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Storyteller. Grace Dweller.

I’m Jennifer — wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, new book author. I believe in you, because I believe in Jesus. You matter to Him, and you matter to me. more »

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23

Tuesday 29th November 2016

for all the forgetful, messy, broken people out there – an Advent promise

It was a busy afternoon. I was distracted and overwhelmed, as many of us are during the holidays.

But I urgently needed to buy some laundry detergent — unless our family was willing to show up at church the next day in pajamas. So I rushed to the grocery store with that single item on my list.

By the time I parked the car, I had mentally added a few more items to the list, because the radio weatherman was predicting a big winter storm, and I might need some necessities. (“Must-have” items included a big bag of bite-sized chocolates, which I would secretly stash on a high shelf in the pantry in the event of Snowpocalypse. Hashtag mommy survival kit.)

I grabbed a shopping cart at the entrance and raced through aisles, picking up about a dozen more . . . a-hem . . . “necessities.”

At the checkout, the clerk gave me my total amount due. I handed her my credit card, and only then did I remember what I came for: Laundry detergent. It wasn’t even on the grocery conveyor belt!

I’d forgotten what I actually needed, because I was distracted by everything I thought I must have.

It hit me, right then, how forgetful I am — how I lose sight of the main thing, because of all the side distractions.

I’m not proud to admit that my forgetfulness happens in my spiritual life, not just at the grocery store.

You, too?

Here we all are, wherever we are, on this grand globe called Earth. We’ve been sent here for purposes set for us long ago. And in reality, we need One Thing most of all. (Hint: It’s not laundry detergent or chocolate, and His name starts with the letter “J.”)

We know we need Him first and foremost, but we get distracted by everything else.

Truth is, we really do want God with all of our heart. We really do put Him at the top of our lists. But we chronically miss Him anyway — because of distraction, chaos and even because of our own pain.

The Pain is Real

For many of us, the pain is real. This can be a dreadfully hard time of year. Maybe your extended family can’t manage to sit down for one holiday meal without a conflict erupting. It’s a few weeks until Christmas, and for many of us, loved ones will be missing from our table. We can fairly predict who will be glaring at who over the water goblets, and who will be dealing with some really difficult stuff. Maybe that someone is you.

Our pain can break our communion with God.

Our distractions can break our communion with God.

Even our well-meaning busy-ness can break our communion with God.

Here’s the good news we need to know: even when we’ve broken communion with God, He doesn’t break communion with us. He enters into our brokenness, and restores communion.

And that’s what this whole season is all about — the restoration of all the broken things.

Jesus totally gets your chaos. He totally gets your brokenness. He doesn’t turn His back on the mess. He enters into it.

This is His Advent, His Christmas — His chaotic, messy, holy, no-room-for-you-in-the-inn, born-in-a-barn entry into the world. Imagine the pain of labor. The itch of hay. The stench of beast. This is God, incarnate, coming into our broken world, into our broken hearts.

Light of the world, You stepped down into darkness.

Light of the World, You Stepped Down Into Darkness

Come, Lord Jesus

This morning, I awoke to read words in Come, Lord Jesus — the book I’ve chosen for my personal Advent journey, a book written by a dear friend Kris Camealy. She writes words for all of us:

“In all our desert wandering we see God has not shut Himself up in the heavens out of reach of our cries. Salvation is coming–and has come. He has a plan. In our confession, we wait for it. In our admission of great need, God declares redemption. God would tear open the tapestry of Heaven to deliver unto us the very Prince of Heaven and lay Him low in the filth of our constant struggle.

We shall be saved.”

Come Lord Jesus by Kris Camealy

Jesus is Your Forever YES

Friend, if you’re feeling messy this season, you are in a pretty elite club, and it is chaired by the Son of God who entered into your mess on purpose.

Advent is this:
Jesus, saying the unflinching, remarkable YES for you — no matter what has you hurting or distracted. Like Kris wrote, “Salvation is coming–and has come.”

Jesus is your forever YES. Even when we break communion. Even when we get distracted. Even when it’s messy. Even when we forget.

That day at the store, I ran back to the detergent aisle while the clerk waited patiently for me — along with a long line of people who were standing behind me.

In the end, I got what I needed that day. We even wore clean clothes to church.

Like that patient clerk, God is waiting for us. But unlike that clerk, He doesn’t expect us to pay the bill. He covered it for us.

I’m so grateful for our Jesus, who entered into this mess down here. He went out on a pretty big limb for us, you know? Sometimes, I forget that. Even when I forget, He won’t. It’s His promise:

“But even if mothers forget, I’d never forget you — never.” {Isaiah 49:15, MSG}

#TellHisStory

Hey Tell His Story crew! It is a joy to gather here every week with you. The linkup goes live each Tuesday at 4 p.m. (CT). If you would use the badge on your blog, found here, that would be great! And if you would visit at least one other blogger in the link-up and encourage them with a comment, that would be beautiful! Be sure to check the sidebar later. I’ll be featuring one of you over there!

Our featured writer this week is Liz Giertz. I appreciate her gentle encouragement for each of us to choose gratitude during the holiday season. “Let’s stop sabotaging our attitudes with grumbling and start improving them with gratitude.” Find Liz here.

To be considered as our featured writer, be sure to use our badge or a link to my blog from your post. xo Jennifer

 

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  • You’re singing my song! The worst is when I sign onto Facebook for *needed* information and get so distracted that I sign off 30 minutes later forgetting what I needed in the first place. :/

  • So thankful that Jesus never forgets even when we do. I’m determined to stay focused on Him during this season of Advent, and not allow the trappings of the holidays distract me from what’s most important in my life.
    Blessings, Jennifer!

  • Thanks for the Advent hug :). I needed it today!

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  • This is such an insightful analogy, Jennifer. This line really seeps peace into my troubled heart – That “even when we’ve broken communion with God, He doesn’t break communion with us. He enters into our brokenness, and restores communion.” God is so tender and patient with us, isn’t He? Have a blessed Advent! Hugs!

  • I love this teaching on Christmas and Advent — it’s my favorite thing to teach kids: Jesus came, Jesus is here, Jesus is coming. The beauty of simplicity and the overwhelming complexity of these truths never fail to knock my socks off!

  • Oh, how I identified with your post today. Incredibly encouraging and I’m beyond grateful!

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  • Meghan Weyerbacher

    Jennifer this is wonderful. I really would love to read this book one day. We are doing something new this year in which I got the idea from another blogger: we are going to bake Jesus a birthday cake for Christmas and make it a family tradition.

    PS: I love that we all have that chocolate stash, but I hear you…so many distractions. Thankful for His mercy everyday and loving discipline to remind me to stay the course with eyes on the Prize.

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  • Liz

    Yes! YES!! So much yes to this post! The whole reason Jesus came to earth was to RESTORE us to a right relationship with God, despite ourselves! That’s why this was my word for 2017.

  • We are such a forgetful people! So glad God doesn’t ever forget us.

  • Susan

    Jennifer, it’s Wednesday morning and I’ve been awake since 12:30…seems the Lord wanted me to pull an “all-nighter” I prayed for every person, every thing He brought to mind. From 2 until 3:30 I read The Broken Way in the dark on my Kindle – that Ann! She constantly re-minds us to re-member – the broken way is the better way – the G.I.F.T. is the remedy. I’m barely functioning this morning but duty calls. I’m compelled to sketch that cross on my wrist and re-member “He stepped out of darkness…” xo Advent Blessings to you and yours. HOPE! #hopechangeseverything

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  • This is such a beautiful, reassuring and uplifting word, Jennifer. Yes and Amen to all of the above! And I’m so thankful for this:
    “Light of the world, You stepped down into darkness” and the wonderful implications it carries for our broken, wounded, world-weary souls. May your Advent season be a time of continuing to dare to deliberately pursue happiness in the midst of manic moments of Christmas preparation and busyness. Because it’s not our perfection Jesus seeks but our open hearts, our willingness to give Him room. Bless you, friend, for the bounty you offer here. It’s an oasis of grace. xo

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  • Jennifer,
    So grateful Jesus steps into our messiness with us. Such grace and love 🙂 Blessings to you and yours <3

  • Julie Loos

    Jennifer- Amen! That’s such great news. I love that when I break communion, He is still standing there waiting for me. He’s always reaching down isn’t He?
    Such soothing words to my soul today!
    Thank you!

  • Kristina Notestine

    Man, Jennifer! You are on fire! The past few weeks you have been speaking to my heart and bringing truth. Thank you for writing on what’s real and struggles we all face. It is so true when the bible says that we are not the only ones who suffer and we need to hold onto Him who will bring us through.

  • These same sorts of thoughts are on my heart this week. I want to experience the nearness of Christ in my everyday life this Advent season, not just to remember that He came as a fact in human history.

  • Oh my goodness I am so glad I saved this to read later. I was just getting ready to rush through my day and miss God. Thank you, I needed this today before I start my mad rush of Christmas things-to-do.

  • I’m enjoying Kris’s book, too, Jennifer. It’s so neat to be reading and pondering His word together! Have a blessed weekend!

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