No Matter What
by Stephanie Olson, Co-founder Set Me Free Ministries
The weekend of Thanksgiving was only slightly eventful for my family. We had a very nice time spent with family, but it was exhausting. It was certainly a full weekend. Sunday morning came early, but we were determined that right after church we would get our Christmas tree.
Every year, my husband Eric and I take our three kids to a tree farm not too far from our house. We enjoy a hayrack ride, the process of cutting down our own tree, and hot chocolate as a reward for our hard work. We picked out the most beautiful tree we saw—absolutely the biggest tree that our family has had the privilege of having in our home.
That night we decorated it. Now, I have to admit that I was tired and a little preoccupied with all that I still had to accomplish that night. I had other things to do, and I didn’t really have the best attitude. Although I enjoyed watching the kids, I didn’t fully appreciate the memories we were building. The homemade ornaments, the ornaments we had received as gifts over the years that symbolized an important moment in our lives, and even the ornaments that didn’t have a special meaning all went up with such joy that my attitude slowly came around. After the ornaments were hung on the tree, the kids and I stepped back as Eric placed the star on the very top. Marveling as we do every season, it felt like Christmas for the first time this year.
That night we went to bed, and at 3:00 a.m., Eric and I woke to a horrible crashing sound. We instantly knew that our beautiful tree had fallen over, and the crashing sound was, no doubt, our ornaments. As we rushed downstairs, we observed an absolute mess. The tree was on the floor. There was water everywhere, and our precious Christmas ornaments were destroyed.
I remembered that at one point as we were decorating, I had actually thought, “It would be a sad day if my own glass ‘Stephanie’ ornament (a glass ball with my name on it that I made as a child) ever broke.” Hmmmmm. It was now shattered. The Lord immediately spoke in my heart and said, “Even this precious stuff is just stuff. It is your family that is important.”
Eric and I worked through the mess, and every once in awhile, we would marvel at the ornaments that were spared. Three snowmen that my mom bought for each of the kids—each with their names on them, each made of delicate clay material—were all completely intact. Yet, the truly precious gifts, the children, were safe in their beds.
All of sudden Eric said my name. As I turned around to look at him, he showed me a beautiful glass cross ornament that was untouched. The Lord spoke again and said, “This is your foundation. If you have nothing else, I am here.” Jesus Christ is our hope, our strength, and our rock.
During the past several months, the Lord has taken me on a journey in which He has been drawing my focus on wanting more of Him. His desire is that we love Him not because of what He has done for us, but because of who He is. We are precious in His sight. We need to remember that if all else is gone, He is with us. Romans 8:38 says, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.” Hebrews 13:5 says of our God, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Never forget that you are loved more than you can even imagine.