The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
So this is Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year. This year looks so much different than any year before. Like I mentioned the other day, it's our first married Christmas, our first Christmas in our new home, our first Christmas with our little boy growing in my belly, our last Christmas as just the two of us, and my first Christmas away from my family. There is so much for me to be thankful for. Not just thankful, how about running through the streets in chants of praise for all that the good Lord has done for me. After all, this season IS about Him and remembering all that the little baby in a manger came to do and has done for us- right?
Well, a few days ago I forgot that. I was caught in my selfish, emotional ways and called my mom in tears because I had been focusing on all of the wrong things. Mom- it's Christmas and I'm not going to be with you. Who is going to leave out the presents. Who is going to cook cinnamon rolls. Will David even think to put my favorite things in my stocking? If I'm being honest- What the heck are David and I going to do Christmas morning with just the two of us??? What if he doesn't know how to make Christmas as special as my parents always made it? What if I cry on Christmas? Will he think I'm not happy? Will he feel like he's not enough? I am definitely going to cry on Christmas, mom... will I have to hide in the bathroom? Am I just pregnant and being super crazy???? My mom laughed. Of course. Yes, you are being crazy. And she reminded me of two Christmases ago. Just two years ago.
I had just gone through a horrible break up (you can read about that back in last year's posts) and was barely able to get out of bed. Christmas came along and I convinced myself that life as I knew it was over, God was unworthy of trusting (because, um, He was the one who did this to ME after all... HE let THIS happen...). That's what I was telling myself. Even though I was the one who made the decision to call it off, I was still so broken from all of the hurt I had gone through the months leading up to Christmas. Christmas day, I was a mess. I was uninterested, uninvolved, and definitely not celebrating this Jesus who I called my savior.
It is so sad for me to think back on this Christmas- it was my very last Christmas with my grandparents, they both passed away in the coming year. Had I trusted that God was working for the GOOD in all of this mess would I have lived this one day differently? Would I have asked more questions? Would I remember the way that I loved my grandma + papa on their very last Christmas? It's easy to say: Yes. Of course. It all would have looked very different, had you just trusted ME. -God
But I didn't. And I am here to tell you that I wish I had. I'm here to tell you it's not too late to trust in Him when you are feeling more like this is 'The Crappiest Time Of The Year'... When your heart is aching and you have not a song of praise left, just do it. Just say: OKAY GOD. YOU CRAZY CRAZY GOD. I TRUST YOU. I DO NOT WANT TO TRUST YOU. I AM ACTUALLY ANGRY WITH YOU RIGHT NOW. AND I DON'T UNDERSTAND YOU. BUT I TRUST YOU. I TRUST YOU. FINE. I SAID IT. You can have your arms crossed. You gotta start somewhere.
The day after I called my mom, I was reading my advent devotional (that I started about 15 days late, but hey- I started). I actually posted the day's devotion to my story that day because it was speaking to me so much, and seemed to speak to a lot of you as well! I was reading and underlining just about every sentence. And then I got to the last paragraph.
"So this Christmas, how about beginning your celebration with confession? I am convinced that when it comes to the redeeming work of Jesus, exuberant rejoicing begins with brokenhearted weeping. Only when sin breaks our hearts will the coming of the Messiah excite our hearts. And there's grace for this!" -Paul David Tripp, Come Let Us Adore Him
Exuberant, cheerful, joyful, EUPHORIC rejoicing begins with brokenhearted, miserable, inconsolable, wretched weeping. Welp. That sounds pretty. But that is exactly what it took. I wish that this wretched weeping happened before Christmas for me that year, just so I could get that day and those moments with my grandparents back. Because you are not yourself- you are not who God called you to be- until you freely walk in that euphoric rejoicing. It probably won't happen in one good cry sesh either. But one of my very favorite parts of the Bible (I wish I knew the Bible like my husband and so many others, I don't) is when Jesus wept. That is all it says. John 11:35. Jesus wept.
I won't get into the depths of it because I am no theological biblical master and I will definitely not portray myself as one because truth is, I hardly even knew the correct version of Jesus' birth until my husband told me the other day. BUT- I do know the Mary's of the bible because they are who I relate to the most. Mary's brother Lazarus had died and she seems to be pretty disappointed in Jesus (she didn't even go out to meet him when he was in town... drama). But as soon as she heard that Jesus was asking for her she ran to him... and fell at his feet. "Lord, if you would have just been here, my brother wouldn't have died." I like to read that with some sass... And she wept. At his feet. She broke down in miserable, inconsolable, wretched weeping because her brother was dead.
Jesus saw her weeping and he was deeply moved. And Jesus wept. And what happens next??? You guessed it. Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. And in red letters: "DID I NOT TELL YOU THAT IF YOU BELIEVE, YOU WILL SEE THE GLORY OF GOD?" All caps for emphasis. I guess this specific chapter has always spoken to me because.... I'm Mary. I'm the one who is questioning His promises. Questioning His timing. Questioning whether or not He is actually going to show up like He says He is... Questioning the now.
Little did I know that in the coming months, God was about to show me His glory like I had never seen before, known before, or even dreamed of before. If you had told me two years ago that I would be living in Dallas, married to David and carrying his baby.... I would have fallen at your feet in hysterical laughter. Nope. Never. LOL. You must be on crack.
And here I am today, married to the man of my dreams, life is not perfect... we fight and makeup and disappoint each other all the time (#marriage), but he leads me and loves me better than anyone else on this earth could... and I am telling you to trust in His goodness. Trust that He is working things out for both YOUR'S and HIS good... If you are struggling, grieving a loved one, feeling alone, unable to trust that He even is good this Christmas... please, just learn from my mistakes, try. Just try to see it. Try to open your heart to HOPE. It might seem like goodness won't come for years and years... if ever... but it's coming. I am living proof.
So, there are my two cents this Christmas. I am always so hesitant to share my heart with the world like this, but I just pray that these words speak to you, even just one person this year. The other night as I began to write this post and then shut my computer because I began to doubt myself... a friend of mine, who I look to for wisdom and inspiration, told me that she needed to hear what I had to say. That she was praying for the words that were about to be written (SHE needed to MY words?!!), that they would speak to someone's heart. So thank you to my sweet friend who encouraged me to finish this just when I felt like nobody needed to read my crazy thoughts.
Wishing you all euphoric rejoicing this Christmas + in the new year. You are greatly loved!