A Belated Christmas Miracle

I am always a little embarrassed to report when miracles happen in my life. I don’t know why exactly. I think on some level I fear the backlash – people trying to disprove the miracle or tell me it wasn’t a miracle at all – and unlike an intellectual argument, there’s absolutely no proof I can give. It’s a vulnerable piece of my life that, like a memory, is important to me and I don’t want it to be mishandled in the hands of others and given back to me in a crumpled, scratched-up state.
But when you know, you know. And nothing strengthens another person’s faith quite like hearing about what God has done for others. So, as a kind of belated Christmas gift, I give this report to you, which happened the day before Christmas this year. I want to note that, when I talk about the things the Lord has said to me, I don’t want these taken as a direct quote or a Gospel truth – rather, it is the best summation of the best understanding of what I feel Him saying to me.
I had been very sick with strep for about a week at this point. I had had a very rough year and had high hopes of finally getting enough time off to accomplish something, when I was struck with a debilitating bout of strep that kept me mostly bedridden and unable to speak. Even after several days of antibiotics, I was still exhausted, and miserable as I watched my small window of precious time be engulfed by fever and aching sleep. I watched the already filthy house get even filthier and my out-of-control children get even more out of control. No strength for cleaning, no voice for disciplining.
It was on December 24th that I felt called very specifically to prayer. I crouched down on my floor (as tired as I was, my muscles were so achy that laying was uncomfortable and I avoided it as much as I could). I felt the presence of Christ specific and very close to me, and I could see in my mind’s eye Him reaching out His hand and touching my head.
“Christmas…” He said, “you’ve worked so hard to give your family a good Christmas, you’ve made yourself sick in the process… Well, here’s my gift to you: you’re clean.” I just sat there blinking for a minute, not sure what He was telling me. “You’re healed,” He said. And sure enough, from that moment on, I was healed, even leaving shortly after my time with Him to do a 5-hour cleaning binge so that all our Christmas morning photos wouldn’t show the world how dirty our house was.
Someone knocked on the bedroom door, and I begged them to give me a little more time alone. They left. I was still sitting there, cross-legged, in the presence of Christ. He touched my head again, blessing my 2017. I had been terrified of the new year. Between the oil slump, the volatile local and world politics, the threat of war, and the hurdles my kids were facing, it had never even occurred to me that I might actually have a GOOD 2017.
He talked to me more, telling me that He loved me and reminding me that, while in this world our best kinds of love have to be divided into their appropriate places – the kind of love you have for a spouse, the kind you have for a child, the kind you have for a brother, etc. – all good kinds of love exist together simultaneously in God. That’s how He can address me as His daughter, His bride, His friend, and so on: there’s no boundaries needed. He loves me all these ways, all at once. And He also loves me in the most precious relationship of all: with me as His human and He as my God.
When I sensed everything was dealt with and His presence was leaving me, I begged Him to stay just a little while longer. So He stayed with me, His love surrounding me, until I was ready to go.
I was elated as I stood up and left the room. I sat on the couch, utterly alive with the afterglow of having been in His presence. I kept thinking of something totally random… How when Christ “rewired” me, 11 years ago (I have always thought of salvation in such terms, for whatever reason), that He left a part of Himself ‘to fertilize my heart so that good things could grow there’. How proud I felt to know that God had trusted me enough to live on in my heart! How wonderful it would be if I could SHOW it to people, just unbutton my collar, as easily as showing them a scar from heart surgery….
I wanted so badly to TELL someone. Just to pick up the phone and say, “guess what I got for Christmas? A visit from my best friend!”. But, as I have said, I get shy talking about such things.
Needless to say, Christmas was beyond wonderful. I was filled with joy the whole day and got everything I needed or wanted, with the promise of a good year to come. But of course, by far, my favorite gift will always be the un-buyable, un-earnable, presence of Jesus Christ.
With Much Love, and a Happy New Year,
Morgan Hart

Naked

Maybe I’m just crazy for thinking about this one, but it’s something I’m surprised that I’ve never heard discussed…

It is actually very comforting to me to know that, in some moments of life, God has been naked. Out of all the words we could pick to describe God, it’s probably one of the last we would ever think of, just as its the last we might pick to describe any great person who has, by human necessity, been, at some point, naked. But it points to something important in our faith: God has truly taken the time to be vulnerable.

There have been other gods who have been naked, to be sure. Especially with the Greek gods, there were frequent macabre displays of gods showing off their masculine prowess, most especially by raping or seducing human women. As a woman, I always wondered how any woman could wholeheartedly practice any of these religions. If you were beautiful and a virgin – or really, any woman – how did you develop trust and intimacy with a god you knew would gladly take advantage of you?

Jesus was the opposite. While he readily accepted the beautiful and the pure, he just as readily accepted the rest. He drew women who were sexually dysfunctional, loose, used, and downtrodden (John 8:3-11, Matthew 21:31-32, Luke 7:36-50). He enchanted prostitutes and adulterers, people who were possibly prior sex abuse victims, or were at least destroying their own lives with sex. And to each one of these women, he expressed peace, he expressed interest, and he expressed genuine love. He established intimacy with them, even physical intimacy, in ways that were acceptable to God (Luke 7:36-50, Mark 5:24-36, Matthew 28:9) And he behaved himself. Surrounded by women who were sexually immoral and looking for solace, women he could have easily used, he put his own needs aside, establishing purity and validation in the process. Despite what some pop culture movies say, Jesus probably died a virgin. He definitely didn’t fornicate, and while marital sex is blessed by God, Jesus probably put aside his chance at happiness in a normal human marriage as well (2 Corinthians 5:21a)(John 7:3-5, John 19:25, Mark 16:16)(Revelations 19:7-8, Ephesians 5:22-32).

Remember that, in a world where so many people suffer forms of sexual abuse, the Son of God carefully chose the manner and the steps of how he would die (1 Peter 1:11, Psalm 22, Isaiah 52-54). And when it was time for him to take on the full suffering of humankind, one of the steps he deliberately chose for this suffering was to have his clothes removed – not in some kind of display of masculinity, but as a form of shame and humiliation. Just think  – for anyone who has ever been sexually abused or shamed for their body in any way, who calls on the name of the Lord – they call on someone who distinctly remembers being stripped naked in front of onlookers who spat on him and drove nails through his body. What an incredible depth of sympathy, to have someone to talk to who has been physically shamed. We as women, as victims, as all the different people from different walks of life who have been scarred, we talk to a God who has been through terrible pain, humiliation, and yes, nakedness. And while many people in the world think that God is just “made up”, I could not have made up a God that was more wonderfully accessible.

God bless you.

Morgan Grace Hart

The Cleft of His Heart

(Image courtesy of Jim Berry, www.cayman365.com)

In my mind’s eye, while I was praying, I saw myself coming up to Jesus on the cross, seeing Him bleeding and hurting, so indescribably torn up. I started to cry, and reached up to touch His injured feet with my hands. He smiled at me, as best He could with His face so beaten, and His voice was filled with affection for me. “If my hands were free to do so,” He told me, “I’d hug you right now.” I cried and cried, and finally said to Him, “Jesus, I care about You. It’s so painful to see You so…broken.” “Yes,” He said, “but the breaks are where you get in. They’re openings. Just like the cleft in the rock where you are held safe, so the fissures of my Heart are carved out for you, a place for you to be hidden.” [This was also in answer to some prayertime I had had with Him recently, about what to do if you really need a safe place to go for rest, but aren’t physically able to leave where you are.] He continued, “as an infant is safe inside its mother’s womb, so you can rest safe inside of Me.”

I kept imagining it, as my kind of peace-image: being at total peace in my Lord Christ, in the depths of His heart, in stasis in the warmth and nourishment of His Blood.

God bless you,

Morgan Grace Hart

Exodus 33:18-23; John 6:53-59; Romans 6:11