Tag Archives: love

Don’t Miss It

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Don’t Miss It

Admittedly, Christmas is my favorite time of the year. I love everything about it: family, love, food, friends, but more than that, I cherish the reason for the season: Jesus’ birth. For if He were not born, there would be no death and resurrection to save us from our sins, offering grace and pardon to live eternally with Him. Our hope is found in the birth of Jesus! We have reason to celebrate and to share the hope we have in Christ.

Somehow, some way, every year without fail it seems that the reason for our celebrating is left in the dust. Our focus turns to stuff and what we can buy to give, or to receive for ourselves. We are scurrying around to every child’s event at school, church, and the like not to mention the office parties and gatherings among friends. We find ourselves stressed out, broke, and even depressed. Then, there’s the sickness that naturally occurs as the weather cools down and germs begin to spread. We find ourselves sleeping less and going til we can’t go anymore.

I find it hard to believe that this is what Christmas was meant to be about. Why is it that we wait until December to show love for our friends and family? Why is it that we feel that gifts given somehow equate to how much we love someone? Why do we continually spend money we don’t have in fear of being perceived a grinch?

As I continue to age, I find myself tremendously scaling back. Cutting back on activities, some of which I’d rather enjoy partaking in; however, I’ve learned my limits. To me, Christmas is time invested with family and friends, quiet moments by the fireplace, sharing yummy simple food, listening to beautiful Christmas carols and hymns, finding peace amidst the chaos, simplified giving, and self-care. As much as I love sending and receiving Christmas cards, I find myself cutting back on the expense of them. We erroneously allow money and the giving of gifts to be the focus of our Christmas when we already have the best gift we could ever receive: Jesus.

When I allow my mind to wander back to Christmases past, what I have fond memories of is time spent with both sets of grandparents and extended family, traditions of baking family favorite treats (even the dreaded fruitcake!), Christmas Eve candlelight services at our church, luminaries throughout our neighborhood, finding and cutting our Christmas tree, homemade hot cocoa, roasting marshmallows and making s’mores, singing favorite Christmas songs, Christmas caroling throughout the neighborhood, unwrapping one gift on Christmas Eve, reading the Christmas story from our family Bible, opening treasured engraved ornaments from family friends, trading Christmas cards from friends and family near and far.

Pinterest and facebook didn’t exist in my treasured memories. We baked and created in the kitchen only to be compared to the recipe that had been passed down through the family. Selfies and instant posting of pictures on social media didn’t exist; we were busy living in the moment, savoring time with those we loved, enjoying being out of school and traveling to Grandma’s. Cellphones and texting weren’t a thing yet making our family time more special and less distracted. We were excited to see what gifts were under the tree and enjoyed hearing the back story of how and why each gift was chosen and purchased. Amazon didn’t exist making it exciting to actually go to the mall and wonder who you might run into while you were shopping.

It was a joyous and simple time. Even with all of today’s technology intended to make life easier and less complicated, yet distracting us like never before, we can find simplicity. We can savor the moments, find joy in simple handmade gifts and cards, and most importantly, focus our minds and thoughts on Jesus. Being present in the moment and enjoying life’s simple pleasures. Love isn’t about money spent on gifts; rather the heart that gives out of love.

Consider these thoughts as you and your family count down the days before Christmas. Don’t allow yourself to be caught up in the commercialism of the season or the comparison trap of gift giving to keep up with the Joneses; for there isn’t any love there. Demonstrate Christ’s love in a simple smile, handshake, hug, handwritten note, or even an anonymous gift given to someone in need. For here is where the joy and love of the season is found.

Wishing you and those you love a very Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

what’s REALLY important?

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Recently, I attended a memorial service for a sweet sixteen year old who was in a horrific car accident. While I’d only interacted with this girl a handful of times, I knew her parents. It was heartbreaking to watch the video put together by one of her besties portraying her friend’s short life through pictures. The testimonies shared by two of her coaches as well as 6+ of her classmates. It was allot to take in. The community honored this sweet sixteen darling in huge ways, showing their love and support to this dear family. Even more, was the fact that her death, along with two others within our county were all killed in car accidents, all sweet sixteen, within 2 weeks. Heart wrenching for sure. I cannot imagine the deep hurt, the loss, the questions, the why’s and what if’s of it all.

What impacted me most of all, however, was when this girl’s father, who’d just lost his daughter days prior, chose to speak at her service. To witness a loving father share about his only daughter’s short life was moving and thought-provoking. He shared that he, along with his wife, had lost sight for awhile of what really matters. He spoke of their desire for not only having a nice home, working hard to achieve nice flower beds and a nice yard, wanting the right carpet and floors, furniture and decor. He then said, all of a sudden, none of that stuff matters anymore. What he shared next was really inspirational: he said that when we’re so busy keeping up with and striving to have all the right stuff in this life, we won’t have the time to focus on family, which is all that really matters.

Of course, it isn’t a crime to want nice things in this life. That wasn’t the point. Rather, it was the temporary loss of focus of what really matters in this life. Not meaning to sound morbid, none of us is promised another minute, hour, or day. My takeaway from this former Sunday school teacher of mine and his tragic loss, is what are we doing with the time we’re given? Are we being kind and loving? Are we selfless? Are we making a difference? Are we intentional in our relationships?

Lastly, this Daddy shared in the midst of emotion, that his daughter’s best friend came to him and said she knew that her friend had accepted Christ and been baptized, securing her a place in heaven. She shared that she wanted desperately to see her friend again. This Daddy and his wife shared how she could be sure she’d spend eternity with Jesus, in heaven, with her dear friend, leading her to salvation in Jesus. It didn’t end there! She brought several boys from their school who also wanted to know how they could know Jesus and live eternally with him after their life here on earth is through. A couple of them also prayed to receive Christ. All 3 will be baptized as a testimony of what transpired within their hearts. This Daddy shared that his daughter’s life wasn’t in vain. Although he desperately misses her and the daily texts he sent to her, “good morning, beautiful,” he knows that others’ lives were touched and impacted through her short life not only this side of heaven, but for eternity.

Let’s live our lives well. Be intentional. Love well. Risk sharing your heart as well as your faith. Smile. Don’t be judgemental. Give of yourself. Look for the good in others. Be selfless. Invest in others.

 

blank slate

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Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

(Lamentations 3:22-23)

I love this scripture! It reminds me that with each new day, we are given a blank slate with our Lord’s unending love and faithfulness to carry us through whatever life may bring.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and anxious when mothering children. We need divine guidance and wisdom to get us through day by day, sometimes hour by hour! For who else can give us new insight, wisdom, discernment and abounding love, not to mention the ability to mold and change hearts? Our God, that’s who!

Seek Him in the morning to put your day on the right path. Diligently plug into the Source and watch in amazement what He can do with a willing heart, bent knee and humble spirit.

Be encouraged today, Momma! You are not alone!!!

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”(Psalm 143:8)

“The Sovereign Lord has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed.” (Isaiah 50:4)

“In the morning the word of the Lord came to me:” (Ezekiel 12:8)

“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (Mark 1:35)