Sunday, April 12, 2009


Easter is the most beautiful of all Christian holidays. It is the day we celebrate our Savior's triumph over death, and the fact that not only did He die for us, He allowed us to have eternal life through His death. It is the grandest lesson of renewal and rebirth.

As a christian, I have felt a taste of the Resurrection many times. In the beautiful up rush of feeling when I have strayed, and come back to welcoming arms. In the silence when I am weeping and God comes to sit with me. In the darkest of days when He comes with His light. In the times I have walked away and been pursued by a loving Father until I turned back to Him. All of them feel like resurrection, and a returning from the world to what is REAL. Death to new life. Walking through the darkness into the light.

I want to share a story with you, of when I personally knew God was a real, life giving Lord who was loving enough to save me from myself.

I was in the darkest of places. In a very bad marriage, away from all family. I was isolated and alone. I had very few friends. I worked from my home, and rarely left it's four walls. I was ashamed of my appearance. I was ashamed of who I was.

My mother had died two years before, and I was angry with God. I was bitter. I was angry with my mother for treating me so horribly when I was a child, and then dying. She never said she was sorry. She never acknowledged the wreckage she had made of me. She never acknowledged my pain. There was much unfinished between us.

I married a man that didn't love me because I thought he would. I married a man that hurt me, physically and emotionally. I married a man who cheated relentlessly, took all of the money, left me with no car and no ability to leave our home every single day.

Needless to say I was in a very bad place.

I had a friend who started attending a new church. She offered to take me with her one Sunday, and I accepted. They played the first worship song, and I knew every word was meant for me. I feel to my knees and accepted Christ back into my soul. It felt like an invasion in the best of ways.

I began searching for healing, actively seeking it out. Looking for ways to change my life. I was different in my soul, but something was holding me back from becoming fully whole.

I needed to forgive my mother. Let me tell you, my anger was profound and deep and ugly. It was hatred. It was cold and unrelenting. I did not know how to escape it.

My church was having a special healing service. There would be prayer, laying on of hands, and anointing for those who had need. I somehow felt drawn to go.

As I sat down in the back row I had every intention of just watching and slipping away. But a woman in front of me had other ideas. She kept turning to look at me. Finally she came over and held my hand. She told me she was watching me and a scripture about forgiveness came to her. She asked if I needed forgiveness, and I said yes, because I am a sinner. She smiled and said it was something deeper.

Everything in me was warring to not speak and open myself up. But the words flew from my mouth. "I need to forgive somebody."

She stood up and lead me to the front of the room near the altar. There we met a woman I didn't know well. She was blonde, round, and had clear blue eyes. She asked me what I needed healing for. The woman behind me spoke up. "She needs to forgive somebody."

I couldn't speak. I was trembling with fear. The woman looked deep into my eyes and laid her hand on my head. I closed my eyes to receive her blessing. She spoke swiftly, and the world faded away. All other noise ceased. I looked up into her face again, and I was looking at my mother. Brown eyes, short brown hair. Slim, wiry, rough hands on my face. Her scent, perfume and smoke and outdoors enveloped me.

It was her.

She pulled me close and hugged me tight. When she spoke, it was my mothers voice.

"I am so so sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you. Please forgive me. I love you." Over and over, a litany of a mother's sorrow.

I broke as if I was a child. I cried hot scalding tears of sadness. My knees gave way and my legs buckled. I cried like a child- great wails with barely a breath between. I said "Momma" over and over.

And then the words I had never expected flowed from me.

"I forgive you."

The force of that pain and sickness leaving my body was enough to take my breath. I was held as I collapsed to the floor, held and prayed over as I cried. The woman holding me never ever let me go, even as I fell. She simply held on and let God work.

After I regained composure, I opened my eyes to see those that were there to heal gathered around me, praying. My pastor stood with his hand on my head, blessing me. He helped me up and led me to the window.

I stood and looked out at the parking lot, where a tree had been uprooted to make way for new asphalt. It lay on it's side, ugly, protuberous roots standing in the air. They were vast and mighty, nearly as long as the tree itself, and covered in dirt.

My pastor wrapped arm around me, and pointed to the tree.

"Do you see those roots? The ugliness, the disorder? They were so deep, way deeper than anyone would have known. They weren't visible to anyone. That is what unforgiveness is. It's a deep and ugly root. It starts with a single seed, and grows unrelentingly."

I nodded through tears.

He turned me to face him and looked me directly in the eyes. "That is what God just pulled from you."

That was my resurrection day. The day I gave up myself entirely to a God who has walked with me ever since. I love him enough to have faith that there was more to me than just anger and bitterness. I loved him enough to step out on my faith and let him be my guide. I became a new creation in all ways.

I have been blessed enough to experience firsthand how God can love me. I have been a witness to his grace many times. I have seen his miracle in my life. I have gone from a broken and bloodied child to a woman who is strong because He loves me and believes in my worth.

Easter is not just a day we celebrate a Man whom death could not contain. It's not just a day we celebrate the empty tomb. It's a day that we also celebrate that with Christ's resurrection, we as his children get to be resurrected as well. We get to be lifted high into a life we do not deserve. We get to be held and treasured by One that values us, even when our parents do not. We get to love the One who saves, who forgives, and who accepts us unfailingly.

And in the end, we get to live forever with Him, forever worship Him, and forever love Him.

Happy Easter.