I know that Christmas is over in a calendar sense, but it is still echoing on for me. The past Advent season was a simpler one. I don’t think anything physically was different. Presents were still bought, parties still attended, cards still sent out….somewhat. You know, the “traditions.” But rolling into last month, my eyes were open. My ears were dug out. My mind was clearer. Whatever the reasons….actually, I know the reasons. The reasons are just as important as anything else that I would say.
Over the course of this past year I have been in a weekly gathering with three other women. I wouldn’t call it a Bible Study, because that evokes thoughts of regimented reading plans and usually some prepared interpretation of what to discuss or glean. This is different. We gathered weekly to look at the Disciples of Christ, study how He led them, and see how they responded. The main goals of this journey was, with Christ’s models shown in the Bible, to identify what God is saying to you and to determine what you are going to do about it. When I first said yes to the group, I was worried. Let me be honest. I was scared. I was scared of what that looked like. I was scared of upsetting the applecart of my marriage. In my mind, I had decided that whatever deeper relationship with Christ that God would call me to would cause problems in my house. Because of insecurities in myself and honestly a lack of grace and love to my husband, I had decided that there would be conflicts ahead and certain damage to me. But with encouragement of friends and trust in the group’s leader, I said yes and took part.
What I got to experience was a year of beautiful friendships being formed. A year of honest and ugly conversations. A year of lots of listening to God through scripture, those around me and events. A year of small and major decisions. A year of softening to myself and those around me. A year of failing and being loved still. A year of learning how to be bold. During that time, God called me to be a part of the start of a new respite ministry that serves those with memory loss as well as their care partners. So yes, going into Advent, I was different. What I didn’t realize at the time was that God was working in the world around me too. So on December 20th while at work, I was blessed to see an answered prayer in real time, actually happening in front of me. My husband came to help at work. Here is my journal entry from the day after:
I saw something beautiful yesterday. I saw a man who does not feel comfortable with the “messy” of relationships come to REACH*. I watched him show up with a willing and open heart and ask the words, “How can I help?” I was able to see him work side by side with a gentleman who could once create on his own. I saw meaningful smiles. I heard kind words and true laughter. I was witnessed to. I saw Christ at work. Oh how I felt loved!
My husband who I fretted over. My husband who I used to somehow think it was my job to live his faith for him. My husband whom the prospect of “discipling” to him would break me in half. Oh all of the arrogance, pride, and judgement that was woven into me….What does God do? What He does best. He turned the table. He changed the lens. God used my husband to witness to me. God whispered “Do you see him how I do now?”
So why am I sharing this? There is the risk that what is a “Holy Ground” event to me is received as trivial to others. So be it. I share this to proclaim without a doubt that God is real. That the very small desires of your heart, those you don’t always give yourself permission to have…..they matter to God. That the major people and places of our lives…they are not too big and burdensome to God.
Trust that He loves you.
Trust that He loves those you love too.
Believe that to your core.
And if you listen you will hear Him say “I have this. I have all of this. I have you.”
*REACH Community Respite Program is a four-hour program for people with memory issues due to dementia, stroke and Alzheimer’s that provides fellowship & community, through art, music, exercise and games. For more information email me at firstname.lastname@example.org .