Good news!! Kari's counts are up from 69 to 710!! Praise the Lord! That means we can proceed cautiously during Christmas but we won't have to stay locked in the house either! We're so thankful that God worked it out for us to be home for Christmas. I was starting to worry at the beginning of the week.
So, like everyone else's Christmas, ours has always been so busy. When I worked, I had to find time between 4:30 and bed time to fit everything in and then cram stuff in during the weekends too. Our lives are obviously different this year and we've had a little more time to enjoy the reason for the season!
However, this year, I had a different reason to appreciate the DEEP meaning of Christ's birth. I'm not one to get on my blog and have a pity party although at times when I'm alone, I can throw a great party for myself!
But I do want to say a few things about what God has done for me in the past few weeks. This year it seems like I've had blow after bitter blow and I've shaken like a leaf thinking that I would go down under the load I was carrying. Not because Kari was sick. Not because of the changes in our family. Not because I had to resign my job.
No, it wasn't because of the SITUATIONS. It was the things that it did to my heart...the bitterness, the loneliness, the anger, the hatred, the "I really need to hit something" feeling. And it has torn at my heart so viciously that I've questioned whether I would ever be whole inside again. I was believing, trusting, and thanking God for helping us through the situations we've faced and are facing and my faith never wavered that He would take care of us. But inside, I was holding onto the hatred and the bitterness because, in my mind, it was easier to hate than to feel. It was easier to hate someone than to forgive them and therefore leave myself open to be hurt by them again?
At some point (I'm not sure when), I finally laid in the floor, face down before God, and begged him to take it away. The hurt that went back to my childhood. The bitterness that was a result of dreams turned nightmares. The hatred that had a hold on my heart. I told the Lord that I didn't care if it hurt more to love than to hate. I told the Lord I wanted a healing that reached every scar and every aching place that I had tucked away in my heart. I had learned to live with those feelings thinking they would always be a part of me.
And, somehow, God did it. God unlocked those secret bitter places in my heart and set those feelings free. He gave me a burden to pray for those that had hurt me and to have pity on them. He didn't change the situations. He changed me.
One of my favorite scriptures is Isaiah 9:6:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given...and his name shall be called WONDERFUL, COUNSELLER, THE MIGHTY GOD, THE EVERLASTING FATHER, THE PRINCE OF PEACE.
Christ came so that we could experience love, forgiveness, joy, peace...and so that we could have the hope of heaven. I'm amazed that God saw such worth in us that He would send His only Son to be born in a lowly manger just so He could grow up and die for all humanity.
Christmas is fun and the kids and I have enjoyed every minute of the festivities (of which I'll post pictures tomorrow). But I'm so thankful this year to know that the miracle that I experienced in my heart this Christmas is one of the reasons that Christ came!
Caves and Retreats
18 hours ago