A few weeks ago, I sat around the table at a committee meeting as we discussed the upcoming Thanksgiving Eve service at our church. The discussion that evening centered on how we could express thanks to God for who He is and what He has done in the year passed. The pastor wondered if we could give voice to the one thing we were most thankful for— not just friends, family, a roof over our heads, and the material things of life— but in relationship to our Father, Lord, and Savior.
Instantly, I had a response, and I couldn’t help but tear up when I thought about that one thing— the way in which God has shown Himself most fully to me in 2011. It all started with the recommendation to read Francis Chan’s book, Crazy Love. I know I am not the first to be impacted by this author’s work, for I was one of the many that were called to action by Chan’s focus on Christ’s love and our response to those we encounter every day. The book seemingly struck me over the head in places and tugged at my heartstrings, compelling me to reach out to the people that God placed in my path on a day-to-day basis. Basically, I was called out to serve, and my goals for 2011 took a step in a thrilling, yet challenging direction.
I was motivated to share Christ’s love with others as I experienced an outpouring of his lavish, crazy love for me. Never have I felt to close to my Creator and Best Friend in all my life! He carried me through late-night prayer sessions, meaningful times spent studying His word, and inspiring times of music and worship at church. All the while, He began to draw me out of my comfort zone as I was introduced to people I normally wouldn’t have encountered on my own terms or according to my own will. I had difficult conversations and heart-wrenching realizations as I witnessed circumstances outside of my neat and orderly world. Even now, I am conflicted with overwhelming excitement and nervous anticipation for everything that is yet to come in 2012 as I continue to move beyond what was once comfortable and ordinary.
Lately, I have been working through a series on “Cassie Contemplates…” called “Ordinary People: Defining Moments” in which I have told the stories of Biblical characters following God’s lead and allowing Him to use them in extraordinary ways to increase His Kingdom and tell His story. I have certainly felt a lot like some of these characters in recent months. I have been through the wringer emotionally, taken to the height of mountain peeks, and overwhelmed with God’s grace and mercy at every turn. And even in the times when I start to doubt that he could ever use someone like me, He surprises me with yet another blessing in this phase of my life. I pray that as I venture into 2012, I can continue to hold to my 2011 commitment to serve God’s people and be His hands and feet. But for now, I can truly say that I am thankful for my Savior’s crazy love and His nudge to go out into the world and share that crazy love with renewed passion and focused intent.