I’m not now nor have ever been very holy and righteous… not bragging nor am i lamenting I’m just saying
this past Sunday I was so inspired by the people children and some adults who had decided that their lives were worth risking for the sake of the Gospel. We had a phenomenal time in worship. Children and their parents were baptized, all of a sudden I felt the Spirit of God tell me that it was time – Heal and Deliver God’s people and for this I was born. Amazingly enough the day before some very wonderful people came and worked and worked and worked, then some supportive, albeit crazy women told me that before I was going to be able to get them convinced that baptizing 40 folks, many of whom were unknown to them, was a good idea, I would need to pour some oil all over their bodies.. I laughed. But I did comply. The night before I had gotten the most fragrant blooms out of my other mother’s yard for the purpose of making the oil fragrant naturally. I did and I prayed that God’s anointing fill this place, but more importantly that God’s anointing change us to the Easter people that we are supposed to be.
That evening, I walked to the train station and enjoyed the quiet solitude, I knew that something big was to happen. I couldn’t sleep. I joked around with Raymond trying to make him stay awake (to no avail), I texted and played on the phone with some friends mainly not to loose my mind from what I knew only to be the anxiousness of participating in something that was so much more than me.
When I got to church, the place had been transformed by the creative hands of a woman who loves to serve God more than anything. Because of her faithfulness, I could see the presence of Almighty God ready to take control. I had read and prayed, studied and consulted, begged and pleaded, but nothing prepared me for what happened next. The funny thing is I have no clue. You’ll have to ask someone else. I know lives were changed, minds were eased and hearts were opened. I have no clue about the particulars. I remember a woman who I had never seen before bless me with her warm smile and tender touch, as if to confirm what Jesus had already said.
We baptized so many children and so many adults that children came after crying asking can they too be baptized. I knew that only God was working this thing called the real work of Easter out.
I always tell people that just when you turn it all over to Christ all hell breaks loose. I wasn’t lying and it happened barely as I got out of church.
For whatever reason, not his fault I told Raymond I was divorcing him when Asha went to school. I felt the power of the devil trying hard to destroy me at my very core. I have spent the over half my life loving and taking care of Raymond and in my heart I knew nothing could change that – but JUST when I let my guard down the devil came and attacked … I tried to pray – it wasn’t working. I texted Dwayne, the one person who wouldn’t judge me or Raymond and who would intercede on my behalf. Then Raymond and I went to visit some friends, the next morning all was back right with the world.
The next day we discovered why our water bill was $1000, there is a busted pipe in the back yard. the car messed up, we only have two and Asha took one to Destin. that was cool because some wonderful folks took care picked me up and provided Raymond dinner.
Today, our air conditioning is out, there are millions of termites swarming around the wood outside our home and the deck to our house is sinking and some kids broke into one rental house and a tenant refuses to move out of another one…. but my GOD is able and the devil is a liar. Raymond and I are hanging out in the sun (on the sinking deck) having a ball yelling at the dog praying no neighbors complain about him today… Ray may not like I talked about him (he’s perfect and does no wrong you know).
I tell you this because the real work of Easter is just beginning. I know that if the enemy is attacking me the enemy may try and attack you too. I want you to know that does not mean that God is not able or that you aren’t worthy of God’s blessings or that Jesus didn’t come for you. It may simply mean that you are moving in the right direction – ask Jesus right now to be your peace.
My daddy always used to preach Jesus is a rock in a weary land, shelter in the time of storm, a wheel in the middle of a wheel, a mother for the motherless and a father for the fatherless, that God is the Great I AM, the beginning and the end, a battle ax in the time of war.
There is a war going on and not just in Irag. The real work of Easter comes not just early Sunday morning when the Spirit is heavy and high.
The real work of Easter comes the next day, when in the midst of everything going on with you, you can see the hurt in someone else and be able to tell them that Christ died so that we can have the peace that surpasses our very understanding.
The real work of Easter is about making sure that you are available not just on Sundays – but Monday through Sunday. I too believe in self care, but if I treat my neighbor right by serving them when they need it most despite what I believe that I need. God will restore me 200 fold.
The real work of Easter makes us know that our salvation is not for ourselves, but the people that we are in community with – even when we don’t know their name,
The real work of Easter is about denying myself and when I’d rather sit on my deck and have Tequila Tuesday – getting up and ensuring that those new to the faith don’t loose heart. Many of my members asked if the folks would come back after they were baptized, I told them that if we loved them right they would.
The real work of Easter is about loving God’s people despite who it is we believe ourselves to be, despite who it is we believe them to be.
The real work of Easter is about embodied the very presence of Christ, so much so that it doesn’t matter what happened or how it happened or even if you remembered, but that someone else knows that through your testimony God will work it out for them too.
What a powerful reminder. thanks for sharing Toni!
Thank you for setting a great example of being able to get through tough times.
Toni, you know God is and will always be in control. Thanks for being such a blessing to so many. And YOU know we don’t do divorce, it is til death do us part and nothing less, so tell Raymond to be strong or who knows.(joke!) Love you both, Peace & Love Gail
I am so proud of you! You have such a beautiful sprit and I believe with all my heart that God is using you right now and there is an even a greater work that He will do through you. Just remember to stay “sweet”, and let the Lord do the rest!