What Happens When Love Shows Up?

Wherever Kellie Haddock goes she is waking us up to greater intimacy with our Maker. She is no stranger to suffering both in her own life and in stepping into the brokenness of the world around us. As a songwriter and peacemaker she lives on mission to bring hope wherever she goes, whether it’s in conflict zones or sharing songs in someone’s living room. Her words and music inspire us, propelling us further up and further in like spotlights illuminating the path ahead. It’s an absolute gift to welcome Kellie to the farm’s front porch today…

guest post by Kellie Haddock

“The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.”

It’s midnight. I’m walking through the dark streets of Iraq with my best friend.

We enter the sterile hospital passing a man in the hall crying for his son. We enter the crowded Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (where only women are allowed), and hold Sozan’s hands tightly as she updates us through fear filled tears on her baby Aram’s fragile condition.

As the night passes the baby slips out of consciousness. Jessica looks at me and says, “I think you need to sing to him.” So I put my face right next to his and gently sing over and over:

“The Lord has promised good to me. His word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.”

As the hours passed by I wept for this boy.

I grieved my own story too.

Ten years earlier my husband, our baby boy and I were in a tragic car accident.

My husband was killed instantly.

My baby and I were life-flighted to the hospital where I watched him flatline in the PICU.

My biggest hopes melted into my greatest fears.

Our son is still walking his road of recovery, and though I’ve remarried, I still walk the long road of learning to grieve in a healthy way.

This requires showing up to life even when it’s not convenient.

O ye beneath life’s crushing load, whose forms are bending low, who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow.”

Grieving in a healthy way means making NO EMOTION off limits.

Grief shows no partiality.

Grief doesn’t respect time or busyness.

Grief demands our hearts.

It’s ironic how death somehow illuminates the preciousness of life, and makes me want to be more alive.

Through its lens it’s easier to see the gift we’ve been given to be alive today – to love well today – to really see those around us…to do whatever we can to be peacemakers and hope bringers… to make this world a better place as long as we have breath for today.

So I embrace the grief, however it looks, grieving the significant and the simple losses and disappointments all along the way.

“The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.”

 After nearly a week in the PICU Aram made a full recovery and is now thriving.

“Weary world, rejoice tonight. Love has come, spread its light.”

Love comes in a myriad of ways. Sometimes it doesn’t look like we expect.

No one expected Love to come as a baby in Bethlehem. Bethlehem, a place of holy birth and a place considered by some as ‘the wrong side of the tracks’.

Love showed up in a culture swirling with chaos, fear and danger. Love Incarnate, Jesus, the son of God entered this weary world, sharing in our suffering to bring hope and healing to all the broken places.

“O Come though day-spring, come and cheer our spirits by Thine advent here. Disperse the gloomy clouds of night and death’s dark shadows put to flight.”

Emmanuel. God with us. It’s more than good sentiment and miraculous spectacle at Christmas.

It’s also an invitation to participate with Christ‘s coming and dwelling among us, when we as image bearers reflect His heart of love for an aching world.

“Awake thy long and dreamless sleep. Bring peace to men on earth.”

So we are invited to wake up to the realities both within our own hearts and also to the things that make this world weary.

We each can illuminate the way of hope as we shine the light and love of Christ.

This is the way of love.

This is the gospel of peace.

“Truly He taught us to love one another. His law is love and His gospel is peace.”

I’ve found myself on an unexpected journey of going into unexpected places where there is suffering.

When we show up as image bearers of this Love Incarnate Christ, hope cannot be held at bay.

Like a tsunami, hope floods in.

There is power in showing up. Relationship in proximity breaks down walls.

“O come desire of nations, bind all peoples in one heart and mind. Bid envy strife and quarrels cease. Fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.”

I’ve spent time in the war-torn Holy Land pursuing peace through listening: sharing meals with Palestinian Muslim families, walking on farms with Israelis, grieving with parents who’ve lost children in the conflict and sharing Shabbat dinner with a Holocaust survivor.

Though each story was unique there was a common thread of hope and fear. There was no us and them, only us.

Their bravery inspires me, but what if I told you that they were ordinary? What if I told you that you and I are ordinary? What if I told you that Moses, Mary, David and all our biblical heroes (except Jesus) were ordinary?

We are all just ordinary people.

But we have an extraordinary God who invites us to do extraordinary things.

And He wants to do extraordinary things through you. He wants to bring peace on earth through you.

People sometimes think of religion as a set of rules that constrain.

I see faith as a set of invitations that excite.

“Then peeled the bells more loud and deep. God is not dead nor doth He sleep. The wrong shall fail, the truth prevail with peace on earth, good will to men.”

Are you weary today? Are you weary from hoping? Weary from hurting?

“He knows your need, your weakness is no stranger.”

Are you longing for more peace?

Step into the invitation to be a peacemaker.

Choose the path of peace.

Choose to love anyway.

“And with true love and brotherhood each other now embrace this holy tide of Christmas filled with love and grace.”

No matter how dim the way ahead, how winding the path, Christ Emmanuel will walk with you.

He will always give you enough light for the step you are on.

“Through thy dark streets shineth an everlasting light. The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.”

This is the great invitation of Christmas.

 

Kellie Haddock is a singer, songwriter, wife and mom. As a former widow, she’s lived through tragedy and found new hope and joy on the other side. Her music draws from real-life stories of beauty, heartache, hope and the celebration of life.

The Thank You Project, a short film featuring Kellie’s story of gratitude after tragedy, has attracted more than 150 million views and has been featured on The TODAY ShowThe Huffington Post, and Cosmopolitan among other national and international media outlets. Kellie has performed in Iraq, Israel, China and across the US, offering music that engages the soul in all of its beauty and vulnerability.

Her newest album Peace on Earth offers a set of socially conscious Christmas songs speaking straight to the heart of today’s struggles. Kellie’s music is infused with hope and longing for healing in the broken places and in every heart that hears it. Featuring John Arndt of The Brilliance, inspired by her time in Iraq and in the Holy Land, Peace On Earth combines nine traditional carols and three original Christmas songs waiting for you to sing along!

[ Our humble thanks to Kellie Haddock Music for their partnership in today’s devotion ]