It’s Easter Sunday 2020. Our new world situation requires that we attend church online…cease Easter egg hunts…plan family gatherings for later in the year…and put away the Easter bonnets. With that said, it is a day we can actually sit quietly and ponder what this day means.
Statistics show that the number of people writing wills is up, as are the numbers of Bible sales. Despair and fear have driven many individuals to look for ways to fill emptiness in their lives. So that it why I believe it is time to tell you my story.
I tried for four hours yesterday to put this post in a video, and never could get it uploaded for you to see. Perhaps that is divine intervention or just my lack of video talent, but after four hours I stopped and began to do what I know best…tell you what I want to say in the written word.
After ten years of blogging, I have occasionally been asked to share the story of my faith. I have over time shared little snippets, but not really the entire story of why I smile and speak of joy so much.
I was raised attending church most Sundays. My parents believed it was important and I am thankful for the religious foundation it gave me. However, the church we attended had little Bible study and lots of ceremony. I can remember my father often snoring before the sermon ended and I was so embarrassed. He was not a believer and later in life, he and my mother both would get angry with me when I wanted to discuss faith. But, he did want to be seen by others as a good man…and a good man took his family to church.
But, we would leave on Sundays and enter a home full of anger, yelling, and judgement. The air inside the home was always thick with cigarette smoke and the tension between my parents. My mother grew up in an alcoholic home where my grandfather was physically and verbally abusive to his five children. My father grew up on an East Texas farm, an only child, of another angry woman.
My mother carried that anger and hurt with her throughout her life and it intensified as she aged. She made everyone around her miserable. I longed for a normal mother-daughter relationship, but it was never to be. She and my father were rarely together when they were not fighting.
At the age of five, I began to pull out all of my eyelashes. No one knew at the time that I was pulling them out…they just knew they were gone. The entire time I lived at home, I had no eyelashes. They began to grow back when I left for college and I have had them since then. But, anxiety drives us to do random destructive things.
Throughout college and my young adult years, I was striving to be a successful professional woman. I partied a lot…I mean a lot. I was not an alcoholic, but I easily could have been. Do you remember that old country western song…Looking for Love in all the Wrong Places? That was me. I listened to awful advice from others to be wild, to be driven, to treat people in the workplace with arrogance and disdain. I was not a nice person. But, I was angry too. And, I was hurting deep inside…terribly lonely and lost. I walked around with the shackles of sin and darkness wrapped around my ankles.
In my early 20s, a co-worker invited me to a Bible Study. I had never heard the Bible discussed like this and it was fascinating to me. I did not know there were other translations than King James. I had never been around people who discussed God so freely and personal. I began to listen to every pastor on the radio and study constantly the Word. After a time, a woman I did not know approached me at an event, looked me in the eyes and said, “You want to know Jesus.” I was amazed because she was right…I did desperately want to know Jesus. I prayed with her to accept Christ into my life.
But, the young advertising executive still lived with one foot in the world of sin, and one foot in Bible Study. It was ripping me apart. In a moment of despair when I felt unworthy to know Christ, I laid on an apartment floor and cried out to God to show me He was real. He did just that. In that apartment the presence of God visited me and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt God is real. He taught me about the power of grace and true forgiveness. I felt the chains fall from my feet and I received his forgiveness and was granted the ability to forgive others. Finally, I had found the love I looked for all of my life and He equipped me with a new heart to love others. I started a new journey as a new creation in Christ with a smile on my face and joy rising up within me every day. Some of you may know what it is like to truly experience the presence of God, and you may join me in confirming He wants to do the same for all of his children.
I begin each day inviting God’s presence into the day and spending concentrated time in prayer. I also make sure I speak with him throughout the day. If I don’t, my joy wains and I can feel the walls of the world begin to cave in. To avoid that I enjoy our relationship daily…moment to moment. It doesn’t mean that I do not experience problems, but it does mean I trust God will see me through and past those problems.
This all happened to me because of Easter. Jesus gave his life on the cross that I might know his grace and have assurance of a life with him. It is Jesus that is our hope during something like a pandemic. In fact, make sure you read Psalm 91 in the Old Testament…read it each time you feel fear from what is happening in our world. It is full of God’s promise to protect us and the biggest protection from harm is Christ sacrifice and reassurance of life in heaven.
Someone in this audience must need to hear this story and that is why I did it. I don’t know why the video would not work. But, I feel confident there was someone who needs to pray and accept Christ into their hearts today. Just say, “Lord, I believe you, I need you. I ask for your forgiveness and for you to fill my heart with Jesus.” He will answer. If there is anything I can do to help, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For everyone, I will be here tomorrow with my smile, my joy, and my desire to help you navigate life over 50.
Thank you so much for being here… stay home…stay safe…stay hopeful and…………
Remember, in our social distancing world, your smile is the way you send hugs!
KEEP SMILING….and HUGGING!
He is risen indeed!
By Pamela Lutrell