Christmas blessings

I'm overcome today with how lucky I am to be a Christian and how lucky I am to "get it." I get it. There are so many who don't. They wander around this world in ignorance to the most priceless, precious gift that has been given to them. This gift sits there in the "unclaimed funds" box because they've never come to claim it. It saddens me...but it also makes my heart swell with the gratitude that I have to God and every life circumstance that he has placed me in or allowed to come my way...for without every one of them I very well may have been one of those lifeless, wandering people. But to him and through him and from him are all things...thank you Lord. You know every stepping stone that you've placed before parents broken marriages and my moms remarriage to Ken. Without him I would have never (probably) gone to church. For every person at Tower Baptist Church...without their witness and testimony I may have never gotten saved. For my faithful youth leaders...especially Debby (I still don't know how to not call her "Mrs. Stearns" lol)...without her and her godly advice who knows how many more careless mistakes I may have made. To my pastor (who you are lucky enough to be spending Christmas with now)...for showing me what a man who has a heart for God looks like. To my Soapie...without her I would have never known as a teenager what it meant to be on fire for God and what it looked like to praise him.

All of the broken marriages, heartache, illness, money troubles....they have all led me to where I am today...a woman, who used to be a girl, who one step at a time has developed an eternal, nourishing, loving relationship with a heavenly father who plucked me from the pits of hell at the age of 15. Now, no matter what troubles come my way, I know what my future holds (in the big picture anyways).

My wish for the coming year is that I would have a bigger burden for souls.....I want to have a renewed boldness when it comes to telling people about him and how much he loves them. May I be a better wife, mother, friend, child, relative, employee, coworker...and most importantly, may I be a better child to Him.

"Take me, make me, break me...I am pierced" are lyrics to one of my favorite songs. Those lyrics remind me of another set of lyrics I heard recently that said "we all have to be cracked...that's how the light gets in." Once upon a time I prayed and wished to be unbroken, but not anymore, because to be unbroken would mean there was no crack for the light to get in. He is faithful to heal. He is the lover of my soul.

On this holiday in particular I am always reminded of how so many people in the world wish they could have a Christmas with no Christ. Christians are the one minority that it's still ok to bash and in-turn so many of us tend to keep our lips zipped when we shouldn't...and unfortunately, some of us run our mouths in inappropriate ways and end up giving all Christians a bad name. In my opinion that's RELIGION...not CHRISTIANITY. If you've ever been turned off by an experience like someone who would rather smack you with their Bible than grab you and hug you, then this is for you. If only for this one moment out of all the moments in your whole life, would you please take just a second to consider what I have to say?

There is a God who loves you...not in theory, as some abstract thing out there...but as a living person loving you. He knew who you were before he even created the world and he knew every shady, crappy thing that you would ever do...and he loved you anyways. He loved you so much that the thought of you spending eternity away from him was too much for him to bear, and so he came to be the sacrifice for your sin that you could never afford. It's paid for! All you have to do is ask for it.

The thing about Jesus is...he's such a gentleman that he will never force himself into your life...he gives us free will and lets us make whatever decision we want. So he sits there waiting and hoping that someday...oh someday! Someday maybe you'll ask him in! This is about a relationship...not rules. Whoever tells you it's about a bunch of legalistic rules is off the mark. Once you have the relationship, there might be some things you want to change, but it's never about the rules. It's about the LOVE. He loves you. Period. And he wants you to love him too.

If you're unsure about it, that's ok. Talk to him and tell him that...he already knows anyways. If you're mad at him...tell him that, because he already knows that too. All praying is is talking to him. Tell him you want to know him, but are unsure...or are hurt and angry. Ask him to change it and show you the truth...because he will. Don't you want that anger to soften? Don't you want to know for sure? In your heart of hearts you know that you do...even if you never admit it out loud.

He loves you today, and so do I. God bless every single one of you this Christmas...may the reality of what this holiday is really about sink into your heart and may you never be the same after today. :)

~Merry Christmas~