My mother-in-law made me this fantastic coat. It’s full of colors and patterns and it’s quite unique and very thoughtful. It’s a one-of-a-kind creation just for me. It’s awesome.
The biblical Joseph got a special coat from his father. Much like mine, it was made especially for him. It was a reminder that God had a special future for him. The coat spoke of his potential before he stepped into it. His brothers ripped his jacket from him, and did their best to strip him of all he was to become, but they couldn’t stop God from fulfilling all that He had promised and planned. They tried to destroy Joseph’s inheritance but actually helped fulfill it. God used the brothers’ efforts to destroy Joseph in order to bring him into the fullness of everything He meant for him to become. It took time but eventually Joseph became all the things his coat promised he would be.
I don’t know if my mother-in-law realizes it, but the coat she made me speaks. It speaks of what I am to be: a unique, awesome, one-of-a-kind creation. When I wear it God whispers to me. He says, “I have special plans for you. Just be who you are. Walk with Me in confidence. You will step into all I’ve promised you.”
I don’t feel comfortable in my coat yet. It needs to be broken in. The wearings and washings will make it soft and pliable. Attempts have already been made to strip it from me before I’m comfortable in it. I’ve been teased for wearing it. The coat felt awkward and wrong on me as I was teased. I kept on wearing it, though. I knew that one day I’d put it on and it would feel just right. No one will have a chance of teasing it off of me when that day comes. I’ll understand all the things my coat calls me to be, and I’ll see that I am stepping into its promises. No one, and nothing, can stop that day from arriving. God will be sure of that.
I have a dream about my Joseph coat. In the dream some words are spoken to me: to be shut forever. The words are encouraging words. They make me feel like there might actually be a way to shut the door on the bad things in my life. In my dream I see myself emerging from a dark, underground crypt that has stairs and a door leading to brilliant light on the outside. The walls of the tomb are thick, dank and heavy. When I open the door to the light the door moans and creaks. I have to push hard, and lean in with all my body weight, to find my way out to the light on the other side. When I step out from the darkness I notice that I’ve been wearing my colorful coat all along; it’s just been too dark for me to know it. My eyes squint in the light. They’ve been in the dark for so long it takes a while for them to adjust. I step out fully into the freedom of the open air around me. I raise my hands to God and celebrate my escape from below. I live in the light now. Angels soar around me singing, “To be shut forever. What has been is finished. Come dance in the light, Alisa. Your days of darkness have ended. Come celebrate. Come celebrate the light.” As I hear the angels’ words I notice that my coat of many colors, for the very first time, fits just right.
I know my dream is a promise. Against the reality of what seems to be stands the promise of my dream. One day I will step out of the place I now find myself and into a new place that is full of wonder and joy. I will step into the place that God meant for me all along.
I tell Jesus about my deepest fears, regrets, confusion, sadness, humiliation and frustration and I do my best to surrender it all. I don’t expect a “magic genie” answer. I just talk to Him because I know He’ll listen and answer me in His way. More and more, His gentle way of offering me and others grace is becoming enough for me.
Jesus gave grace. Jesus never stopped loving the people who missed who He was and what He was all about. He protected those who murdered Him. He went so far as to make a way to Heaven for his executioners. He celebrated with people who were miles from perfect. He celebrated with tax collectors, law breakers, adulterous women and other evildoers like me. He sacrificed for people who couldn’t even sacrifice a night’s sleep before His crucifixion. He loved without expecting anything in return. He loved those who hated Him, gave Him nothing and gave Him very little.
I love who I am today. It’s the miracle of unconditional love for others that I’m now after. I don’t want to feel squashed and angered by the fingers that accuse and belittle me. Instead, I want to be secure in how Jesus sees me. I want to talk to Jesus and ask Him how I can learn to love others. I want to ask Him how I can better see how He loves me. I have a way to ask Him these things, so I ask:
How did you do it? How did you love all those people who mocked You and hurt You? (I didn’t place My trust in people. My trust was in My Father in Heaven.) How is it that You didn’t get wounded? (I felt all the pain you feel when someone hurts you. I loved them anyway. I didn’t expect people to be perfect. I didn’t expect that they wouldn’t hurt Me. I just loved them. Do you think you could learn to love like that?) I will have to trust that you will help me. It’s so hard for me to love the hurting people who hurt me. (If you want peace, Alisa, you will have to empty yourself of the need to have others be what you trust in. You will also have to accept the emptiness that comes with knowing that I am the only thing you can trust. Do you think it was easy to love on that cross?) No way. (It won’t be easy for you to love those who persecute you either.) Love like that seems so impossible. (You must work to relinquish your pride and place your trust in Me. As you open yourself to Me in spite of the pain, sin and unfairness of this world you will learn to “let go.” People, like you, are clinging to the hope that the world has something to offer their deepest needs. I am their deepest need. Do you see that I am your deepest need, Alisa?) Right now I do, but I forget and get caught up in trying to get my needs met elsewhere. Maybe, deep down inside, I just don’t want You enough? (Your desire for relationship with Me is insatiable. That’s why your deepest needs won’t get met in the world, Alisa: not in your family, in your kids, or even in your own husband. When you stop expecting your needs to be met on this earth, you will love freely. Meanwhile, you and I will dance this bittersweet dance: you choosing to move away from Me empty, and Me drawing you back full. There is pain in the dance. It’s the pain of knowing you can’t have your deepest needs fully met on this earth mixed with the sweetness of My love for you. Are you willing to dance with Me, Alisa?) I deeply desire to. (I will dance with you. You will dance with your Father who loves you perfectly. I will let you move away and feel the emptiness apart from Me until the force of your desire drives you back to Me.) I’m afraid of how much it will hurt when people don’t love me back. (You can’t find an answer to your emptiness in this world. You must bring your fear and emptiness to My feet. Then I can bring you peace and make you full. I will also use you to help others find fullness. I will help you as you journey and I will bring you closer and closer to the day when you will love perfectly and your peace will be complete. All of it will be done in Me.) I look forward to that day. (I do, as well.)
Secure in Your love,
There’s so much to live for. I have blessings and I have a chance at enjoying them. I sleep at night with the rest of the world. I feel fantastic. I’m not just a person who feels good, though. I’m a person who’s got a shot at cashing in her anger and bitterness for some love. I’ve got a shot at loving more every day. I’ll do my best to give back something different than what others have given me. I’m going to do my best to give them something good like love, grace or patience. I believe Jesus is going to help me give others these good things. He told me He would and I trust Him.
I trust Him. Today, that’s the story I have to share. It’s not a story of miraculous healing, a perfect ending or a quick-fix solution. It’s the story of an up and down life walked alongside a God who can be trusted. Some people aren’t ready to hear my story. They aren’t ready to face the realities of living in this broken world because they haven’t been broken yet. I’ve been broken. That’s why I have a broken story to share. The people who are ready to hear my story often listen and respond. They give me the comfort of the realities of their own broken life and how it has also been touched by God. Sharing like this is one of the greatest encouragements this life has to offer. With God, every broken life is a powerful story to be shared.
This selection is taken from Testimonies: The Power of Inspirational Christian Stories
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