In short, it's Spring Fever. It makes us waken early, beckoning us to decks and yards, even with the ground yet cold. (Nothing a cozy sweater and good cuppa-Joe can't fix.) We can smell it-nearly taste it, see it in storm clouds, sense it even in hail. The skin beneath our nails cries out for dirt. The soles of our feet beseech us to walk on dew-laden grass and sandy beaches not yet burning beneath summer's sun.
It's a time of change, of longer, brighter light, of birds, fish and other assorted animals wakening...and it's no coincidence that we celebrate the rising of our Savior in the midst of such life. Of this, I am certain.
Since last I wrote, I have played in our Back-to-Eden garden with Sr. Chief, helped lead Resurrection Sunday worship in my church, cared for grandchildren on Spring Break from school, feasted with loving family in celebration of Easter, made plans with new friends to gather together, shopped for new clothes...an activity I abhor, but am always glad about once I finally make my mind up, and had a strange but I think, godly encounter with a stranger.
And that's what I want to write about today. But before I do, let me tell you a little more about my shopping. It was terrible and I won't bore with details, but in the end, Sr. Chief saw my frustration and said he was going back out with me. I didn't want to go...ANYthing but that. But he coerced me with food so I acquiesced. In the end, I came home with one new blouse to wear with already-owned navy-blue slacks. Not too old, not too young. Canary yellow. Fresh. Bright. Really, it was just right. But if he hadn't gone with me, it would not be in my closet.
It was after the service Sunday at the Williamsburg campus where I helped lead worship. And just to set the scene correctly, know this: I wasn't supposed to be there, but was filling in for someone who had an emergency. Normally, I would have only been at the service that takes place at the Newport News campus the night before. But this is where I was.
Women will understand the weirdness of the next statement: It was after service and I went into the ladies' room...I was the only one there. Then, another lady came in, while I was still in the stall. I came out and went to the sink. I could hear her humming. While I was still washing, she came out and to the other sink. She then stated, "You are so blessed to be a part of this church!" I agreed then told her that although it is my church, I don't usually attend that campus' service but the one in Newport News instead. Then I asked her if she was visiting family to which she said she wasn't, but that a friend had accompanied her to Williamsburg for another adventure, (something to do with zip-lining), and they had ended up coming to this church for service. She was a worship leader at another church, in Stafford.
Being one of those goofy women who jumps at what seems providential, I exclaimed, "Stafford! That's funny...we never go to Stafford and yet my husband had a job training there just last week. He almost didn't take the job because of the distance, but we decided it would be worth it in the long run." To which she smiled, then just sort of stared at me. Just as I was beginning to feel a little uncomfortable, (which is not more than a matter of seconds for me as I do not like being stared upon), she explained herself: "I am standing here staring at you because the Lord has been putting the color, "yellow" on my heart for a few weeks now and I haven't been able to figure out what He's been talking about...and now here you are in yellow...and I think He's saying that He's giving you new...or fresh...light...May I ask your name?"
"Cindy," I stated, "and it means, 'Bringer of Light'," I added, unable to contain a smile. Then, she asked if she could, and I allowed her, to pray for me.
She had hit the nail on the head because God has given me a fresh love for Him and His work...and even a new measure of expectation during a time in my life when most would be panicking about what the future does, or doesn't, hold. (Maybe more on that later.) He had, as of just the day before, reinstated me into a ministry area within His Body in which I know I belong...worship. Not that He can't or won't use me elsewhere, and not that this will always be a focus, but for now, I know it is to be and I have been alive inside to know that others 'over' me recognize this.
And now, her words. The words of a complete stranger, in a ladies' room that usually would have had several women in it and yet, here we stood the entire length of our conversation without a single 'intruder'. And I in my bright yellow blouse that my husband picked out. And us in Williamsburg where neither of us would normally have been. And all because God had allowed an emergency to enter the life of another of His servants...and as that turned out...not a medical or life-threatening-in any-way sort of emergency.
There is so much beyond the Cross. There is so much after the confession of belief that Jesus is Lord, is Son of God, God...and yet mysteriously, man. All that is just a beginning, albeit a most necessary and wonderful beginning. But, never think that's it. Never think that once this has taken place, there's no more...Oh, my gosh, there is so much more that Jesus has in store for us within His Kingdom! There's action, drama, peace, joy...There are the hard things, too...hard places, tears and sadness...but always, His presence is there to see us through to a better place...and eventually, to The Promised Land!
I have to tell you, that place they call a 'proverbial desert'...I'm not so sure it's merely proverbial because I have been there. In fact, I just recently stepped foot into the land where the ground beneath is no longer parched and I can see grass growing. And though I hated the trip, I can pin-point a few pieces of baggage I left behind to wither and die, if they haven't already, in that blistering heat.
I thought I might die out there.
But I didn't.
(Well, that's not really true. I did die...at least part of me did...)
I thought, sometimes, that maybe He was really so mad at me for being such a numbskull.
But He wasn't.
He loved me into it...and He walked me through it...and now, He is bringing me out of it. All because he knew I needed it in order to be better for myself and of more use to more of His people...and those yet to be His.
He took me to a place I'd never been. I didn't like it, not even one minute of it. Sometimes I cried. Other times I ranted. I even screamed at Him to get me out, but He didn't. He knew, (of course He knew!), I was still carrying stuff I needed to let go. Some of it, I wore like an invisible skin until I got hot enough out there to realize I was enveloped in a layer that must be shed. It did occur to me from time to time not to despise discipline. But for the most part, I hated it anyway.
But now, I'm glad I went.
I can't even believe I'm writing that, because it's surely not a place to where I wish to return!
Yet I do realize, the day could come when it's necessary.
Only if that day comes, I'll know better that He's there.
I'll know better that it's for good reason, then be more teachable about that reason.
I'll know better that He'll get me through.
And most of all, I'll know better that He loves me and it's never, ever a matter of 'He loves me not'.
Oh, hallelujah, He is risen!...and because of that, so, amazingly, am I.