I fretted and tossed and turned, turned, tossed and fretted all night long, finally getting my wearied mind to settle down and let me go to sleep at about five in the morning, I had set my alarm on my cell phone to wake me at seven am-ish, so I could wake in time to call my sister early--early enough so that if she wanted to she could fill the time she would use to come pick me up with something else if she needed to...
Because the Thanksgiving dinner that we were all...(nearly 200) of us were all supposed to be going to, I had tossed and turned and fretted over...deciding that I was not going to attend...For no good reason, either.
I am vegan and absolutely I cannot eat the food as I knew it would be prepared, but that wasn't the reason, the place was supposed to be crowded barely fitting all of us in, but that wasn't it either...why I didn't want to go, why I was planning to stay home, there was actually no legitimate reason, just something about me that I go through when things get a little hard for me...I do what is easy for me...
Being a loner for real, all of my life, when life, folks, things, the whole world, starts to get on every one of my nerves, I pull back and get by myself...
But this was not a healthy kinda thing for me to be doing when the whole family--my true family (all 200 of us) were getting together for Thanksgiving dinner...and all night long while I could have and should have been sleeping...
I was up wrestling with what I knew I was supposed to do--GO TO THANKSGIVING DINNER WITH MY TRUE FAMILY and what I wanted to do--STAY HOME ALONE BY MYSELF AND therefore WITH MY CHILDREN WHO ARE SINNERS--and by extension, continue to let the devil whoop on my head.
But I have nearly two hundred sisters and brothers who love me--for real they love me (finally I know what true love is-what it looks like, what it sounds like, what it feels like, how it behaves, what it truly is)...and I am still just scratching, barely scratching the surface of learning what it is and how to give it to everybody, cause I want to please and love the Lord by obeying Him and He said love my neighbor as myself and to love my brothers and sisters as He has loved me...
But and I digress, it brings tears to my eyes how they, my true family, loves me, but they do, they love them some crazy Michelle, when I have a good day, a bad day, when I feel alright and when I feel like I am hanging over the edge of crazy surely just about to fall over, they still love me, when I am happy, when I am just holding on--they love me.
So saturday morning at a little after seven I called my beautiful sister (they are all beautiful) and told her she didn't have to pick me up cause I wasn't going, she asked me if I was feeling okay. I told her I was feeling fine, I just didn't want to go. I mentioned the fact that there wouldn't be anything for me to eat there, because I am vegan...she told me my minister would be looking for me to be there and that would not be a good reason for not being there...She was given the responsibility of picking me ( her sister) up and bringing me to the dinner and when my mom and dad didn't see me there (and they would surely look for me) she would have to tell them what happened why she didn't bring me, was I sick--what happened to me and when the man of God, our head minister, our brother, asked my sister why his other daughter (me) wasn't there and all she had to offer for a reason was that I said I didn't want to come... as I write this on monday afternoon imagining my dad's face I knew his heart would have been hurt and I don't ever want to do that...he's a wonderful pastor, and father, my dear brother and he doesn't deserve to be treated like that...not at all.
And besides all that fretting, tossing, turning, churning and not resting--all of that was my attempt to tell the Lord, "Lord I know YOU want me to go, I know I should go...I know I am absolutely supposed to be there, I know that the under-shepherd you have so lovingly and thoughtfully and carefully placed over me, has asked for everyone to be there..... but Lord Jesus...I just don't want to go, so may I please just stay home.......this time? I am staying home.......okay Lord?"
So, here I was talking to my sister and she wasn't hearing nothing I was saying--Just like my Lord Jesus wasn't having none of whatever I was trying to say, whatever point my little sinful pea brain was trying to tell Him the night before.
So I got up alright, and early--to call her, and my sister wasn't having it either, the Christ in her life gave me my little spanking, I promise, as gentle and loving, and firm as only God can do all at the same time--only God can give a spanking and make you like it to.....God is so good.
So, I heard myself tell my sister, the Christ in her life, okay. Thats all I had to tell the Lord the night before and I coulda got some sleep, I kept my own self wake all night for no reason. We confirmed that at ten a.m. she, my beautiful sister was coming to pick me up. I reset my alarm on my phone for sometime before nine a.m. and I went back to sleep, got up---and at 10:24 a.m. when my sister pulled up outside, I was ready.
And as we rode down 71 east, to the resort where we were supposed to be by 11a.m. conversing, listening to some uplifting gospel music, after my big sister asked me I was too hot or too cold, (she loves me, and she wanted to make sure I had everything I needed) I assured her I was quite comfortable, and thanked her for making me go, she smiled so sweetly and assured me, that we all need and have to get a spanking sometimes. I just smiled, still not quite certain, how my vehement " Lord Jesus, may I please stay back this time" turned so quickly around, into a most meek and humble "yes"....and here I was in this car right now, on my way to Thanksgiving dinner with my large and most beautiful, most loving and wonderful family.
Then I turned to the right to look out of the window and I was yet amazed by the beauty of God's creation, as l always am and always have been since I was just a little girl, something about the morning sun, the way it shone off the grass, the trees, the Texas brush along that ole country road, and the way it flittered gently before my eyes, the way it seems to play peekaboo with a little girl trying to catch the dust particles caught in its rays, the way it seemed to do me when I was a small girl and the way it does my grand baby now, was just so sweet and so comforting--thats when I felt the Lord tell me in my heart (that I needed to get out of the house).
We got to the resort at 10:57a.m. my first time there and I was pleasantly surprised as we turned off of 71 onto the property where I was immediately greeted by two dear, one standing eating and one darting around a little bit, (please don't hit us, crossed my mind). I noticed the beautiful gold and copper colored boulders, the dusty horse trail peeking out to cross the road for just a moment before winding back in and through and hiding behind the trees, the green/brown grass, the sun parched, yet ever so beautiful Texas brush, and up ahead in the next car my other beautiful sister and her two boys, all of us riding along going the speed limit maybe about ten miles an hour, taking in the beauty of God's country as yet another of my beautiful sisters calls it.
Maybe about a half mile down the windy road we were greeted by our brothers who were attending to helping everyone park. My heart warms even more and a smile spreads across my face as we pull up and see them, I love my brothers--they stop us, asking me if I prefer to get out here, while my sister goes on a little further to park, telling me it's a little bit of a walk back up the lane.
The pilgrims as I lovingly and respectfully refer to them as in my heart, seasoned saints, truly saved, walking with the Lord and striving for perfection so they can see His beautiful face in peace, living examples--showing us younger saints HOW.IT'S.DONE. And this day they are correct, my knees don't feel like walking a bunch today, they are aching. But I don't know everything, I would have stayed with my sister and walked back up with her hurting with every step, but the Lord was watching out for me.
I walk back up the lane, to go inside and I have to stop for a brief moment, but just long enough for one of my other sisters to catch up to me, where we greet each other giving each other a hug, every time I see my family is like the first time. I pass my dad on the way in, but he's talking with one of the associate ministers and I don't interrupt, so I tell myself I will say hello later.
Inside, I have all day to sit and take in just how beautiful it all is, this building rustic and modeled to look like an old converted barn, painted bright red outside, with the pipes all exposed and running over the pecan shell colored wooden beams held in place by huge wrought iron looking metal brackets, big picture windows and double doors that let in all the Texas sun, but somehow not the heat, with weather worn wooden benches and rockers out on the porch, that I passed on my way inside. And the focal point of the dining room a stone fireplace from floor to ceiling, even the huge doors to the kitchen slide open and closed smoothly on metal casters.
When I sat down, I was pleased to learn I was sitting beside my grandma, the widow of our founding minister, though she is married now to my brother, my uncle, and my homeboy, he's from Philly--born, raised, and out there in sin in the streets for fifty years and he just gets me, being from Pennsylvania and spending much time in Pittsburgh he knows what we do, how we think in "the Burgh" and my grandma hugged me, loved me and was so glad to see me, she remembered I was not at the Christmas dinner last year, and so did my sister who had brought me today--200 of us, and 600 guests and they knew I was not there a year ago--sitting here writing this now, it occurs to me, that the Lord loves me that much....that much.
And when my my dad asked that everyone attend the Thanksgiving dinner, he said if one of us ain't there it just ain't the same, each one of us is just that important, and if any one of us ain't there it just ain't family.
They loved on me so much, they made me laugh, smile, nearly cry for caring so greatly and truly and purely for nobody-nothing me...and I left that dinner (my physical meal being delicious fresh fruit) although my grandma and dear sister said that she will see to it that from now on there is a veggie tray, with some hummus and crackers there for me and those who maybe at that time can't eat the regular menu, so I can eat,
but having gotten something more better and more precious than gold, and that's the love of the Lord, in His true saints, which lifted me up off the ground, dusted me off, built me up, edified me, and is in the midst of my tears as I cry out to the Lord asking Him, no holds barred, no exceptions, no ifs, no ands, no buts....
Lord Jesus please teach me and help me to be your obedient sheep, the best single sister you can help me and cause me to be (cause that is such a great source of pain for me) thats the point at which my knees bow in surrender to my beautiful Lord Jesus.
At the crux of my suffering, I look up to Him offering Him all of me, with no conditions and no claim on my own life, only complete and total surrender. See a truly single life is a life of being completely and set apart for and unto the Lord, the life of a spiritual eunuch---it's an honorable life......but there are tears.....times...things...in our hearts...that only our God and Father and His dear Son Jesus Christ who created us can understand.
I am but dust and only for His mercy I am not consumed and I don't (sinful as I am) put conditions of surrender on God, but on His terms I give Him what He asks....for His glory I was created and do exist...I am not my own...I am His...thank God I am His....thank the Lord God for redeeming me, for truly saving me......Thank you Lord Jesus.
And now, it's time to curl up in His lap, snuggle up close and tight to Him, Jesus the lover of my soul...cause we'll be finishing up here real, real....real soon.
Michelle Renee Higgins, aspiring to write for The Lord alone, mother to four beautiful children and grandmother to one adorable little girl, born and raised in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, now calling Austin Texas home.