunday.

My part was the darkest, for my story came on Saturday, after Jesus had died. After hope had died. I told of Jesus' rescue of me from my accusers, his mind-boggling forgiveness and admonition to "Go and sin no more." I told of my heart restored, of my life changed, of my faltering discipleship.

And then came the cross. I was thrown into despair. Angry. Bitter. How? Why?

DO YOU SEE MY LORD? He is DEAD! He is DEAD! They have KILLED HIM as they would have killed me! I have NOTHING now! I HAVE NO ONE. THEY KILLED JESUS!

I sobbed. My heart was rent by the living of the grief and confusion and emptiness.

Jesus. My living hope.


And so, weeping, I left the stage and let Peter eventually tell the happy ending to the story. Despair is not the end! What seemed like the greatest evil, God turned on its head and used as the greatest victory and grace.

The services hinged around the theme "I've Found Jesus" that year, and a small, passionate Gospel-choir sang the Delirious song by the same title. (It's since become one of the anthems of Easter to me.)

Sitting in the shadows against the concrete wall at the back of the church, I would pull the hood over my face and weep again -- but this time with joy. The song resonated in my soul. I would end up throwing the hood off my streaked face and lifting my hands to the heavens and singing and dancing with every cell in my body.
I hear they're singing in the streets, 'cause Jesus is alive!
And all creation shouts aloud that Jesus is alive!

And I will live for all my days
To raise a banner of truth and love.
To sing about my savior's love.
The best thing that happened?
It was the day I met you.

I've found Jesus!
Easter was rich with context for me that year. I've since come to believe it's not possible to celebrate Jesus' resurrection without tasting the bitterness of his loss.

There is nothing like finding Jesus where you knew only death. There is nothing like being found by the One who knows every naked part of your soul and loves you completely anyway. There is nothing like knowing God's redemption and restoration.

My rejoicing wore the same hue as my suffering.

I found Jesus. And he found me.


  1. Growing up in churches that don't put a high emphasis on Good and Holy Friday or Holy Week itself, I've long wondered what is missing from our Resurrection Day celebration. It's usually just a day to work, work, work, from before till after dark, so that "other people" enjoy the Easter services. Only in the past two years have I understood the need to see the darkness, the pain, the sacrifice, in order to fully be filled with the joy of the resurrection.

    Beautiful, Kelly.

  2. This is beautiful, Kelly. I posted last week about how often we skip over the cross - but that the resurrection requires death to have its most meaningful.

  3. wonderfully written and with perfect timing coz I have just found JEsus myself :) and its wonderful

  4. First, I love Delirious! They are really my favorite band ever and I am SO SAD that they will not be touring/recording as a band anymore. I understand why they aren't, but am still sad. "Miracle Maker" is my favorite song by them.

    Second, I love this post. I love it because you make room for the ugly part of the story, the suffering and the crucifixion, that is essential to the joy of the resurrection.

  5. My favorite quote by Arlo Guthrie is "You can't have a light without a dark to stick it in." Without all the ugliness and darkness, there's no need for Jesus or the resurrection.

    I don't think that's where Arlo was going with it. But I still like it.

    I've left you an award over at my blog!

  6. Oh, I loved this post! I do have a problem seeing what's so great about the resurrection when I don't ponder the cross' despair, I do have a problem understanding what's so wonderful about salvation, when I don't face the ugliness of my sin. But praise him! When I face the ugliness, the evil, the discusting work, of me, of the rest of this world.. His BEAUTY shines through, but only when my eyes are first opened to ugliness.

    åslaug abigail