Christmas is upon us and this year there's a long is my heart for it to be different.
So, I go through readings and scripture this advent, hoping it will be.
Yet, when I use the word advent,
I really am meaning my relationship with Jesus as a whole.
Advent is the specific days on the Calendar,
that we are able to remember the hope of the Lord,
But that hope, it's there always…
no matter the season, no matter the day, no matter the time.
I'm longing to remember that hope every single moment, every single day.
I'm longing for it to deeper. I'm longing for it to change me.
But it's a struggle.
I've gone to church since I was a little girl.
I remember being that girl in elementary school…
who said once she had a choice, she'd stop going.
She was bored with it. She didn't understand it.
There wasn't much meaning to it. All she knew was it stopped her time with friends.
Then I was that girl in high school who decided to step away from the church she was going to, and go to another.
Church became different for her then.
It was a place she wanted to go, a place she wanted to be.
Its where she came to know about Jesus and who He really was.
It was the place where there was a change in her.
Life wasn't easy then, but there was hope.
Jesus was only a prayer away and she prayed often.
Life may not have been different, but the hope, made it feel different.
It made her realize life was different.
And then she went to college.
And it was a struggle.
I went to a private Christian college believing it was going to be the best place.
I was going to grow in my faith and it would be an amazing, life changing time in my life.
And I did. And it was, but not in the way I had pictured.
There I lived for four years….
crying many tears, praying many prayers, and making far too many poor choices.
The words "poor choices" really isn't fitting at all.
There I caused a lot of harm and there was a lot of harmed to me.
There was the place, my junior year I found it hard to step inside a church.
I rarely went and when I did, all I could do was cry as I sat there.
Ashamed of my choices and heartbroken because of it all.
Terrified that every person in the church could see every single thing I'd done wrong.
It was a struggle and clearly, still is.
I've gone to church a handful of times…
since returning home from college over 4 years ago.
We, as a family, have gone even less than that.
I give a lot of excuses and blame a lot.
I rarely ever take responsibility and admit that the reason church is hard,
that the reason advent is hard,
is me…. all me.
So here I am, admitting that church is hard…
My relationship with Jesus is hard…
And it honestly has a lot to do with college.
The pain, the brokenness, the hurt there.
Church and my relationship with Jesus haven't felt the same since.
I'm hoping though and praying that this season of Advent changes it.
I'm hoping it will help to heal the still hurting parts and help me to see more hope.
Because it's there in Him. It always has been and always will be.
I'm hoping it will help me to get rid of the excuses and the blame and be willing to go to church.
That's what I'm hoping for this season of Advent.
What I'm praying for.
What about you?