Simply Ari: Simply Me
The Inspired Thoughts of a Ready Writer
"My tongue is the pen of the Ready Writer"
4/20/2019 0 Comments
No Greater Love
"God Will Put You Back Together So Well That You'll Forget You Were Ever Broken."
Seven years ago (2012) almost to the day, I was in a very distant place spiritually. I felt like I was going through the motions of what Christians are “supposed to do”, but I wasn’t experiencing freedom and I wasn’t experiencing breakthrough. I spoke with my spiritual mentor and described that season as if I were walking into a forest and the foliage was so thick and plush, that I could not see where I was going. There was no light to help me find my way out. I would speak to God and there was no answer. I would wait on the Lord and minutes quickly turned to hours and hours turned into days…so eventually, I stopped. I felt so lost and disconnected from the Father and I had no idea how to get back to a place of communion with Him.
I was a Resident Assistant on the Faith Community Floor in undergraduate school at the time, and I can remember thinking, “How can I encourage the faith of my residents, if I can’t find the strength to do it for myself.” I grew more and more frustrated with where I was because I felt like the state in which I found myself was not beneficial to anyone. Eventually, I got back to praying, but out of habit, not from a place of faith. That year, I signed up for the spring retreat that my school’s Campus Ministry department was hosting. I felt like that was my last resort. When we got into small groups, I remember the girls, some older, some younger than me saying that they never heard Jesus talked about as a friend before. I genuinely felt like I had lost contact with my best friend. I just wanted to have Him back and I didn’t know how to get back to Him.
The heaviness in my heart and spirit was almost unbearable and I was desperate for an answer. The retreat was 3-days and I cried my way through most of it. Then on the second day, I was in my room and I cried out to the Lord with all of the faith and strength that I had left in me, and I saw a vivid image in my spirit of Jesus sitting on a rock with His arms outstretched toward me. I heard a gentle voice in the deepest part of me say, “I have always been here, and I will always be here. I’ve been waiting patiently on you.” I was reminded of a few verses in scripture found in Isaiah 54:7,8 and 10, “For a small moment I had forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy redeemer. For the mountains shall part and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.” A rushing peace flooded over me that day, and that was the beginning of my breakthrough.
On Easter of that same year, my family and I went to watch my older sister minister through dance at our home church. The song she and the other dancers performed to was, “Don’t Cry” by Kirk Franklin. As they danced, there was video footage from the movie Passion of the Christ playing behind them on a large screen. I watched each scene, Jesus being beaten and scourged, Jesus being nailed to the Cross, Jesus dying on the Cross, and Jesus being raised from the dead. I began to weep and an overwhelming sense of God’s presence and love rushed over me and I heard the Lord say “I did it for you.” My life forever changed that day, because I saw with the eyes of my spirit and was made to understand by the Holy Spirit the love and sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf. He personalized it for me in that moment. Since then, Easter has and will forever be my favorite holiday. Truly, “There is no greater love that to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:3
In honor of His Resurrection, here is a personalized playlist that reflects the joy and true meaning of this day and season:
1. Gracefully Broken- Tasha Cobbs Leonard
2. The Hill- Travis Greene
3. Worth- Anthony Brown
4. Don’t Cry- Kirk Franklin
5. Jesus Saves- Tasha Cobbs Leonard
6. Never Been a Moment- Micah Tyler
7. Gave It All- Travis Greene
Photo by Jason Betz on Unsplash
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