A Gramercy Surprise

Having lived in New York City now for nearly nine years, not much surprises me anymore. I no longer blink when I hear people shouting in the street. Nor am I shocked by the ballsy pigeons that will steal food right from your hands. I no longer nearly choke at the astronomical prices of things, nor am I startled to meet a child named “Apple” or “Gucci” who is dressed better than I. And frankly, I’ve come to expect that the back of a cab is going to smell like the grand ol’ mix of BO and stale cheese.

I’m just a little bit — jaded. New York does that to you, I guess.

So, imagine my surprise, when I found myself moved to tears, at an Advent concert in Gramercy this past week.

Allow me to set the scene here: it was eight o’clock pm on a Tuesday night. And the church was pitch black, except for about 100 tea light candles.

There was one guitarist and one singer – both of whom had the caliber of talent you’d find at a Hillsong concert. It was just hauntingly beautiful.

And there was your girl, sitting back row, with the Holy Spirit breaking through that jaded heart of mine.

You see, there was this line in one of the songs we sang, and it was just three little words, repeated over and over: You choose me.

You choose me. Jesus, You choose me.

During my anorexia in high school, that was all I longed to hear. To my deepest core, I believed that I was unworthy of love. I believed it enough to literally die for. And the crux of my recovery has been to embrace the truth that I am loved and chosen by God. It is the cornerstone of my recovery, and my life.

So hearing “you choose me” — in that setting, at that time, after the weekend I just had, what can I say…it broke me.

I think one of the things that I can so often forget is that, Jesus loves me and chooses me right where I’m at. There’s no striving or need for perfection. No. He meets me right here, right now. Contrary to the current (and false) societal notion that you have to have your life all perfectly figured out before you can get married, or date seriously, or have kids, or XYZ — God doesn’t work like that.

And as I was walking home, something very poignant just “clicked.”

I was walking past a creche, which — sidenote: I was also shocked to see, given my location in the godless city of New York. But I saw that creche and I realized that that is precisely the manifestation of God’s longing to be with us, and choose us, and meet us where we’re at:

He literally broke through Heaven and Earth, to come to this world as a human. A child. A baby.

That is the ultimate expression of that willingness — that, do-whatever-it-takes-ness — to meet us where we are.

He chooses us.

And we can see the evidence in the empty manger, awaiting the arrival of the ChristChild on Christmas Eve.

Truthfully, I don’t know how or why I ended up in that candlelit church that night. It was one of those whim situations where I had a free night, and despite the pouring rain outside, I for some reason thought it was a good idea to trek across town to attend an Advent concert at a church I don’t even attend.

But you know what? I was supposed to.

Because I was supposed to meet God there. And I did.

He wanted to meet me right there. Right in my mess. Just like He always does.

“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5

A big thank you to my foundational sponsor, BetterHelp Online Therapy. I cannot begin to express how beneficial therapy was for my recovery from anorexia.  Speak with an online therapist. Or check out content about eating disorders from BetterHelp.


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105 responses to “A Gramercy Surprise”

  1. LOVE this. We ARE chosen. Oh what a difference that would have made in my childhood if I would have realized that while struggling through trying to understand my adoption. THANK you my friend 💗

  2. Yes, He does. “But God demonstrated His own love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Roman 5:8. Beautiful. Thanks for the reminder. 🙌 🙂 💛

  3. This one made me cry, the good kind of tears. There’s nothing Better that I can think of then those intimate times when God lets you “know” that you are truly loved by Him.
    Numbers 6:24-26 blessings on you and yours,
    Again and Again!!!

    • Aww you are too sweet! Thank you Tony! I’m so glad this resonated with you! Hugs and love xox

  4. Oh He chose you for sure Caralyn. I’ve always admired your strength and courage as a Christian. It must have been tough getting there with the bad weather! Love this post. 🥰

    • Thank you John, wow what a kind thing to say. Yeah! It was definitely an adventure trekking over there! Haha Hugs and love xox

  5. I’m very glad you listened to that still, small voice that said, “Go.” How often does God nudge and wink? More times than we realize, I think. So Happy Advent! You just got a singing Christmas card from the Almighty!

  6. yes Beauty, Jesus chooses you to get the message out because Jesus the Holy Spirit has a message for all women. Don’t let the men in your life dally with you. Like Joseph they may be afraid to embrace a Jesus Woman who won’t settle for a causal relationship or a relationship that satisfies the Law or the expectations of the status quo. Stand your ground. You are worth it. The Mother of God did not give up on LOVE OR THE MESSAGE OF THE ANGEL GABRIEL. JOSEPH was God’s plan for the Woman called Mary. He was her intended! He was her Cephas…and she was his Jo.

    • Thanks Linda 🙂 your encouragement means so much!!! He was her intended. What a beautiful truth! Hugs xox

  7. Yes, He most definitely chose you. To know you is to love you, my dear. I enjoyed your post tonight.

    • Thanks Mary, I’m glad you enjoyed the post 🙂 and thank you so much for such kind words 💛 big hugs to you xox

  8. To know you is to love you, my dear. He continues to choose you and love you every day. I enjoyed your post tonight.

    • Hi Mary! Oh gosh this is such a kind affirmation, thank you for bringing a smile to my face! Hope you’re having a lovely night! Hugs xoxox

  9. More important than meeting God in a church is meeting God in the heart. You’ve discovered that! God is not going to ask us what label church we attended when facing the judgment, sorry if that offends some of you but its true. He is going to judge according to the relationship we have with Him in our lifetime. 🙂

    • Meeting God in the heart! That’s so true! Thanks Ian for sharing your thoughts on this. Lots of powerful food for thought! Hugs and love xox

    • Awwww Tonya thank you so much 🙂 all I’ll say is that it takes one to know one! Haha so glad you stopped by!! Hope you’re having a great evening! Big hugs xox

    • Thank you so much!! Yes! Me too – i was grateful for that encounter that evening. God is good. And yes! May we ever be in awe!! Hugs and love xox

    • Yes! He chooses us! What a beautiful truth. Thanks so much Kim for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  10. I believe that you are supposed relay that message – a message of hope, of love – no matter where we are in life, God is there to meet us.

    • Hope and love – such important messages. Thank you so much for your kind words! Yes He is! Hugs and love xox

  11. This blog post is simply beautiful! I love the seemingly randomness to your ending up in this church at this particular time. It’s so cool the way God reaches out to us!

    • Aww thank you Pam! I’m so glad you thought so! Isn’t it so incredible the way God Kong’s to comedy with us!? He does what He has to do!! Hugs and love xox

  12. God’s love for us is beyond putting into words–which is why I’m glad He put it into words for us. It is a beautiful testament of His love to see the Christ child in the manger and then Him hanging on the cross later on. All of it, as you said, because He chose us.
    Great post!

    • Thank you so much CD! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Amen – because He chose us. It is a humbling truth. And a beautiful testament of His love indeed. Hugs and love xox

  13. A beautiful truth that He chose us…even more, He promises to stay with us and never leave us! Thank you for the reminder!

  14. Oh, I love this!
    I love how God draws us to a certain place at a certain time, just so He can reveal to us (again) how much He loves us.
    He is so good! … Even when we are so far from good… Praise the Lord!

  15. AMEN, sister. Thank God he takes us and grows us where we are. One day, he will completely perfect us, but for now, he walks with us patiently, day by day.

    • Thank you so much!! Amen to that – He walks with us patiently, and what a blessing that is! Hugs and love xox

  16. Great true-life story of how God will put you where He wants you to be and He does it without you even being aware of what He’s doing. When you put Him in charge of your life miraculous things will happen from time to time that remind you of how much He loves you.

    • Thanks so much Rollie! Yes! Right where I was supposed to be! Thanks for the encouragement! Hugs and love xox

  17. Ah, for some reason this post brought back memories of my days as a Catholic altar boy at the nearby Air Force base. I even entertained my mom’s idea that I might become a priest, until I found out about beer and smoking and dating pretty women as well as hanging out with musicians and groupies in a local band. To top it off, mom and dad were actually my Sunday School teachers. What a joy that was each week.I am feeling wistful and melancholy and nostalgic I suppose, as it is a rainy Friday here in coastal Virginia.

    • Yeah priests definitely sacrifice a lot to serve. Fortunately they’re allowed to have beer!! 🙂 but you’re right. Thanks for sharing your heart. Hugs and love xox

  18. The Holy Spirit to touch you at your very core and give you an epiphany to fact that I remind myself all the time about why I choose to be a Christian.

    Christianity was never mean’t to be a religion. We can thank the Catholic, Orthodox and every other denomination church for that. Over time the church leaders sought to add to the word of God as they saw fit, with rituals, etc. – carried over from other faiths.

    Religion is man’s quest to find God. Christianity is God’s quest to reunite with Man. He came down. No… He didn’t send a messenger like the Islam would claim. God came down Himself – lived among us, talked with us, showed us the path to righteousness and made the ultimate sacrifice to save mankind.

    You’re right Care.. He loved you and chose you, flaws and all. You know why? Because you’re unique.
    A diamond isn’t valued based on how shiny it is. It’s valued based on its flaws. In many ways what makes a stone perfect are its imperfections.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Yeah – He lived among us – how absolutely incredible is that. Thanks for such kind words 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  19. Great post as always. Totally unrelated: I just penned a children’s book about body image and sent it to a publisher. Praying they like it!

    You mentioned the still small voice of God. The other evening one of my sons was driving home from a young singles Bible study when he sensed God telling him to slow down and turn his brights on.

    He immediately obeyed, and it was a good thing too. 50 yards in front of him he could now see (and avoid!) a group of eight whitetail deer standing in the middle of the road!


    • Thank you so much Patrick! Oh my gosh that’s amazing! Congrats on the book! Such an important topic matter!! Oh wow what an incredible story!!!! Praise God he turned on the brights! Wow. Good is good. Hugs and love xox

  20. You have beautiful smile! Your post offer so much, experience, emotion, and fun. I just want to mention that it has always been a dream to move to New York. I went there twice during Christmas season. The city is so alive. I guess I am tourist. It is interesting to read your experience of livng in New York. It makes me laugh at the same time. 😀 What a big box full with goodies! 😀

    • Thank you Kitti! Oh my gosh what a kind thing to say! You’re right! It really is so alive! And full of goodies for sure! Haha Hugs and love xox

  21. It is amazing that HE is the peace in the chaos. Thank you for sharing. After reading the first part, it sounds like DC. I have seen it for many years. Thank YOU for being a light.

  22. First off, I love NY and can’t wait to visit soon! Secondly, what a beautiful post you’ve posted today! I love Hillsong—their music moves me to tears every time. I’m so proud that you received such revelation that day.

  23. Thank you for sharing your experience of the Holy Spirit’s gift to you at this Christmas time! He did indeed choose you! and everyone of us flawed humans as you say – just exactly as we are and where we are at in our mess.

    • Oh my goodness, what a beautiful thought! thank you so much for the kind words! hope you have a beautiful evening! hugs xox

  24. You wrote “Nor am I shocked by the ballsy pigeons that will steal food right from your hands.” I’d to laugh for that is so true. They’re ballsiest pigeons I ever met. No, you won’t last long in NYC if anything shocks you.

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