I just read an article for church leaders about the time following Easter. What does the day after Easter look like? Are the leaders comparing numbers with other churches? Are they following through on what happened yesterday? Or are they going back to business as usual? Even though I’m no longer on staff with a church and didn’t have countless numbers of services to attend this past weekend and thousands to serve, this final question bounced around in my heart. Am I rushing off to what’s next or am I allowing myself to sit in awe of what yesterday signified?
Almost 2000 years ago, the God of the universe rose from the dead bringing freedom, everlasting life, and forgiveness of sins to all who believe. How did I get here? How am I so blessed to receive the unbelievable blessings that He brought to His children through His death and resurrection? It started a chain of memories that led me back to the beginning of my relationship with Him. I thought I’d share it with you and I’d love to hear your story as well!
I was blessed to be raised in a household led by parents who loved Jesus…and I don’t mean they checked the box. I mean that I saw them spend time with Him daily. I saw them live out His commands and I saw them live in a community that provided support, accountability, and lived lives apart from the world…yet in it with their love. Now my childhood wasn’t perfect (whose was?), but it was a pretty good start to a life that has had its ups and downs!
I remember sitting at the kitchen table one morning wrapping my Grandpa’s birthday jar of peanuts and asking Mom if I could ask Jesus into my heart. I think I was 6? To me, the decision was already made. It was a given. I knew Jesus because of how my parents, grandparents, and Sunday School teachers interacted with Him and with me. I knew as much about Him as a young child could. And I’ve continued to learn more and more about Him.
He has been faithful to walk through everything with me – from difficult times at home to my first mission trip to working over a decade for the local church. He’s never strayed or proven Himself to be anything but worthy of my worship. Have there been times when I’ve faltered? When I’ve questioned His goodness? When I’ve felt like He walked away? Unfortunately I have felt all of these and more…but looking back, it was always on my side of things. Sometimes, it was simply not understanding what His goodness really means. At times, I gradually drifted and didn’t always realize it until I was farther away than I wanted to ever be from Him. But He is faithful…even when I am not!
That is my attribute to share with others, I think. I believe that our lives are woven by the Lord into a beautiful tapestry. Corrie ten Boom talked about how when we look from our side of the tapestry, it looks messy and there’s no significant pattern, but when God looks at it, He sees a beautiful masterpiece. I think He also weaves Himself throughout our patterns – a golden thread in the midst of our muted colors. This golden thread is a particular attribute of God that He wants to showcase in each of our lives. I believe my golden thread is God’s faithfulness. Over and over in my life, His faithfulness is so evident and shines out from my crazy life. What is your “golden thread”?
So don’t rush off from the incredible freedom, love, forgiveness, and more that is yours in Christ because of Good Friday and Easter. Take time to sit in His presence and thank Him for the fact that you have a story because of His goodness. If you haven’t started your story with Him yet, it’s the perfect time! Then take time to share with someone what God has done in your life. I know I’d love to hear about it!
Thank you, Mel, for sharing with Parking Space Faith. Your commitment is unfailing and your transparency and desire to allow God to lead your life inspires us all. Godspeed on the journey ahead. We will be following as He weaves His golden thread deeper into your tapestry of your life!
My phone was blowing up in my purse as I sunk my teeth into an oversized petit four. As it turns out, the texts were more of a treat than the miniature cake with a rosette on top. After leaving my OB appointment I had composed a text to let people know when my new baby would arrive, that she had finally moved positions, and that my favorite doctor would officially deliver. After I pressed send I looked back at the list of recipients. Each lady represented so much of the Lord's graciousness and provision in my life. Each lady lived in a different state. Each lady prays for me.
I have moved eleven times and lived in seven states since 2004. I have begged for egg boxes at IGA, bought bubble wrap in bulk, solicited help from any one that would help. I have cried, I have sobbed, I have been lonely. I have felt disoriented. I have had to accept help when my prideful soul wanted to pretend I didn't need help. I have learned to pray, what it really means to memorize scripture, and to go meet people when I really just want to run to my hometown and be with my people who have known me since before I was born. I have experienced deep joy and witnessed Christ work in my heart and around my family like I could never have imagined. All because of the game of football.
Moving and learning to move; there is no class. It is emotional and physically draining. Throughout these twelve years I have learned that you can't give into that, and you can't stop there. You must begin with the idea that the Lord will go before you orchestrating all of the best for you and your family. In the beginning it was only important to me that I lived somewhere safe, found a church, made friends, and that I would land a good hair colorist. Today I still look for those things, but my list has grown as my family has grown. I make a physical list of everything that begins to overwhelm me, and I pray that list, continually lay it down before the Lord as any one of the items begins to creep in and create anxiety. I watch the Lord check EVERY single item off. At times it has taken a year or more for some items. The Lord is all about details, our details. He longs to show up big, and for us to give Him the glory for what He does. "He cares for you." (1 Peter 5:7)
When I was little my mom managed to get the most delicious biscuit recipe from our neighbor, Mrs. Lawson. These little bites of heaven are light, and buttery, and can be cut round, or heart shaped, or even into your home state's shape when you're needing that. When you make these biscuits, as you would any biscuit, you have to use your hands. Your hands get sticky, and floury. The dough is everywhere. It always seems that when I make this recipe someone calls when my hands are covered. I always feel like I have to stop, regroup, and quickly answer the phone. Moving has been like making Mrs. Lawson's biscuits for me. You just kind of have to dive in. You must go and meet the neighbors, they don't always come to meet you. You go visit the church and the bible study in a room full of women you don't know. You go again. You don't compare to what you used to have when you lived in the last town. You live in this town, and you pray that the Lord makes it your home, and that it will feel like home. You get your hands in the mix and you seek His face. Even if you never gain a heart for your new town, you will know the Lord deeper, and you will know how much you need Him.
In Arkadelphia, Arkansas the Lord gave me a wonderful neighbor who loved to make homemade marshmallows. I remember one cold night I heard a pounding on my front door. When I peered through the peep hole I saw her holding a huge rubber spatula and her hand cupped underneath so as to prevent any marshmallow "drippage". That night she ran inside my house and we ate real marshmallow cream. She reached out to me and we pressed through the awkward and we still keep in touch today. As a child I grew up in First Baptist Church Sumter, South Carolina. My mom sang in the choir and my dad sat with my siblings and me. One quick way to make me homesick is going to a new church. If I just let myself go and my eyes drift to the choir loft I realize I don't see those familiar faces, and I don't hear my dad singing next to me in the pew. Before long, if I reach out, and allow people in, I do know those faces in the choir loft, and I benefit and grow. I have story upon story like these. That doesn't mean these people are common, but instead that our Lord is gracious and extravagant with His children.
There are those times that there are gaps and I don't feel God. I don't sense His way for us, and his provisions of the past seem like a blurry mirage. It is in those times that my husband and I go back to our time line. We've created an actual Brown Family timeline and the only dates on it are dates that we see God move in our lives. In those times He cared for us so obviously that we could do nothing but rejoice. This timeline guides us through the "gap" to remember He is gracious all of the time; when we notice and when we do not. The Lord is always active. Always. We must train our minds to see Him at work.
-Rachel Jones Brown
A most grateful "thank you" to Rachel for sharing her heartfelt and very transparent story. Sometimes it's hard to admit our insecurities and struggles. It's hard as moms to put out there that we don't have ALL the answers and we don't have it ALL together ALL the time. If we are honest, we are all Rachels. We cry, we scream, we get to the end of our ropes. Isn't it merciful of our Heavenly Father to send us "a Rachel" to share and to empathize with us until we feel strong enough to reach out and take His hand once again. You are a blessing girl! Thank you for your words.
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