Lilli is usually a really good sleeper. She’s quiet and doesn’t move around a lot in her sleep. I know this because I share a room with her when I come to visit, she in her twin bed, and I in her sister’s (when she’s enjoying her time with her dad) across the room. Last night, however, was a bit different.

First of all, she couldn’t go to sleep. We began about 8:30, after a later nap than usual, and it was 10:30 before she finally gave up. Then, a couple of hours later, she started crying in her sleep. I got up and realized that she was still really asleep, but rigid, and obviously terrified. I got her awake enough to snap out of whatever was chasing her in the foggy recesses of her nightmare, until she relaxed in my arms and settled back into a calm sleep.

I crawled back into bed, wondering what exactly it is that taunts two year-olds in their sleep, and silently cursed it. Then, about an hour later, I heard something else.

Peels of laughter.

Girlfriend was laughing the pure and musical laughter of the unburdened child, the delicious bell-like sound that shows not one trace of fear.

I lay there, listening to her laugh for a few seconds, until she stopped, her breath slowing back to a steady, sleepy rhythm, and I remembered that today is Easter. Today is the day when we celebrate a risen Lord, who conquered everything that has ever chased us in terror and haunted our dreams, the consequences of our own making, or sin at the hand of someone else. Pierced with Him that dark day on Calvary were fear and shame and guilt and heavy burdens that He knew we couldn’t kill off ourselves. He knew we’d run and run from them, never able to escape the talons of the despicable monster they are. So He willingly let them nail Him up there on that harsh and splintery tree, so, like the woman in Proverbs, we could laugh.

Laugh freely, without guilt.

Laugh fully, without shame.

Laugh without fear of what’s to come, for because of what He did, our future is an eternity of laughter. We can move forward from our terrors, knowing that while they will still try to chase us in this life, they won’t overcome us, and that in eternity they will be abolished forever, if we just accept that He made Himself a sacrifice for us, personally.

For your monsters. For mine.

I’m so thankful that on this magnificent morning so many, many years ago, Christ awoke from the sleep of death, and arose into victorious life, leaving the nightmare chasers powerless on the floor of a dark tomb.

And He did it so we could laugh.


“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25 NLT

“For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.” Romans 6:7-11 NLT

“Christ has set us free to live a free life…” Galatians 5:1 MSG