She Came with the Spices

Last year, I was introduced for the first time to a song that is absolutely beautiful! During the Holy 50 Days of the Resurrection, I played it repeatedly over and over and over again. And again some more! I sang it all day. I sang it to the kids before they slept. Needless to say, I loved it. The words really came alive to me.

This year, sadly I forgot about that song until my husband was listening to Resurrection hymns and came across it. I remembered how much I loved it.

In my blog post last week, I described my feelings of living and serving without any hope. Full of discouragement. Discontentment.

This song perfectly describes how we often lose hope. For a number of reasons. As women and even mothers, we lose hope. We carry guilt. We set high expectations that we try to meet without the Grace of Christ. We strive and preserve. Only to get disappointed when we fail.

Just like that early Sunday morning walk. When women full of heartache and pain made their way to the tomb. Expecting death. Failure.

The first part of the song describes those exact feelings of hopelessness and discouragement and guilt.

She came void of all hope; She came expecting death; Forgetting the Life-giver Who is the living breath.

Yet, when they left the tomb, it was hope. Life. Maybe they even danced!

That is why by the end of the song a different way of life is described. One of Hope. Joy. Resurrection. Perseverance.

I come now with joy; I come expecting life; Knowing that through Thee I can endure all strife.

It is time to have hope. Time to rejoice. Not to give up.

Christ our King has defeated sin. Defeated death. For Victory. For us to live.

“O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” . . . But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:55, 57

I won’t write much else because I would like the song to speak for itself. There are many wonderful versions of this song but here is one version sung by one of my friends who is beautiful both inside and out!

 

Let’s Chat: What things are really touching you during this Resurrection Time?

Trust Me. . . I’m a Lawyer

Did you know that I was a lawyer? After my three years of law school, debts, studying, writing, researching, and coffee drinking, I achieved a lot. If you went to law school or had friends that did, you would know that I was successful by “making journal,” becoming a Publications Editor on that journal, joining clinic and so much more. I landed an amazing summer internship and then was hired as an Associate in the same prestigious Washington, D.C. law firm practicing Intellectual Property Law. I received a ten-thousand-dollar increase to my salary in the first week.

By all the world’s standards, life was good.

I lived in our Nation’s Capital. I went to the best events. Ate at the top restaurants. Met some high-powered, world changers.

Until God decided to change my world.

That is when my husband and I heard our call to leave our lives and become missionaries in Africa.

“Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.” Genesis 12:1

Our families were shocked and said to us, we left Africa to give you a better life and now you are returning to Africa!

They gave us a better life. For us to have that choice.

That was ten years ago.

I can’t believe we have been in Africa for ten years. And still God has so much work to do through us.

But what changed? Somewhere in that ten years, and I don’t know when exactly, but I lost hope.

We came at first to Africa on fire. Passionate to serve the community. Full of love. Hope.

Then, discouragement hits. Slow change around us. War room prayers set aside.

Judgment creeps in. Hypocrisy. Pride. Distractions. Disappointments.

Then, the roller coaster ride. Some days excited to serve the Lord. More days less excited.

Then, this Holy Week comes along in our church calendar. I wasn’t expecting much. With two little kids, it is hard.

But what changed this year? I regained my hope.

It wasn’t like I never missed any of the Holy Week services. Actually, it was the opposite. For the first three days of Holy Week, my son was really sick so I missed every morning and evening until Thursday! And when I was there, my three-year-old needed me to keep helping her put the arms of Mr. Potato Head in the right place (I thought iPad apps were supposed to keep them busy so that I could focus!). I also kept trying to make sure my spiritual children were meditating and reading during the long hymns or what we like to call “meditation and prayer time.”

But, God gives a special grace. It is what I like to call a special “Mommy Grace” reserved for Moms for the quality and not the quantity of time spent with Him. He blesses it. He fills it. He bursts my heart open. He warms me with His loving arms wrapped around me.

During the procession in our Resurrection Feast Liturgy, that is when I realized that Christ had done a work in me. Do you know how I responded? I danced. If you have been to Africa before, you would know that our services include a lot of traditional songs with dancing and praising Jesus. So, I danced with my church family.

Then, as I danced, it struck me. I don’t remember the last time I had danced.

Before that, and even during Holy Week, I had been praying for Christ to reinvigorate my heart for the people and His work He called us to do.

It wasn’t emotional. It was God deep in my heart answering my prayer. To enjoy the Resurrection. To know His Power is there. That our God is a great God. Able to rise up from the dead. And that Power lies within me.

“I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” Revelation 3:1

For far too long, I was alive on the outside. I am not alive from the outside only. But from the inside.

Thank you Jesus.

Pray for our mission here in Zambia. Pray for me.

I leave you with a beautiful meditation that a dear friend of mine shared on Facebook (there are spiritual treasures on Facebook!).

Devout and God-loving people, enjoy this kind and bright festival. Wise people, come and share joy with your Lord. You who have laboured in fasting, receive your deserved reward. You who have laboured from the first hour, come to the festival now!

You who came at the third hour, rejoice!
You who lingered until the sixth hour, celebrate!
You who came at the ninth hour, do not be sad!
You who managed to come only at the eleventh hour, do not be dismayed by your lateness. No one will be deprived of heavenly joy!

For our Lord is generous.
He welcomes those who come last in the same way as those who come first.
He is grateful to the first and rejoices in the last.
He consoles those who came at the last hour,
as if they had laboured from the first hour.
He gives to everyone:
those who laboured and those who wanted to labour. He receives the service and kisses the intention.
He values the deed and praises the desire.

All of you enter into the joy of the Lord:
First and last, receive the reward!
Wealthy and poor, rejoice with one another!
Diligent and lazy, celebrate the festival!
Those who have fasted and those who have not, be glad together. The feast is abundant, eat your fill!
All of you enjoy the wealthy banquet of the faith and mercy of God

Let no-one go away hungry or offended. Let no-one be sad about their poverty,
for the kingdom is now here for everyone. Let no-one weep over their sins, for forgiveness for all has burst with light from the grave. Let no-one be afraid of death,
for the death of Jesus has freed us all.

Embraced by death, He subdued death.
Having descended into hell, He took hell captive.
Isaiah prophesied: “Hell was troubled, having met You in the underworld!”
Hell was in mourning, for it was abolished!
Hell was distressed, for it was condemned!
Hell was impoverished, for it was deposed!
Hell was destroyed, for it was bound!
It took on a body, and touched God.
It took on the earth, and met heaven.
It took what it saw, and fell to where it did not expect!

Death! Where is your sting?
Hell! Where is your victory?
Christ is risen, and you are brought down.
Christ is risen, and the demons have fallen.
Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice.
Christ is risen, and life triumphs.
Christ is risen, and there are no dead in the grave. Christ has risen from the dead, become the firstborn of those who sleep and set into motion the resurrection of all.
To Him be glory now and forever.
Amen!

–St. John Chrysostom

 

Let’s Chat: Tell me about your Holy Week experience.