There are some movies that give you goose bumps and make you cry like it’s your first time watching, no matter how many times you watch them. Recently I caught one of these best movies of all times for me and just couldn’t help but revisit one of my all-time favorite characters. My love for the story is partly due to actress Mary McDonnell, who will forever be known for playing Hollywood heroine Stands With A Fist in the 1990 movie, Dances With Wolves.
Exiled from her childhood home in the midst of tragedy, the young European American girl is taken in and reared by a Sioux tribe. When movie namesake and McDonnell co-star Kevin Costner enters the scene as the character of Lt. John Dunbar, Stands With A Fist finds herself speaking to not only the first white man in her life after many years, but a Cavalry soldier to boot. Recently widowed, she is urged by her Sioux father figure to make the “white words” with the stranger.
This scene, riveting in part due to the passage of time since she has spoken her native English, reveals her audacious tenacity and exactly how she earned her Native American name.
We all have those moments in life in which we recognize our Father’s voice spurring us on to an obedience that we can’t seem to produce of our own volition. Instead, it is these times of weakness that beckon us to lean on the grace of God. Some would use the term “falling” on His grace. We surrender, perhaps, a more lofty opinion of who we are in our own eyes and agree with God about who we are in His eyes. A sinner, devoid of the ability to make our own way, we confess our need to God not because it is our first and most appealing choice, but many times because it is our only option as we wallow in the pigpen of life that we have chosen for ourselves.
In times like these, we are in training to trust that God’s faithfulness will reach out to us and mature us through these growth periods; though the darkness hides Him, we take baby steps of obedience toward His pathways of truth and life. We learn the patterns of walking victoriously through the pruning process. We miss the mark and try again, realizing that the process IS the journey.
As followers of a Risen God at Easter time, we possess a great opportunity to rekindle the journey. Because of Christ’s great love for us, we are redeemed from a life condemned and a spirit of heaviness; our mourning from the bondage of sin is over as we receive the grace He freely gave on the cross, having died while we were still sinners.
God’s Word tells us that joy comes in the morning. Like Stands With A Fist, I have also learned that joy comes even in the mourning, knowing that we win in the end because of the victorious King Jesus and His selfless act of love for all mankind. He gives us beauty for the ashes of our lives and crowns us with love and compassion. I welcome this gift in this Easter season. I welcome a fresh anointing and God’s new mercies. How about you?
I hope you had a Happy Easter, Dear Reader, from my desk to yours.
Read Brandi’s column each month in The Cross Timbers Gazette newspaper. Follow Brandi on Twitter @BrandiChambless