Thursday, January 19, 2012

My World Changer

There are times in everyone's existence when life changes drastically. One moment it's safe and familiar and the next you know it will never be the same again.

Fourteen years ago tomorrow, something happened that changed mine in the best way possible. Not a day goes by without the reminder that Jan. 20 was perhaps one of the best days of my life.

Sometimes I try to describe my life pre-1998. Sterile. Cold. Lonely. Isolated. Being an only child is almost like being trapped in a wasteland devoid of color, warmth and some aspect of life you just can't explain. It's like being in a form of solitary confinement. At least it was for me.

No, life wasn't all bad, but from a very young age, I knew something was missing. Attempts to fill the void were intangible, fragments of thought and ideals that took shape in the unseen realm of my imagination. But it never truly fulfilled. Instead it was like a single taste that left me starving for more.

I was starving for a long time. Over a decade of waiting will make you forget what you wanted in the first place. And I did. I started to find life more tolerable, seeing what I had as something good.

That, of course, is when everything changed. We found out about a little boy who needed a home and it didn't take long for us to give him one. And all of a sudden, my world had a little bundle of color splashed into it and nothing was ever the same.

Tomorrow, that little boy turns 14. He's not so little anymore, but he still fills my world with all the laughter, joy and color I could ask for. I haven't really been lonely since he came along and turned my wasteland into a place I actually wanted to be.

Michael, you have rocked my world in more ways than I can count. Every time I see you, I'm reminded that God does listen, even to the prayers of a three-year-old.

You're my walking representation of the fact that God gives good gifts to those who ask of him. Sure, it took longer than I often thought it should, but I wouldn't trade you for anything in the world. You're a miracle and a blessing, a gift and a treasure. You are without a doubt one of the best things that's ever happened to me and I love you.

Thanks for bringing the color into my world.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Year of Redemption

Last year, my friend Jessica got me started on a new concept of picking a theme word to focus on throughout the year. The word I chose was "peace." It was the perfect word and kept reminding me that even in tumultuous times, I could still find peace in Jesus.

I thought for a while about what I wanted my word for 2012 to be. There was one thing that has been coming to mind more and more lately, and that is the concept of redemption.

Most of all, I have felt my own need for true, pure redemption, the kind that doesn't look judgmentally at past failures, but brings freedom. Real freedom, from self and sin, comes from redemption. Redemption is a deliverance, an atonement, the act of rescue, only brought about through the spilling of pure blood, the death of the Savior.

When I think about redemption, I don't just think about the ultimate redemption, but the kind that happens daily. Every day we need it, and in some small way, we can offer it to each other through grace and love, as a picture of what we've been given so freely in Christ. We've all been given the biggest second chance of a lifetime, so there's absolutely no reason why we can't share that on a smaller level.

So 2012 is about redemption. It's about remembering how I came to be free, and what that freedom means. It's about sharing the deliverance from a life of darkness and misery to a life renewed. It's about the grace and mercy that go hand-in-hand with a sacrifice made so freely, but at a great, great price.

So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. [John 8:36]
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