By the time I am done writing this, it will be Christmas in Madrid. I am close to tears, quite content, and ever so expectant of the days to come and the glory that will follow. There are fireworks going off outside my hotel room. I am missing home and at the same time so thankful for this vacation that will extend my Christmas by six hours due to the time difference (while I spend nearly a quarter of the holiday on a plane.)

So many things to say and not enough brain power to digest all of what I’m thinking and feeling to put into coherent sentences so this is basically just word vomit – read at your own discretion:

[dry] I keep drinking because I’m so curious as to what this buzzed feeling feels like. I am a fool. I have only found that alcohol makes me incredibly sleepy and light headed; there is no relaxed, high feeling that I get – in fact it makes me ever so much more cross as all I want to do is go home and crawl into bed. And so as I’m avidly trying to fight off this fog that clouds my head due to my own foolish attempts to induce – what? happiness? pleasure? a warm mushy feeling at the pit of my stomach? – I realize that I am looking for satisfaction in the wrong place – again. Why do I think that something that I consume can make me feel good when it is my heart, my inside, that is sick? My heart does not thirst for drink – it thirsts for Jesus. Only He can satisfy me.

[friend] the first alone time I have since the whole vacation – my brother goes off to study so I have the whole room to myself and finally, finally I cry out verbally to the Lord in prayer. The second I move my lips, I can literally feel my soul sigh with relief. I cannot describe the feeling accurately – it feels like finally reuniting with an old friend you haven’t seen in years, it feels like everything is going to be okay, it feels like I have lost my greatest treasure and then found it again, holding it in my hands. I am weeping because all I can think about is how I am not worthy and how utterly floored I am by the fact that the Lord allows me to come to Him, in all my snot and tears, bringing nothing to offer Him except my shattered heart. And He has to baby me through all of this. He has to hold my hand, stroke my hair, pat me on the back – after doing this for years and still I come running to Him with the same wound caused by the same trip on the same crack on the ground that I always fail to avoid because I’m not looking at Him, I’m not following Him, I’m not listening to Him. He never throws up His hands in frustration, He never condemns me for being an idiot, He never gives up on this stupid little slugger who is just utterly hopeless – a lost cause at best and a death sentence at worst. I put Jesus on the cross and He came back to life for me to pin Him again and again to that cross with my sins. But, He keeps coming back to me – oh how faithful He is in coming back to us, finding us in our lostness and confusion and brokenness and not caring at all how much pain He suffers in the process. This is our God. This is our God who deserves absolute worship. This is the God who sits on the throne above, with angels – heavily armed and majestic warrior angels – at His side singing praises to Him. This is the God who decided to leave all that and come to earth – not in a fancy hotel, not in a storm cloud with light and glory, not in kingly robes, not in dragon or majestic form – but as a baby. A helpless, soft little infant born in a manger. This is God who came to dwell among us (why would He ever do such a thing? Why?? What utter insanity that is to do so) so that He could empathize with us, walk with us, comfort us, be with us. And ultimately save us. God, I am in so much awe – my mind is just blown and I still cannot fathom how in the world He could have so much grace for me that He would do that for me.

[plusle] as of now, my small group for CMC will consist of eight 10th grader girls and my heart is racing just thinking about it – oh my dear God please help me because they’re going to judge the crap out of me – me with my ineloquent form of speech, me with my inability to exemplify social grace, me with that infuriating leech on my back called pride, me with that need to find justification for my existence in other people’s opinions of me, me with that neon sign over my forehead that screams love me, accept me, satisfy me! HOW IN THE WORLD AM I SUPPOSED TO SMALL GROUP LEAD ANYONE??? I can’t do crap. I just learned this vacation that I am in fact still a munchkin sized MONSTER and that I have all this horrifying sin hidden deep in my heart – oh God, how do I guide these youth in discussion when I myself am racking my brain trying to get over the familiarity of Christ, trying to get past the dullness of routine Sunday morning messages, desperately seeking for myself who exactly Jesus is and why He is so important and why I should be brought to my knees at the thought of just who He is. I am in major panic mode because the conference is two days away – YES…TWO and I have barely contemplated God’s Word besides for the sole purpose of checking an item off my “how to be holy” list.

[burn] this gives me utter chills. John Piper is the man – man, what a guy. And what a God, seriously. In this, I learn that all I have to do is pray. That’s literally all I have to do. I don’t understand – okay, pray for understanding. I don’t feel like reading the Bible – okay, pray for the Lord to help me desire to read the Bible. I’m so distracted, so consumed by other anxieties and worries of the day – okay, pray that the Lord would set my sight on Him and wash everything else away. It’s just that easy – and it’s just that hard because to do so means to literally depend on Him for everything. I have to actually acknowledge that I can’t do anything on my own and have to seek Him for help. I can just see God shaking His head at me – “stop freaking out you arrogant little squirt. You’re not going to change those girls. I am. So let me do my thing and you just calm down and let me do it through you and be thankful.”

[wish] all I want for Christmas is Your peace that transcends all human understanding – that peace I feel when I look up at a clear night sky and see the stars and brilliant moon; that peace I feel when I am in a room with the people I love, them all talking and laughing and me sitting silently in their presence, basking; that peace when I lay on my bed and contemplate how good You are to me and feel so light that I could just levitate up to heaven right then and there. Peace. That’s all I want this Christmas.

Oh Lord, your birth is more than just a vacation, a holiday, a week off work, presents, eggnog, evergreen trees and glass ornaments. Your birth is hope for me. Your birth is a miracle. Your birth is ludicrous and insane in my opinion – but it is the reason for my joy. That you would love me so radically – I pray that I could return that love if even by a fraction.

Happy Birthday, Jesus. Thank you for being born. All glory forever and ever to you – this day and the next and all of eternity.