“I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize. ” Philippians 3:12 CEV
2018 proved to be a more challenging year than expected. Losses of loved ones unexpectedly. Being faced with the evil which exists in this world early in February through the tragic murder of an amazing man of God whom we had the privilege to know and love. Diagnoses of cancer in friends and family. Job loss. It took a toll on my heart.
With each event was a new challenge to find God in it. To seek Him first and foremost. There were days it was very hard to take my eyes off of the circumstances around me and place them on Jesus. There were days the only way I achieved it were by the people who led me there. When Mike woke up after being shot five times and losing his son, he asked for his Bible. He helped me look to Jesus in the face of tragedy. When Jill thanked God for His perfect timing in finding the spot that saved her life, she led me to Jesus. When Uncle Earl checks in each week at his church in Texas it leads me to Jesus. When Leslie tells me of her God moment in the midst of her cancer diagnosis it led me to Jesus.
I’ve tried hard to keep my eyes on Jesus this year. There are times I faltered, even fell. But always, He forgave me. Always, He lifted me up. Always, He kept me going.
It is hard to put into words the experience I just had at Bayside Community Church (https://mybayside.church/) in Bradenton, Florida. I left there so overwhelmed with God’s Spirit I wept. I’ve never experienced anything like it before in my life.
I felt God’s presence the moment we walked through the door. The smiling faces at the door. David, who spotted us as guests and introduced himself. The worship with songs I’d never sung but spoke directly to my heart. The message which gave me new perspective on the Christmas story. A perspective I so desperately needed to hear.
I heard God whisper to me, I’ve been with you the whole time. I have never left you. You are meant to be here. You are meant to hear this message.
He taught us how to be wise in 2019:
- Seek Jesus
- Worship Jesus
- Bring your best for Jesus
- Represent Jesus
I have a renewed passion to represent Jesus well. I asked God for forgiveness for the times I’ve failed to do that one thing. For the times I made it about me instead of about Him. I vowed to do better in 2019 than I did in 2018.
More than anything, He confirmed I’m on the right path. I’m heading in the direction He wants me to go. I felt it so clearly in my spirit like never before.
I don’t know what challenges lie ahead for me in 2019, but I know I won’t face them alone. I know, He is with me!