I awake early, early for a sunday that is, 7:15. I lay there listening to The Mister. By my calculations we have about 20 minutes before we have to get up. He gently snores and every exhale makes his top lip puff out. I smile thinking about the storm last night. In the middle of a huge BOOM of thunder, I shook him and asked him what that was. Funny, I knew it was thunder, but needed him to pat me and say, “It’s just thunder baby, go back to sleep.” Instead, He was in his semi conscious state that causes him to say all manner of crazy talk. He assured me that it was just plastic hitting the water heater. Huh?!? The stories I could tell about The Mister talking in his sleep.
The rain is gentle now and I lay there for a few minutes more thinking about my Sunday school lesson, Preaching the Gospel to Yourself”, praying over my SS girls and asking God to remember His people that He loves dearly. Transition time is never easy and some Sundays I find myself lacking faith. Other days, like today, I am ready to go worship, fully expecting God to speak to me.
Me and The Mister ride to church with the twang of southern Sunday morning music from 99.1 FM radio. We sing in harmony to a quartet, with The Mister hitting the bass notes while I echo in perfect alto harmony. We smile at each other. It’s the only time we ever sing together and I declare us to have perfect harmony.
And today, I find attitude is everything. I find that I receive what I expect and strangely, I find myself wanting to worship the Worthy One more than receive my weekly “blessing” as if it somehow owed me for good Christian girl behaviour.
I am not disappointed. I listen as my friend Kenny sings the purest most beautiful southern gospel song….”The Anchor Holds”. Somewhere inside of me, the dam breaks and I let the words wash over me with truth….”the anchor holds, in spite of the storm.” And He lets me worship Him. Me, the worst sinner, the biggest hypocrite in the house, worship Him.
The sermon is brought by a guest speaker. Transition means a gamble any given Sunday. My church girl answer is that God speaks through His word and the man is just the messenger. My truthful answer is that until he gets started, you are never quite sure if this sermon will be enjoyed or endured.
Today, he is a big burly man, but so gentle in his message. It catches me off guard. A few minutes into the message I feel a warmth as he gently, like a father, begins to encourage my spirit. He seems to know I am tired, and life has not been particularly kind to me this week. He reassures me and others, but today it is as if he speaks right to me, that God is for me, not against me. He tells me to stay faithful and God will define success. I am reminded that the outcome of this church, my families lives, and even my making through tomorrow, is up to Him. I am suddenly aware that I can trust Him.
After service, I make my usual stops, hugging this person. Laughing with that one. I hug my friend Mr. Clyde. his eyes are filled with tears and they spill over as we talk. I love him. He is family and he is so faithful. He could teach me so many things about faithfulness and not giving up. I love my church people.
When I reach the car, my heart is full, and The Mister is rushing us to get to Rock Eagle…. southern sunday eating at its finest. The tables nearly sag under the weight of platters of hot crispy fried chicken. What else would any self-respecting southerner eat on a Sunday afternoon? Cream corn, hot buttermilk biscuits and green beans cooked down with seasoning meat finish the buffet. I bring The Mister his sweet tea, while he stops to chat with old friends at the next table. This Sunday crowd is full of grey haired men with their wives in Sunday best. Little girls with white patent shoes and hairbows as big as a plate atop their curls gather around the desser table. Little boys run around as their mammas threaten them and are ignored. Baby Girl tells us the details of her dream last night as we eat, and I laugh at her tale of cooking and nail polish….the way crazy dream intertwine opposites. I tell her about her daddy’s response to the thunder and it even makes him laugh.
When we finish, The Mister and I hold hands as we walk to the car. We don’t spoil the afternoon with words. He points out a deer on the edge of the creek as we drive out and we head back to 162 Clubhouse for our afternoon naps.
This Sunday, I worshipped, and in return was encouraged. This Sunday my friend, Kenny reminded me that my Anchor Holds through all my storms. And a big burly preacher I had never seen, reminded me that God determines when He is through, not me. He reminded me that God has plans I don’t even know about yet and if I quit, I may miss them. The Mister and Baby Girl reminded me that to love and be loved is a great gift. And just now, as I type the last few words, Willow licks my hand and reminds me that the afternoon is fading fast, and if we are gonna take a nap I better wrap this up……….