I got to spend some time with my sister Kim this week, and she was telling this story about how she and Ken had been riding their motorcycle and stopped at the Walmart in Gallipolis, Ohio to get a pair of shoes. She says they ran into the store, looked at the shoes, remembered they needed contact solution, this and that, this and that, and before you know it, they had six bags full of stuff. They do not remember that they are on the bike until they get to the parking lot and begin to look for their car. Yikes! What are they going to do with all this stuff? She tells how they take the contact solution out of its box, thinking it will be smaller, try to put it in a pocket, stuff all the other things everywhere they can, but she still ends up having to put three bags up under her shirt and in between she and Ken so she can sandwich them to try to keep them safe to get home. Can’t you just see it? These crazy people with Walmart bags stuffed in between them and peeking out from the saddle bags and every other nook and cranny available?
As soon as she told that story, God gave me a picture that that is us, our lives stuffed with things we do not need, things that are weighing us down, making us look ridiculous, all the while we are hanging on to them for dear life. I have a friend who says her New Year’s resolution was that no one was “putting anything on me.” She explained that her entire life, she has allowed people to put things on her: Guilt, shame, defeat. You know, “If you had been a better mother, I probably wouldn’t have made these mistakes.” Or “I needed you and you weren’t there – you always let me down.” “If you hadn’t done what you did, I wouldn’t have had to do what I did!” I’ve thought of that so much, how if we don’t actively watch out for it, pretty soon we’d be carrying around all those burdens that Christ lifted from us through His sacrifice!
God’s timing is so impeccable. This week and weekend have been crazy. Good crazy, but crazy. Friday night, our church got together to go see the movie “Heaven is For Real” (excellent!), and we met at my office for a little pizza and fellowship beforehand. We had a great turnout and it was really fun. Ran out of there in too big of a rush to clean up, so left the mess. Saturday, I had to do a deposition of a neuropsychologist all day (yes, Easter weekend!), and it went much longer than expected. I got out of there around 3:30, ran over to the office to clean up the mess I’d left, hopped in the car and began to return phone messages (egg hunt organization, beach house repair, an invitation to a play, blah, blah, blah). All the way home, I returned phone calls and then rushed into the house to grab my gift for a baby shower I’d almost forgotten about. Back out the door to the baby shower, and on my way home from it, I get a text message from a dear friend who had had surgery last week and I hadn’t made it to see her yet, and we had arranged that I would come over after I got out of my deposition – yep, I totally forgot!
I must admit that as I sat in that deposition listening to the testimony about these women having memory issues and cognitive functioning problems from an exposure to carbon monoxide at their workplace, I wondered if I should make an appointment with the guy – I have worried for years about the fact that I cannot seem to remember anything longer than the time it takes to get it on my machine! I kind of laugh and say I’ve ruined my brain by words in, words out, words in, words out, but I’m not really joking. I’m not sure what he could do to help me, but this jumbled-up brain of mine is struggling – OBVIOUSLY!
I was mortified I had forgotten my date with my friend – I was looking forward to it, and she was alone all weekend recuperating and looking forward to our visit. When I heard from her, I instantly felt that guilt, you know, the one that starts down the road of “What kind of person am I that I’d forget something so important?” “How rude of me – she will never forgive me!” I messaged her back, admitting my guilt, and begged for her forgiveness. Instantly she messaged back and said it was no problem, and she wasn’t going to let something like this ruin our friendship. Actually, this was a quote: “It’s awesome that you want to visit but I understand I'm not your only friend. Why would I want to jeopardize our friendship by getting jealous over something like that – it will happen in God’s time.” Wow, wow, wow. If only we all had that attitude!
As I woke up this morning, I realized why I didn’t get my story written until today – because God had more to show me! My friend gave me the gift of forgiveness, not counting grudges or slights or inconsideration against me – and isn’t this what Christ died for? So that we could remove those things hanging on us, hiding in our pockets, tucked under our shirt so no one can take them from us? What are you holding on to today? Is it anger, hate, shame, guilt, discouragement? There is a Savior who came and died to save us from our sins, and He is just waiting to take those burdens from you – won’t you let Him? Get in church this morning and meet this man – I guarantee, you will not regret it!
My name is Teresa Evans. I am a wife to Tom, a retired Circuit Judge, and I am a court reporter by trade, a mother by God's grace and a lover of Jesus Christ. I've grown up in a family blessed with many miracles, and have received multiple miracles myself.