“Every time Edna Marshall rang my doorbell, I’d glance heavenward and utter in exasperation, ‘Lord, please deliver me.’ She was my new busybody neighbor who came to my prayer group more for the coffee and Danish than to study the word of the Lord.
“Lately all she talked about was taking her granddaughter to see the Easter Bunny at the mall, and all the little goodies she bought to put inside her basket. Not once did she mention the real meaning of Easter. And when she wore little carrot earrings, I nearly gave her a tongue-lashing, wanting to ask her if she even remembered Christ’s sacrifice. But being the good Christian, I held my tongue.
“The night before Easter, I was surprised to find Edna at my door. She smiled and handed me a wicker Easter basket filled with plastic eggs and gave me a quick hug before leaving to deliver one to each member of our group. After she’d left, I scowled at the colorful eggs, wondering what kind of candy or silly treat was inside. But when I cracked open the plastic eggs, I was stunned as strips of colorful paper spilled out. She’d written verses such as He is risen; For with God nothing shall be impossible; and God proved His love on the Cross.
“Shame flowered in my heart. I’d harshly judged her for insignificant, silly things. I’d considered myself the better Christian, when in truth, I was the one who had a long way to go. “The next day, I called Edna to wish her a blessed Easter and ask her to go to lunch later that week. As I got to know her better, her bright spirit taught me that trading judgment for an open, loving heart is the key to being filled with Jesus’ joy. Today Edna is one of my dearest friends…and I even have my own pair of little carrot earrings.” —Cassandra Dim, 62, Atlanta