We drove in traffic across town to meet my twin sister and parents for the best Mexican food in Texas. You can only turn 40 years old with fajitas and a mariachi band.
I clutched a tattered Kleenex and felt the tears well up again. Just an hour before, while standing in my kitchen, handing out after-school snacks to my kids, an email came and with it a gift from God and I am still reeling from it.
He is continuing to bless Mercy House, the crazy dream we said yes to two years ago. The blessings keep coming in waves. And 2013 is going to be amazing. We will be able to help more pregnant girls and continue to work towards a permanent home in Kenya for our present girls and babies and many others.
This past week has been hard for our world. We feel the kind of sadness that we can’t shake with Christmas shopping or birthdays. My soul yearns for His Kingdom.
I have scars from this struggle.
There are wounded, dark places in my heart where I’m tempted to believe I’m alone.
But standing there in my kitchen, I felt His presence. Emmanuel, God with me, us-in joy and sorrow. The gift He gave wasn’t so much about a tangible present (although it was), it was His Presence. He reminded me (again) that He is with me.
I closed the door to my bedroom and knelt beside my bed and I sobbed. On my birthday. Happy, hard tears. I wept for good news in an email and bad news in our world, joy and sorrow mixed and mostly, I cried because He was right there with me in both.
And I’m learning more the true meaning of Christmas: He is God on the mountaintop and God in the valley. The heartbeat of Christmas is God with us. All the time.
My husband held my hand as he navigated traffic, kids in the backseat, all hungry for refried beans and celebration and he played this song on the radio:
Standing on this mountaintop
Looking just how far we’ve come
Knowing that for every step
You were with us
Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You’ve done
Knowing every victory
Was Your power in us
Scars and struggles on the way
But with joy our hearts can say
Yes, our hearts can say
Never once did we ever walk alone
Never once did You leave us on our own
You are faithful, God, You are faithful
The road blurred and tears dripped off my chin, overwhelmed with His abounding faithfulness, even when I don’t understand, carry unanswered questions, He is here. Never once has He left me alone or on my own.
I don’t know if you’re on the mountaintop this holy season or struggling on the battlefield, I waffle between both. But wherever you are, He is there. That is the essence of Christmas, unwrapping Jesus, God with us.