Friday, January 6, 2012

Take Heart

I've started writing this entry more times than I can count over the past few weeks.  I haven't blogged in so long that I feel like I have so much to say.  Then there's the fact that it's been such a life-changing year for me that I really don't know how to summarize all that's in my heart.  I've experienced so much.

  • I've experienced deep heartache beyond what I thought was humanly possible
  • I've found genuine and deep comfort in Jesus that I've never experienced before
  • I've had to make hard decisions
  • I've cried many, many tears
  • I've been loved unconditionally
  • I've had the unwavering support of my amazing husband 
  • I've had true joy and hope in the midst of great sadness
  • I've been encouraged by the faithful prayers of fellow believers in Christ
  • I've reaffirmed in my own heart that no matter what, I will choose to trust and follow Jesus
  • I've watched my family grieve deeply
2011 was probably the most difficult year of my life.  But, as I've listed above, some really wonderful things have been affirmed (or maybe reaffirmed) in my life, through the trials.  I'm not going to go into any great detail about any of the things I listed above, but I do want to stress one thing.  Probably the most important thing I've learned in 2011.

Without Jesus, there is no hope.  None.  Yes, there are fleeting things that can make you happy for a while.  Yes, there are people in our lives who, for a time, make us feel better about ourselves; about our lives.  We live in a beautiful world that offers us perfectly blue skies, breathtaking sunsets, majestic mountains and incredibly vast oceans.  But, apart from Jesus and the love and hope He offers, these things are just temporary "pick me ups."  The hope He gives is unending.  Even the worst of circumstances do not change His limitless grace, forgiveness and peace.  After being a follower of Jesus for almost 27 years, I still have a difficult time grasping this concept completely.  But I know it to be true.

Life is hard.  Sometimes it feels downright unbearable.  But friends, God is so very great.  I don't know how else to explain it other than He is breath and life for me.  I am a new creation in Christ and, in the end (whether that's when Jesus returns, or through death) we win!  Love wins!  I want my life in 2012 to reflect that.  I all too often lose sight of this in the midst of grocery shopping, paying bills, doing dishes and checking homework.  As amazing, crazy, beautiful, sometimes miserable, and wonderful as this world can be, it is not my home.

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." ~ John 16:33 (ESV)


Steph said...

Amen! Love you, Stace! Thanks for sharing your heart so honestly and for the encouraging reminder to lay it all down.

Debbie said...

"To Stacey God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." Col 1:27 Praise be his glorious name! Thanks you for testifying to His work in your life!

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