broken and rejoicing

So, looking at my blog, I’ve realized I haven’t written one in a while. Sorry about that. My only explanation is honestly, life. And let’s be honest here, life is crazy. Especially life around Christmas time. A time meant to enjoy the presence of others has now become a time when we spend hours looking for the perfect gift for that person instead of spending quality time with him or her and giving him or her your attention. #guilty. And even as Christmas time is crazy, its also rough. Especially for me.

You see, coming home for Christmas was not something I really wanted to do. I love being home, like literally meaning just my house, and being with my family, but that’s about it. And even my family, sometimes I don’t want to be around with. That may sound harsh, but hear me out first.

You see, Christmas time, and every other holiday is hard for me. While I may be celebrating Jesus’ birth, or his death and resurrection, it’s also another time to remind me how broken my family is. It’s another reminder that life, if we’re being honest, sucks at times. A friendly reminder that “hey aleks, you’re parents are divorced and you don’t do life around the holidays the ways you used to.” I don’t want to sound like a pessimistic person, but being honest, it has been hard finding joy for holidays these past 2 years since my parents have divorced.

Life is nothing like it used to be, and that’s hard. Especially for me. Traditions have gone to waste, and instead of spending quality time with my family, we’re locked in by a set schedule for visiting times on the holidays. My mom gets my younger brother and sister for a certain amount of time, and then my dad gets them for a certain amount. As I write this it’s hard not to shed a tear looking at the devastation that has come from my mom leaving. What was her pursuit of happiness has laid to waste a family.

And so, as you can see, Christmas time this year has been hard. While last year was especially hard because it was the first Christmas spent with my parents officially divorced, this second going doesn’t get any easier. But where am I going with all of this?Well, you see, the other night, I had a crying sesh with God. As I rehearsed why Christmas is hard, why I hate being home, and why I should be joyful because I’m celebrating the immaculate birth of my Savior, but I’m struggling to find joy during this season, God reminded me of something. I belong to His family. Did you read that? HIS FAMILY.

You see, His family isn’t broken, it isn’t divided, and it isn’t sinful. It’s perfect. And He calls me a child of His perfect family. But see, even that concept of being a child of God I have wrestled with since I got saved 3 years ago. I’ve always loved the song, No Longer Slaves, but whenever I sang, “I am a child of God,” I never quite understood that part. I always thought, well no duh, anything new here to learn? But I missed something. The day after Thanksgiving break, which was another hard holiday, when we came back to Liberty we sang the song, No Longer Slaves, during convo. While singing that song, when we came to the part that goes, “I am a child of God,” I whispered to God, “I don’t understand that. Like what does that even mean? Everyone says that, but what do they mean by that?” Now here is where the loving kindness of my gracious Father and Lord meets me in my uncertainty and brokenness with His unmatched holiness and grace. He said, “Aleks, well what does being a child mean?” “I don’t know, what do you mean?” (that was me replying by the way, if there was any confusion) “Aleks, being a child means you belong to a family. So, being a child of God means you belong to my family, and Aleks my family is not broken. Your earthly family may be broken, but Aleks, you belong to my family, and my family is not broken. It is perfect, and that means you belong to a perfect family, a family unbroken. You are not defined by your earthly family, but by mine. Live in that truth.” WOW. *cue the mic drop

And so as I laid in my bed crying about what I could be joyful about, God reminded me of this encounter. And as I wiped my tears, I heard Him say, “choose joy.” He did not say feel joy, He said choose it, and that’s what I am doing and going to do. That changed my perspective. Are the holidays still rough? Yes. Does my heart still ache? Yes. Do I feel like just crying my eyes out at times? Yes, many actually. While all of those things are okay to feel, I must not lose my joy or choose bitterness. I must choose joy. Key word: must. You see, my family may be falling apart, but His is not. My family may be broken, but His is not. My family may be sinful, but His is not. And I must (key word here), must, must, must, must, remind myself that I belong to His family. That is how I choose joy. Though my circumstances look bleak, I remember the truth of His word and His gospel, in that God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). And in that righteousness, I become an heir to God, a child of an unshaken family of saints. To choose joy, I must change my perspective. That does not mean denying reality, but it means confronting it with the truth of God. And in confronting my reality, I must remember that though my earthly family is broken, I belong to a Heavenly one that is not, and that, my friends, is where my joy lies. In the unshaken, and unbreakable truth that I belong to the holy family of God and I am not defined by broken holiday traditions, and a broken family, but by the perfection and holiness of His family. That is where true joy lies in the midst of brokenness.

So my friends, I don’t know what you’re going through as you read this. I don’t know if you’re weeping because you face a similar situation, or if you are not. But as I finish up I want to challenge you if this Christmas season has been hard on you, as it has been on me to choose joy. Are you choosing joy? If so, continue to do so, and if not, choose joy. Your life depends on it. For in a world full of trouble we must rely on the unshaken truths of God. For that will be our means of survival. And that is why I remain broken and rejoicing as I celebrate the birth of the One who paid my debts when the cup of my sin spilled over. I celebrate the birth of the One who would raise me to new life, and in that new life, I would find a new family unmarked by the strains of sin.

“He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,” (Ephesians 1:5).

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders.  And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Might God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

My prayer is that during this season His peace would rest on your hearts.

well, i’m outtie.

-aleks b.

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