2009 = Being thrown into a spin cycle. Can anyone else relate to that?

Job loss, reputation in tatters, our church without a shepherd, lack of spiritual direction, disunity, trust irretrievably broken, resentment, disappointment and extreme vulnerability amongst the people of God, emotional scars galore, friendships pulverized as if by magic, financial mayhem, security under major threat, pandemics, verbal persecution from our dearest relatives and a strong sense of the heat being turned up on everyone and everything Christian.

How can I possibly feel like celebrating Christmas when there has been so much going wrong over these last 12 months? How can I have any joy within me when I feel like my whole life has been taken over by aliens and I have absolutely no control over the passing of time which seems to take place faster and faster everyday that goes by? Have we all just gone completely mad? We wish the days away as if we had million more days to spare and enjoy. Where has November gone? Where is December going? Each day blends into the previous one and there is only one end in sight: getting to the 25th in one piece. The Christian Spirit which should take center stage during this significant time of the year shines for its absence as we all get caught up in the whirlwind of shopping, presents, over-indulging, Christmas cards, Christmas concerts, Christmas parties, more presents and more shopping, all thrown in the same cocktail at 100 miles per hour. Will someone please stop this ride? I think I am going to be sick!

Yes, many of us celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas, but with our farewell to the year that is about to end we also seem to say farewell to the short-lived realisation that the birth of Jesus Christ was the beginning of a huge miracle, the first event which changed the course of history for eternity.  Have we forgotten that the miracle continues during and well after each Christmas? I cannot understand the hype, the tension and the sheer hypocrisy of all things Christian round this time of year.  Is Jesus not still alive the rest of the time?   Perhaps if we all led lives which clearly manifest the presence of Jesus Christ within us right throughout the year, we would not feel the need to kick up such a fuss on the run up to Christmas. 

I want to live out the Christmas spirit every day of my life.  When the tree and the lights have been put away, I want to continue being a light in my community, I want to turn the power up, increase the intensity so that the world can see that Christ does not die with the end of Christmas, but can grow ever more powerful and more glorious in our lives if we let him in.  I want to produce fruit and have a thankful heart for each day the Lord has made.  I want to labour for the Kingdom from every sun rise til every sunset.  I want to honour the God I worship by being faithful with little, and not insult Him by getting caught up in the worldly frenzy that leads up to Christmas to then leave Him out of my every thought, my every decision, my every undertaking the rest of the year.  Each day is a glorious new opportunity to get to the fields, plan for a new harvest, nurture those in need with the love of Jesus and propitiate the growth of the seeds previously planted. 

Has 2009 been a shaky year for you too?  Perhaps God is trying to wake us up out of our slumber or misunderstood Christianity.  Perhaps He is allowing things to take place that will mold us into the right shape to face the much more fiery furnace that is yet to come.  For His word assures us that God will discipline those whom He loves, and that judgement begins in the House of God.  Without pain, there will be no growth.  Without the uncertainty about our own ability and self-sufficiency, the humbling process that is required for us to draw nearer to God cannot, will not take place.  I intend to embrace all the bad things that have happened to me and my family this year, because I know there is a purpose to it all.  Each trial has removed a layer of pride and idolatry in my life; each trial has ignited a stronger current in me to follow Christ’s lead with more determination, integrity and consistency than ever before.  Each blow has made me more aware of my own mortality and the miracle that each day that I have been given on this earth really is, and so as a result, from every adverse circumstance, I have been able to rise from the ashes with multiplied strength and a purer heart for the things of God.

As I sit here writing this post, I can hear the words in one of Selah’s song which say: “Bless the broken road that led me back to you”.  Do I wish that this past year was taken away from my memory and that I was granted the opportunity to relive it without all its trials, challenges and disappointments?  Absolutely not! It is no surprise that for Christians who draw nearer to God in their pursuits, their worship and purpose, they will also become a more visible target in the spiritual realm for the forces of darkness which try so hard to extinguish the light in this dark old world.   

In the midst of evaluating what has been the toughest of years yet, I am suddenly struck by what God has been able to do in me and through me this year.  Apart from Him I can do nothing, and so it is that in my most obvious weakness, His strength and power have shone.  I don’t know how my family and I could have gone through these past few months if it was not for the fact that Christ is at the center of our lives and we live each day knowing that every blessing comes from God alone and that it is by His grace that we were once lost and we have now been found; it is by His grace alone that we no longer live caught in the frenzy of living without really being alive, alive in the Spirit.   

Happy Christmas, blessed Jesus!

  

 

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9 thoughts on “2009 = Being thrown into a spin cycle. Can anyone else relate to that?

  1. Hi there,

    I hadn’t visited your blog in a while …. I haven’t done much with my own blog either. And recently I’ve been re-visiting blogs I had visited in the past. I’m glad to have come back to read your recent blog post.

    It seems like this blog post has been tailor made for me.

    –My 94 yr old Grandfather with 3rd stage Dementia/Alzheimer’s is in the hospital and near the end of his life.

    –My Uncle had been diagnosed with cancer 2 months ago … I just found out a few weeks ago. A few nights ago he lost the battle to cancer.

    –Recovering from the H1N1 flu … still recovering after a month!

    –The float plane accident just off the West Coast of BC that killed Kerry Morrissey and her 7 month old daughter Sarah leaving behind her husband Patrick and 2 1/2 year old daughter. Kerry and her husband Patrick were members of my church and so many in my church are grieving this devastating loss.

    –And I’m personally feeling really attacked in the area of identity and really struggling.

    This is a bitter-sweet time for me right now.

    You said something really encouraging that I will take with me … through this next season in my life and especially in these difficult times.

    “Without the uncertainty about our own ability and self-sufficiency, the humbling process that is required for us to draw nearer to God cannot, will not take place” ( AND ) “Each trial has removed a layer of pride and idolatry in my life; each trial has ignited a stronger current in me to follow Christ’s lead with more determination, integrity and consistency than ever before. Each blow has made me more aware of my own mortality and the miracle that each day that I have been given on this earth really is, and so as a result, from every adverse circumstance, I have been able to rise from the ashes with multiplied strength and a purer heart for the things of God.”

    The above statement is powerful, true, right on, it is encouraging and yet again calling me to change the direction of my focus. Instead of looking inward to find answers it’s time once again to look up knowing that I am not looking up into a void but to my God and Savior Jesus Christ, the one who created me and in whom I find my true identity.

    Maybe I’m just rambling but I have been totally encouraged by this blog post of yours. I can now say that I have heard what I needed to hear to get me through this years Holiday Season and celebrate the heart of Christmas.

    • Dear Sarah,

      Thank you so much for your comment which has truly blessed and encouraged me.

      I am truly sorry for the loss of that mother and child in the plane accident. I am in the UK and I don’t remember it being on the news, but when I shared this with my husband, he reminded me that we very nearly took a float plane when we visited BC a couple of years ago.

      With regards to the flu virus. Give thanks to God that you are one of the “Lucky” ones who has overcome that virus and not lost their life to it. I pray that you will soon feel back to your normal self.

      I thank God that our paths have crossed again and that through that we have been able to help carry each other’s burdens with more ease.

      May the Lord bless you and keep you.

  2. I have also had a tough year. My marriage nearly ended with wounds still to mend. Our church had problems with many,many leaving as did I to go to a church where I could hear the gospel! A lot of disappointments and a lot of trials happening this year. All I can say is that my God is still with me!
    In the middle of my pain, his still, quiet voice led me on. Without Christ in my life, I don’t know how I would have made it.

  3. Same for me Marianne. Putting all my trials in the context of Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross and His urging us to pick up our cross and follow Him, have definitely allowed me to persevere and see through all the opposition and fear. I have my moments and of course some bad days where the meaning of it all does not appear as transparent, but overall, I can honestly say that the Holy Spirit has brought me through it all.

    Have a blessed Christmas Marianne.

  4. God does have a way of realigning our priorities and giving things that we overlook their proper places of joy in our lives.

    You rightly point out that we don’t have a story if we don’t have difficulty, shame, sorrow and loss.

    I’ve been reflecting on God’s purposes in my diagnosis of stage 3 breast cancer in October, as I’ve been working through the course of treatment. Advent has a mysterious glow as I wait for His special coming to me in the midst of suffering.

    I’ll add you to my blogroll!

  5. Once, the Lord showed me a panorama of a “valley of the death” experience ahead of me. It looked terrible. I shrank back, wondering about it. Then He spoke to my heart, “You can either walk through the upcoming experience with as much joy as possible or I will drag you ,weeping and struggling through it. The choice is yours.”

    • Hi Larry,

      Your comments are always so insightful and I can relate to them easily. 2010 is not presenting itself particularly great at the minute, but like you say, we are called to praise God even as we walk through the valley of death and so I am praying I will have enough strength to do so.

      Happy New Year and blessings for 2010

      Mercedes

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