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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