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Advent 2017: Re-Thinking My Lists

Click here for a printable PDF of this post that includes a devotional journal page.

Lists. I love lists! There's a certain satisfaction from seeing things get checked off a to-do list or even organizing things to compare. Even Santa is a fan with his Naughty or Nice lists. A lot of people I know are list-minded, as well.

The other morning, after another hectic night at work, I returned the call of a dear friend of mine. She sounded so HAPPY, energetic and cheerful. She was putting off good vibes and it was contagious, even through the phone line.

She had explained that recently she wrote a letter to herself as a child. In this letter she explained that things weren't going to be easy in her near future, bad choices were going to be made, but it was all going to be


My forgiveness lists weren't looking too shabby, except, of course, when it came to myself.


okay. Then the most powerful thing came out of her mouth. She said, "... and I forgive you for what's happening."

My sweet friend rocked my world with THAT! I mean, come on, self forgiveness? She went on to explain that she had a list of people and things she had recently forgiven. The cheer, joy and lightness radiated into every fiber of everything she spoke.

In my own moment of self-reflection, I checked my lists. My forgiveness lists weren't looking too shabby ... EXCEPT, of course, when it came to myself. I have a tendency to check and double check things; mentally running through "did I do this, that, and that?" making sure everything is checked off my list. Conveniently, I hadn't made it onto my own list of forgiveness.


My friend also mentioned something else striking. When talking about an extremely painful event in her life, she said, "God, I forgive you." Sometimes we as humans hold that grudge against God when we are hurting or when we go through something terrible. We both discussed the goodness of our Father and how He makes good from bad situations, EVEN when we aren't aware of His plans. Then, He loves us in a way we cannot even comprehend!

His forgiveness list is HUGE, bigger than we could imagine: debts, upon debts, even into the future—"unknown" debts!!! That whole list was checked off with Jesus! This season is leading up to our celebration of Jesus' birth. His birth is miraculous, but it's just the beginning. The best part came with the ending.

This season, I needed to rewrite some of my lists. Maybe consider some forgiveness I had been withholding. Maybe accept some forgiveness I had already been afforded when the man, who had humble beginnings in a manger, died on a cross for me ... and for you too!

Ashley Schulz is a night-shift nurse who works with America’s heroes at the Veterans Administration Hospital. She is married to Brandon and is the proud mom to Josie and Rayland.

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