What a busy time of year this is! So sorry for not posting sooner. (I especially apologize to Deanna and Mom who have shared prayer requests with me.) This past week has been CRAZY - fun crazy, though. Christmas crazy. We had our school Christmas program on Thursday which was so fabulous and then our church Christmas program was last night which was also very special. Ali was in both of them and Livi was in the church Christmas program (adding to the comedic relief, no doubt!). I want to real fast give a shout out to my dear, sweet friend, Ashley Bolger, who is the director at our school AND church (I'm so blessed!). She absolutely does NOT get the credit she deserves and, really, if you have kids, what would Christmas be without having the pleasure of watching them in a Christmas program??? Ashley, I don't know how you do it every year. You are an angel and I'm so, so happy that you are one of my bestest friends!!! Now relax and have a merry Christmas with that new, sweet baby boy! :)
Now, onto my topic: Miraculous Conversion. It's is really self explanatory, I think. According to Mr. Webster, "conversion" is: the act or state of changing to adopt new opinions or beliefs; a formal acceptance of a different religion. You see it all the time at this time of year. Just about every single made for T.V. movie is about some cold-hearted scrooge who through new found relationships discovers the TRUE meaning of Christmas and is changed forever. My very favorite example is who else but the Grinch! Now, his grinchiness may not have totally been his fault - he had a medical condition. According to the tale, his heart was two sizes too small. But when he heard the Who's down in Whoville singing a sweet song on Christmas morning AFTER they had discovered that he'd stolen everything in the town he had the thought that maybe, just maybe Christmas was about more than packages and, well, stuff. Then the miracle of all miracles occurred! In that instant, his heart grew 3 SIZES and there was quite obviously an overflow of joy in his eyes! (Either that or he had to go to the bathroom really bad!) Now, I'm poking fun at a classic children's Christmas tale, but the question still remains: Why are there so many tales of changed hearts and converted souls at this time of year???
I'm just gonna take a stab in the dark with this one and offer a simple-minded possibility: BECAUSE JESUS CHANGES PEOPLE! How could He not? I saw a banner this season that states that we cannot separate Jesus' cradle from His cross. He was born to die! To me that is a hard concept to digest. There is so much that I want to do in my time here on this earth that I can't fathom being born just to die. Of course, during His short time in human flesh, Jesus taught people how to live, how to love. He healed people. He gave people hope. He gave them something very special to believe in. And, amazingly, He still does all of this today through Scripture and through the Holy Spirit. But the very bottom line according to John 3:16 is that Jesus was born a sweet, innocent, baby boy just to save all of humanity from Satan's evil, nasty clutches.
So, Jesus changes people. But why do we want to watch story after story on the Hallmark, Lifetime, or ABC Family channel of the power of the Christmas goodness? I'm going out on a limb again with my own opinion on this, but I really believe that on the whole humans want . . . no, CRAVE, the warmth and tenderness that can only come from the Lord. And they crave stories of His love. And I think they want to believe that people can, and do, change for the good. Maybe I'm naive, but I believe that everyone wants to be loved unconditionally. Everyone wants to feel wanted and appreciated and admired. How much more could Someone love, want, appreciate, and admire us than to sacrifice His one and only Son just so that we won't ever have to die? I get a lump in my throat every time I ponder the depth of God's love for me. I'm so unworthy.
I confess. I love watching those sappy, heartwarming movies of miraculous conversions. Even more, I LOVE reading a great novel that tells the story of a character(s) in the midst of a spiritual journey - working out issues, and finally seeing the Lord's hand through the struggles in their life. Is there anything more satisfying than witnessing someone (either in real life or fiction) FINALLY turn their hearts back over to the Lord?!?! Makes me want to shout, "Hallelujah! Yes! The victory is ours!" I hope I can do that for you in The Heart's Journey Home. One of my characters will go through a slow, somewhat painful conversion process with the help and guidance of a wise, old mentor. This has been a tender part for me to write because it is a very tender topic and I want more than anything to make this character believable and easy for all of my readers to relate to. I just pray that I am able to illustrate even a fraction of the Lord's goodness and mercy through this character's situation and that at the end my readers are saying, "Hallelujah! Yes! The victory is ours!"
PRAYER REQUESTS AND UPDATES: Again I apologize to Deanna and to my mom for not getting these up sooner. Please pray mightily for Deanna's friends, Kristin and Jason. Kristin has Marfan's Syndrome. According to the small amount of research I've done, Marfan's Syndrom affects the connective tissue in the body and therefore can affect many areas of the body. Unfortunately, Kristin's heart has been affected. A few years ago she spent two months-plus in the Cleveland Clinic after a heart surgery that was only supposed to have her hospitalized for five days. Fortunately, she recovered well, but is now faced with another surgical procedure that she was supposed to have scheduled this past Thursday at a doctor appointment. I'm sure Kristin and her husband, Jason, must be feeling some anxiety so I'm asking you to please pray for the Lord to cover Kristin and Jason in a peace that passes all understanding. And, Deanna, if you're reading this please post a comment on how the doctor appointment went and if you have any new information regarding procedure date and time. Thanks! Also, please pray for my mom, Donna Otto. She has been layed off until at least the middle of January. Her specific prayer request is that it does not last longer than that. Please pray that the Lord is merciful and that this can be a BRIEF time of much deserved rest and renewal for her. Updates: My step-dad, Tom Otto, is feeling much better and is back to work! Thank you for praying for him! My best friend from high school, Patty Smith, is doing well with her chemo and is actually planning a trip to Tennessee later this week! Yay! I can't wait to see her! On a side note, I'm not adding this to my list of prayer requests, but please say a prayer for my step-mom, Shirley, my sister, Bonnie, my Grandma Dominick, and me tomorrow. On the 23rd it will be 8 years since my daddy, Frank Dominick, went to "live with Jesus", as my nephew had said on that day. Time has done a lot to heal our broken hearts, but the loss we all feel is still so great. *Shrug* I just miss my daddy.
I hope you all have a very merry and memorable Christmas and a blessed New Year!
P.S. Mrs. Alber, I got your tag. Thank you! I will post on it later in the week . . . after I've had time to think of 6 interesting tid bits about average, ordinary ME!