Is Jesus really all we need?
This weekend, my husband and I are stepping out with nothing clothing our hearts but hope and faith and love. Because sometimes the best thing is the hardest thing. Sometimes what’s best stings when hot tears roll down wrinkled face paths and we cry, “This, Lord?”
I’m shaking on the insides at a crossroads. But we know—we are never alone. And the best thing about hard times? Letting go and realizing . . .
Jesus is enough.
It has been 16 years and two months since we embraced our first two—in Russia—in an orphanage—when they were nearly 6 and 4. And two years later we added another to our family from Russia, a 19 month-old.
I remember our first Christmas season together when we spent evenings cuddled on Anna’s antique brass bed full of fluffy pillows and stuffed rabbits, reading through our children’s picture Bible—that Bible I bought two more times over the years because of broken binding. That’s what happens when you wear out God’s word. It comes back at you new and perfect—every—single time, with fresh awe.
And the kids’ eyes grew big as we viewed the page with Mary and Joseph heading away from the Bethlehem inn with no place to birth Jesus on the earth He created except where the animals dwelled. But it was ordained from the beginning, for God dwells in humble places with humble people who know they have nothing—without Him.
Humble places are where all miraculous births occur.
Our kids were humble alright. They had nothing. They owned nothing. Even their underwear belonged to the orphanage and was stripped from their bottoms the day we came for them. They were stripped down to nothing, standing naked, waiting to be gifted with clothing they could call their own—for the first time in their lives. And as we helped dress Anna and Zach, covering their nakedness with new garments, I remember Anna questioning us in Russian—“My dress?”—“My socks?”—“My shoes?”—“My hair bow?”—“For me?” She was nearly six years old and these gifts were the first to claim as her own.
And the best gift was claimed within a year of becoming part of our family. Anna and Zach claimed the gift of salvation brought to them though that baby born in Bethlehem—with the animals across from the inn—the baby who would grow up and give the whole world a gift—the gift we all want most, but often don’t realize—a start-over—a clean slate—a love that fills deeper and wider than imaginable and even wished—a love that promises never to leave—the perfect relationship with the One who knows us and loves us more than we know and love ourselves.
And now they are 22 and 20, Anna and Zach—full grown. And life as we had dreamed for them when they were 6 and 4 is not now. Because sometimes wings don’t grow and brains don’t heal and love of parents isn’t enough. And maybe, I’ve just been given the best gift ever?
For when my dreams don’t come true it’s because I’ve been dreaming the wrong dream.
When I realize I just can never be enough, never give enough, my heart breaks. But the break? The crack? The fault-line pulling apart? It’s a new opening—an ability to receive The Gift all over again—but bigger and better than ever before—not because HE has changed, but because I’m opened enough to receive. And the greatest gift is this . . .
I ask the silent night of the holy birth to come and dwell within my heart right now, before Thanksgiving. And the Peace who came to earth becomes MY Peace of mind in the midst of human sorrow, because He was a man of sorrow, acquainted with grief. But this Man-God Jesus WILL bring fresh joy as my cracked heart opens just a bit and suddenly realizes just—one—truth . . .
As we edge closer to Thanksgiving and soon begin our advent of reflection on gifts, I’m thinking about Easter. I’m thinking about why we are so thankful at Thanksgiving and Christmas. And I know there are many hurting people right now wondering what in the world there is to give thanks for when seasons of joy don’t feel joy-full but grief-filled. And somehow counting our blessings doesn’t do as much for the heart as we hoped? I’m wondering . . .
Shall we give Jesus our broken and empty? Will we let Him show us—move us—convince us—that He is enough for US—for ME—for YOU?
I have written these words for myself today—praying—hoping—believing God will take my humble, broken-heart offering and multiply it for good—to fill hungry others—just like the boy who gave his humble pack of five poor man’s barley loaves and two dried fish to Jesus. And Jesus took the boy’s humble offering of poor and dry, broke them and gave thanks, and used them to feed 5,000 and more, with leftovers.
Yes, Jesus, You are enough.
At the end of our day—at the end of all our days—at the end of ourselves and our dreams and our plans—however they turn out—there is One who will always be FOR us and . . .
Fast forward to Easter for a video that will melt your heart and fill you with joy, right before Thanksgiving and Christmas? Grab you tissues and a quiet space for just 8 minutes and 25 seconds.
Be loved. Claim the gift.
“My Jesus?”—our little hearts wonder.
Yes, oh yes!
Your Jesus—and mine.