The God Connection

God isn’t just my father. Jesus Christ isn’t just my brother. They are my best friends. They know the good I’ve done and the not so good. They know how much I beat myself up for my mistakes and how much I crave to feel loved and like I belong. They see it all and they love it all. They have held me on broken nights when all I wanted was to die so I could be with them again. They have shown me they loved me, but that they want me to stay in this world until my time is done.

People usually struggle with faith. They struggle with doubts that God is really real and if he really is there for them and loves them. I struggle with the opposite. I struggle with knowing how much God loves me. I struggle with feeling a connection to him so strong that I constantly want to die. I struggle with wanting to be with him so much that this world seems to lose all color and beauty because I forget to see him in it. I don’t struggle to know God exists. He has been the most real thing in my life. Night after lonely night, I would pray to a God I not only knew was listening, but I knew loved me. God has always been and will always be my best friend.

Sometimes I ask God how much longer. I ask him how much more I will need to endure. This world holds no beauty for me without God in it. If I didn’t see God in the world around me, if I didn’t see him in the people who love me, I don’t know if I would ever feel light or at home. I feel at home when I feel God’s presence surrounding me, when I feel his love through other people. I see beauty in the world around me because I see God in it. I see his hand, his love, his creativity.

I know God. I know God so well that I want to die to be with him. I talk to him like I would talk to my best friend. I tell him how I feel and how sad I am and how grateful I am and how happy I am. I tell him about my friends and my worries for them and my love for them. I tell him how much I miss him and how hard, yet beautiful life is. I talk with God and I sing to God and sometimes when I lie in bed, he feels so close that I’m pretty sure he holds me so I can fall asleep.

Maybe this all seems strange. This relationship to someone or something you can’t see doesn’t make sense to you. But this world doesn’t make sense to me. This love people have for money or power, the way people can hurt others, the things people say and do to each other, doesn’t make sense to me. God makes sense. We don’t feel pain because he’s not there. We feel pain because he’s not here, because we’re not there. This world is broken. It’s flawed and imperfect. God is the only one that can change that. He’s the only one that can make it right. I hold onto him. I cling to him. I love him. I know he holds me when I’m hurt and cries with me when I break and loves me at all times.

I don’t know what it’s like to struggle to have faith in God because God is the only thing that has felt stable in my life. But I do know what it’s like to struggle. I struggle to have faith in this world. I struggle to have faith that things will get better. I struggle to believe that people love me, that I do good things, that I have worth in this world. I struggle to fit into a world where I feel like I can never belong.

Maybe you struggle to believe in God, maybe he seems far away and distant, maybe his love seems difficult or out of reach, but I want you to know that he loves you as much as he loves me. I may feel him more because I have an undeniable connection to him, but I know he loves you too. Believe in God. Hold on to hope. He is there. He does love you. “Things will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, it’s not the end.”

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A Little Christmas

This year we had the biggest Christmas I have ever had in my entire life. Well, biggest in terms of presents. We had a ton of presents this year. So many presents in fact that we were tired of opening presents by the time we had gotten to the end. We have never had a Christmas like this before. And to be honest, I hope we never do again.

I have decided that I like a little Christmas. Just a few presents and some genuine quality time. I’d rather have one gift that I can cherish and appreciate than 10 gifts that I won’t remember a year from now.¬†Don’t get me wrong, I love gifts and I love giving gifts, but gifts mean more when there are less of them.

In my family, we have always opened our gifts one by one. Each person gets to see what each¬†other person is opening and we get excited for the presents that we give and that others have given. It’s never been about the presents. It’s been about us. And I really missed that this year.

I miss getting excited when I see what other people have received, being happy for them because I know it is something they will enjoy. I miss each gift being unwrapped carefully because we treasure the time and thought that went into it. But mostly I miss the feeling I have when my family comes together to celebrate each other.

Yes, we celebrate the birth of our Savior at Christmas. But by giving each other carefully planned and picked out gifts, we celebrate our brothers and sisters. And I think that’s how Christ would want it to be.

I think if Christ were at our Christmas celebration, He would give us a carefully wrapped gift that reminded Him of us. He wouldn’t flood us with presents or try to get us the most expensive thing he could afford. He would give us something we hadn’t even realized we wanted that would remind us that He loves us and knows us and was thinking about us.

So next year, I’m committing to one gift and only one gift. It may be multiple items that tie into one, but it will be something that I’ve planned and picked out because I love who I am giving it to. And I will wrap that gift carefully and unwrap my gifts carefully because it will be our hearts wrapped in shiny paper to share with each other for that sacred day.

Christmas

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. I’ve never really cared much about getting presents, but I love the feeling of Christmas. I love all the lights and that people are usually happier and more giving. The thing I love most about Christmas is that it gives me hope.

I love the lights because they bring light to the darkness, I love the spirit of Christmas because it shows that peoples’ hearts are still good. And I love that people turn to Christ because it helps us remember that the best gifts are the ones of love.

This year I am very excited about Christmas mostly because I feel like I have awesome presents for people and I can’t wait to see how they like them. I love that we get a rush from giving presents that we think people will like. I wonder if heaven had that kind of rush when Christ was born. Maybe that’s why angels went to the shepherds to declare “glad tidings of great joy”. They couldn’t and didn’t want to hold their excitement in that Christ, the Savior of the world, was born.

I can’t imagine how excited I would be that the Savior was born. I don’t talk about religion very much on this blog, but Jesus is a very big part of my life. I don’t think that I could have made it through life with autism if it wasn’t for God. I don’t think autism is a horrible thing and I wouldn’t change that I have it, but it is hard.

I’ve spent many lonely nights crying myself to sleep because I just wanted to be like everyone else. I just wanted to be able to make friends or say hi to someone or let people know how I felt about things. And the only thing that kept me going through all of that was that I had a God that was listening and that understood. I know not everyone believes in God, but I hope that this Christmas season gives you hope like my faith has given me.