Monday, April 18, 2011

What My Favorite T-shirt and Easter Have In Common

What a special week!!  After Christmas, Easter is my 2nd most favorite holiday.  I love Spring time...the warmer weather, the always reminds me of the many promises God makes to us in regards to 2nd chances and new beginnings.  Easter represents so many feelings and emotions for me...too many for me to write about, but I believe I can paint you a picture of just how I'm feeling this week as I reflect on what Easter means to me, personally, and to the entire world.

A few years ago, I got involved in our church's Women's Ministry.  With new leadership in place, we decided to design a T-shirt for women to purchase in our church.  It was my favorite color, pink, and had one of my favorite Bible verses on it...Psalm 33:4 (NIV).  "For the word of the Lord is right and true;  He is faithful in all he does." I fell in love with this shirt.  I wore it all of the time.  It was comfortable and went with everything.  It was, indeed, my FAVORITE shirt I owned. 

One day, while doing laundry, I made an awful mistake.  I put my beloved pink T-shirt in the washing machine along with something blue.  When I pulled my shirt out of the washing machine, you can imagine my horror.  All over it were these ugly blue spots.  I was devastated.  Seriously, I cried.  That's how much I LOVED this T-shirt.  So, quickly I began to think during this moment of panic, and I remembered a box at the church having extra T-shirts in it.  So, the very next chance I got, I went to the church, went straight to the box of T-shirts, grabbed me one to replace the blue spotted pink T-shirt I so stupidly ruined in the wash, and threw it in my purse to take home later to proudly wear that week. 

That night at church, I was visiting with a woman who was attending our church for the first time.  As we were visiting, she was telling me how she had noticed several women in our church wearing our Women's Ministry T-shirts.  She told me how much she loved them and asked me if I knew how she could get one.  I asked her what size did she wear and she, of course, told me.  She wore the same size as me, and I remembered how I had just gone into that box of extra T-shirts and taken the VERY last T-shirt in my size.  Well, I was in a dilemma.  It felt for a moment as if time had stopped.  Everything was happening in slow motion, and for ONCE, I was actually thinking before speaking.  The Lord, with His gentle voice, said, "Give her your shirt."  I didn't really argue with the Lord unless you call my VERY long pause of silence arguing.  I was not, though, very quick to obey.  That's for sure.  But I took a few moments to think and listen.  So, I did just what He said.  I gave her the shirt right out of my purse and the look on her face made this "tiny to  most, but BIG to me" sacrifice worth every bit of it.

I went home that night and started my week, as usual.  I chose to wear my blue spotted T-shirt despite its ugliness.  Of course, I wore it only at home and only when cleaning, but I still wore it with a little hint of disappointment.  After cleaning house one day, my favorite T-shirt, of course, got dirty and required washing.  As I was pulling it out of the washing machine, I promise you, the Red Sea parted in my laundry room.  That pink blue spotted T-shirt came out of that machine with NOT ONE single spot on it.  I couldn't believe it.  I was speechless, shocked, and overjoyed.  And just like when I was talking to the women in church, I heard, again, God's sweet and gentle voice.  He said, "That's what I did for you.  I washed your spots away."

And just like that, the Lord reminded me of what He had done for ME.  Just like He washed those blue spots off of my most favorite T-shirt, He did the very same thing when He died for me on that cross.  And that, my friends, is why I celebrate Easter and why it means so much to me.  You see, my past is full of dirty, nasty, awful and humiliating mistakes.  But when I asked the Lord to be the God of my life, He forgave me for those mistakes.  And my slate has been wiped clean.  I am a redeemed Princess of the heir to the VERY throne of God.  I have been promised eternity with my Heavenly Daddy, and until then, I have complete access to the Holy of Holies because Jesus intercedes to Him on my behalf.  I get all of this because of the cross.  I get all of this because I asked him to wash my spots away, and He DID.  Just like those blue spots represented a horrible domestic mistake, the spots on my heart represented many terrible things I had done to myself and to my God.  But after surrendering my life to Christ, He, just like with that pink T-shirt, washed my heart clean.  He washed away my spots like He washed away the spots on my favorite T-shirt.  That's just how He is.

And He wants to do that for you.  Ask Him.  Ask Him NOW.  Ask Him to be the Lord of your life and wash your spots away.  Isn't it time?!  Aren't you ready to be set free from the chains those spots have represented in your life?!  The only way to do that is to face them...face your spots...face your mistakes.  Acknowledge them to the Lord.  Tell Him about your mistakes, ask Him to forgive you for them, and then ask Him to be the Lord and Savior of your life.  He'll do it.  And just like I can walk around with my blue spot FREE pink T-shirt, you can walk around with a spot FREE heart.  He wants you.  Now.  What are you waiting for?

"I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean;  I will cleanse you from all of your impurities and from all your idols.  I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you;  I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.  And I will put my spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws." -Ezekiel 36:25-27 (NIV)

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