| from Melissa Hannigan |

I am no gardener. In fact, my grandfather who had the greenest thumb, tried for many years to pass on his gardening skills. But no matter how many times he showed me how to prune and weed and water, I have not been able to keep a garden alive for very long. My daughters and I have tried, truly we have to no avail!

But I learned something recently that my grandfather hadn’t yet taught me; sometimes things seem dead, without any hope, but they really aren’t dead at all. This semester for science we are studying Botany, the study of plants, and as usual I am learning right alongside my kids. So many things about plants point to creator God. And just like God, He teaches us lessons in many different ways. 

It just so happened that my Mom to Mom group discussed the topic of gardening recently as well. Mrs. Ginna taught us just because a plant looks dead that doesn’t mean that it’s actually dead. Apparently, plants go dormant, especially the first season after planting on a new soil. I had no idea about this! I wonder how many plants my kids and I assumed was dead but was actually just growing deeper roots before evidence of life appeared. 

And doesn’t that truth remind you of Easter? Jesus was dead. His followers thought all hope was lost. Their friend and messiah was gone, seemingly forever. And then three days later the truth was revealed, hope wasn’t lost. In fact hope was found! Eternal hope. Hope that endures. Hope that saves! 

So this morning after Easter, as you continue to see new life spring forth on blooming trees and flowers, let it remind you that there is always hope! That because the tomb is empty, because He lives, we have hope for the tomorrow, and for eternity! Maybe you’re in a season of parenting where it seems like all of your instruction falls on deaf ears. Maybe you’re feeling depleted and dried up like a tree with bare branches, I know this past year sure has left me feeling dried up! But hold fast to the truth that where there seems like no life, no hope, no growth…God is always at work and there’s always hope!

 Philippians 1:6 says that He who started a good work in You, in Your family, in Your marriage, will continue working until the day Jesus returns or calls you home to heaven. This is wonderful news! There is hope because Jesus lives! And we get to share that hope with the world!

May your family enjoy a blessed Easter! My prayer is that we continue to live in that promise that there is always HOPE because He LIVES! 

One resource our family loved this Easter season was to read The Parable of the Lily by Liz Curtis Higgs. It’s a beautiful story that depicts the hope that we find on Easter morning! 

What family traditions did you enjoy during Easter? How can you help your kids focus on the hope that Jesus gives even as the Easter season comes to an end? How will remember that there is always hope? I am going to take more walks in some gardens and remember that even when things seem dead, there is still work going on underground, I just need to wait and see! 

As a homeschool mom of four kids, Melissa Hannigan uses her background in child development and counseling to keep her family from going completely off the rails. Melissa discovered her passion for helping kids meet their fullest potential over 15 years ago. As a therapist, she has worked with children in head start, foster care, and in detention facilities to provide them the tools they need for success. Melissa has also served hundreds of young people through her local church. Her unique sense of humor, paired with a desire to make tough topics easy to talk about, makes her relatable to most parents struggling to keep their head above water in today’s cultural climate. Whether she’s serving the “Happy Hannigan’s” or the “Hot Mess Hannigan’s” (it depends on the day!) she does it alongside her best friend and partner in life, John. Melissa is an Associate with Celebrate Kids where she writes and speaks about a variety of topics.