Earlier this week, I dropped my daughter off at preschool and as I was driving home, I began to reflect on this season of Advent. As I have been waiting for Jesus, I recognize that the disposition of my heart has not been particularly vigilant or joyful. I have waited with a burdened heart and a troubled mind. The daily tasks of life have felt particularly heavy and monotonous. It has been difficult to rise above the fog of depression, a familiar companion of mine, particularly this time of year. As, I drove, I was overwhelmed with a wave of emotions as the set-backs and disappointments of the last few weeks sprung to the forefront of my mind. How can I become a home for Jesus this Christmas when my heart is such a mess?

“Jesus, I trust in you.” I blurted this prayer out loud in my silent car. I felt compelled to repeat it again and again until I turned into the driveway. I noticed that I felt lighter. The reality of my life did not change in that moment, but the grace to redirect my gaze to Jesus instead of myself had lessened the weight both in my body and my spirit. As I began to thank Him, I had a sense to drive past our house, to the bluffs. There is an overlook to the city that is particularly beautiful in the spring and summer. I had not been down there since the beginning of the Fall.

I parked along the overlook, got out of the car and took in the austere beauty of the sky line. Snow and dead branches and vines crept over the crumbling stone wall and I followed their path with my eyes. My eyes rested on something red. A single Cardinal was perched in the snarled dead vines and branches. I watched the bird until it flew away. Maybe it sounds silly, but I knew I was meant to see it. The Cardinal has a number of symbolic connotations but among them is this one: Hope. I had a sense that I was exactly where I was supposed to be and Jesus wanted to make a home in me, whether my heart was tidy or not. He would be the one to put it in order provided, I preserve no nook or cranny for myself, that I give Him my complete trust.

While I recognize that this experience was fleeting and the application of trust remains a daily choice, I have a moment to look back on, a reminder to keep the faith and to trust that Jesus is constantly creating something new in the willing heart. I pray that the remainder of this Advent will be a time to receive grace to Hope and to trust in Him. Pray for me as I will pray for you to truly allow the Lord to teach us to redirect our gaze to Himself, to believe more in his infinite mercy, than in our own weakness.

This I call to mind, and therefore I have hope; the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

– Lamentations 3:21

Love and prayers,

Autumn (MN)


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