You know that Sunday feeling, right?

We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement on Sundays … and somewhere along the course of the week, pieces of the message tend to fade and we often lose that Sunday feeling.

The Monday After {the Sunday Sermon} carries the Sunday message into Monday mornings by sharing how what we’ve heard on Sunday morning is making a difference in our Mondays, our weeks, our lives. Because of your generosity to Accelerate, we are able to share these stories! Thank you!

The Monday After Sunday, December 8, 2013: Story: A Love Story

By Anita Everly

I’ve had laryngitis for the past two days. While I’ve hated not being to talk, when I came into the service Sunday I realized I wasn’t going to be able to sing in worship either. I couldn’t squeak out a note and the tears flowed. I was weary of feeling ill and, frankly, hated not being able to join in song.

Yet in this forced silence was also an invitation to listen.

Instead of my own voice, I was more attuned to the baritone of my sixteen-year-old son standing next to me. The melody of my brothers and sisters in Christ in unified chorus surrounded me. The guitar strumming was crisp, clearer than usual. I began to settle into my own silence and embrace what I heard around me.

And then, as Pastor Joe began to speak on God’s love for us, coming down in the form of a humble birth of our Savior, I remembered another time of silence for me, when the listening was louder than any words ever spoken.

Two years ago I had been wrestling with a lot, much of it specific to me and all my shortcomings. It happened that I attended a retreat where the time away afforded me some much needed solitude.  During a time of silence directed by the retreat leader, I was forced to sit quietly. There were no distractions to take me away and I focused on the scripture and began to prayerfully journal.

Though I grew up in a loving home, married an incredibly loving man and have been a Christian for the majority of my life, it was in that quiet moment that I felt like the Lord was saying to me words that no human could convince me of. As if God himself was right there with me, He said, “Anita, right now, at what you think is your worst, most wretched state, I do not and cannot love you any less than I always do.”

Though I’ve had head and heart knowledge of His love, for the first time I was able to receive it in its fullness, deep down in my soul. I was overwhelmed grasping His love for me, which He conveyed so clearly and personally.

When Pastor Joe says Jesus understands more than we think; Jesus cares more than we know; and Jesus can do more than you realize, he speaks deep truth. I have experienced all of that firsthand over the course of the last two years as I have lived more out of His love for me.

We are not mass-produced carbon copies.  He knit each of us, intricately woven, in our mother’s wombs, on purpose and with great purpose (Psalm 139). Furthermore, He calls us by name (Isaiah 41)! He knows us and loves us deeply. As we look at His life throughout Scripture, there is nothing that we experience that Jesus did not himself encounter.

That was the plan, for Jesus to be so commonly man and yet fully God. Love came down to give us the ultimate gift of salvation, and in our time on earth, assurance of His intimate love for us.

Occasionally we need a case of spiritual laryngitis, where we stop talking and listen to God! Often it takes intentional silence in order to keenly hear and be surprised anew by His loving presence in our lives.

May we take time during this busy season to be silent, draw near and be awed, surprised and loved anew by the greatest Gift ever given to us, the surprising and almost strange gift of Jesus …

Anita Everly is the wife of David and mom to their three sons.  She can be found watching the lives of her men unfold, creating a home, and encouraging other women in life and motherhood.  She is striving to live life on purpose because she is crazy in love with the One who is crazy in love with her.


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