It seems like it’s been forever since I sat down in the main sanctuary, counting down for the New Year together with my family and thanking God for all that He has done in 2017. Thanking God in spite of all the challenges and the struggles we faced along the way, while anticipating things to come in 2018. Sadly, these rededications were short-lived as I was bombarded with a busy end of the year closing at work. Exhausted from the long hours of work and the tense, stress-filled environment, I waited for Gospel Revolution 2018 because deep inside, in the midst of this chaos, I was longing to pray and desperately desired to lay my burdens down before Him, not because I was necessarily on fire for God, but because I felt physically and emotionally drained.
As Pastor James shared about brokenness in our lives and how God desires to change these ashes into beauty, I began to feel anguish in my heart. God began to resurface the things that were tugging deep inside my heart. Relationships with few people continued to be rough, not to mention the financial burdens in my family that never seemed to get better. I was constantly so busy with my to-do lists and want-to-do lists that I caught myself once again trying to find things that I lacked and trying to resolve it with my own strength -- as if that would fill me up.
Gospel Revolution 2018 was an opportunity for me to realign myself with God -- trusting in His timing and His leadership. It personally challenged me to go beyond what was sitting on my plate and to reach out to those broken both within the Church and the world… not because I have the ability to do so, but because the Holy Spirit that’s living in me is constantly equipping me and empowering me for the sake of His mission. Pastor James said, “Holy Spirit has the necessary power that we cannot create. We do not need to rely on the traditions, the talents or skill sets, but in the power of the Holy Spirit.” This was a needed reminder and a gentle rebuke as I found myself relying on my own skill sets and work ethics to complete the tasks that were sitting in front of me. And because that was using up my time and energy, I didn’t think to consider the brokenness outside of my life.
As I held onto the list of “My Ashes” of an anonymous member in the Church, He revealed a glimpse of this holy burden, but also placed a heart of peace and delight in me, knowing that He has, is, and will continue to transform these ashes into beauty in ways beyond our expectations.
I believe 2018 will be an exciting year, not because I have a long list of things I want to do or accomplish, but because it will be another year of His goodness and His faithfulness. And as God uncovers my brokenness, not to instill pain in me, but to reveal His plans, I believe He will shape me and turn my brokenness into beauty.
May this year be the year in which the Gospel shines through our lives and to the people God has specifically placed in our lives! May we continue to strive to show Christ’ love even in the midst of absolute brokenness.