From a Manger to a Cross

fullsizeoutput_e.jpegI apologize to anyone who read my post last year…or other similar ones, but things lay heavy on me and what else am I to do?  I feel there is more depth this year than last and am wondering next year if it is possible to transcend further into whatever it is you’d call it that I feel post-Christmas.

Life starts shifting back to normal. My kids are exhausted. My house is a disaster.  I’m exhausted as well.  I’m a bit of an introvert.  I absolutely love people, I love to be around people. I also need and crave calm and quiet at times.  I need both.  I need time to reflect and get lost in my own mind. When there are many things I need to get done, like before Christmas, it sucks my energy.  I become a bit recluse trying to do what needs to be done.  Plus, this year I was sick and couldn’t rest trying to get it all done. I feel like I need to buy a t-shirt that says, “Sorry, I really do like you, but I’m peopled out.”

I am looking at the heaps of gifts scattered throughout our house and tell myself I’ll organize it later.  I feel grateful for my family and for my husband’s family.  We both have pretty low drama and intact families, at least compared to the norm.  My kids are shown love and it is almost too normal for them to have the best of everything. I do my best to show them how blessed they are for all these things. We give back and I allow the boys to to be a part of choosing where and how we do so.

Obviously, I want to have my good life. Who wouldn’t?  I feel blessed and I thank God for all we have.  But, I feel a pulling inside me that just keeps growing.  When did it start?  I think it has always been there my entire life. It is just that sometimes I feel it to the point it physically hurts. I see what I have and I see what others don’t have and it makes me sad. The older I get the more I see and feel it.

Lately, I don’t think it is enough to just recognize it.  It isn’t enough to donate clothes and old toys.  It isn’t enough to donate money, goats, and so on to the poor.  It just doesn’t feel like I’m dong enough.  No, I’m not going to give up all we have to go wander the streets with my family to make myself feel better.  I truly don’t know what I feel like I should be doing.  I’m in this praying, waiting, praying stage.  I’m practicing what I preach to others.  Give it to God and wait on His answer.

I sit here staring out my window and reflect on the life of Jesus. It began in manger, a feeding trough. It ended on a cross, Him literally nailed to it. Everything in between the two was not a life fit for a king. Yet He is the King of Kings. Through the world’s eyes, no one would ask for such a life. He was not rich or powerful. He lived a life full of sacrifice. I think about sin and how we easily can sin on a daily basis. There are sins we fight daily and it takes great sacrifice not to succumb to at times. Think of all the sacrifices He made to live a sinless life. We know He was tempted. Yet He chose a path we could never.  We are too weak to live a life such as His.

We rely on grace and many times take it for granted.  We chew on the bread and sip the wine.  We know what a blessing and gift it is to partake in. Yet most times, at least to a certain extent, Monday morning comes around and we fall right back into worldly thinking.  We may read the Word and try to teach our kids the best we can. We send our prayers.  We serve in the church. But, we don’t love our neighbors as we should and we surely don’t spread the gospel as we should.  We don’t step out of our comfort to live the life God is calling us to.

The crazy part is God loves us despite all of this!  

We know this because He sent His son to live a life we could never live and to die a horrible death to save us from ourselves. We are saved because of our King who began His life in a manger and ended it on a cross. He lived that life and here I am living my easy peasy one…and it doesn’t quite seem right.

Reflections and the Gift of Christ

It was a Saturday and the kids at church were practicing their parts for the Christmas program.  I watched as they became more comfortable.  I watched my own son speak his words and I felt the Spirit working in my church.  The following day was the program and it was beautiful. I wasn’t much in the Christmas spirit but those kids gave it to me.  The joy I felt…the joy I feel anytime I am helping with the kids is indescribable.

In a sense, I usually feel more myself around kids than I do most adults.  Even through the chaos, I love it.  Now being a stay at home mom, I was able to teach during Vacation Bible School this year (by far, it was the best week of my year).  Actually, when I look back through my year, my best memories involve kids…and church.  2015 has been a great year full of blessings.  I didn’t think it was going to be.

A year ago today my grandma passed away.  I thank God for carrying me through it.  I thank Him for urging me to go to His word for strength.  I picked up my bible and ended up (without intending to) reading all of it in about seven months. Now, it is a daily habit I intend to keep.

Today will not be an easy day for me and my family as some will mourn all over for my grandma.  Three days before Christmas is not an ideal time to lose a loved one.  But then, she will forever be the most godly woman I have ever known.  So I guess every year, three days before Christmas, I will always be reminded of her and her love for Christ.

As I do all the last minute things to get ready for Christmas and feel the urge to get stressed, I will think of the Christmas program…I will think of my grandma…I will think of the greatest gift of all–Christ.

A Boy and his Christmas

I had to look away. I fought the tears as much as I could, took a deep breath, and continued to eat my dinner.  I looked across the table again.  Oliver’s sweet face and his deep laughter…the thought of his perfect, untainted life made me turn my head once again.  Every time I looked at him all I could see was another little blond haired boy who lives in our area.  A boy who was recently put on hospice.

I have never laid eyes on this family.  Still, I am a wreck every time I think of him and what this family is going through. There’s a Facebook page for the community. Yesterday they posted a picture of him making Christmas cookies.  It was their Christmas Eve.  This morning a video was posted of him waking up asking to open his presents-because it is their Christmas.  What else can I say?  I can’t stop crying over it.

I know my mind will be on this boy and his family as I prepare for our Christmas season.  All we take for granted in life and all we complain about will tighten a knot in my stomach.  The thought of this little boy dying breaks my heart.  But then thought of the strong faith that this family has held onto strengthens my own faith.  I don’t know them…but what I have seen and heard makes me know they are a beautiful family.  A beautiful family in need of prayers.

Pray for them.