by: Stephanie Martinez
There’s much to my story, and I’m sure if we were to sit down and chat, we’d spend many hours together, laughing, crying and pointing each other forward.
Before I go on, that is the word I want to focus on: FORWARD, with eyes on Christ.
I grew up as a Pastor’s kid in Greater LA, bullied by other little girls because of it. I’ve faced losing two of my best friends to suicide at 14 years old and another to a murder at 18 just before Christmas. I’ve experienced life in leadership within a very large church, been hurt in the work of ministry too and forgave them (because people are real and they sometimes hurt each other). I’ve had to experience the divorce of my parents in the fall 2010, hated and forgave my mother, and let go of a meaningful person in my life. I am literally shocked that I’ve made it this far, friends. I’ve stayed the course all because of Grace.
“His love endures forever” says, Psalm 136. I’ve been meditating on this over the last few months. To think that God finds me so worth His love is literally one that leaves me awestruck. In the midst of every painful season, most surrounding Christmas time, I can only tell you this: His love endures forever. Enduring isn’t easy, but God did it for me and for you. He sent His son to the earth that we would have an answer to the broken pieces in our lives: Jesus.
Though I mentioned some of the hardest points in my life, I can only say that it is because of the love of God I have every reason to live life with a zeal that is unexplainable. In my greatest moments of pain, the love of our Lord met me there and passion filled my bones. God showed me his love and kindness, bringing peace to my weathered soul, and leading me into His rest. I was able to meet many on the journey and show people that He is greater, and despite everything going on, He is good.
I don’t know what this season holds for your memory. You might lean toward great thoughts or thoughts that may bring a sense of sadness. There is good news to reflect on, friends– Peace has come, regardless of what is happening, we have him. Maybe we can lean into Christmas shouting, “His love endures forever”. It is the truth that lies before us.
My story isn’t finished, but my testimony of His love is ever-growing. Revelation 12:11 says, “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony”. And guess what? It’s true. Keep moving forward and sharing the good news of what it means to have Jesus, friends. I will too.