I was surrounded by lively boisterous worship music. Every hand was raised in the air. If the roof were not attached, I am completely sure that it would have lifted off of the walls supporting it. Pastor Claude was decked out in his white suit. Three piece white suit, mind you, as well as white shoes, white socks…a true indicator that it was Easter, because it is what he wears every Easter.
And when Pastor Claude preaches, he does so with a spiritual arm that wrestles itself inside you and starts pulling the depths of your soul into the light. He does not hold back, and he preaches with every single emotion God has put in him. It is mesmerizing. Sometimes his voice has the force of a 500 pound weight. Other times his voice gets hoarse in the middle of the sermon, and somehow, that just adds to everything the Holy Spirit is doing around us.
It was no different that Easter, the only difference was me.
I was hurt. I was holding on to a lot of resentment. I had come from a toxic work environment into a country that holds so much purity in the Holy Spirit. God had been working on me bit by tiny bit, but I was holding on to a lot of things I needed to let go.
I had literally fortified my heart, blocking every movement by someone to crash their way in. I had pulled those closest to me into the tightest circle possible, and they kicked their heels at anyone trying to get to me. Their loyalty was unmatched.
I had created calluses around my heart. Deep, wide, and firm calluses.
And that morning, God was going to use a Holy Spirit hammer to beat the rest of my calluses to fragments so tiny they would dissipate.
It was a physical feeling in my chest when those pieces were beaten apart. I had held on to those calluses for so long as protection while I hide who I really was in this world. The enemy does some sketchy shit, friends, and uses people who you least expect to be used to hurt you. People you respected and learned from in many ways.
Tears ran down my face and I struggled to catch my breathe while that hammer did its’ work.
I had never felt something so painful but liberating at the same time.
With hurt comes healing. The kind of healing that makes the sunset look a million times more beautiful.
A few months later I would read this from Malachi as God wove some new Bible passages into my call story:
But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. [Malachi 4:2 ESV]
I never before had I felt scripture so lived out as I did in that moment.
And never before had I related to a calf.