She loves and laughs well. We love her, and we think you will love her, too! Please welcome Tammy Chapman as our guest to FACETS of Faith this month. And please—share, share, share this beautiful post with everyone you know.
“To someone beautiful and far away,” that’s how it all began.
Ake Viking, a lonely Swedish sailor longing for love, put his heart on paper, wrapped it in a bottle, and tossed it into the sea. Remarkably, two years later, the young Paulina found Ake’s bottle on the shores of Sicily and decided to respond.
Paulina could have read Ake’s words and laughed, thinking them silly. She could have assumed too much stood between them for anything meaningful to come of it… after all, Ake was in Sweden, she, in Italy. They didn’t even speak the same language, and two years had passed since he had written those words. Surely, he had found the love he was looking for. Or she could have just remained enamored with her discovery and placed the little bottle and its sweet sentiment on her dresser for decoration. It would be a neat story to tell.
But Paulina did none of these.
When Paulina found that bottle and discovered the message inside, she read those words personally.
They were written to her.
They were meant for her.
Letters were exchanged, a new language was learned, Ake undertook a 2200-mile move, and the two became husband and wife.
The rest is history.
Wouldn’t it be fun to find a message in a bottle that was sent for you?
At its heart, isn’t that the very story of Christmas?
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NIV)
God has a message that He wants you to hear, and He sent His Son to deliver it to you personally.
You, beautiful one, are beloved. And not just by some really nice person who enjoys your company. And not just by your family who sort of have to love you. You are loved by the living God. The One who created you. The One who wanted you here to begin with. the One who has given everything to demonstrate that He. Really. Loves. You.
I was 14. I didn’t grow up in church but always believed in God. So when my friend’s family invited me to church, of course I said yes. As I sat in the service, although I am sure I had heard the words before, for the first time, I realized God was speaking them to me.
“Tammy, I sent my Son to earth for you. He came for you. Was born for you. Lived for you. And died for you. He rose from the dead for you. In Jesus, you will find what your heart longs for above all else. Perfect, unfailing, unrelenting love. A relationship that will never end.”
My mom had had a hard life, and in her desire to give me a better one, she left me to be raised by my grandmother. There’s more to it than that, but I couldn’t understand any of it at the time. So growing up, I felt like something must have been wrong with me. I felt rejected. More than that, I felt rejectable – deserving of being rejected and worthy of nothing more. That day in church, I found out otherwise. And it changed my life. I was wanted.
That night, as I sat on my bed, I told Jesus I wanted to be part of His family and that if He saw anything worth saving in me, my answer was yes. That was 35 years ago. Now my life is devoted to helping others get to know Jesus. To helping them discover the truth about their worth.
Precious child, do you know how valuable you are?
Do you know how loved you are?
Do you know in the deepest part of your being that you were created because you were wanted?
Cherished one, whatever damage this world has done to you, King Jesus stands ready to heal your heart and make you whole. So when you see images of Him lying in the manger, turn your heart to Him directly and ask what His message is for you. Whatever He says, take it personally. I’m pretty sure it will include something like this:
“To someone beautiful and far away,
Father God so loved the world that He asked me if I would come. I saw you and said yes. So don’t be afraid. Whatever you think would make me turn away from you, I have taken care of it. All of it. It is finished. Nothing can separate you from my love. So come to me. I will give you new hope, new purpose and new life.”
Beloved, these words have been written to you.
They are meant for you.
Won’t you open the bottle? Soak in the words and say yes to Jesus.