This Holy Week feels so strange to me. Not having the combined pressure and excitement of conducting another Resurrection celebration on Sunday is just so foreign after experiencing that, in one way or another, literally my entire life, and especially the last 12 years.
Yes, I know I didn't have to last year, either. But, I was at least a participant in the service I was in.
More importantly, though, everything from the months (and even years) prior was still so fresh and raw in my mind and heart.
I was in the middle of so much transition--from Georgia to Minnesota; from the pastorate to the laity, at least for now; from the familiar to the unknown. I wasn't feeling much of anything at that point except frustration and hurt.
It's different now. The joint effects of the grace of God, time, my family's love and patience, and a combination of medications that looks like it could finally be right have provided a degree of relief and healing, though there's still a long road ahead.
There's still frustration, still uncertainty, still a list of "not yets" that keep hanging around. But, upon self-examination, I can honestly say, for the first time in several years, that the hurt is gone--and, to me, that's a cause for praise and gratitude.
King David was right when he wrote, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in Spirit. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." (Psalm 34:18, 147:3)
Don't get me wrong; I'm profoundly grateful for this time the Lord has provided for me to be a worshiper instead of a worship leader.
But, there's still that little something in the back of my heart that thinks about being in the mix of preparing and conducting an Easter service. I think that's God's way of gently assuring me that He's not finished with me yet, a simple reminder that, whatever His plan, however long it takes, whether it's back in the pastorate or in an entirely different way, He can and will still use me, scars and all.
That morning, when women and men discovered an empty tomb and encountered a resurrected Savior, hope was renewed in their lives. They had no idea what the next day held. But, then again, that day had surprised them, too. So, why not? Jesus was alive; and, because of that, they could face whatever came.
I find myself in a similar position now. I have no idea what tomorrow holds. At present, I'm driving Uber to pay the bills and living in a 400 square foot apartment. But I still serve a risen Savior. He's still working on me. And, because of that, I'm finding healing in progress and hope being renewed. Come what may, everything's going to be all right.