Monday, January 2, 2017

Illuminated

We set the Christmas tree up earlier than we ever have, and still, January 2, 2017, it still stands. While I have taken down much of the seasonal decor, I can't bring myself to take down the tree just yet.


This Christmas was such a time of reflection, worship, and celebration of the Lord Jesus.  As I shared on Instagram earlier in the season, I love all the symbolism of Christmas time.  I feel like all of it, separately and together, has spoken to me so intensely.


Christ is the Tree of Life. He is our Evergreen.  We are the branches.  He is the Light. We are also lights displayed to all the world. Those who abide in Him will bear fruit, ornaments of His grace. He lavishes us with gifts, good and beautiful things we could not even imagine. He makes us clean and white, whiter than snow (if we actually got snow here in Houston). He comes as a small, needy baby, such a perfect representation of who we are—small and needy—even if we don't realize it (and, we often don't realize just how small and desperately needy we are).


We have not always celebrated Christmas. We had lots of opinions about it several years ago, but now.... there's so much beauty and revelation of Christ here, my heart could explode.  Christ, in whom and by whom all things were created.  Christ, of whom all creation points to.  This is His universe, and of course the enemy is always at work to try to claim Christ's work as his own.

I have imagined how, a little over two-thousand years ago, a young Mary learned that she would conceive a child, God in flesh.  It would have been around this time of year that she would have been filled by the Spirit, Jesus being knit in her womb.  That never ceases to amaze me!

I bet she was full of amazement at the power of God, amazed that He would use her. So here I am also full of awe and wonder, unable to take down the tree. I sit here typing in the dark with those twinkling lights shimmering, reflections caught on every glassy surface, sharing light and warmth.

The light, it's what draws me.  My heart is quickened within me.  He is with me, His light is in me. He is my lamp and light, illuminating the darkness. 

I am so aware of that right now.

I said yes to His light, and His light overwhelmed my darkness, and I saw just how dark I was, and how I thought I had light, but did not. His light came and exposed me. Healed me. Transformed me.

I have probably cried nearly every day.

If you know me, you know this alone is a miracle. Let's just say, crying is not my favorite.  But my heart is so incredibly raw, my soul so tender. I feel like a broken alabaster box. I'll never be the same. And my husband?  He's so broken. So beautifully shattered for Christ. 


Brandon with his handmade gift from our 11 year old son, Nolyn.


We have often, in these last months, collapsed together, arms wrapped tightly around one another, Brandon's tears anointing us as we pray. He's so soft. So tender. So amazing. I see Christ pouring out of him. I see his light shining.  I see him, this manly man— burly and bearded— totally and completely given over to Christ.  He overflows with humility and compassion, meekness and gentleness, and yet a strength and boldness like I have never seen.

While we have had a beautiful and peaceful marriage for nearly 11 years now (since the Lord Jesus transformed us as individuals and our marriage as well), I have been longing for even greater depth.  Once again, I have been a witness to the Lord's powerful grace in us as He has taken us to an even deeper level of intimacy.

Since then, not a day goes by when my husband doesn't pray over us, and rarely a day passes when I don't seek him out to pray for me when I am struggling to be soft or free in my heart.  Even seeing my husband's passion for the Scriptures has been a great encouragement to me, as many evenings we have spent sharing passages of Scriptures and witnessing the Lord renewing and cleansing us by the power of His Word.

He's not who he was. Neither of us are. The whole atmosphere of our home as changed.

Which brings me back to Christmas, when the whole atmosphere of the world changed because a little King came into the world by the humblest of means. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.

And that light, that light has overcome me. Has completely wrecked me. I feel like pieces of me have been cut off, and it has been so very painful, but so very good.  He has messed me up. And it has been for my benefit, and hopefully the benefit of His Kingdom.

So I'm leaving the tree up for now —this symbol of The Everlasting Evergreen pouring light into the darkness. And I'm asking Him to keep illuminating the darkness, to lead me, to reveal, to keep me in the raw and broken and exposed place.  He is faithful.




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