Christmas day came and went, without my daughter, Olivia.  It’s the second one without her, and never something I dreamed I would endure.  And as I was talking to a friend about my earthly family on Christmas Eve, and realized they do not see me as Christ does (and probably never will) and they certainly don’t love as Christ does, that’s not a healthy relationship to be in.  I thought about if my salvation depends on whether or not I continue on a path to continue to let them verbally berate me, and the answer is no.  I do forgive all their trespasses, and I have a pure heart when it comes to how I love them, because I see them as Christ does.  Forgiven, imperfect, flawless and I can extend grace.  

I miss Olivia.  I miss her smile, I miss her laugh, I miss her perspective on life, and I wonder, if she could and would see me now, what her thoughts would be on all I’ve been through since 2004.  How I know this is where she wanted me to be, and how she wanted me to see how I can be loved, and I believe in my heart she would be so incredibly happy and proud.  Because her mom, finally gets it.

I think about all the bad relationships I have been in – with those who cannot love as Christ does – and how this past year was a true transformation for me, and I want to encourage all of you out there who are struggling with relationships where you are not loved as Christ loves – get out.  Do not continue on the path I was for so long…my normal was if someone wasn’t being mean or telling me how wrong I am about life, not fully respecting me or my beliefs, they weren’t fully loving me.  Now I realize how unhealthy a path that was – and while it’s difficult at times to realize I deserve to be loved, it’s a true honor to be in healthy, loving, compassionate, grace-filled relationships, I am learning to accept them.  It’s not easy to let the good, positive, love in, but I will eventually learn that I am worth every ounce that is pouring in…

I heard a Christmas song the other night, and it’s been a long time since I heard it but the words state:

God is in us, God is for us, God is with us Immanuel.

God is in us.  Yes, He is.  He is in our hearts all we have to do is embrace it.

God is for us.  Yes, God is for us in every situation.  He doesn’t leave us – even we we stray – He doesn’t keep records of our wrong, and when we turn to Him, He wraps His arms around us and holds on tight.

God is with us.  Immanuel.  God is with us.  Immanuel.  Every step we take, every situation we endure, every harsh word spoken, every tear we cry, every joy we experience, God is with us.

So as I reflected on the day, and all I was blessed with from the start of the day, to very end, I realized how loved I really am, and how many people out there I genuinely love.  This past year of resting, repenting, reflecting…how blessed I am.  I was given a gift years ago, of forgiveness, salvation, and genuine pure love when God sent His son to save the world.  God was literally with us then, and He is certainly with us now.  It doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas Day, Easter, or any other religious holiday we choose to celebrate, God is with us daily, hourly, moment to moment…

A friend said to me the other day, “you are very important to a lot of people”…I never realized I was important, I mattered, my heart meant something to people…now I see it.  Now I get it.  Now I want all that love, I want to matter, I’m finding my way to “home”.  My heart feels at peace, my steps are lighter, my mornings brighter, and I wake up and pray and thank God for all He has given me for the day – before the day even begins.

It used to be – when I was in a relationship, I still felt lonely.  The loneliness never really went away.  Now, even when I am by myself, I am not lonely.  I know someone is with me every moment of every day.  It could be a friend, a co-worker, a brother or sister in Christ, but for the first time, I know when no one else is around, God surrounds me with His arms, His love, His grace.

Michael W. Smith has a song, entitled “When Love Take You In” and it so true.  You can search your entire life and seek for a home to call your own, you can cry yourself  to sleep, drift off, dream, but when love takes you in, everything truly changes… a miracle truly starts with the beat of a heart that knows and, and more importantly, feels it belongs…my heart is so full right now…I feel like crying happy tears and continuously thanking those around me for believing in me, accepting me, pushing me to become all I should become…all I could become.  There is nothing like fully coming into your own and realizing your potential in what God has made you to become.  And then to know those around you are loving you as God made you…well, this is the type of love that never lets go…and frankly, I don’t plan on letting it go.

I encourage everyone to let love take you in, let God wrap His arms around your heart, and your entire being…let God show you WHO you are and WHAT you are and you’ll learn HOW to love yourself…and when you love yourself, it’s so easy to let others love you too…so I’ll leave you with this…

“When love takes you in, and everything changes, a miracle starts, with the beat of a heart, when love takes you home, and says you belong here, a loneliness ends, and a new life begins, when love takes you in…”

Find love people…

Matthew 1:22-23