this morning, i woke up feeling blah...just plain old blah. you know what i mean...we all have those days. i was running a tad late to our beachside Sunday service (thanks to making a wrong turn and having to back track. and i couldn't find a parking spot to save my life and was forced to walk about a MILE to get there). needless to say, this 'drama' did wonders for my attitude. i seriously considered just driving home. pitiful, i know. here it was. the DAY had finally arrived. it was Resurrection Sunday! the day i should have been bursting to the seams with joy & gratefulness when all i felt was tired, worn down, discouraged, frustrated at stupid parking lots that said 'FULL' and feeling sorry for myself...I don't (yet) have a chubby cherub to call my own, so there was no yummy candy or pastel-colored Easter baskets or bonnets or exciting egg hunts going on at my house (although i do have some fun decorations that i'll take a pic of at some point and add them to this post). and, honestly, that kinda got me down. my husband was flying and that added to the gloom. all my family lives very far away and well that was rather depressing, too.
isn't this turning out to be a fabulous Easter post? hee hee. hang on...
so i *finally* arrived and let's just say I was so glad I didn't make that u-turn 20 minutes earlier to stew in my self-pity back at the ranch. our church (Lifebridge) was set up on Pier 60 (a fun landmark @ Clearwater Beach). worship music was streaming out onto the sun-dappled beaches. a surprising number of non-attendees flocked to the service, many staying for its entirety. Our pastor, Joe Walser, gave a compelling and very clear message of the Gospel, specifically how Jesus is our Prophet, Priest, and King. He also spoke on the Father's heart for redemption, our sin & need for a Savior, the atoning work of the Cross, and Jesus' complete & final death, burial, and resurrection. We then had a baptism service and some brand new converts who had given their lives to Jesus earlier that morning were also baptized!!! Praise God!
our church sign
sisterly love Y
kids splashed while the saints were being baptized :)
this pic moved me.
Little Trevor excited about Jesus and what He's doing in his life!!
yet another one gets 'dunked' :)
We love you, Paula, Don, and Cathy!
thankful you are a part of our church family!
although i enjoyed going and was blessed by the reminder of what Jesus did for me, was happy to see my friends, enjoyed the warm sunshine, my soul was still amiss, 'off'. i left still feeling rather blah. but something happened later that day to change all that...
you see, at one point during the baptism segment of the morning, a little girl named Brianna (my friend Melissa's daughter) entered the gently lapping waters, her little hand tightly clutching her daddy's strong, reassuring one. as they walked further into the ever-deepening water, a beaming smile spread across Pastor Joe's face and he lifted up his arms in praise, almost like he was welcoming Brianna into this heavenly moment of being outwardly consecrated to the King.
at the time, i really didn't think anything of it. i was just being my normal 'snap happy' self with the ol' cam. it was only when i got home and saw that image on my computer screen that the Holy Spirit broke down my walls of discouragement, self pity, ungratefulness, and 'blah-ness' (sin)...He spoke, "That's how I will welcome you one day."
that did it. hot tears welled.
Because of Jesus, open arms await me. when it's my turn to enter that celestial shore and cross over into beauty eternal, nail-scarred hands are opened wide for me. perfect love flowing forth from a heart that was once broken by my lack of love. joy etching the lines of His face.
surely not because of anything i did - all of that is worthless.
apart from Him.
but I can, even now, bask in His enthusiastic LOVE & approval of me - a pitiful, weak, sinful, fallen human being, a speck of dust in the scope of time, space, and history.
because of an EMPTY tomb...
Triune ties severed for the first and last time.
a Father's heart breaking as He turns His face away....
from a Son crying out to his Abba.
indescribable pain. agony of soul.
blood & water flowing down.
that's love. and it didn't stop there.
on the third day, breath entered his perfect lungs, eyes opened to early morning sunlight.
the stone was rolled back. grave clothes neatly folded.
the KING had conquered sin, death and fully satisfied God's wrath. for once and for all.
HE is RISEN.
He is RISEN! He is RISEN INDEED!!!!!
(pass it on)