I have been remiss in blogging these past several weeks...excuses, excuses, I know! Bob Goff challenged me in his book, Love Does, "I used to think I needed to record stories, but now I think I just need to engage them." I guess that sums up this year for me- this most fantastic, terrifying, magnificent, surprising year of my life thus far- from fall to fall- I've been caught up in living out my story instead of doing a good job of recording it. My natural inclination is to record, to write down everything. I want to remember it all. I want to look back and give thanks to God for the little things. I have much, too much, yet to write down, but the journey has kept me wide awake and engaged at every moment, every corner. Fall 2014 to fall 2015 has forever changed the course of my life and I pray these months of challenge and wonder have changed my heart as well and molded it more into the likeness of my Savior.
First of all, I think sometimes it is hard for me to blog personal things, because I know deep down that the story is not about me. It is so easy through social media, blogs, and "insta-everything-out-in-the-public" to make our lives look so interesting or so dramatic, and draw others in either longing to be like us, or causing them to feel sorry for us. It's the name of the game in the 21st century internet world. I am convicted more than ever that my life and my journey are not about me. My life is about the glorification of Jesus Christ...and sometimes I forget that.
In Colossians 1:25-29 Paul writes, "Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. We proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete in Christ. For this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me."
WE PROCLAIM HIM. That is really what the story- my story, your story- should be about. With Christ at the center of everything- the God Who holds the universe, kept in the center of it all, we can't miss a thing. Go ahead, dive into the story that is set before you. All the mess, all the unknown, all the fear and all the faith, all the mystery and all the glory. It's yours waiting...and I can promise you only one thing at the end- your Savior will be there, ready to welcome you Home with open arms if you receive the gift of life that He offers you.
Earlier in Colosians 1, verses 16-18, Paul declares, "For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities- all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything."
As St. Patrick's ancient prayer and breastplate avows,
"Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger."
If Christ is not first in all things in our lives, and we forget that He is truly Creator of all and before all and that in Him our very lives hold together, we've missed the central piece of life, the very thread that holds the fabric of the universe from untangling. So with that being said- with proclaiming Him first, I do want to testify to the very mighty miracles God has done in my life this year. Again, I don't want one single person reading this to go away thinking anything great about my life..."He must become greater, I must become less" (John 3:30). I want the greatness and glory of Jesus Christ to capture your heart like never before as you begin to see the world through the lens of His story. I want you to begin to see that the suffering and greatness of your own life is caught up in the suffering and greatness of Jesus Christ, and that God's purpose for you is beyond your wildest imagination.
I shall steal the apostle Paul's prayer for the Church in Ephesians 3:14-21 and pray it over you, my readers, before continuing and sharing my story...
"For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of His glorious riches He may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord's holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."
I leave you with that for now. Remember- Christ before us, Christ in us, Christ in all, and Christ our everything. I plan to share over the next few weeks more details of my story from this past year- from fall 2014 to fall 2015- to be an encouragement to you and a testimony to God’s grace. Until then, I pray you see and receive the saving power of Christ in your own story.