Have you ever felt hopeless, like nothing could or would ever change? Like you could never change?
The beauty of the birth of Christ and the relationship He offers to us with God is this: He does not simply forgive us and leave us to our own devises to try to live an abundant life on our own. NO! He has given us His Holy Spirit to live within us, a gift at our baptism, and we can call upon Him anytime, night or day, to stir up this gift of HOPE (and all else that we need) within us in order to live our best life now.
I found myself face down in the Adoration Chapel just the other day. I was flat out of goodness. I could not muster one more ounce of love, joy, peace or patience on my own. I was angry and frustrated and felt as if there was a roaring lion inside of me that I could not quiet. I and someone I love dearly had been painfully wronged and due to this had lost not only my peace but what felt like every other fruit of the Spirit and it showed with each word and action. We were headed into Christmas and all I wanted was “justice”.
I was in a desperate spot. While all that was angry and hostile inside of me wanted nothing to do with going into the Adoration Chapel I knew that that was exactly where I needed to take my sad, sorry and very angry self. As I cried out hot-faced and through bitter tears to God I knew that He was truly my only HOPE for peace and a change of heart. I threw myself on His mercy asking for Him to shut the lion’s mouth roaring inside of me. I poured out my heart to Him, knowing full well that “Vengeance is Mine, sayeth the Lord.” As I did, saying to my Beloved in my pet Name I have for Him, “Obi-Wan, You are my only Hope!” (If you are a Star Wars fan, you will get the reference immediately! I say it with complete reverence and with a childlike heart.) I felt a grip that had been tight around me start to loosen. My shoulders began to relax and my stomach stopped churning. Suddenly, instead of the rage that had plagued my heart for days, came peace. And after the peace…joy.
I was able to walk out of the Adoration Chapel a changed person. My holidays were saved and became Holy and happy once again. (My mother even commented, “Wow! What happened to you!?”) My focus was back on Jesus and off of myself.
The birth of Jesus changes EVERYTHING! With Him comes freedom! Freedom from the pain of GUILT from the past. Freedom from FEAR that robs us of our best life in the present. And freedom to walk in HOPE that our future can and will be different--that there is a better way, even now!
God is our Power Source for all that we need. With the Birth of the Babe in the Manger comes true freedom.
This week’s challenge: Before the New Year begins, ask God for the grace to allow you to let go of all that is robbing you of your best life now. Ask God to forgive and to cleanse you from all that causes you to feel guilt and shame (go to confession if needed). Ask Him to free you from all that is holding you back due to fearfulness, anger or hopelessness. And then ask Him to give you a glimpse of the beautiful life for which He left heaven in order to establish for you here, now on earth, today.
May you, in 2018 and always, be like the Proverbs woman:
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and laughs at the days to come.” Proverbs 31:25
You truly are my only HOPE! Thank You for coming to this world. I am sorry for all that I have done. I am sorry for when my sin has kept me from living in a loving, healthy, happy relationship with You. I ask for Your forgiveness and I now throw open wide the doors of my heart to You once again and ask that You would come and fill me and enable me to be the person you and I want for me to be. Lord, please come and enable me to live the full and meaningful life that You have for me to live. I ask that You would take all of my disordered desires and re-orient my life to You. I cannot do this on my own-- only You can do this for me, so please help me Lord. I need Your Grace. I need You. For, dear Lord, without Your love, mercy and grace, I can do no better.
Thank You Lord for hearing this prayer and for coming and filling me now.
I ask this in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Happy 2018! God’s richest blessings for an amazing, happy and healthy New Year with Him as the Source for all that you need!
And if you are looking for something to do with the family over the holidays--try the Bible Museum (free!) and AMAZING GRACE (the musical- a splurge at $85, but worth the price! Cheaper tickets might be found at Goldstar.com)