As a practicing Christian, I really love Easter!  This year in particular, I’ve been able to relate to Jesus’ death and resurrection on a more personal basis (see my Heart Attack blogs for the full story!).

On Good Friday I took part in the ‘March of Witness’ around Wakefield city centre.  There was a good turnout – approx 200 people?? – and we sang our hearts out in the cathedral service afterwards.  It was good to remember the willing sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, that I might know new life!  This was followed by a Costa coffee (#BlackWithASplash) and a toasted teacake.  I was with two dear friends who I’ve known for 24yrs!  We’ve been through a lot together – precious friendships.

On Friday evening I went to the cinema with three friends – we watched ‘Ready Player One’, the latest Steven Spielberg film.  We all thought it was great.  I won’t spoil the plot for you, but it’s a story of a small team working together to see the end goal come to fruition, ultimately helping thousands upon thousands in the future.

On Easter Saturday I had a couple of good friends round for the evening.  Over fresh tuna (mmm…), roasted veg, and lemon roulade we put the world to rights and had a good laugh.  Friends are so important, and I’m grateful for all of them who are in my life.

Easter Sunday arrived – and I felt SO excited.  Unlike that first Easter in the Bible, I knew already that Jesus had indeed risen & was very much alive and kicking!  Taking Communion was a very precious time – so grateful for God’s power now living inside me to lead, guide, help, heal & strengthen.

Sunday evening was a breakthrough moment for me.  A couple of weeks ago, my friend Ayesha had asked me to join the choir for the special Easter Extravaganza service which our assistant pastor Jon was organising.  I said yes – after all, they needed to boost the numbers!  What I hadn’t told anyone was that I battled with a lifetime of being told I couldn’t sing, and feeling a ‘freak’ cos I thought I had a very low voice (which I blamed on my hormone imbalance caused by PCOS).

The first rehearsal, I sat with the sopranos… and quickly felt very out of place and awkward. I agonised over moving down to the alto section, but finally plucked up the courage to move – phew, that felt much better! As I started to learn the alto harmony, singing with three other women, my confidence began to rise.  I could sing these notes… they were in my range.  Perhaps I could pull this off after all…

Our second rehearsal went well.  Kay – choir leader – was a great teacher: encouraging, knowledgeable & patient.  The service began and we sang our first (& most difficult) piece.  Glad that had gone ok, I began to relax.  Our second piece was my favourite, and singing it, I couldn’t stop grinning to myself! Our final song was ‘Oh happy day’, and that just about summed up how I felt.  It might have been a small thing to anyone else, but to me I’d smashed through another fear.  I felt great, and by the end of the service, hearing all the feedback the choir was getting, I was buzzing!

Reflecting on this special Easter weekend, I want to bring out a few points:

Friendship is important; is to be valued, nurtured, and developed.  It takes time.  It doesn’t always go to plan.  Sometimes it’s hard, frustrating, and doesn’t work out how you’d like it to.  But it’s a vital way for each one of us to develop.  Friends are there to support us; kick our butt; cover our backs; cheer us on (with or without mini skirts &  pom poms!).  There are different levels of friendship – and if you are fortunate enough to have one or two really close friends who you can be totally honest & vulnerable with, then you are truly blessed.

Sometimes, maybe even often, until we actually step out and do that challenging / scary thing, we won’t experience the power and courage we think we need.  We can often be held back because we fear what might happen if… But that fear paralyses us into inaction.  This not only then harms & holds us back, but will impact on the people around us too.  But when we step forward, however shaky we feel, it encourages & inspires others.  It builds us up too.

I encourage you this April – step forward, take that leap, do it!  May faith & trust be yours in abundance – that you may see miracles and breakthrough in your life.

Be blessed 🙂