As I sat in the Christmas Eve’s Eve service tonight at my church, I was struck with a moment of clarity and awe as I pondered the dear people sitting in the row with me. So many stories of love and redemption. My beloved husband, the first person in my life who really, truly saw me and listened all those years ago, making way for a miraculous transformation within me. My earthly parents, reconciled together with me again and sharing in celebration for the birth of our Lord. A daughter that has quickly become a precious part of my life. Two other dear families who have seen so much pain and hardship yet are fighting hard to follow God and being blessed greatly along the way. A brother in Christ whose life has been filled with sorrows, sharing his own story of redemption and grace with me tonight. And a new forever friend/sister whose story is so much like my own, a beautiful woman seeking after God who has allowed me into her life to walk beside her as we journey through ministry, marriage, motherhood, and chronic illness.
And me, a once broken girl, wrecked by sin, now completely and wholly reborn, redeemed, and washed clean.
Glory to God in the highest.
By His Grace
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” – Romans 3:23-24
My eyes poured out tears for over an hour tonight and I quite literally and simultaneously fought back hysterical, joyous laughter as I sang and worshiped the birth of my Savior. And I’m still feeling that way many hours later. And how ironic, because that is part of the very message our pastor preached tonight… the feeling of receiving a gift so incredible that you don’t know if you should laugh or cry, so you do both, all at once.
That is me tonight, and everyday it seems for the past several years. I live in a constant state of overwhelming joy, ready to burst at the seems in laughter at any moment, yet so completely overflowing with emotion both beautiful and painful that it so often brings tears rushing down my face.
That is the amazing love.
His Inexpressible Gift
“Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift!” – 2 Corinthians 9:15
This is the best Christmas season I’ve ever experienced in my life. I’ve never felt so full and wanted, like I truly belonged somewhere. But this is also the first Christmas where I’ve actually had my eyes set on Jesus. And sitting beside me tonight was the best Christmas presents I ever could have asked for aside from Jesus Himself. I’ve been trying desperately to put words to what I experienced tonight, the feelings of overwhelming love, but there are no other words for it. Because a love like this is really inexpressible.
I’ve seen so much pain and struggle, especially the past ten years or so. But in the midst of it all, I’ve found a love I never thought could possibly exist… the love that is in Christ Jesus. God has blessed me beyond anything I could have asked for or imagined. He has called me to places I never thought possible, put me in places of leadership and status that I was totally unqualified for, and given me complete and unmerited favor. And it’s all because of His amazing love and grace that I am what I am today. Because HE IS WHAT HE IS, the GREAT I AM, and i am but HIS meek and lowly servant. And that surrender and complete dependence on Him is what has led me to the utter joy and peace that I feel daily and the eternal and unshakable hope that I have.
“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” – Isaiah 6:8
I don’t know what this next year will bring, likely a huge mix of highs and lows, as life always does. But whatever it is, I’m ready.
So here I am Lord, send me.