For the last few weeks, while sitting in my living room, I kept catching a glimpse of red out of the corner of my eye. Bright enough to turn my head, but not quick enough to make out the flash of red. This game of cat and mouse continued for another week before my eyes finally landed on a brilliant red cardinal.
At the same time, winter was hanging up its hat for another year. I began the process of stretching my limbs into a new season. I am the person who slowly processes life in order to reach the place that is best for me. Keep in mind that my slow awakening is not always in line with God’s plans. But this year, winter taught me what it looks like to receive. And when I accepted this posture, I began to learn there are blessings on the other side.
The daily visits from the cardinal became an anchor as the heaviness of winter begged for a reprieve. There is so much physical darkness that fills the days of winter, but if I am honest, my life was also burdened with a weightiness of self-imposed isolation, unbelief, and a backing away from the very people I forgot I needed.
There is so much I want to tell you. The details of my story that I want to share so you can gently hold them and care for them as you all do with such love. But what you need to know right now is that winter was so very hard. My anxiety got the best of me and I struggled to recognize the work of the enemy who wanted nothing more than to have me believe his lies.
Lent was a time of diving deep into truth. I wish you had been by my side as I discovered new truth, amazing love, and hope in every moment with God. The cardinal was just a physical sign that hope is real and God is good. As the days grew longer and spring finally announced it was here to stay, restoration, renewal, and redemption worked to put together my broken pieces. Hope seemed attainable and the peace that comes with our Risen Jesus was mine to have and hold.
The walk to the cross is a daily awakening. I know I will never figure it out on my own, but can stand in the grace of God and tell you that He is willing to teach you. Do you know the resurrected Jesus and the sacrifice He made for you? Is your life better because you live a new life as a son/daughter of God?
I celebrated Easter on Sunday renewed in my faith. The heaviness of winter lifted and again I felt the sins of life wash away. I became a new creation as I sang “hallelujah” and the gift of the Risen Jesus extended life to me once again. Instead of just catching a glimpse of red or a flash of light, the darkness revealed the beautiful light of Jesus and His love for you and me.
If I had the chance to sit across the table from you, I would tell you so many things. Today that would look like:
- How the journey to the cross is yours to walk with Jesus. The potholes and wrong turns will be there as you navigate your way, but that is nothing compared to the gift of abundant life in Christ.
- Me telling you that there are seasons where you will get turned around and forget your way. Remember that in the messiness God will never stop pursuing you.
- Darkness always leads to light. I wondered in this season if I would see the light. As a believer, I was still making choices that sent me backward and I let this frustration begin to strangle me. Digging deep led me to know that I am only strong when I hold tight to the truth of God.
I did not think that as we walked to the cross together this Lent that I would come out on the other side baring my soul. I pray that by sharing my humanness you recognize how being lost is not a forever situation. Will I make mistakes again? You can count on it. Will God still love me? He will. When I turn the wrong way, will God find me? Yes!
Father God –
Today I thank you for pursuing me when I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be found. The days I pushed back because I believed I was right are not ones I am proud of. In this journey to the cross, I thank you for never leaving my side, for pursuing me relentlessly and most of all for loving me in my doubt. I am so grateful that you are in my life and promise to never leave me in my messiness. I love and praise you. Amen.
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