I was beginning to question my belief? A series of events caused doubt and I knew the outcome of this mind-struggle could rock my world. I remember talking to my father and mother about it. Their wisdom had always been valued. They also grew up in a home that believed and had once struggled themselves. I remember the night that eliminated all questions in my mind. My dad tapped me on the shoulder while I was sleeping and I opened my eyes to see his finger over his lips, suggesting that I stay quiet. I sensed something; like maybe a spirit. This feeling was of something kind; full of joy; and….. was that a ho-ho-ho I heard?

Santa was in our living room. He was real. I had no doubt from that point on. I don’t know how he got there or how he left, but my 6 year old eyes saw him late that Christmas Eve, and that was good enough for me.

The lore of a fictitious character that comes down all the chimneys in the world in one night, with gifts, and rides in a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer is pretty cool. It is fun for kids to believe in that. It is amazing that they actually buy it. But I long for my family to experience more. And I am not simply talking about the story of baby Jesus being born in a manger with shepherds and wise-men in awe, and a king who wanted to kill him and so on. I am talking about me nudging them to wake them up, and showing them God actually at work in my life and the lives of others. Real work. Miracles. Like sustaining a family with cancer who could have lost hope but instead found more joy and hope than they knew was possible. Like the new birth of a broken and lost man, and watching that new spiritual life grow. Like financial provision (a job) for a family who was at the end of their financial rope. Like watching someone die well. Like hearing the voice of God speak clearly into their life.

These are some of the miracles of Christ this Christmas. I love hearing real-life stories way more than the Santa story (even though the Santa story is pretty cool too). Merry CHRISTmas!


8 thoughts on “Belief?

  1. I hare with you, the miracles are real and happening here also. Yesterday I spent the entire day going through heart tests and through MRI’s to check my cancer. The report from the MRI’s is not final yet, but Dr. Shah said NED –“NO EVIDENCE OF CANCER !” So God is good and a little early on the CHISTmas present. I accept my nervousness and giddiness a the same time. I pray that the FAB 4 ;.OOOOps now we have become the 5 amigo’s ( Connee ) Tara, Amy, Aunt Lois Jean, and myself.

    May God Bless everyone, grant them health, heal their souls, spirits, replenish them with my terminology ” BE HIGH ON SUCKING AIR !!” and know the hands we are all in are the best hands -‘ (GOD’S ). Ya’ all know what I talking about.

    My journey is making me know that life is more precious than things, my family is the most important thing in my life, with my faith in God and his plan for me.
    Tara, you are an inspiration to a lot of people ! Jay, I Love you for just being yourself., your children are very sweet, special children. Our family has grown in way too many ways this year. May next year calm down, and let each of us JUST BREATH …….. and receive the spirit from our maker.

    I am in great hopes that you can join us for the Wood’s -Mas which I the 2nd Saturday of January…… we would love to have you come. See if it works in your schedule. Tis house is overflowing……. but we love it. It is all about getting together and enjoying each other ……. even with all of own faults.

    God is good……
    Our Love,

    Aunt DeeDee & Uncle Frank

  2. Thank you ,Jay, such beautiful Christmas thoughts! We know you are experiencing a miracle each day and we thank God for that.
    We pray all of you will have a wonderful Christmas together. We love all of you and continue to send special prayers for Tara.
    With our love, prayers, and hugs,
    Uncle Max and Aunt Gail

  3. A beautiful post, Jay. Especially loved “sustaining a family with cancer who could have lost hope but instead found more joy and hope than they knew was possible.”! Seeing God during those hard days is an amazing miracle which does indeed bring great joy! Despite our circumstances, God is so good as He fills us with peace and joy. Thank you for using your hard days to testify to this truth.

  4. Your words are so inspiring! Praise God He gives you that faith. Wishing you and your family a blessed Christmas through your many trials. May you continue to have joy in the Lord. Your mom’s friend, Gert

  5. Thanks Jay for your inspiring words and also for the challenging words that you have put out there for us in this blog. Belief? The answer is YES! “Cause I know I’m nothing on my own. But the power of Christ in me makes me strong”!

    I have been reading quite a bit lately and wanted to share something I thought was really powerful I just read. It is from a book by James Bryan Smith. The Good and Beautiful Life — Putting on the Character of Christ, second in a series of three books. It is from a chapter titled Learning to live without worry:

    Ultimately, worry is futile. Most of our worries are due to the habits we learned while living outside the kingdom of God, when we trusted in the things like money, and approval, even though they always disappointed. Jesus encourages us to resist the temptation to worry and concentrate on the fact that God is with us in all that we do, which is the right attitude toward the present and the future. My focus ought to be on the present moment. But when we do think about the future, as kingdom-dwellers we can think with hope, plan with confidence and rely on prayer. We have many past blessings which to base this confidence.

    I ask two questions of people going through the apprentice series: Who are you, a where are you? I repeat those questions often because repetition is one of the keys to learning. I am looking for these responses: “I am a child of God, one in whom Christ dwells, and I am living in the unshakable kingdom of God.” When a person grasps those two realities, many of the problems that plague him or her begin to diminish. This is certainly true of worry. I think about Paul and the hardships he faced, and how he kept his focus on who and where he was:

    (2 Corinthians 4:7-9) But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not in forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.

    The treasure we have is Christ in us, and our mortal bodies are the jars of clay. We are Christ-inhabited people, endowed with the power to do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

    We live in the unshakable kingdom of God, so that even when we are tested, we never fail. This is why I am confident that our world is perfectly safe. Safe? you may be thinking. Are you kidding? This world is scary and dangerous! That is true if you are on the throne of your life, living outside of the kingdom of God. Inside the kingdom of God, we are in no danger.

    No danger? You could get cancer, hit by a bus, lose your job or lose a loved one in a heartbeat. Let me say clearly: none of these things can harm those who live in the kingdom. If we die, we step into glory. If we lose our job, we can learn how to trust God for something better. If we lose a loved one, we can be certain that we will soon enjoy their company, for all eternity. As long as we live in fellowship with our good and beautiful God in his mighty kingdom, we have nothing to fear, not even fear itself. For nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). When we know this to be true, we can let go of worry and begin living with confidence and joy.

    Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)”

    I also would like to share a small segment from a Randy Alcorn book – The Goodness of God – Assurance of Purpose in the Midst of Suffering:

    Although this world may seem very far from the best it could possibly be, its present condition may indeed be the best means to achieve the best possible world. A world that had never been touched by evil would be a good place, but would it be the best place possible? If we acknowledge, for example, that evil and suffering often bring out significant human virtues, we must answer no.
    If you tell God he should not have allowed evil and suffering into the world, you’re also saying he shouldn’t allow compassion, mercy, and sacrificial love – which are all responses to imperfection and suffering. God had to permit evil and suffering so that those characteristics could develop in us. Can we fault God for ordaining the kind of world in which we could experience such great good?
    Consider also that such attributes as patience, mercy, love, and strength of character, once developed, can last forever – long after evil has disappeared. Could this justify God’s allowance of evil? I believe the answer is yes.
    Our sufferings will prove to be far less than the goodness that awaits us: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). But God tells us even more than that. He says our sufferings will actually contribute to the greater good that awaits us: “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
    Think about what those two verses promise. Meditate on them; memorize them; say them aloud as you ask God for grace and empowerment to make it through your hardest days.

    He saved us, not because of righteous things we have done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior. (Titus 3:5-6)

    With all that has been going on in my life and our family’s lives the past year or two, these words just resonates so strongly on my soul and I must answer a big YES to Belief that Jesus is our Lord and Savior. He has sustained us! Hopefully it may enlighten others, so I pass it on. So as we celebrate the miracle birth of our Savior, my hope and prayers are that all of you have a Blessed and safe Merry Christmas & Happy New Year with all of your loved ones!

  6. I know this Christmas will be the BEST one ever! It takes the sort of trial you guys have lived to really know what joy means! Enjoy all the moments and know that there are those of us who continue to cover you in prayer. It was nice to see you playing tonight Jay. I have seen you up there a couple of times (in recent times) but it was particularly nice today because of your wonderful post. BTW….there is no doubt in my mind that I saw Santa enter my brother and my bedroom when I was 5. I can STILL see that moment!

  7. Tara & Jay – I have been following your blog, and I have observed a family that has the faith that draws them closer together and more importantly closer to God. You have been an inspiration to me! I will continue to remember you in prayer and look forward to hearing more from you on your blog. I have faith, a faith that tells me that you are going to have a most blessed Christmas and beyond. Press on toward that goal of Philippians 3 and keep inspiring us watching on the sidelines! Dave.

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