Beauty from Ashes

"They will be called oaks of righteousness; a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor." Isaiah 61:3

Reflections on an epic Easter April 27, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — katiemears @ 4:18 pm

This weekend was one of my best recent weekends to date. It was full of God, His people, and my family. It was a much needed reprieve in a the last few months of emotional chaos.

The weekend started out celebrating Good Friday with the good people of Four Oaks Community Church. The evening was a prayerful one reflecting on the sacrifice our Savior made for us on that fateful day. I am thankful to Pastor Erik for his reflections that night. While Easter is an amazing day of celebration, Good Friday is probably my favorite day in the Christian faith. It is still so hard for me to fathom the sacrifice that was made. I am always rocked inside when I think about what that must have felt like for Christ. Especially when it is pointed out the actual separation from God that Jesus felt that day, something I will never have to feel. I was even brought to tears when reading the crucifixion story to MP from his Bible that night.
Another cool part of the weekend was all the celebrating we got to do with Michael Paul. As he grows older, it is so much fun to watch him enjoy activities like egg hunting, anticipating his Easter basket, decorating Easter eggs, and learning about the true meaning of Easter. Saturday was spent doing just those things with him and it was a wonderful family day that I am so thankful for.

Sunday morning marked baby Claire’s 4 month birthday. I can’t believe my sweet girl is 4 months already! She was looking adorable in her sweet Easter dress and she even went to the nursery during church for the first time. She did great and I’m thankful for the sweet nursery workers taking great care of her. We really missed our church family at Crossbridge yesterday, though. In case you don’t know (and you should!), Michael is part of a three month long “training” program with the pastors of Four Oaks, one of our financial and prayer supporters. As a part of their support to CCF and the FSU Navigators (another campus ministry), they asked Michael and the Navigators’ director to be a part of this training program to grow them as pastors and let them see another side of ministry. We are grateful for the opportunity for Michael to gain some training and, as a part of it, we are attending Four Oaks for the months of April, May and June. So, if you have been wondering why you’re not seeing us at Crossbridge, that’s why! We’ll see you all in July. Erik preached a fantastic sermon which really challenged me.
The afternoon was spent in Havana at Michael’s uncle’s home eating tons of food and watching the kiddies hunt Easter eggs. Claire slept through almost the whole event but woke at the end to show her sweet face to the family and snap some adorable family pictures.

But, Sunday evening was, by far, the best part. A few weeks ago we celebrated 6 baptisms at CCF and Sunday night, we celebrated THREE MORE! Each of the 3 girls shared their very different but very moving testimonies without holding back. I was so proud of each of them and, as always, it was so moving to see what God had done in their lives, especially since our ministry had a huge part in each of their stories. I had the privilege to tell one of the girls whom I had not met till that night, Cassandra, that, although I didn’t know her before, I had been praying for her salvation. You see, Michael hangs prayer cards in our shower each day of things for us to pray for and for the last few weeks he has had the name of some “lost” students who he has been praying would find salvation. I hadn’t gotten to meet Cassandra but he had told me about her and her name was on the cards. Sunday night I got to tell her that I had prayed for her and that we could now take her name off the card! Praise God!

The night finished out with a celebration of 13 of our 15 graduating seniors. Each senior had a few fellow CCF students share the impact they had had on their life and then each senior got to share their future plans and their “departing words.” What a humbling experience to hear each of them share the lasting impact CCF had had on their lives. The statement of the night was “I wouldn’t be the person I am today (or my relationship with Christ wouldn’t be what it is today) if it hadn’t been for CCF.” It was such an amazing testimony to the work God is doing at FSU. This is, by far, our largest and best senior class to date and they will be sorely missed. We are thankful for the service they have given to the ministry but, above all, the way they have grown and been used in the lives of their classmates. This was a much needed night of encouragement for me and it made every time Michael has to be gone for a CCF event, every time we receive a late night phone call from a student, or every time he has to work late into the night so worth it. God, thank you for using him and, indirectly, me for your purposes.

As I look back on this Easter I am thankful for the cross, the gift my children and husband are, and the ministry God has given us.

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