Next to the kick off of football season in the Fall, followed by the beautiful fragrances and the magic that Christmas ushers in, Spring is my favorite time of year. I boast in the fact that I’m a self-taught, gardener but definitely had a great example set for me as a child. My parents would spend countless hours out in our yard mowing, trimming, planting and pruning. My Mother’s goal was to always to be awarded “Yard of the Month.” So it only seems natural that one of her children would grow up to be an avid gardener. That would be me! I spend not only hours, but lots of money creating and designing my gardening landscapes. But ya’ll, Spring offers so much than just flowers blooming, grass returning to its green glory and butterflies fluttering. It’s more than little baby chicks, a white dress on Easter and a basket full of chocolates! This is a season that represents newness of life, a fresh start. Spring offers hope. Things that were once dormant and looked dead are restored and made beautiful again.
In the spirit of hope and the beautiful fulfilled promises this season brings, I wanted to share a simple but life-changing word of encouragement with you. Spring is a time when we often say, “out with the old, in with the new.” We clean out closets, get ride of things we don’t use, wear or want. We even break out all the cleaning supplies and frantically start “spring cleaning.” So it only seems fitting that we do a little spiritual spring cleaning too. My parents were raised in the Church, but as adults became more “C & E” (Christmas and Easter service) church goers. Although as a family our church attendance was spotty, interestingly there was a spiritual thirst inside me as a young child that could only be fulfilled by God. I can remember times in my life, when I would ask my dad to take me to the church and drop me off, which he did. I’d attend Sunday school, make some kind of crafty thing, would hear about Jesus, then I’d go sit in the “big” church service and a couple hours later my dad would return for me. Isn’t that crazy? But, I was thirsty. People were planting spiritual seeds of faith into my young heart during those early years. But the seed, over time lay dormant.
Time passed, I grew, life changed. Choices were made. After living a colorful life filled with crazy experiences, 80’s rock ‘n’ roll, lots of Miller Lite and other shenanigans, something happened. At 27 years old, I attended a Christian conference where the gospel was presented. A challenge was given, and it was quite simple… “ Jesus came to the earth to reconcile man to God. We have all fallen short with bad decision making and various sins committed. I invite you to not only ask Jesus to come into your heart, but also take a moment to acknowledge the fact that he alone can and will forgive you for all the wrongs you have made in life. If you choose to confess with your mouth that Jesus really is the Lord and if you really believe in your heart that he went to the cross, and was the ultimate sacrifice for mankind to be reconciled to a perfect and holy God, then you can be saved. You can be saved right now, today. Your life can change right now.” As I listened and pondered this opportunity, I was compelled to respond. Not only was I thirsty as a child, but those seeds that were planted early on that may have appeared null and void were merely germinating for years. That January day 26 years ago, I craved a change. I wanted a fresh start. I accepted that invitation and gave my life to Jesus and I have never been the same. The old me was dead, but the new me, the spirit of God, within me, came alive. The seeds suddenly sprang forth which have produced beautiful blooms and fruit that have produced so much good. If you personally know me, you can attest to this.
The Bible says in the New Testament, 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” That means that when we choose to follow Jesus all of our sins are washed away and are “buried with him in baptism.” Accepting Jesus is basically like taking a spiritual bubble bath. We are washed clean so the old, dirty you no longer remains. Your old way of doing life, coping, communicating and living is in the past. Instead, you’ve been made whole, clean and pure. What an incredible opportunity for us. All of us need a spiritual bubble bath. But remember, it’s a choice. All of us need a Savior. We need to be saved from ourselves. At least I did and still do each day. I know that when I am in charge of my life, I jack it up all day long but when I give Jesus permission to come in and guide and direct my steps, I usually walk in success.
So this Easter, during this beautiful time of spring, I invite you also to consider, ponder and ultimately choose to hop into the bathtub. There’s nothing you need to do to go “get cleaned up beforehand.” Do you go take a shower before you take a bath? Haaa! No, of course not. You don’t have to get your life perfect and then go talk to Jesus. Simply call on him and he will meet you right where you are. You could be in your living room, sitting in your car, in the bathroom in a bar or sitting in the midst of a group of toxic so-called “friends” that you know you need to walk away from. Doesn’t matter where you are, Jesus is right there. All you have to do is call his name.
I hope you have a beautiful Easter and more than anything, I hope the spiritual seeds that have been sprinkled or shared in your life will begin to take root. My hope is that you will begin to bloom and blossom and produce incredible fruit in your life like never before. Saying yes to a spiritual house cleaning is a good thing. Yes to Jesus and his ways, never disappoint. I promise.