Deep Breath

It was December 25, 1999.  I awoke full of nervous expectation. There were shiny wrapped presents under the tree. There were glittering colorful lights hung around. There was a warm dancing glow in the fireplace. There was hope of a new life and the adrenaline of an unknown future not yet knowing all there was to gain.

I got dressed into "Sabbath best" in preparation for church and braced myself for the unavoidable next moment. I had to tell my family I was leaving right after presents to go to church and get baptized.  This was not welcome news. I invited them to come, but they thought I was joining a cult.

In their defense, I didn't give them very good reasons to believe otherwise. In my defense, they weren't interested in hearing. They loved me, were worried for me, and had negative experiences with organized religion. Had I been more vulnerable with them about my journey to God and faith along the way, I think they would have been more supportive. But up until this point, I held it all very close. Afraid of rejection. Afraid of separation from those I loved. And still trying to figure it all out for myself.
I went to church alone. I was new to attending and didn't know almost anyone but the pastor. And those I did know, were mere acquaintances. The water was warm. Thank you, Jesus! I looked out at all the faces in the congregation and didn't recognize anyone. I felt obscure and vulnerable and ready.

Sometimes it is easier to make a big decision with no one you know watching. This was just God and me. For no one else. We were starting a new life together and I felt more confident about this moment than any other decision before and since. Deep breath. Down into blood/water grave and risen to a new and joyous adventure. I couldn't stop crying. I felt so clean. So new. So full.

Every Christmas since, Jesus and I get to celebrate his birth and my rebirth on the same day.  I take a moment with just Him and I – no one else. In those silent moments, I look forward with brilliant fear into the unknown future of a journey of joy that continually moves forward.

Today, I challenge you to take some time with just Him, take a deep breath, and embrace the uncertainty of whatever He is calling you into. It is more than we know to dream and more than we fear to hope. Because He is good. Jesus. All.
Brandy Kirstein
Nurse Practitioner from Kailua, Hawaii
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