Time To Breathe

Do you feel a bit stretched thin right now? Any of you mamas just on the verge of, or well past, wanting to pull your hair out (or someone else’s :-/ )?thumb_FullSizeRender-2_1024

If so, please PAUSE… 

and BREATHE…

And know that everything that’s making you crazy is temporary and won’t even be remembered by anyone this time next year. What will be remembered is whether Christmas is the joy you say it is or a burden, whether it brings the peace it promises or spurs chaos in your home.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord…Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”–Luke 2:9-10, 13-14

So…this year, in the midst of all the excitement, let’s not forget to bring good news that causes great joy. Let’s celebrate the Savior as the angels did and receive His peace.

Please say this with me: I are not a slave to anyone’s expectations. Especially my own! I hope you really believe that.

I hope that if you’re harried, you will slow down, connect, and find rest. Maybe jump in the car with your kiddos and go “light-seeing”. Curl up on the couch with hubby and watch a sappy movie. They matter. The “one more batch of cookies” you think you have to make for the party you don’t want to go to? Buy them. Or skip it altogether. And those gifts you want to wrap as beautifully as Macy’s? Stick ’em in a bag and know it’s enough. Sometimes, enough is just perfect.

“Enough” will leave you time to do what you love with the people you love.

thumb_FullSizeRender-5_1024Like chatting with friends over a cup of tea. Yep, that’s me with you…

…Thank you for hanging out with me during such a busy season. It means so much to me.

 

 

 

 

 

In Search of the Perfect Christmas and The Year We Beheaded Joseph

I’m an idealist. I always have a picture in my head of how every detail of every day is supposed to look. Magnify that multiple times and you have Christmas.

Needless to say, I struggle with expectations and the endless string of unmet ones. But that year was different. That year, it seemed Norman Rockwell and Thomas Kincaid visited my house and painted the perfect Christmas scene.

My white farmhouse was glowing with lights, a fire crackled in the woodstove, and soft carols were playing on the radio. The perfect live Christmas tree stood in front of the window, garland was draped beautifully down banners and wrapped around light poles, and Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus were lit up as the focal point in my yard.

Perfect!

2143532291_b408712940_zI’d never had a yard nativity scene. I wanted one, because after all, I wanted to show my kids what Christmas was all about. Only I wanted a really nice one, and the price was a bit extravagant for our budget. But that year was different. That year, I’d found an incredible sale and it cinched the “perfect Christmas” for me.

And then, it happened. The kids and I were playing in the snow, careful not to go near the sacred nativity, when a strong wind blew Joseph’s head right off. I stood staring in disbelief as it plopped down by Jesus. Convinced Satan himself was trying to ruin my perfect Christmas, I heard from behind me something like, “Uhh, it was an accident.”

The words didn’t compute. Surely my children knew how long I’d waited to showcase this scene in my yard. Surely, they were not responsible for Joseph’s beheading. But they were. Or at least my son was, and his sister protected his secret.

Kieran was 12 that year and was perfecting his Chuck Norris kicks on everything in sight. Joseph was yet another casualty of a roundhouse kick. In an attempt to save his own head, he had set Joseph’s head back on his body and hoped for grace.

I wanted to cry. I wanted to call off Christmas. I wanted to scold my son for being so careless and insensitive and both of them for not fessing up. But as I turned on them and they stood utterly still and quiet, I heard that quiet voice whisper, “It’s not about Joseph or a manger scene in the yard,” and instantly the ridiculousness of it all hit me. My disappointment and anger dissolved into laughter.

How ironic it seemed. My picturesque Christmas was not so picturesque after all. But then, neither was that first Christmas when Jesus came onto the scene. The heavens may have been filled with singing, but the stable or cave or whatever He was born into was filled with manure. There may have been “the thrill of hope,” but there was also uncertainty and want.

Sounds a bit like Christmas today.

Since then, I’ve realized that the perfect Christmas is a phantom, and chasing it is the surest way to ruin it.

This year, instead of seeking the perfect Christmas, won’t you join me in seeking the One who is perfect? In doing so, we may not fill our Pinterest boards with ideas, but we will fill our homes with peace and our families will declare the glory of God.

Merry Christmas.

 

 

 

 

Do You Know What You Were Born For?

I’m sure you all know that familiar voice that whispers every now and then, “There’s got to be more to life than this.” Do you know what you are here on earth for, or do you often struggle to find meaning in the mundane of daily living?ID-100339655

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As moms, it’s a question we must settle for ourselves if we are going to be able to guide our children toward purposeful and fulfilled living.

I know not all of you share my faith, but I cannot talk about purpose aside from my faith. As Christmas draws near, I couldn’t help but think of what the birth and life of Jesus teaches us about our own purpose even now.

Jesus knew clearly what He was born for, and He lived and died with singularity of purpose. There was no question; there was no soul-searching. He was born to die an agonizing death. Yet He moved through His life with such focus that in a short thirty-plus years, He changed not only the lives of those He walked with, but also the lives of countless others for more than 2,000 years since.

We may not be called to die for the sins of the world, but we were born with a distinct and unique purpose.

So, how do we live that purpose out?

1—Remember that God alone, not our circumstances, determines our destiny. Jesus was born amidst scandal, grew up in a backwoods town, and was mocked and scorned by the leaders of the day. Yet, He set his eyes on who his Father said He was (John 13:3) and accomplished what had been set for Him to do (John 12:49-50).

2—Finding our purpose requires God-searching rather than soul-searching. Jesus knew His Father in Heaven and talked with Him (Matthew 14:23). God is the author of our purpose and He wants to share it with us. He will show us every step as we get in step with Him (Psalm 37:23-24).

3—Do the hard thing and be willing to stand alone. Jesus challenged religion and tradition in order to fulfill His call. Because of it, He was sought and killed. He was driven to His death alone and shamed. Still, He died as He lived—intentionally (1 John 3:16, Matt 26:52-54).

4—If you seek to be great, seek first to serve. Who serves better than you mamas? The world may not see the glory in wiping snotty noses and jellied fingers, but I sure hope you know that your sacrifices done in love will reap a mighty reward (Matthew 23:11-12, Galatians 6:9)!

5—When you breathe your last breath, it’s really all about love. The “stuff”, the accomplishments, the promotions all disappear, but a legacy of love is eternal (Matthew 22:36-40).

We all have a myriad of choices every day. Some will distract us, some will detour us, and some will completely derail us. Still others will move us toward the life only we were meant to live. When we intentionally seek the Father’s will, walk with the One who made it possible, and serve those placed around us, we will not only exist, but will live a life worth dying for.

How about you? Are you living life on purpose or just trying to get through the day? What one thing can you do today to recognize and passionately fulfill your call?

 

 

 

 

 

This Christmas, Be Still

I got off the couch today. Not exactly an Olympic feat, but it was more than I could do yesterday. An unexpected back issue forced me into stillness. With so much to do and a growing holiday list, it’s been both frustrating and eye-opening.

I rarely stop. I wake up each day with thoughts swirling in my head before my eyes are even open. Before my feet hit the floor, I am already settling my heart as it is bombarded with burdens that plague it. Burdens for sick friends. Burdens for failing marriages. Burdens for difficult choices I need to make. And it is in the midst of these thoughts and weights that I often press through my day attempting to scratch through the list of things to accomplish. Sometimes I do a good job of praying for and receiving peace and sometimes I manage to do little more than catch my breath.

Perhaps you get it. Perhaps you also struggle to breathe some days.

So now it’s Christmastime. And here I am. Sitting. Thinking. Not doing. Not baking. Not crafting. Not entertaining. Just breathing. And praying. And realizing that the world is getting along just fine and that I need much more of this. I need time to be still. To be still and know. To be still and know that He is God. And that He really doesn’t need my help with anything. He just allows me to be a part of it. Each day is His gift to me, and it is not a marathon. I want to trust Him to do more and I’ll have to do less.

 

It’s really not that hard. It’s just a matter of coming…

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                                                        …and finding rest.

 

We’re all so busy. Especially now as we race to finish the cookies and the shopping and the Facebook posts before Christmas day. But every day we race past lost people. Hurting people. Lonely people. Tired and worn out people. And we don’t have the time to notice. Sometimes we are those people and we wish someone would see us. And yet, isn’t that really what Christmas is about? Not trimmings and treats. Not gifts and parties. But about God loving us enough to reach into our world and touch those lost, hurting, lonely, and tired and give them life. He did it once as a babe. He does it each day as a Savior.

If you’re like me, you don’t have to work hard at moving. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that in all my moving, I forget what it feels like to rest. I have to admit I’ve felt a bit guilty these past two days, like I’ve done nothing but waste time. And yet, there has been something refreshing about my time on the couch. Something holy even. Frustration eased and peace came. And it required nothing from me except being still.

This world is full of activity. It doesn’t need one more person scurrying along. But it does need one who is willing to slow down and look another in the eye and give a love-inspired, joy-filled, peace-bringing smile.

I hope that once I’m mobile again I don’t forget my couch lesson. I pray I remember to look up from my list and see those around me a bit more clearly.

God bless you with Christmas rest.