Monday, April 5, 2010

This Easter's Blessing

Some of my earliest memories as a little girl, involve being at Jesus' feet...and sometimes I still find myself there today. It's always the same. I start by lying down at His feet, and then He pulls my head into his lap and lays His hand on the side of my face to comfort me. Because that's what I'm always seeking when I find myself there--comfort. I wouldn't call it a vision, but I wouldn't call it my imagination either. It's an experience that feels real when my eyes are closed, but I'm perfectly aware of being within the confines of my mind. I don't see with my eyes as much as my heart. And every time I'm in His presence, I'm amazed at why I haven't been there in so long. Why do I stay away?

On Sunday morning, I didn't know if I was going to be able to go to our Easter service or not. Pace was not quite stable on Saturday, and I knew she shouldn't be around other children just yet. So, after Jeremiah left for work, I got back in the bed with my Bible and poured over the Easter story, through the eyes of John--the self-proclaimed beloved disciple (that tickles me for some reason). And as it is the living Word of God, something fresh welled up inside me as I read the same old story, this time.

At first it was awe in the deep love of a God who stands on the eve of His own gruesome death, and is so concerned with the welfare of his friends:
"I will remain in the world no longer, but they [the disciples] are still in the world and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name..." John 17:11a

And with me:
"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message [me, ME!], that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me." John 17:20-21

And what that meant for me, lying there in my bed and taking care of my children and cooking dinner and sinning like the sinner I am, is that Christ, in the form of the Holy Spirit dwells within me!! What in the world?! Just as I carried two little lives inside of me, before Pace or Mary Aplin were born, I carry around the God of all Creation ALL the TIME!

"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever--the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you." John 14:16-17

How would my life look differently if I truly walked as though I believed in that powerful truth? That is when I found myself at His feet, crying out "How can I deserve such a gift?! How does any earthly blessing compare to this--this that I so seldom even recognize, much less thank you for? How can You bear it? To see all my sins, and abide within me despite my ugliness? Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! I don't deserve all the ways you bless me. I can't fathom why you continue to love me, but thank you. Grace. Grace. God's grace. Grace that is greater than all my sin."
Those were the cries of my heart, as my head lay in his lap, and he smiled down on me in spite of it all. As my heart finished, I asked a little sheepishly--not knowing if it were an appropriate request, "Do you think you could tell Mom, that I said 'Happy Easter'?"

And he said, "Why don't you tell her yourself?" And there she was. Even in her surprise presence, I didn't dare lift my head from His lap. But she understood. She knelt down, even with my face and she looked like my 45-year-old healthy Mom. Not the 18-year-old with long flowing hair, that I've been imagining her to be ever since she went to heaven, but my Mom. And she quickly poured out all the things a girl-woman longs to hear from the lips of her own Mother. Affirmation and encouragement about the woman I am now...the Mom I am now. As though the Holy Spirit weren't gift enough :)!?

I laughingly asked, "Is this real?" I opened my eyes and I was still in my bed. I close them again, and I'm in Jesus' lap with my Mom kneeling in front of me. His answer, "It's not your imagination."
And I smelled the squash boiling low in the kitchen--just like she used to make it, and I stepped back into "Easter Sunday" a blessed woman indeed.

10 comments:

Robin said...

How precious God is to give us these moments to make life bearable when we miss our loved ones so much. Every time I open a gift , I can hear her squeal..."I just love a present " Little did I know that she was the gift..the one we miss when we are hurting, her laughter, her smile, and her mischevious spirit that was so much fun and spontanious. I am so proud of you and I know she is also.Keep loving and living...

~mott said...

What a moving post! God is in everything when we believe. Beautiful pictures of the children, too! Hope they're feeling much better.

Sarah Grace said...

Thank you for sharing that post Abby.

Gail said...

Abby, Once again...You take my breath away. How beautiful this post is. What a sweet gift you recieve on Easter Morning! Glory be to God!!!! Every time I find a coin...I just know my Dad sent it from above. Finding one on Easter Eve was a simple joy to my heart. Remember...St. Paul reminds us to open our eyes and ears of our hearts! I think you found your way, dear. Peace, joy, and happiness--may they always be yours. :O)

Tonja said...

God does, indeed, give us the desires of our hearts...when our heartsnare tuned in to Him and they are seeking to do His will!

What a gift you recieved from Him! To see and hear your Mom! I'm a lot older thatn you, but I lost my Mom last summer very unexpectedly. The greatest desire of my heart would be to spend just 10 minutes talking to her again!

God bless you!

kendall Boggs said...

Oh Abby that was so beautiful!

Kellie said...

Beautiful Abby! thanks for sharing those intimacies with God. You are such a beautiful woman both inside and out!

Benzoo said...

Now that you have me crying in my coffee - Thank you for sharing your heart in such a real way - True Beauty ! Abby, you really should write a book - You have such a way with words- Real, witty, grace-filled with a little sass. I love it!! Thank you!

J said...

Oh Abby, what precious and beautiful words. I often close my eyes in prayer and with my heart, I see myself in my Fathers lap, with my face buried in the crook of His neck, and His arms wrapped tight around me, His hand stroking the back of my head, comforting and carrying me in the midst of life's pain and storms. And I know I am safe in His will.

Debbie Douglass said...

This was so prowerfull Abby and it spoke to my heart in so many ways..I feel tears welling in my eyes..what a peaceful feeling to have your head in God's lap and your mother in front of you healthy and loving...I don't think you could have gotten this much message in a service Abby..thank you for blessing my life with this passage.