Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve

I’ve always enjoyed Christmas Eve- sometimes more than Christmas Day itself! Being the last-minute person that I am, I am usually up late wrapping presents! Christmas Eve is a happy day for me- full of anticipation for the next day and peace over the fact that all my shopping is done! But, there is another reason that Christmas Eve will forever be special to me. Back in 1994 my family was in Iowa at my grandparent’s house. Surprisingly, Christmas was on a Sunday that year like it is this year! That year I had just turned 8. All of us kids, my siblings and cousins, had been sent to bed before the adults. I remember laying in the makeshift bed on the floor and unable to sleep- thinking and wondering. I guess that was the moment. When all that had been taught to me about Jesus and Heaven and eternity was finally starting to make sense! A Sunday School teacher had questioned the class I was in a week before and asked those who knew they were going to Heaven to raise their hand. I knew everyone else was, so I raised my hand. But that night in Iowa, I knew I had lied and I knew that I didn’t know for sure if I was going to Heaven or not. It bothered me enough that I went and found my mother. I don’t know what I told her, but she understood and took me into the sunroom where we talked in private about Jesus and how He saved me from my sin by taking it on Himself when He died on a cross. How He proved He was the Son of God by rising from the dead and how God simply desired me- a simple child- to tell Him that I believed it was true and that I knew I couldn’t save myself from my sin. That night, close to the Christmas tree I got on my knees and trusted in Christ alone to save me from my sin. That night, the Holy Spirit came into my life. That night, though I did not know it then, my life was changed! That night, in the house my mother grew up in, I found my Heavenly Father! This is why Christmas Eve is so special to me!

                Tonight I attended a Christmas Eve service and was so touched by the music and truth from God’s Word. They took the passage John 3:16 and talked and sang about it piece by piece. The very same passage my mother shared with me 22 years ago! As we sang of the angels bringing glory to God and the hope that the world will join in those praises, I see it! Maybe not the whole world- at least not this world- but I can see a people who have heard and understood and can finally praise the God who created them! I can see a hope for every nation because God has made a way for them to come! And I see my little nephew, innocently looking at me, and I know that one day he too will come to know the Jesus who we sing about! I think of the house in Iowa and hope that one day another child will find the joy of Christ within its walls! And, within the brokenness and strain of my little world I am reminded of joy and God’s faithfulness! Jesus wasn’t born into perfect circumstances and neither are we. So, tonight I am thankful! Thankful for His grace, mercy, love, and forgiveness extended to a young girl so long ago. Lord, help me cherish every aspect of those truths and remain faithful!   Merry Christmas!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Light in the Darkness

Three years. Three years ago I said goodbye to my sister. Sometimes it feels like she was just here and other times it feels like it was so long ago. I see my niece and my nephews and realize how fast life goes as they learn new things every week, as they grow and change. And then life seems to crawl when I look at my financial goals and the time it will take to get there!

Our church has a ministry for local children that I started helping with just this past year. It has been a challenge to me. Some of these kids have extremely difficult lives and are so desperate for attention. To explain a loving God and an absolute forgiving Savior is so difficult at times, but I want them to see it, to get it, to have hope. Yet it seems so dark and impossible.

A acquaintance posted a link yesterday that touched me more than she will ever know. It was on Psalm 139. Psalm 139 became precious to me several years back when I was attending Columbia International University. There was a dear friend from the church I attended who mentored me. Her favorite Psalm was this one and we read it often! Such precious words and promises! Years later, I read it to Amy and the family the last Sunday we spent together when we sang and worshipped in her bedroom with flowers and balloons and sunshine all around. The video showed just a part of the Psalm, but was so beautiful because of the precious people who quoted it! Here is the link to watch it…

 It made me miss her so much more. Fearfully and wonderfully made, The body that made her so unique is no more. Words have come to her lips and strength to her legs. Yet her eyes still sparkle and her infectious giggle is probably bringing smiles to all! She was beautiful and she will continue to be until we see her face to face!

I grabbed my Bible to read the entire passage again and this time verses 11 and 12 jumped out to me. “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.” Darkness is as light to the LORD! It can be so easy to get depressed over life. I freak out and think it is too dark, too impossible, it will take too long, change will never happen. Yet the darkness is not dark to Him! Especially a child’s soul! He sees the light and I need to trust Him! I need to trust that He will save. I need to trust that He will provide. I need to trust His timing and the tasks He wants me to accomplish.

If you think about it, please pray for these kids that need to understand and be changed by the saving love of Jesus Christ; that their lives and the lives of their families may be changed with the knowledge of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Pray for us on Wednesday nights- that the darkness will not hide the truth and that every word spoken from God will be clearly understood. Thank you!