The Year I Ruined Christmas

I think everyone has at least one moment in their life where they have to step back and ask for a do-over. I’ve actually had what seems like a lifetime of those moments. But this year, I single-handedly ruined Christmas, and couldn’t do it over.

WHAT?! You mean this isn’t a ‘before Mercy’ story?! This is in the present?!?!

I know. With a title like this one, I’m sure everyone expected a ‘this must have been before Jesus transformed her life,’ story, about past mistakes and how much I’ve changed since then. But I have a confession.

I still sin.

Oh man, I can just imagine how many people are clicking x out of my ‘blasphemous’ post today. So sorry. But don’t worry, this isn’t a post about glorifying my mistakes, it’s a post to show God’s grace.

Because I have a bigger confession to make. I realized that I only post about things after I’ve ‘gotten past it’ or learned something profound. Now, I don’t believe this is wrong; I find it very encouraging actually, but I realize my pride is keeping me from posting some truth.

Let me explain. On Christmas day, I walked out of the house in anger after being told from a sibling that I ‘ruined’ Christmas (this was a semi-valid comment due to my poor attitude). While I pridefully walked (stomped) away in the cold, crying in self pity, several thoughts went through my head.

They started with the anger and disbelief at someone’s accusation of me ruining Christmas. How can I ‘ruin’ Christmas?! Are you kidding me?? I single handedly ruined the birth of Christ? I find it hard to believe I’m powerful enough to stop the celebration of our Savior.
My self-righteous attitude got me nowhere. But my thoughts finished with, In about two years this will be a really funny story to blog about.

That’s when it hit me. Why can’t I blog about it now? Why can’t I blog now and say ‘I big time messed up, and I don’t know how to fix it yet.’?

But see, I only like to blog about things I’ve successfully conquered and passed, things that no longer struggle me or keep me in pain. Why? ‘To keep up my witness’ right? ‘Don’t show struggle or sin, because you have to set a good example, keep your witness.’

That’s what I tell myself anyways.
But when does our ‘witness’ stand in the way of God’s grace in the present? When does ‘being the example’ turn into ‘must-be-perfect’? Does my inability to say (or write) ‘I’m having a bad day’ keep me (or others!) from seeing the faithfulness and grace of God? Do my present struggles negate God’s past power? The fact I struggle now, does that mean God didn’t do all he did before? Am I not transformed anymore?

The biggest question still comes to me… Do I think it is up to me to prove God’s power? Do I need to be good in order to make God look good? Is it my job to convince others of God’s might?

Or is He able to be the strength in my weakness?

My intentions are good. I want people to see where I’ve been (bad) and where I’m going (good). But Jesus even said ‘in this world you will have trouble…’

So why is it so hard to admit I’m having trouble, I’m still struggling? Why is it so hard for me to say that my ‘right now’ is feeling like the ‘back then’? Even though I have Hope now, it’s like I’m not believing the Hope is enough. And so I’m afraid others won’t either. I know He is, that’s the truth, but my feelings are fighting with Truth right now.

So I ruined Christmas this year. And right now, in this very moment, I’m in a place where I need more help than I can give myself. And could this be the place God wants me most? When I can no longer rely on me, or people, or books, or doctors, but Him alone?
I’ve told myself ‘God is enough for me, if I just ________________ (pray harder, make better choices, speak truth more often, hang out with other people, listen to more worshipful music, memorize more verses…) then this never would have happened.’ Right? I don’t know. Did I say ‘yes’ to too many things I should have said ‘no’ to? Did I say ‘no’ to too many things I should have said ‘yes’ to? Did my sin/pride/unforgiveness/bad choices bring this on myself? I honestly don’t know. But I do know in the midst of the chaos and pain, in the midst of my misperceptions and confusion, the grace of God can still be seen.

Right now, no one is seeing Jessica’s strength, Jessica’s power, or life built on what Jessica wants. It’s only grace.

And the grace of God is sufficient for me. For when I am weak, He is strong. Stained Glass Masquerade by Casting Crowns Sufficient by Adie Camp

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5 Responses to The Year I Ruined Christmas

  1. Thanks for keeping it real Jess. None of us are perfect. Sometimes when my ex-husband and I would fight, he would try to wound me by saying “If only your church friends could see you now” and I would reply I was pretty sure there were times when they too said and did things they weren’t proud of. It’s not an excuse, it’s a fact. Until the day we die, go to heaven and are perfected in Christ, there will be days that we “ruin”, but God is gracious and that’s why Romans 8:28 is so wonderful – He can take not only bad circumstances and work them together, but things that we ourselves have messed up and use it to encourage someone…like this post about your *gasp* imperfection 🙂

  2. jessm20 says:

    Thanks Toni, you are so encouraging! It’s funny, sometimes I say things to myself similar to what your ex husband says… Like ‘now that wasn’t very ‘Christian’ of you’ when I do something ‘in the flesh.’ But what I’m realizing is Christian’s aren’t the savior, only Christ is. So if we look to Christians for saving, we’ll be disappointed with them and God. If we look to God alone, knowing Chrsitians can be examples of Christ but not Christ in perfection, we’ll be more satisfied..

  3. Pam Manners says:

    Jess — I so admire and appreciate your raw honesty and transparency. I am learning so much from you, and for that, I am very grateful. This is such an excellent post. Keep writing, my dear!!

  4. So you are not perfect. That’s just fine, no one is. 🙂 In fact, I have found that sharing my shortcomings makes me more relatable to those who are reading my blog. I don’t try to pretend I have it all together anymore, though I used to…but I still find that I must be intentional about posting my shortcomings on my blog as well.

    In fact, I can’t wait until I can share more of my story without worrying about offending other family members…but for the time being, I keep my sharing to things that will not affect others, even though it is my story to share…..because sometimes its easier to keep the peace.

    But God uses that about us which is unlovely to draw others close, and point those others to Him. If we didn’t mess up, then others would never relate to us enough to see God in us.

  5. thesimplicityoflove says:

    SO grateful for my real sister. Never shrink back from vulnerability. His strength is made perfect in our mistakes!

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