It Happened On Easter

After years of exposure through the flower shop, I became extremely allergic to Easter Lilies.  My eyes watered, my skin broke out in hives, and breathing became difficult. Even walking past them in the grocery store elicited a reaction. Easter Sunday would be a huge challenge as my church would be filled from door to altar with lilies.

Having never missed an Easter Sunday service, the thought of not going was unacceptable. Yet, how was I going to overcome the issue with the allergy?

A good friend, and fellow florist, mentioned her church used silk lilies in deference to her. She sang in the praise team and was highly allergic to the beautiful flowers as well, and invited me to attend services with her and her family. Simple solution? Not really.

My church frowned on attending other services and I had never been to another church except for a wedding. Yet, I was already in turmoil with my church. My new husband was not a member of the church, nor wished to be. When I approached the church to have our civil vows, said in front of an African magistrate, repeated before a minister, my husband and I were the recipients of an inquisition. By the time we left the church I was in tears and my husband was further alienated from the faith.  I continued attending services, alone, but felt isolated and unaccepted. Then came Easter Sunday.

After a night of agonizing, I accepted my friend's offer. I sat with her and her family, and should have been delighted to be with someone, and not alone as I would have been at my own church, but I wasn't. Looking around at all the families celebrating and worshiping together, broke my heart. Why had my life turned out this way? How did I end up in this mess? Because I chose to marry someone who did not share my faith. Certainly the marriage was perfect in every other aspect, and all the miracles surrounding it were undeniable, at that moment I felt Africa was my downfall.

The pastor started his sermon with a story. And old man and a young man were discussing faith.

The old man asked the younger one, "Would you follow God anywhere?"

"Yes," the young man replied.

"Would you follow Him into the deep south?"

"Yes."

"Would you follow Him to Albania?"

"Yes."

"Would you even follow Him to Africa?"

My heart stopped. To Africa? Yes. I would follow Him even to Africa.

The following day 1 Peter 3: 1 was in my devotions: In like manner let wives be subject to their husbands: that if any believe not the word, they may be won without the word, by the conversation of the wives.

I still don't pretend to fully understand this verse, or the reason for my life's path. All I can do is trust Him even though I am still attending Easter Services alone. Yet, there has been a slight change. My husband asks every Sunday if I am attending services. He asks afterward about the service, the music, and the sermon. I answer his questions, careful not to preach or push.

Easter Sunday is a day of hope, of belief in the impossible, and realization that we belong to a Father who loves us more deeply than we can love Him back. Can I not trust such a love and follow Him wherever he asks, even to Africa?

Comments

  1. I kept saving this post to read when it was quite, knowing that God would speak to my heart. I think our pieces on Easter go together...each of us believing for our love ones to know Christ in the same way we do...but until God softens their hearts we continue in the walk...even if that means alone!

    Blessings...thanks for sharing..so many need to read this also.

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  2. I agree with you, Janette. Our posts do compliment each other. And yes, all we can do is pray and keep being examples of our faith. In the end, we don't really walk alone, He is with us. Yet, we do yearn for the company of our loved ones. Maybe someday they will join us. That is my hope.

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  3. Are you still attending that church, Cecilia? If so, is it out of love for the fellowship or out of obligation? I only say that because, as a child, my family experienced this same level of control. Control over your life to that extent is not what true fellowship is all about. Just a thought, not trying to preach at ya. :)

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  4. Good question, Jolina. No, am no longer a member of that church. I have not been back to my original church since the Inquisition. I have accepted the invitation of a friend to attend her church, which is an entirely different denomination. Thanks for bringing up that valid point, Jolina. Blessings to you and your daughter (husband too!)

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  5. Hi Cecilia, from out of a Christian love and fellowship for you, true fellowship would seem to me where the wind is blowing you. I have experienced often times, leaving the church behind but not my faith or love for Christ. Your heart already knows Christ and this is where He cares to reside. If you have this, church is really a matter of who you share Christ with. Christ's Resurrection is not just for Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, etc. and such; but, for all of us believers. Allow your heart to rest in the fact that Jesus loves you no matter where you spend your Sundays as long as it is with Him. I confess to being Catholic but only watch on TV now because of certain kinds of inquisitions. As long as my heart is with God I feel fine. Also, tomorrow is called the Feast of Divine Mercy...spend tomorrow with Jesus and I promise you will be blessed. Prayers and love coming your way dear sister in Christ!!

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  6. John, you have hit the real issue. It is with the same church I am struggling. After 50+ years this is not any easy decision. A friend of my once told me she is a Recovering Catholic. I understand. And you are right, I may not be attending the same church, but I have never lost my faith. Thank you for the advice and encouragement, John. It means a lot to me.

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  7. Very Good Cecilia...trust me I know how you feel. I love the Catholic faith, very much...beautiful faith it is...but too many rules. You know what I do, I take all the good from the church and leave the political stuff behind. Doesn't really matter what church to go to, there are biased opinions towards fellow Christians. It simply does not make sense. Follow the Jesus Who is in your heart and love what you love about the faith and leave the rest...my opinion, only. But I struggled 40 years with this and simply put learned God still loves me; He loves you as well. Peace Be With You!

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