12 Days of Christmas Countdown – DAY FIVE

– Invitation to Re-Gift –

I still can't believe that was me a year ago!

Have you ever experienced that awkward moment of opening a gift and thinking, “What on earth am I going to do with this?”  Then you try to think of someone to pass the gift onto.  Or it gets tossed into the “white elephant” pile, for the next gift exchange.

Most of the time when we “re-gift” something, it’s a gift that we don’t want or can’t use.  However, today God is inviting us to re-gift something that EVERYONE needs and EVERYONE can use.  He wants us to re-gift the best gift ever given – God Himself.  He wants us to join the shepherds in checking out the Christ-child for ourselves and then passing Him on to anyone who will listen to the Good News.

The Bible tells us that “They made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.”  The shepherds were amazed and they couldn’t keep it to themselves.

How has God amazed you?  How has He been present in your life?  When you’ve truly encountered God, you can’t keep it to yourself.  You simply have to share it with others.

This past year, God has shown up in a very personal way in my life and has helped deliver me from an addiction.  As I mentioned in my blog a few days ago, I am a recovering food-aholic.  In the past ten years, the stress of life and ministry led me to turn to the refrigerator for comfort, rather than turning to God.  Food became my idol.  The more food I ate, the more out of control I felt.  And the more out of control I was, the more weight I gained. 

I couldn’t sleep at night without popping a Pepcid to stop the acid reflux.  I had to buy larger and larger clothes for my ever expanding waisteline.  I felt uncomfortable in my own skin, and what’ worse – I felt helpless to change.  I was literally killing myself one bite at a time.  And no matter how many diets I tried, I would always fail.  I had plenty of knowledge about how to exercise and eat healthy.  But that knowledge alone was not enough to bring change.

This past year, I finally gave up.  I said, “God, I can’t do this.  I’m done.”  And that’s when I sensed Him saying, “Now I’ve finally got you where I want you.  You’re right, Linda – you can’t overcome this on your own.  But all things are possible with me.”  So by the grace and help of God, I’ve been able to lose 85 pounds this past year.

I feel more free today than ever.  But it’s not because of some great diet program or because of my great will power.  Those things are not what saved me.  It is truly Christ alone.  His power has been breaking into my life in new ways and transforming me from the inside out.  The battle is not over.  I know that if I don’t continue to pay attention to Him and follow His lead, I could very easily go straight back down that road toward feeling constantly over-stuffed, the road toward heart disease and diabetes.

But like the shepherds, I can’t stop talking about the amazing power of God to break addictions and heal broken hearts.  To bring new hope when I had completely lost hope.  This God who came to earth so I could know Him loved me so much that He met me right there in that pit I had dug for myself.  He didn’t wait for me to get my act together and fix myself.  He loved me, right there in that pit.  But then His powerful love gave me the strength to follow him out of that pit into a new life.

Where have you experienced God working in your life?  How has He rescued you?  How has He amazed you?  How has He provided for you?  If you don’t feel like you have a story to tell, I encourage you to ask God to open your eyes so that you can see the ways He’s at work in your life right now.  It could be that you’ve allowed the stress of life to crowd Him out.  Or perhaps you’ve turned to someone or something other than God to be your savior (like I did with food).

I know that He’s up to something in your life right now, you just may not be able to see it.  As your eyes are opened, you, too, will soon have a story to tell that you won’t be able to contain.

When we’ve been in the presence of God, it changes us.  It makes weak people strong, fearful people bold, and anxious people filled with peace.  Our joy will pour out of our lives to those around us.  When God shows up, we cannot contain Him.  He spills out of our lives to those around us.  Just like the shepherds, you’ll become the ultimate re-gifter and will pass on the story to anyone who will listen.

1 Comment

  1. Cathy Terpstra

    Linda you are a true inspiration and have touched my heart and soul with this. I’m eager to go back and read the first 4 days you’ve written. Thank you for your friendship and insights and encouragement. Xoxo

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