Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 2 Corinthians 9:15 NIV
My still-on-the-planet daughter, has traveled twenty-three hours from North Africa with her family to be here. She is with me in the car after a major shopping trip to Costco. We have picked up items for my new home in Manitoba, for the wedding and for her three children. After five years of Alberta Chinooks, the prairie wind feels exceptionally cold and blustery. “I don't know why anyone would choose to live here,” she laughs as her breath hangs in the air while our car heads down the highway.
On the drive she asks me to share my thoughts and feelings on my upcoming wedding to happen December 17 in Winnipeg. We are both reminded of my last day in her N African home this past March. After my suitcase was zipped for my return trip to Calgary we plunked on our backs on the bed to pray ... Heads to the ceiling, arms splayed, she ended with Maybe God this could be the year. I gave a half hearted Amen. This prayer has been spoken before. With that in mind, I now fight back the tears—“I don't feel like I deserve to be this happy.” And that is what it is.
“Well you've nailed it,” she says.
I don't feel I deserve to be this happy. After a decade recovering the loss of two children and a husband, I have grown acquainted with grief. While I have laughed a lot, and felt as though my recovery has been incredible, often I feel more comfortable with sorrow than rejoicing. Most of the people I hang out with have either lost a child, or are single by divorce. And Harold has his own grief story. Both our stories have impacted our southern Manitoba community and now many people are saying “We are so happy for you. You deserve this.”
And we both ask--did we deserve the tragedy? There is something to slogging through life, to persevere. We have sung "Onward Christian Soldiers." And yet in John 10:10 Jesus says: The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
I feel undeserving of this happiness, of this abundant gift of this soon to be husband.
After expressing this sentiment to my dear prayer friend, she sent me the following reading from the book Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. The November 12 reading:
"I want you to enjoy to the full this time of ease and refreshment. I delight in providing it for you. Sometimes my children hesitate to receive My good gifts with open hands. Feelings of false guilt creep in, telling them they don't deserve to be so richly blessed. This is nonsense-thinking because no one deserves anything from Me. My kingdom is not about earning and deserving; it's about believing and receiving.
When a child of Mine balks at accepting My gifts, I am deeply grieved. When you receive My abundant blessings with a grateful heart, I rejoice. My pleasure in giving and your pleasure in receiving flow together in joyous harmony."
This Christmas, not only do I celebrate the gift of God's presence, I celebrate the gift of Harold, and a new twist to the Hark the Herald Angels Sing.
Ecclesiastes reminds me that now is my time to dance and my time to cease from sorrowing ... Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift of His abundant life through Jesus Christ.
Rich blessings to each of you ... may you take time to ponder the gifts God has given you ... of Immanuel-God with us. He is with us each step of the way. I can truly say God has never left my side, and He will continue to walk with me now in this new adventure.
I am grateful, I am humbled by His generosity.
Richest blessings to each of you.
Let us be merry.
Jocelyn pre-posted; her wedding date was December 17, 2016. She will be traveling with Harold in January to mid March. She is author of "Who is Talking Out of My Head, Grief as an Out of Body Experience". She blogs at: http://whoistalking.wordpress.com