Keeping Secrets

Written by: Margaret Connolly

Have you ever had to keep a secret? It’s not always easy. Recently my 9 year old daughter asked me if keeping a secret was a sin. She asked me if it was okay not to tell me something that a friend had told her. I asked her whether keeping the secret would harm or hurt someone else and she said no, so I advised her not to break her friends trust. A few days later she mentioned that her friend was scared to tell her Mother about what had happened because it involved a piece of jewelry that was special to her Mom. It was then that I told my daughter that she should probably encourage her friend to come clean with her Mom. Through this whole ordeal, I was impressed that my daughter never did tell me the complete details of the secret as she had promised her friend that she wouldn’t tell.

A few years ago I felt the sting of betrayal when a secret of mine was shared without my permission. The person I had confided in thought it would be helpful to share this with a prayer group, but this prayer group consisted of people that I hadn’t wanted to share this particular information with. I felt exposed and angry, though the friend I had originally shared my secret with didn’t see the harm in her actions. In this sad situation, the trust of a secret was turned into an opportunity to gossip, as I soon found out when my ‘secret’ was shared around to an even wider circle of people.

I’ve also had many people share very deep, dark secrets with me. I had a friend confide in me about her husband’s infidelity; another time it was a friend who struggled with an addiction to pornography. More recently, an acquaintance asked if she could share with me about an emotional affair that she was beginning to find herself embroiled in. I take this confidence very seriously, though I also understand how hard it can be to keep private information, private. The temptation to gossip is often there and can be hard to resist.

So, when my daughter came home and asked me if it was a sin to keep a secret, it made me wonder what the Bible says about secrets? Surely, God keeps secrets from us! As we know, there are many things that He says He won’t reveal to us, and things that are on a sort of ‘need to know’ basis. How about Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden? He didn’t tell them WHY they shouldn’t touch the fruit, just that they shouldn’t. There are countless times in the Bible when secrets are kept for good and for not-so-good reasons. Even Jesus instructed the two blind men that he healed in Matthew Chapter 9 not to tell anyone what He had done. The one common denominator in the Bible on this theme though, is that gossiping or slandering another is always wrong: “Whoever slanders his neighbour in secret, Him will I put to silence” Psalm 101:5

The Bible also talks about how impossible it is to keep secrets from God, and that there really isn’t any point in trying. He expects us to reveal His secrets to Him if they require repentance, but even when they don’t, He knows what’s going on with us anyway!

“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” Proverbs 28:13

I believe that God will honour us for keeping secrets for other people, though encouraging them to repent and offering to pray for them if the secret involves sinful behaviour. In the cases where I was made privy to very private, potentially damaging information there was always a temptation to run and tell someone. Knowing it wasn’t my place to do so, I didn’t break the trust of those who had confided in me. I did, however, pray with and for that person and encourage them to seek help. In these tricky and ‘secretive’ situations, I think that is the best we can do. And, be careful who you dish your dirt too .. you never know who won’t be able to resist the urge to gossip!

The Modern Day Dad

Written by: Margaret Connolly

The role of Dad has changed in a big way over the last several decades. The average father of today is more involved than his historical counterparts ever were. In University, I read an article for a social history class about the invention and popularity of the family BBQ in the 1950’s. The main premise of this article was the idea that because of a family BBQ gaining popularity, that there was now a place for Dad to fit into family life in the home. Now, Dad had something to do that tied him into what his wife and kids were doing. Not to mention, BBQing was definitely a man’s job – Mother could never operate something so barbaric as a BBQ, afterall …

Because of this small societal shift, there was a rise in the idea of ‘family time’, Dad’s that were engaged with their families – a stark contrast to the damaged and distanced Dad’s of the depression and post war years.

‘Family time’ seems like a sort of obvious thing to do now, in this current culture of ours made up of all sorts of different kinds of families. But, imagine a time when Mom’s were the ones primarily responsible for the care of the home, the children, the cooking, the laundry, the gardening and the list goes on. For the 1950’s housewife, the average woman was home with her children and would have a long list of things to do and things to BE when her husband came home from work. She would need to have the children clean, dressed in fresh clothes, bathed, and maybe even in bed so she and her husband could enjoy a quiet dinner without the children burdening their father because he already had enough on his mind anyway. Dad’s simply weren’t as accessible to their children as many are today.

It’s kind of funny to think of now, since my husband is so involved in the lives of our daughters, and our home. If I can go ahead and toot his horn a little here … my daughters are beyond blessed to have a patient, loving Dad who doesn’t sugar coat things but is sensitive in his approach when advising them. He takes time, even when he’s tired and overwhelmed by his busy days, to help them with projects and teach them new skills. He’s almost always up for a fun game of hide and seek too.

There are a lot of imperfect things about our modern society, and people are so often likely to point out the negatives. But, despite new types of families and family ideologies that might grate against our Christian sensibilities, I see a generation of Dad’s who want to be involved in their kids lives. Dad’s who are trying their very best to do a difficult job, amidst so much pressure from outside sources. I am thankful for progress in our country that allows all Dad’s to have the support they need to do a most important job, and allows my girls to have a close and fun relationship with their Dad. Mostly I am thankful for a Heavenly father who created Dad’s to be both strong, and sensitive; to lead and be lead; to protect, but also who accept protection too. God has overseen the entire development of our modern society and still has a perfect plan in place to love and cherish us all, including all those special Dad’s out there.

“In the fear of the Lord one has a strong confidence, and his children will have a refuge.”
Proverbs 14:26

Time Well Spent

Written by: Margaret Connolly

My daughter’s grade 1 class is heading on a field trip this week. I had originally volunteered to go, but then was told they had enough parent volunteers and didn’t need me to join them. My little girl was disappointed, but didn’t seem to be overly so. On Monday I received a call saying that one of the parent volunteers was no longer able to make it and could I still be available. Of course I was happy to agree and have the opportunity to spend the day with my sweet middle daughter and her little friends. I will be honest though … I wasn’t super thrilled about giving up the entire day for this. It was supposed to be a relaxing ‘lieu’ day off work, after an incredibly busy weekend executing a large scale event that I’ve been planning since January. But the look on my sweet girls face when I told her I was coming along on the field trip was simply priceless. I knew that it meant the whole world to her that her Mommy was coming along and that this was our special day together. She hasn’t stopped talking about it since I told her and keeps mentioning how excited she is. At bedtime tonight she said ‘I can’t believe you’re coming on my field trip!’ The way her eyes light up when she talks about it, and the look of pure joy shining through her smile are enough to make it more than worthwhile.

It got me to thinking about who values their time with me as much as she does? Aside from my close loved ones and friends, I thought about God. I thought about how often I’ve pushed Him aside to do something selfish. Or simply pushed Him away because I was too busy to make the time. Too busy to care that He would love to spend time with me, that He valued our time together more than anyone else. I didn’t want to disappoint my little girl, so I agreed to give up something special to me, a well deserved day at home alone to relax, in order to fill her heart with joy and remind her that I love her and that she’s important to me. I couldn’t bear the thought of letting her down once I’d been asked to go. I so often though, am okay with letting God down. I know my daughter would have forgiven me for not going on the field trip, and she would have likely forgotten about it eventually. But I love that am able to give her that extra time she so craves with just her & I, not competing for my attention like when she and her sisters are all at home.

But isn’t it true that God is constantly competing for my attention? Between my family, work, and volunteer responsibilities, plus my evening rituals of Pilates and Facebook, where does He get to have time with me? Honestly, a lot of days, He doesn’t.

I know He loves me anyway. And I know He forgives me repeatedly for falling so short of being worthy of Him. He deserves to have at least a small chunk of my day, the day that He has made, for us to sit and chat, spend time together and for me to remind Him that He is above all else the most important part of my life and I am eternally grateful for His love, sacrifice, grace and forgiveness.

“I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night; for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy. My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.”
Psalm 63:6-8

Decisions, Decisions!

Written by: Margaret Connolly

My 4 year old daughter has been described as ‘strong willed’, ‘determined’, ‘stubborn’, and ‘a real firecracker’! And those are just the phrases that have come out of my mouth about her, nevermind all the other people she has made an impression on in her 4 short years! The truth includes the fact that she is a little sweetheart; she loves to help in the kitchen, play with her sisters and read her books. She is carefree and silly and quite amenable in most situations … but when it comes to what she’s going to wear in a given day – a different version of my daughter often comes out! Out of all three of my girls, she is by far the most determined to engage in battle about her clothing choices. The funny thing is, and what she doesn’t yet know is that I can ‘out-stubborn’ her anyday. I make no apologies for not allowing her to wear a ballerina tutu dress to school to be torn to shreds in the playground. In light of this fun element of having a four year old, we usually choose her outfits the night before, and we talk about how in the morning she’s not going to throw a fit and give Mommy any trouble. When we do this she is typically happy to dress in her outfit of choice the next day. I am more than willing to sit and talk her through outfit negotiations when they arise, though rarely do I give in because the odd time that I have, she has not forgotten it!

Now, here’s where it gets interesting. When Daddy is on the scene in the morning, there is no careful discussion to guide her through her little meltdown about whichever outfit she is refusing to wear that day. It’s a simple ‘this is what you’re wearing, now please get dressed’ and away he walks leaving Avery in a puddle of tears and despair on the floor.

Typically my Mommy heart softens when Daddy is the one shattering her dreams regarding outfit selection. When I am not the one involved in the confrontation it is much easier for me to feel sad that she has gotten so upset and I am not there to comfort her and talk her through it. But, on certain days, I just cannot do it one more time. I can’t have this conversation one more time. I can’t deal with the proverbial tug of war one more time. I just need to not be the one dealing with it that day. In those moments I am thankful for a thoughtful, caring husband who is more than willing to step in when he knows that I’ve just had enough.

Can I be honest though? I hate those moments. I beat myself up in those moments and feel discouraged with myself. Why don’t I have the energy to deal with another meltdown? Why can’t I muster up the strength to control my temper when the kids won’t do as I’ve told them? Why do I come to the end of some days and feel like I’ve failed those precious girls?

The reason is because I am just one human Mom trying to be everything I can be for my daughters. And, without God I cannot do it. My husband & I cannot do it. We need the wisdom and guidance of our ever-loving Father. We need strength and forgiveness and grace that abounds only when we seek Him and entrust our children to Him.

I’m just 9 years into this parenting thing … I try now to remember that guilt will get me nowhere, but prayer will get me everywhere. At the end of those rough days … you know the ones, seek Him first. He will be great at reminding you that you are doing a fantastic job and that He’s got it all under control. Once you’ve done that, take a deep breath and go take a bubble bath!

Every Songbird Has A Song

Written by: Margaret Connolly

My kids and I enjoy observing the different visitors that frequent our yard during meals each day. Some mornings it’s Tippy-toes, Shadow & Lavender – the black squirrels, and Smokey, the grey one. There’s also a small yellow chickadee the girls like to refer to as Little Lemony. The first time we saw him we called him banana bird because he looked like a small banana perched in the tree. My personal favorite is Cary the cardinal. He’s so vibrant and red and his whistle is so distinct that I was able to pick it out among all the other birdsong before I even knew which type of bird he was. He usually sits in a tree two yards down from ours, but we can always hear him whistling away.

In our last house, we had a hummingbird feeder and we learned just how tenacious and fiery those little hummingbirds can be! There was always a lot of competition and conflict happening at the feeder. In each case I am amazed at the diversity of these small creatures; there are countless varieties, with unique markings and plumage, individual songs and whistles.

Fleetwood Mac has a great song called ‘Songbird’ .. one of the lines says ‘and the songbirds are singing like they know the score…’ This has always made me think of birds as confident creatures who don’t waste their time worrying or fixating on menial issues. They simply know their role and are steadfast to complete it. They instinctively know when it’s time to migrate south. They know when eggs are to be laid, and how to manage those eggs until they hatch. Lovingly, they build a nest to house their eggs, and then their chicks. They will go and find worms to feed their babies, and protect them fiercely from predators. In all the time I’ve spent observing birds, I have never felt like they were unsure, or second guessing themselves. They seem to be ‘all business, all the time’. There is a confidence and self assuredness in these small, but feisty creatures!

Another wonderful song about birds is one that my daughter loves for me to sing to her at bedtime, the Beatles song ‘Blackbird’:

Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly. All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to arise, blackbird fly, blackbird fly, into the light of a deep dark night.
Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these sunken eyes and learn to see. All your life, you were only waiting for this moment to be free, blackbird fly, blackbird fly, into the light of a deep dark night.

This song speaks of finally getting the chance to do something, be someone, to rise up and be who you were meant to be. The song was originally written as symbolic of the civil rights struggle of African Americans in the United States in the 1960’s. It’s a call to get up, dust off, take your chance, seize the day! We all have a unique song to contribute. Within us there is a voice unlike any other. One that has something to say that no other human on earth is meant to say.
With God by your side, muster your courage, gather your confidence and go hand in hand with Him to be like that little songbird who sings their song and goes about their business without a care as to what the other songbirds are doing.

Live your calling and trust God with it – He loves the little songbird, and He loves you.
If He gave Little Lemony and Cary Cardinal their song, their determination and confidence, then why would you expect that He won’t do the same for you? Trust the great things He has in store for you and rise up to that most amazing calling!

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
Matthew 6:25-27

When Mom Doesn’t Measure Up

Written by: Margaret Connolly

Moms face tremendous pressure. There is, of course, no one who knows this better than Moms themselves. There are countless external pressures – the usual day to day stuff. Then there are the internal pressures … ‘am I doing this right?’ ‘was that the best course of discipline?’ ‘why doesn’t my child confide in me anymore?’ and the list goes on and on and on!
If you are a Mom, you know that the pressure is ongoing, never-ending and will likely change over time and as children get older, but is always there in one way or another.

In the face of all this pressure, there are imperfect Moms trying their hardest every single day. There are other Moms who crumble under the pressure, perhaps leading them to choose unwise paths, or forget that their number one priority should be their child. I’ve often heard or read stories of how parenting ‘used to be’, kids were to be seen and not heard. Kids were sent outside to play and weren’t to come home until the streetlights came on and dusk settled in. As we all know, 21st century parents have no choice but to do things differently. Changing times and more knowledge about the mental and emotional health of our children has created an emphasis on the family dynamic and the secure support system of a home. Sadly, there are those of previous generations (and probably this generation too) who have grown up without the kind of Mom that most of us today strive to be. The word ‘mom’ doesn’t conjure up cozy, loving thoughts of hugging a soft warm breast; or of having a happy greeting from Mom at the end of the day. There are no memories of baking together, or playing games, snuggles, laughs or gentleness. Instead, there might be memories of harsh words, neglect in some form or another, emotional abuse or overly physical punishments .

A friend of mine (who is of an older generation than me) told me that she never believed that her mother loved her. She didn’t have a single happy memory that involved her mother. She remembered instead being ignored, shoved aside, treated violently at times and often left alone to fend for herself as her mother stayed away for days at a time. She said that at 7 years old she would get herself up, washed, fed and off to school, alone. There was no one there to lovingly guide her through her morning, to reassure her of a comfortable, safe place to come home to at the end of the day. No goodnight kisses or cuddles. No laughing, singing or dancing.
The thought of my girls growing up in this type of environment breaks my heart. For generations of children this was very much a reality, and though it is less common today, it still happens.

So, I dedicate this post to those who come to Mother’s Day with a bitter taste in their mouth. Those that feel they don’t have a reason to celebrate their mothers. A reminder to them that our gracious Heavenly Father can fill that void; we can all lean on Him and allow Him to be our soft place to fall. If this resounds with you, ask God to remind you of all the wonderful things about you that your mother never told you. The beauty He sees in you. The wonderful giftings you have. The way He treasures and adores you. The way He cherishes you as His unique and abundantly loved princess. Remind yourself this Mother’s Day that you are a daughter of the most high God, that you are precious in His sight and, that He loves you unfailingly with an everlasting love.

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” Psalm 139:14

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mothers womb” Psalm 139:13

Old Blue

Written by: Margaret Connolly

I am a flat iron junkie. For years I struggled to tame my curly and frizzy hair. Then one day about 15 years ago my life changed when I was introduced to a ceramic flat iron …. let’s just say me and my straight hair have never looked back! One year for his birthday my husband told me he wanted me to forget the blow dryer and flat iron, get showered and head out for a hike with him. That was hard. I did it only out of true love and my desire to fulfill his birthday wish, bad hair day and all!

About a year ago my beloved blue Babyliss flat iron became difficult to use. It took a lot of wiggling and jiggling of cord to get it to turn on, and often times it wouldn’t turn on at all. I had to replace it, and replace it fast! I bought a new flat iron that did the trick, but still really missed my old blue Babyliss. Then one day in March of this year, just before our vacation to Florida, the ‘replacement’ flat iron decided that it was done too! I lovingly pulled out old blue, because of course I had kept her tucked safely in a drawer. I gently stroked her as I untangled her cord and hoped that she would muster just a little bit of life until I had a chance to again find a replacement. I was feeling kind of desperate and frizzy haired! I plugged her in without much expectation – and – would you believe it – she came on without any twisting or turning of cord! I was amazed! Here she had been for an entire year, ‘broken’ in the bottom drawer in my ensuite bathroom. And now, with just a simple connection to electricity she was fulfilling her destiny once again, like she was always meant to! I’ve been using her again almost everyday since. Sometimes I still can’t believe my luck that she came back to spend some more time with me.

The other day while straightening my hair it struck me that my blue Babyliss flat iron was a lot like God. (Sometimes, I too, am amazed at where my brain takes me.) But, here I was thinking that she was broken, I thought she was now unreliable, untrustworthy. I thought she was no longer able to help me reach my hair straightening goals, so I put her aside. Shoved her in a drawer. I knew she was there, I knew I could maybe rely on her in a desperate pinch, but that in the day to day I just didn’t feel I could depend on her anymore because she’d stopped meeting my needs. So I went out and replaced her with a cheaper, less effective flat iron. It was one that got the job done, but not in a way that truly satisfied me. I just filled the gap with the replacement.

Don’t we often shove God aside? We feel like He’s not hearing us, not ‘working for us’ anymore, not meeting the needs we feel we have. We kinda put him on the back burner – or in the bottom drawer – and replace Him with things that are somewhat effective at making us happy, but not happy in the way that He could. Given a chance, like old blue, He can whir us right up again and breathe new life where we didn’t know we even needed it. He can open our eyes to giftings, opportunities, and blessings that we didn’t realize we had. He’s not content to simply be by our side, or to be our last resort, our ‘get out of jail free’ card. He wants to be there in every moment of our days, the one we count on, the one we always rely on and find dependance in. Let God be your old blue – the one you thought stopped working on your behalf and you gave up on. Don’t give up on God and what He has planned for you. Give Him time to work out the details and you’ll be blown away by His faithfulness, His dependability and His reliability every.single.time.

Critter Invasion

Written by: Margaret Connolly

Several years back my husband and I invested in a beautiful twenty-eight foot travel trailer. After visiting some friends who were camping, we knew it was something we wanted to do too. Now, almost four years later and countless camping (er, ‘glamping’) trips later we have so many fun memories shared as a family. It is one of our favorite things to do with our kids, and they absolutely love it too. They love pulling up to a new campsite, hopping out of the truck and running around exploring while the hubs & I get everything set up. The memories my kids will take with them throughout their lives is worth every minute spent planning/organizing and executing a camping trip.

Throughout the winter months we store our trailer about 10 minutes down the road from home, at a trailer storage site that sits atop a hill surrounded by fields and forest. Each winter we prepare the trailer for its winter sleep, ensuring things are cleaned up, hoses dried out and everything secured. We dutifully lay out Bounce sheets to keep critters out, vacuum and scrub so there’s no trace of food or food scent. However, despite our best efforts, this year, our third winter out at the same storage site, we had some unwanted visitors – a critter invasion! And, let me tell you, they made themselves at home. They used our countertops, sofa cushions, bathtub, bathroom sink and floor as their personal toilet. They chewed up an oven mitt to use as bedding. They even decided it would be a good idea to chew through the cold water hose for our kitchen sink. Now, we are well aware that our trailer is a welcoming place, but this was taking it a bit far! Let’s just say it took us an entire Saturday to clean up the mess that was left behind from this critter invasion. The puzzling part is that we don’t even know how they got in! My husband, who is quite the handyman, practically had the walls and floor of the trailer taken apart trying to see where they came in, and nowhere was their entry obvious. But, as we looked around inside, their presence sure was.

See where I’m going with this??? What kind of critters have invaded your heart or mind? Did they get in unnoticed? Have you been wracking your brain trying to figure out where they got in? You know they’re in there, no doubt about that, their presence is obvious …

In Proverbs 4:23 it says ‘above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Isn’t it the truth that our hearts and our minds are in need of tender care and protection? Things can sneak in there unnoticed and really cause a lot of damage and mess. Maybe it’s a past hurt, or a current one. A disappointment, a bitterness, a negative attitude towards someone. Perhaps it’s a sinful behavior that is so hard to let go of. Our hearts are so easily wounded, and our minds filled with garbage, and many times we don’t even see it happening. Once it does happen though, actions and words spring forth based on what we’ve got going on on the inside.

Maybe you’ve allowed anxiety and worry to overtake you? In Philippians 4:6, we read ‘do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

A negative attitude or bitterness can easily invade and cause us to say and do things that we shouldn’t. If this is you, be encouraged by Ephesians 4:29, ‘Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.

Don’t allow critters to invade your heart or mind … you’ve made attempts to keep them out, but they still get in? Allow yourself time in prayer and reflection on how you can move forward and clean up the mess. Allow God to permeate into the corners of your heart and ‘disinfect’ it … ‘create in me a clean heart, oh God, and renew a right spirit within me.’ (Psalm 51:10)

And please, if you have tips on how to keep squirrels from squatting in my trailer, please pass them along!

What does Easter mean to me?

Written by: Margaret Connolly

This year Easter was a blur. I always hope for more time to really sit and ponder; a time where the reality of Easter has a chance to stir my heart and remind me of God’s faithfulness. But, alas, life is busy and the whirlwind of this weekend is now over for another year.
I did have time to reflect during church on Sunday, where in our Easter service we heard stories of God’s powerful touch over various lives and impossible situations. The excitement and celebration were palpable as each testimony ended in applause at the words ‘because of Jesus I’m alive again!’ What a promise!

A few years ago, when I was homeschooling my kids (for a brief season, but its a long story….), we worked on a Holy Week calendar. Each day they would add a new craft element to their calendar to depict the events that took place leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection. I truly wanted them to understand the events leading up to Christ’s death, the historical context of this event and the meaning in it for them, as individuals. They were young, yes, but I wanted to capture in their hearts the idea of Christ dying for them, their individual sin. This concept reaches into the depths of my heart now, but I’m not sure it did as a child. I hoped, and still do hope, that it will be a bit different for my kids.

As a child, I would have to say that Christmas was a favorite holiday. I enjoyed the anticipation and build-up of excitement. I enjoyed knowing there would be a tree, decorations, gifts and lots of time off school to play outside in the snow. Easter was a close second, though, with all that chocolate and a visit from the Easter bunny. As a child, I attended church every Sunday and more than knew the stories of these Christian traditions and holidays, but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I really felt the importance and poignancy in a real way.

So, what does Easter mean to me? Why is there such tremendous emphasis behind its significance in the Christian tradition? It means that I have been saved from a life of aimless, lonely wandering. It means that no matter what horrible, self serving, filthy sin I have, I am still promised a life of fellowship with God in Heaven. It means that when I die I have full assurance of a Heavenly home, that I will see my loved ones again and that I’ll find fulfillment such as I never have had here on earth. It means that God’s love is so much wider and deeper than I really even know. It means that the God of heaven and the God we see throughout scripture is a real, live God who loves us all deeply. He is a God who seeks relationship with me and wants me to continuously reveal my heart to Him.

And while the promise of a new savior born in a manger is a powerful reminder of God’s plan unfolding, the more treasured event, for me, is the one where His plan culminated in a brutal ending just the way He said it would. When His plan to rescue humanity came together as arguably the most significant event in human history … and all because of His immense love for each one of us. I pray that each of you reading these words will be reminded of God’s great love and sacrifice for you; this may be especially meaningful at Easter, but it is true throughout each day of the year! Because of Jesus we have life!

“According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3)