I’ve been talking about gifts these last few weeks: How to Be the Gift. The Gifts of Sobriety. Then last week, Mixed Message on the perfect gift and being authentic without alcohol. I just wanted to quickly share here that last week's post gave me the most feedback from my readers since I have started blogging. Thank you for that. I took a deep breath before I hit send on that one. I knew not all of the comments would be positive but that’s okay - we don’t all have to agree.
So today I wanted to say a few words about the best gift of all: God’s love for you. I saw a church sign this week that said, “He became a baby for you. Do you know anyone else who would do that?” I was like nope! That is crazy beautiful when you think about it. Even if someone wanted to do that for me, they couldn’t. It’s a God thing.
"For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it." - John 3:16-17 (TLB)
This week I encourage you to embrace the gift or simply receive the gift. It's free, it's already been paid for and it's yours for the taking. God will meet you wherever you are. Maybe you are in the pit, the rock bottom of addiction. Possibly you are the mom that dropped the F-Bomb in front of your kid today. Maybe you feel so depressed and alone you are sure no one could love you. Let me assure you He does. Go before him just as you are. I always think of this saying when I talk about this with someone:
You don’t get buff so you can go to the gym. You go to the gym to improve because you’re feeling bad about yourself. You go to the gym as an out-of-shape hot mess and use it to reach your goals.
It's just like standing before God. He loves you broken and wants you to come as you are. I quit praying while I was drinking. I didn’t feel worthy of asking anything of him and then going in to my closet for a drink. I was going to start praying again AFTER I quit drinking. Just like that gym thing.
Christmas 2009 looked very different around here. It was the year that my family witnessed firsthand that I was an alcoholic. I have never been so full of shame and regret in my life. I was devastated over the hurt I had brought my family and honestly, I didn’t see how life could get any worse. I also couldn’t see how it was supposed to get better without drinking. If only I knew then what I know now. But that’s not how it works. Unknowingly, I had so much to learn and would not have gained anything at all with an instant fix.
God said to me, "Take this gift today and we will do this together one day at a time. Don’t worry about what the next birthday party, wedding, or happy hour looks like. Or how you are going to guard your heart when it gets hurt. I am all you need.”
He was right. I have to be honest though, it was quite a ride and I fought against his ways a few times - but eventually I got it. His ways have always been better than mine.
Begin this year with opening a present. A gift from God. The gift is his Son. Embrace and receive it. Don’t look back, don’t look ahead. Stay in the moment and hold the gift he is handing you today.
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God." - Ephesians 2:8 ESV
I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I’m going to take a little holiday and be back to chat in 2018.