For Advent this year, the services and sermons at my church centered around Isaiah 9:6-7. We meditated on what Jesus’ coming meant to Mary, to Joseph, to the shepherds who saw Jesus in a manger and to the wise men who brought Him gifts.
Today I had the opportunity at my church to tell a little bit of my story and the reasons I am personally thankful that Jesus came UNTO US. Here is what I shared:
I was raised with a heritage of faith and within the church, learning the stories of the Bible. I was taught about our need for Jesus and about how He came as a baby to be with us and bridge the gap between us and God. I accepted those truths, and decided to take each step with Christ in mind, to be as much like Him as I could possibly be.
I saw my relationship as sort of one sided at that point… he had done an amazing thing for me, for us, and now it was up to me to tell everyone about and do my best to be good for Him since He had been so good to me. I believed then that my eternity was secure, so my efforts to do everything “right” were not an attempt to earn my salvation, but rather in hopes that I could prove that I deserved it.
It wasn’t until after I had gone to college, gotten married, had children and moved to another state that I realized more fully what it meant to love and be loved by Jesus in an intimate responsive relationship.
In February of 2016, one of my worst nightmares came true. My husband went in for a fairly routine procedure, a cardiac catheterization, to assess the situation with a heart that was performing poorly. The surgery went well, but the closure device failed so that Eric bled internally and his heart could not handle it, so his heart stopped beating. Days later, after terrible oxygen loss and massive trauma to his brain, Eric died.
That day I lost not only my husband but also my coparent and my best friend. Eric was the one to whom I’d turned in everything from little life choices, to parenting decisions. I felt scared, lost, helpless and unsure. It is then that God reminded me of what I had learned when I was younger. He said to me, “Lizzie, I am with you. He’s not going to be with you, but I will never leave you. I love you.” He had warned us that terrible things would happen in our lives in this broken world, but He had also promised me that He would never, ever leave me. He was my Wonderful Counselor.
It has been nearly two years since that day, and God has not left my side, He has been faithful. In the little things, and in the tough single-parent decisions, I am not alone. The other night I was feeling sick, worn, exhausted. The toils of the day and the anxiety after my failed efforts ran me rugged. But when my head hit my pillow, I knew that God had not left me and I called out to Him. He heard me, and comforted me, and I felt His embrace. I felt the Prince of Peace still my anxiety and give rest where I had weariness.
No one in my life can give me that kind of comfort. My husband could not, my children cannot. My parents, my family, and my friends cannot. Only God can. He is my Wonderful Counselor and Mighty God. He is an Everlasting Father to me and to my children. He is the Prince of Peace. Because of these things, I know that He is good, and I can trust His government & direction for my steps. (Isaiah 9:6). I am so very thankful that Jesus came unto me, that He came Unto Us.
“ 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, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.”