// Jesus Your love is so amazing, and this joy I can’t explain it. I’m caught up in the fellowship. //

The Love Inside: Laura Hackett Park

You can know of Jesus, & then you can know Jesus. There is a difference.

Tis’ the season, with all the hustle and bustle so close to Christmas and the New year, it seems crazy how quick it came. Many are gathering their overnight bags, others are prepping their homes for family. Then on the odd speck there are those whom can’t, won’t, or don’t do this time of year. Most can’t imagine a Christmas fully without family, or friends. So what is this all about?

Well, I’m glad you asked. As we reflected on thankfulness during the Thanksgiving season, what do we celebrate for Christmas? Is it a season of hope? Is it a season of peace? Is it a season of joy? For years I found myself confounded by this. I knew there was a man named Jesus. I knew we celebrate His birth. But what’s the big deal? It seems cliche to say, “Jesus is the reason, for the season.” At least I thought it was. It wasn’t until I fully met Jesus that my perspective changed. I want to share a part of my testimony in order to bring glory to God. As well as reveal the truth of what a relationship with Jesus means to me.

At age 20, I thought I was doing good. I thought I was on cloud 9. I knew of Jesus. I had everything going for me. Nursing school, church family, & friends galore. It wasn’t until I woke up & realized my life was not going swell that I started to feel my world cave in. I haven’t lived a perfect life. I am definitely no saint. I made mistakes. One being I took on the weight of the cross, & it about killed me. I was proud. I was arrogant. I was self centered. Those were the root of my issues. I had wrapped those deadly gifts inside me so deep, they were well rooted with no chance of being removed. On top of that I played church. I was able to fool many people with a smile. I could laugh while inside I was broken. My God given gift to love & heal was tainted by the brokenness I wasn’t willing to release. I got to a place of depression that I couldn’t look at myself in a mirror. I was suicidal, and I was struck with a tiredness that I didn’t want to do anything. I prayed I would just go to sleep & never wake up. I had left the church I’d grown up in all my life. I cut myself off from any friends, because I was self righteous. I was in the down slope of my dream to become a nurse. It was a tornado of pity, low self esteem, & worthlessness. It hadn’t come quickly. It had been building up for years. It just became too overwhelming. To top it all off I tried to minister to people. Because I was “good,” I was broke. Hurt people tend to hurt people. The grace of God covered me, & those people. I will never be able to understand the unrelenting love of Christ. He is so good to repair our mess.

So how did I turn this pity party around? Well, I did nothing. Except say, “yes” to a man named Jesus. I’d made it through 2014. Scraping my way through. I was now working towards my LPN license, after being unsuccessful in the RN program. I could muster enough energy to at least go to class to finish this degree. In the meantime, a tent revival had popped up. I had gone to several meetings at other locations around the city. But this was a daily event out by the fair grounds. I didn’t know much about it except it could get me out of my bed, and somewhat got my mind off my sad excuse for a life. I liked what I heard, message wise. It was fun hanging around these people that loved Jesus. There was something different about them that I never really saw before. A hunger to live for Jesus. I’d seen few people stick out like this before, at least that I allowed myself to see. I kept attending night after night. I saw many marvelous things. People were healed, set free, & filled with joy. I’d never really seen anything like it. One night I was lingering around, & a friend had asked me what was going on with me. To tell them about myself. Up to this point I like to talk. Just not about myself. Especially to people I don’t trust. You’d have a better chance making a river flow backwards. However, something inside me knew I could trust these people. So I opened up about nursing school. That was a “safe” topic for me. After hearing me ramble on, they asked if they could pray for me. I didn’t want to say no, but I had no clue what they would pray for. Over the course of my life I had developed an anxiety when I took tests. So they began to call off a “spirit of anxiety” to leave. I didn’t really feel different. I didn’t know how to respond but, a simple “thank you” in response. So I went home that night, and almost forgot to take a test for school. As I began I felt weird. My vision got blurry, & I got nervous. This was anxiety. I remember I sat on my bed closed my eyes & said, “Jesus. I’m not anxious anymore. Help me.” I opened my eyes. Clear. Nervousness, gone. I finished my test with an “A,” I shouted with joy because up to this point in my testing career through nursing school I’d only made “C’s.”

Several days had gone on. I was better. I had somewhat a sense of joy. Still I was depressed. June 26, 2014. I met the man named Jesus. I can’t remember much about the day leading up. I can only remember that night. A word was given. Which I couldn’t tell you about. I sat second row, inner end chair, on the left column next to the middle pole. Words of knowledge were being released. Then a man released this word, “someone here is sad.” I remember fighting that word. Coming up with every excuse why it wasn’t me. I scanned the altar to see if there was anyone I trusted. The friend that had prayed for me was open. I just slowly moved my way up there hoping no one was watching me. She asked what she could pray for. I simply shrugged my shoulders. “I think I’m sad,” I said. I have a bit more details. But I released it into the air. The roots were being exposed. They began to pray. I remember I was ugly crying. All the hurts, pains began to rise. Memories of me trying to be Jesus for other people. Memories of people I hurt, or that had hurt me. It knocked the breath out of me. I felt lighter after it was all said and done. However, I could not move. I could feel a dark hole in my heart. I couldn’t find words to express it. But that’s the best I could come up with. Then a man came behind me, simply said “give it to God. Just tell Him.” So I did just that. I fell to my knees. I was sorry. I had made people my God. I had tried to be Jesus in areas I had no place. I forgot my first love. As I repented of these things I remember crying out, I just want Jesus to come back. Just like that I felt depression leave. I was restored. I was no longer suicidal. I didn’t just know Jesus. I started a true relationship with Him.

You may ask yourself, what does this have anything to do with Christmas? You see up to this point I played church. I sang the songs. I lifted my hands. I knew Jesus was in the Bible. But I didn’t know Him to be real. So when Christmas or Easter came around I was just celebrating a holiday. I lost the love for Jesus. It became tradition. When I celebrate Christmas I realize. This son of God came down to Earth. He not only came down & took human form. He had a mission. He died for me. Not just a general “He died for you.” Jesus came down & died for Marco. He came down & died for you the reader. That thought shakes me to my core. That once black hole was restored because Jesus came down & paid a price that ultimately set me free that day. Don’t believe me? Check this scripture out.

“And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew‬ ‭1:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬

So here we are Christmas rolling back around, I have come a long way from 2014 me. I truly understand why we celebrate Jesus’ birth. It’s not just this one day event and forget Him until Easter. It is a daily relationship that I walk out. Reading His word. Praying on all occasions. Fellowshipping with like mind believers. I’m come to know that there are people who simply won’t understand why I love Jesus so much. That’s ok. One day I hope they meet the Jesus I know, because I promise they will be changed forever. I choose to live my life all in for Him. It makes me an outcast or an odd ball sometimes. I have family & friends that look at me and just tilt their heads. That’s ok. Because ultimately though it may hurt for a season, I know I’m not serving men of this world. I’m not trying to please them. I’ll only serve Jesus all the days of my life. Because the life I lived before Him wasn’t working for me. I’ve done too much, and seen Him move in too many people’s lives to turn around & forget what He’s done. It can be lonely, but God. He makes a way, He will surround you with people on fire for Him. It’s not that they can ever replace your family & friends. They just add onto your tribe. A group of people who are in it to win it, enduring life together until the end.

In closing, I know this has been a longer read. I hope you’ve got to know a little bit more about me. I want to continue to share about my life when approaching these topics moving forward. I think writing weekly will give us an opportunity to stay hopeful, & ever growing in Him. The next post I’ll be giving a tribute to the year, as well as some expectations moving on into the new year. Until then I bless you with a Merry Christmas!! May your season be merry & bright.