Over twenty-two years ago I found myself face down, lying prostrate, on a filthy carpeted bedroom floor crying out, “God, if you are real, if you are who you say you are, then take my life and do something with it because I don’t want to be this person anymore.”
In the musky smell of the carpet I could smell Him, in the salty tears that ran into the corners of my mouth, I could taste Him, and behind the heaviness of my eyelids I could see His brilliance. In that moment, the Lord invaded every cell of my being, hijacked my senses, and loved my spirit into receiving Him fully. The ‘me’ I didn’t want to be shed away, and the ‘me’ He created me to be was reborn.
Thus began a journey. In the twenty-two years since that vulnerable moment, the one aspect that has remained is the knowing. Life didn’t stop because I suddenly desired to live out my life in accord with God’s will. No, it has been a progression of learning how to walk, to talk, to trust, and to discern. I knew I never wanted to go back to who I was before, and I haven’t. However, there have been many dips, turns, and even dark valleys on the journey that have tested my newly learned abilities. It is in the knowing that I have been able to stop just short of taking that final turn into the abyss of darkness.
It is in the dips, turns, and dark valleys that the Lord has allowed me to begin again, each and every time, and to take away from the experiences an understanding of who I really am and what I don’t want to fall into again. Every year I get an opportunity to begin again, which is why I believe New Year’s has been such a pinnacle holiday for me. It is the mark of a new year, blank slate, unknown joys, sorrows, celebrations and trials.
That pinnacle moment of the Lord’s manifestation into my life must be no different than the journey of the three wise men. It was in the knowing that they were led to follow the star, and to come upon our Lord in the moment of epiphany. A true manifestation of God fully revealed in a child. The three kings’ lives were forever changed, marked by the very smells and senses they carried with them in gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
The most beautiful part of the very short story of the Magi is the mere fact that they just showed up. They took their knowledge and understanding of the celestial sky, along with religious teachings, and made a decision to go. The knowing inside drew them to their one true King and forever changed their course – quite literally – as the angel appeared and directed them to stay clear of King Herod.
We all have this opportunity before us. To show up and to change our course. What will this year bring? Whatever it is, know the Lord is with you in every moment.