Claw marks on the highway.

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No one chooses their story. No matter how well we plan, how tightly we control our moments, we really have no idea what our lives will hold. We press forward in the direction we think our days should flow, but moment-by-moment, doors are either opened or closed to affirm or divert that direction. This may seem overly simplified, but it’s true. This is how a life unfolds.

I think it would be interesting to be able to view the lives we’ve lived on a roadmap – to be able to see all the twists and turns that have happened to us along the way. It could serve as a visual summary of how far we’ve come.

But, if you were to zoom in closely on my personal journey over the last few years, you would see definite areas of claw marks on the highway behind me. These are the times where things really started changing in directions that I wasn’t prepared to accept. There was resistance because I didn’t want to welcome their realities. Some I still don’t, but they’ve become part of my story, anyways. I didn’t choose any of them, but they’re still there.

Tonight, we celebrate the birth of Jesus. This is when he became like us, yet still remained God. Such an incredible mystery his story is. He left behind the glory of heaven to walk this earth with us. He lived a life that taught people how to love, how to forgive, how to face adversity, how to trust, how to be strong, how to admit we’re weak. But, ultimately, he left behind the glory of heaven to save us from ourselves.

We’re broken – we can’t help it. Sin entered our hearts a long time ago and its stain is an inescapable part of us – no matter how beautiful we may appear to be. Every single one of us wears it. We didn’t choose this, but it’s there – written into our stories.

The most beautiful thing about Jesus – this little baby we’re celebrating – is that he DID choose his story. There are NO claw marks showing behind him on his roadmap.

He CHOSE to come walk this sin-filled earth with us. He CHOSE the hard, painful journey he traveled. He CHOSE to love us. He CHOSE to teach us. He CHOSE to sacrifice himself in order to wash us clean – to get rid of that ugly stain we wear in the only way possible.

He CHOSE to do all this so that one day we can join hands with him in heaven, throw our heads back with joy, and dance forever in perfect glory.

So, no matter what is written into our own stories – how blurry the lines can appear at times – we can trust HIS story. Everything that happens to us has been perfectly planned out by a loving God. Some parts may make us happy, others may not. That’s why happiness is fleeting – it depends on circumstances. We all know that circumstances change.

What we can count on is that every moment of our story contains the process of making us holy – we’re being refined, strengthened, and transformed more into the image of the One who loved us enough to choose us. This is where true, unshakeable joy comes from. Only through Jesus. His joy is eternal, unchanging, and totally worth any hard moments we may have the privilege of living.

So, for this – no matter what day it is, or what we may be facing – our hearts can always, always be overflowing with Hallelujahs.

Merry Christmas and thanks for growing with me. ❤

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