#iRevAdvent: Day 4

“And she had a sister named Mary…” Luke 10:39a

Well I could just leave this verse right here.

I have a feeling these words have potential to evoke a lot of emotion.

“And she had a sister,” are turning point words in this narrative. Jesus came through the village, Martha saw Jesus, she invited Him in, and then….. enters Mary.

What do these words hold for you?… “And she had a sister.”

I do have a sister and I love her deeply. She may be reading this right now. {Hey Rach!} But if she and I could share the tales of the Rhodes Sisters over our lifetime you would find it overflowing with dramatic irony, daring theatrics, nail-biting cliffhangers, tearful tragedies and suspense of all kinds. Our sisterhood is marked by great love and great pain. Much of which I have caused her. The best of times and the worst of times. I am who I am because of her and likewise, I would say. The Lord has woven a beautiful and story of our lives and the story will continue on into eternity.

“And she had a sister…” just might be the words that cause you the most anxiety this holiday season. But maybe it isn’t your sister. Your account might read, “And she had a brother…. And he had a mother… or They have a dad.”

Regardless of the name in your blank, there is typically SOMEONE in your story who creates a turning point in your narrative.

I am thankful that this little line comes so early in our Advent journey. For a few of you, I dare to say, this little line is why you are here. The Lord loves to bring beauty out of our most trying relationships. Yet, we must be willing to allow Jesus to speak into this difficult space (as we see Jesus does to Martha).

But before we get there, let’s prayerfully consider what this Christmas may hold for you and your “sister.” Here are some things I know are true:

  • The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:8. Your greatest reality is the Lord is already there. Go ahead and imagine the scenario that causes you a little anxiety. Picture it. Now put Jesus in the story. Keeping an awareness of His presence will bring you rest. He is Emmanuel, after all. Even in the middle of your family tension and hardship.
  • But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8. Jesus died for them, too. Yes. In all their sin and sass and bad decisions. All the pain they might cause. The harsh words. All of it. God showed His love for them WHILE THEY WERE STILL SINNERS and died. So. Where does that leave us? First, let us remember that we fall in the same camp. I am my own greatest antagonist, at times. Me a sinner. He died for retched me and all the pain I have caused others, as well. So… if Jesus can love me and if Jesus can love them, I can, too. It doesn’t mean you have to like their behavior or agree with their lifestyle, but we are called to LOVE.
  • As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17. I feel confident when I say, this person is strategically placed in your life to sharpen you and make you look more like Jesus. It is easy to love our neighbor, right? Not so easy to love the unlovable and those who get on your last ever-loving nerve. Receive this person as a great gift and be open to learn from them. This is a golden opportunity for growth if you dare to take it.
  • Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. Philippians 4:6-7. PRAY like your holiday depends on it. Our sweet baby Jesus is the Prince of Peace and He longs for us to trade our heavy yokes of dread and worry for a crown. For His easy yoke. I encourage you to start praying now. The holiday timeline is on your side! So prepare your heart accordingly for your family gathering.

I am so excited for you. Yes, healing is ahead for you and all your relationships. I just know it.

Choosing What Is Better:

  • Turn the bullet points above into prayers. Ask the Lord to reveal Himself in the moment. Pray He gives you His heart. Ask Him to sharpen you with this relationship. Receive God’s peace that exceeds anything we can understand. He is faithful. Promise.
  • And last, and arguably the most important, ask God to reveal your sin in light of this relationship. Have you caused hurt? Pain? Where might you need to confess and repent? There is freedom there.

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