An Advent Message of Hope

I haven’t written anything here in over a year. In fact, the only thing I have written in that time (besides emails and messages) is a beautiful leather journal full of copied Scripture verses. It is almost full.

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A lot happened in that year. And in terms of my identity as “writer,” well, I felt like I was being prepared. Being prepared to write, not for myself – but in order to share bits and pieces of my understanding, pieces of God. I am not equipped to do that, but with God all things are possible. I had to learn (and still must learn every day) that I can do nothing on my own. And when I try, I make a mess.

Much of this site was written during times of incredible darkness for me. I have always been a “seeker,” but what I had found so far was a mish-mosh of spiritual vagueness, an intense and incredible love for my husband and children, and a feeling of being completely and utterly lost, unable to make sense of my life.

I went through therapy, pharmaceuticals, spent a lot of time in the gym, and tried over and over again to re-discover who I was and where I belonged. One day, I opened a small book on prayer “With Open Hands” by Henry Nouwen, and somehow (by Grace) my life began to change. I began to believe in all those “stories” I had always deemed as complete foolishness.

Today is not the day I am going to write that story though, because that story is very, very long. Today I want to share something about living “inside the gate.”

Ann Voskamp writes:

You’ve got to use the life you’ve been given to give others life.

You’ve got gifts that weren’t given to line your life with; they were given to be a lifeline to others – or you lose your life.

It comes like an echo from God: if your gifts don’t give reliefyou don’t get real life.

What does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his own soul?

It comes as a message for Advent, the Mordecai message [Esther 4:10-17] for such a time as now: you’ve got to use your position inside the gate for those outside the gate – or you’re in the position of losing everything.

If you have any food in your fridge, any clothes in your closet, and small roof, rented or owned, over your head, you are richer than 75 percent of the world. We are the ones living inside the gate.

If you have anything saved in the bank, any bills in your wallet, any spare change in a jar, you are one of the top 8 percent wealthiest people in the world. We are the ones living inside the gate.

If you can read these words right now, you have a gift three billion people right now don’t. If your stomach isn’t twisted in hunger pangs, you have a gift that one billion people right now don’t. If you know Christ as the greatest Gift, you have a gift that untold millions of people right now don’t. We are the ones living inside the gate” (The Greatest Gift 179-180).

She said it so well that I really have nothing to add. Our lives are not our own… we are called to serve others. It is kind of a radical idea, because in the bubble that many of us (like me) live in, it is so easy to ignore that we are in a position (top 8 percent! think about that…) to help.

So I guess that today, I don’t have any amazing ideas on how to do that, but I needed to reach out with this message during a week that can be absolutely crazy…buying last minute gifts, getting everything ready for Christmas. It is so easy to forget about the things that really matter. Perhaps the next post will be about ways to use our advantage to help those that don’t have the advantage we do. Stay tuned…I don’t intend to be gone for another year. 😉

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