God’s Will in the nativity

The Holy Family’s first few years were not tranquil. They were filled with grueling travel during the hardest part of pregnancy, a birth in worse than a barn, no steady income, an assassination attempt, two dessert crossings on foot with an infant, living in a foreign country, waiting on God for guidance and provisions just in the nick of time. It was difficult, expensive, time-consuming, career-delaying and full of uncertainty.

And it was God’s will.

The unplanned, inefficient detours of our lives are planned by God. They are common for disciples, and they commonly don’t make sense in the moment. But God’s ways are not our ways because our lives are about him, not about us. He is orchestrating far more than we know in every unexpected event and delay.

So when you find yourself suddenly moving in a direction you had not planned, take heart, hold tight, and trust God’s navigation.

John Piper

Each Christmas season, I reflect. And I wait…

I wait for God to show me something new about the “Christmas story” that I’ve not seen or understood before and I wait in joyful expectation of that veil being removed from my eyes so that I can see.

This morning it hit me – that something I needed to point my heart back to what Christmas is all about anyway. I’ve been surprised and thankful at how “simple” this Christmas year has felt. Our good friend said the other day something like this, “You know, Christmas is really simple if you make it that way.” While the culture hurry’s itself about, I sit here amidst a warm candle glow, a lit tree, a warm cup of coffee and an open heart, and I’m reminded that my God never fails me. And this morning He has opened my eyes once again to the beautiful meaning in the birth of the Christ-child.

I knew early on when I met my best friend and the man I would marry that my life probably wouldn’t be easy. Knowing we would pursue full-time ministry as a career and lifestyle meant nothing short of being willing to sacrifice a comfortable income, move wherever the Lord called us, and be open to things I had never imagined for myself. There seems to be something in every little girl that pictures themselves married to a doctor (*ahem* although many of my dear friends are married to them and I’ve learned it’s not so glamorous all the time afterall :), living in some giant cinderella castle where life whisks you away and you smile all the time and are never touched by trouble or heartache.

You don’t have to look very hard at Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus to see that this family knew something about walking the hard road. What has stood out to me most from the Christmas story this year is the fact that their lives took many “detours.” Their lives were hard, uncomfortable….maybe not exactly what they had expected or pictured the way life would be for them. Sounds strangely similar to me.  But if you would ask me, I wouldn’t change a thing and that also means that I can be free to continue to release my grip to the Lord trusting that the next steps are His will. Sometimes God’s will is hard. Like Mary and Joseph, I hope I can be willing and ready to go where I’m sent, and accept what I’m given and fully embrace God’s gracious, beautiful, plan for my life no matter how difficult it may seem.