As Christmas has come and gone, I’ve reflected on the true meaning of Christmas. It’s heartbreaking to know that families could celebrate each year and never stop to appreciate the wonderful, perfect gift God gave to His creation (Romans 6:23). The meaning of Christmas is much more than just a story of a birth in a manger. What God did through Jesus for all of humanity is beautiful. It’s a true depiction of love.
Leading up to Christmas, I had a whole lot of fun. From celebrating with one side of the family and then some friends to taking a quick road trip, I had a blast. When I got home from Christmas Eve service I was not feeling too great. That’s when I knew I was on the verge of getting sick. And, sick I sure got…
I was sick for days.
At first, I was frustrated and wanted to get better as quickly as possible. I was praying I’d be well enough to make the trek to Kansas City for IHOP’s annual Onething conference. That was the original plan, but God had something else in mind.
That’s how if often works, isn’t it? You think you know exactly what you need. I thought I needed to go to Onething to reignite my faith and feel excited to more passionately pursue the Lord in 2014. I thought I needed to stand with 35,000 other young adults singing praises to the one true king. Those are things I wanted, but what I needed was for God to meet me where I was at, even if that was while lying in bed, battling illness.
God did meet me as I spent day after day in bed. As I prayed and watched the live stream of Onething through my computer, God brought to the forefront areas of my life I was trying to control. And, you know what? I realized that in order to live for Christ the way I talk about wanting to live, I had to let go. I had to give Him my desires, big dreams, and even the small things. While I had thought I previously released the grip I had on a few areas, I realized I still had a finger or two holding on. The Lord was asking me to let go completely.
It’s a process, and it takes a continual renewal of faith to let God be in control. Even though I’d memorized and told myself 1 Peter 5:7 – Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you – over and over again, only now am I believing it. The Lord does care for me. I can give him every little piece of my life – every bit of worry and anxiety. He will continue to care for me because He loves me.
So, I missed the conference and had to stay in bed, but I’m thankful I was better in time for New Year’s Eve. I was fortunate to be able to spend time with some people I really love. The past few months have been full of uncertainty. God told me to trust, and I felt like I was failing. I gave up something I had always wanted for a life He has for me. During this season, God gave me a group of people who have been a huge encouragement. I see the way they love the Lord and every time I’m with them I feel joy. I’m thankful to have such great people in my life and I’m excited to see what happens in the future.