an anything but typical Christmas eve
this a long story about my Christmas Eve, but wow… read it.
my Christmas Eve started out like any other Christmas Eve in my 23 years of living. slept in. helped my mom clean and cook. one of my brothers, Brad (28) came over to use our wrapping paper to wrap the presents that he, of course, just bought. i helped wrap them. then it was time for my shower in prep for church. all typical Christmas Eve things.
then the atypical Christmas Eve things began to happen.
whilst in the shower my mom knocked on the door and said, “Brad’s been in an car accident. Pray.” so i did. Brad and i have a special bond. and have always been really close. he had decided to go to the bank and to wash his truck when low and behold, he totaled his truck when making a left turn into the sun–being then sideswiped by another car. he called my dad to come help him. no injuries & everyone was insured. but the thing you need to know about Brad, is that he’s been through a lot of trouble. this truck has been his “last” lifeline. how he gets to work. work is how he is coming out of debt. coming of debt is how he can move out of his current living situation. moving will free him up to really move forward. he’s really been making positive strides to “change”. this truck was pretty much the last thing he owned that could be taken away from him. it was now, totaled.
he made it back to the house with my dad. a few personal possessions-in hand. hugged me and said, “i am so glad i didn’t ask you to go with me.” when he comes over, i always go with him to do his errands. see, the car was hit directly on the passenger-side. if i had this time, i would have undoubtedly been severely injured.
we had a plan to go to Westside for Christmas Eve service as a family. having had my shower interrupted, my mom running late and Brad just having been in a car accident, one would assume we’d bail on the idea of going to church since we had so much to do before our family Christmas that evening. church isn’t something anyone but my mom and i do. BUT myself, being somewhat seasoned in the area of spiritual warfare and discernment, reminded my mom that God wasn’t surprised that Brad had just been an accident. i said to my mom, “the last thing we ought to do right now is say, ‘the hell with church.'” she agreed. and to our surprise, Brad said, “wait for me.”
we met up with my other brother, his wife and nephews. i found us a row of seven chairs (we were sans my dad). and sat and waited for service to begin. during about the 3rd Christmas Carol, i had that sudden kind of God-feeling to ask Brad if he wanted to speak with a pastor. after all, he had just walked away from a severe accident just an hour earlier-without a scratch. losing his lifeline (truck) and really looking low. i wrote him a note on the back of a receipt and passed it down 6 chairs… it said, “do you wanna speak with a pastor?” and he said “yes”.
we stood up and walked right of service. Troy was probably wondering what the heck was going on. i found Tim in the commons. Tim is our pastor of discipleship. young (may just over 30) and someone Brad’s met once. i walked up to him and asked, “hey could you speak with my brother?” and right there in the middle of the commons, they started talking. Tim was then, “you wanna go sit and talk?” he said yes. i wasn’t sure if i should go with them until Brad looked back and gave me that, “don’t leave me alone with this guy” kind of look. Brad shared about his wreck that happened just moments earlier. how that was his lifeline… he’s rock bottom. doesn’t know what to do. talked about his past and his current and past behaviors, etc.
Tim was awesome and just listened and talked on his level. Brad went on to say how he knows the right words to say about God but lacks the understanding of the relationship and feels unworthy of Salvation. that his own manipulation tactics. he is keeping God far.
Tim said to Brad “what do you see that’s different about your sister?” he said something like, “she’s giving and lives a life where its not about her.” and Tim went on to say, “i know you know about God and i know you know what you need to do” and “all these things… your destructive lifestyle choices, doing things your way, are ending. you’re getting caught more and more. you’re seeing your way isn’t working, you getting in a wreck today was no accident… your final lifeline gone… you’re being stripped. this is God pursuing you. you should to be honored. God’s saying, ‘Come home, Brad’. but you will be miserable and continue to lack peace until you make the decision that you’re going to lay down your idols and follow Him.” Tim went on to talk about Jesus and Rich man and then story of the prodigal son.
Brad asked like only Brad could, “where do i sign up?”
Tim laughed and said, “we can pray right now”.
he explained not to make a decision that he wasn’t willing to follow through on…. and Brad said, “i have no choice than to take this first step” … and Tim said, “then this church will do all we can to help you follow-through”. Tim began the prayer of salvation and asked Brad to say to God whatever was on his heart. so right there in the next steps room, Brad asked to pray to receive Christ for the first time. real and true. no fancy words. no manipulation. just Brad. when Brad began to speak he said in the only way Brad could say, “God, this is Brad…” and then he paused.
tears streaming down a face i’d never seen cry before, he just poured his weary heart out. praying a genuine prayer for probably first the time. Tim’s arm on his shoulder. my hand on his back… he just surrendered. a 28-year fight to keep God distant… ended with just a few words. my prayer of several years had been answered. and it was humbly to experience with him:
and my brother became a new creation.
right there in my front of my eyes.
friends, i ask that you please pray for him. he doesn’t have an easy road ahead, particularly since he has to face the reality that he doesn’t have a car to get to work, he has several friendships he needs to cut off, he still battles alcoholism, etc. but WE know he’s not alone anymore and i ask that you please be fervently praying for him. pray in order that he would feel our support and the peace that transcends all understanding… and follow-through on this new commitment. beginning January 13, he is even going to Starting Point and Tim’s going to find him a LifeGroup.
needless to say, my Christwas was awesome.
how was yours?