seeing HOPE in the midst of the pain

originally posted 12.30.2011

(& apologies for the text layout that i can’t seem to edit to a more easy-to-read format)

before i begin i want you to know,
i humbly & respectfully took these images of a gorgeous new home around the corner from my own home.
i contacted a family member related to the home owner &
asked if i could have permission to write this post.
the images & the poignancy of this site.
these images break my heart.
however what i really see in these images is HOPE
& that is exactly what He wants you to see too…
this was obviously going to be someone’s dream home.
i envision plans & details layed out on a kitchen table for quite sometime
as this gorgeous home came to fruition.
it was stacked stone & gorgeous
a circular drive
a large pool in the back
i had never gone inside but knew it was to be on the tour of homes
for the highschool my girls attend.
then just before thanksgiving, it burned to the ground.
all those dreams, all the newness
gone.
it’s truly a horrific site to see the remains of a fire.
it’s frightening and dark.
it hurts your heart whether you knew the home owners or not.
years of personal belongings & dreams
gone.
a few weeks after the fire
dan asked if i had noticed the manger scene.
i was quite certain it had not been up prior to the fire.
sure enough, the manger scene was built after the home burned down.
the sides of the manger structure….they were the sides of the home owner’s grandchildren’s bed…after the fire.
the christmas tree was decorated outside the home after the fire.
the thought that a nativity scene was built
after the fire.
after the horrific incident.
out of the mess,
out of the seemingly hopeless situation,
there sits the manger.
right in the middle of all the mess
sits the manger.
i pondered on how symbolic that scene was.
how powerful.
what a true picture of how He came.
He left Heaven’s throne
where angels sing Holy Holy Holy to Him
-never ceasing praise.
He left that
to come into our world,
your world.
our world of messy situations. of broken homes & broken lives. our world with angry, discontent, disobedient people.
us. He came to us. in our messy broken world.
if you have ever thought your sin was too big
or your past was too dark
your heart was too far gone
or the things you’ve done are too messy for Him.
it’s not.
they’re not.
NOTHING
is too far gone for Him.
she was an unwed pregnant teenager
he was a simple carpenter.
he figured he’d honor her & go ahead and marry her
with plans to divorce her (quietly) later.
she claimed she was a virgin
& that the Holy Spirit came upon her.
 that she would deliver the savior.
the one the people had waited long waited for
to free her people.
no one believed her.
of course no one believed her.
how absolutely scandalous.
they thought their savior was to be a mighty warrior
that he would arrive in the golden power city Jerusalem.
Jerusalem was the holy city where the temple was located.
 they sure weren’t expecting a baby…
in Bethlehem.
nothing good came from Bethlehem.
mary & joseph were traveling & realized she was soon to give birth.
it actually didn’t happen in a barn
it was a hollowed out indention in the side of a mountain
where animals could hide for shelter.
there was yuck there, messy smelly animal yuck there.
it was not clean
nor was it quiet.
it was dark and messy.
an angel shows up to shepherds.
shepherds were smelly & dirty & poor.
the shepherds were tending to the sheep
that incidentally were being raised and would be taken to Jerusalem
for sacrifice for people’s sin.
are you following this?
how amazing is that detail.
the first people that found out that their savior
promised about 400 years earlier
had been born
were the shepherds tending to the sheep
that were the sacrifice for sins.
yet HE was to be THE final sacrifice for sins.
i love that detail!!
the shepherds weren’t even allowed in the temple
yet
HE came to them.
not in a fancy church with perfect pews & a steeple
but
to them.
out in their filth & dirt.
on a dark night.
THE light came to them.
majesty in the mess.
that’s how He came.
if you have ever felt you couldn’t make it to God
please know that Jesus came to YOU
& that my friends
is the HOPE of glory.
the HOPE that all will be made right one day.
the HOPE that you were never alone.
as i drove around the back of this home that dark dreary rainy day
it took my breath away—
to see the cross from the church across the street
through the burned down ruins of this home.
the cross, the scene of his death, on one view.
the manger, the scene of his birth on the other view.
the cross
the reminder that HE came
oh He came alright,
not to who “they” thought
or to where “they” thought
but He came
& then He gave His life.
no more slaughtered sheep
no more blood of any clean animals.
He was the perfect sinless one.
He gave His life for us.
freedom
hope
peace
& love
all right there
to view
through the dark charred mess
He was there all along.
majesty in the mess
hope in the midst of a storm
or a fire
or cancer
or divorce
or unemployment
or famine
or fear
Emmanuel
God with us.
do you see Him?
He is Emmanuel
He is here with you…
& to the homeowners
my prayers are with you
as you rebuild your home & your hearts
~~~

my prayer is that my life, my words & actions, my home
glorifies the Lord.
that whatever glimpse you get into my life
through reading these simple thoughts i have
while some days it’s a silly thought
some days it’s heartfelt
that He is glorified.

~~

isaiah 61.3
“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.”

romans8.38-39

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

update…this glorious home has since been rebuilt & is indeed a gorgeous dream home!

these images were taken years ago as i was just learning how to use my humble camera. but in all the years of blogging, i must tell you this is my personal favorite post i’ve ever written. i love to share my heart as we raise our daughters. and of course i love to share & decorate our home…but the heart of my blog is to encourage you and share jesus with you!

merry christmas friends, i wish you a very merry christmas!

 

December 20, 2015 - 9:43 am

Lori H - Merry Christmas, Paige! Thank you for sharing this post again. It was and is a wonderful reminder for us and your photos complement the message so well.
Enjoy having your driveway full this holiday 🙂 Lori

December 20, 2015 - 4:15 pm

Lisa - This is what I needed to see today. We’ve been running around like crazy the past few days between decorating, shopping and getting my girls home from college. This is a beautiful reminder of what this season truly is about. Thank you and Merry Christmas!

December 20, 2015 - 4:23 pm

Destiny - I look forward to rereading this post every year…

December 20, 2015 - 4:47 pm

Nancy - One of my favorite posts in all of blogland! The church at the end gets me every time.

December 20, 2015 - 9:52 pm

Kathy - Oh, Paige, this is a beautiful post. Thank you. Merry Christmas!

December 21, 2015 - 7:52 am

Alyson - This was incredibly beautiful, and exactly what I needed today. Thank you for sharing it. Merry Christmas to you and your family!

December 21, 2015 - 1:50 pm

chrissi - love this post♥ merry christmas!

December 22, 2015 - 5:58 pm

Kristina - Beautiful post. Thank you.

December 24, 2015 - 10:46 am

Carol - Beautiful reminder of the remarkable humility and patience of God- thanks you!!

December 25, 2015 - 8:31 am

Tracy Ruff - The most beautiful , heartfelt, post I have EVER read!! Thank you for the true meaning of our lives, no matter the season!