Am I Really A Christian?

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Andrew has always had a sweet sensitivity to God, God’s Word, and all things Jesus.

Don’t get me wrong, the boy isn’t an angel. He isn’t perfectly obedient and free of trouble. At all. He is all boy. And he is 7. But. The boy loves Jesus.

He sleeps with his Bible. He asks me to read the Word to him nightly. He listens with attentiveness to Bible at school. Other than lunch, Bible is his favorite part of the day.

Andrew has asked for at least a year to be baptized. We’ve held off because of his young age. We really wanted him to understand that baptism doesn’t grant salvation. We wanted him to understand that baptism is a symbol of him dying to his old life and resurrecting to new life in Christ, a public profession of his faith, but not a seal of salvation.

A couple of weeks ago, we were driving down the road when he said he is so afraid he isn’t really a christian. He went on that he loves God and is so afraid he isn’t going to be with God.

We had the discussion on the level a 7-year-old could understand about how we are saved by faith alone in Jesus Christ. I reminded him of the verses we’ve learned. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved – Acts 16:31. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved- Romans 10:19.

But I thought to myself that any religion other than christianity, there is always this question of “Am I good enough? Have I done enough?”

In christianity, the answer is No. We aren’t good enough, but He loves us with an unimaginable love anyway. We are sinners, saved by grace. This is not of ourself it’s the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8) We couldn’t do enough. It’s why Jesus was born to die for our sins.

Before we accept Jesus as Lord of our life, we have to confess we are a sinner in need of a Savior. My fear for the children of this generation is that they are told so often how good they are. They are praised and esteemed to the point I wonder how they will recognize that they are a sinner in need of a Savior.

Over the last several weeks, Andrew has asked us to pray with him to receive Jesus. Again. We’ve stressed that when we are saved, nothing can pluck us from His hands. He’s afraid he didn’t do something right, say something right. We’ve explained that is religion, not christianity. Christianity is faith. God knows Andrew’s heart.

I’ve shared this before, but I often pray with or over my boys that God would grant them a “different” kind of spirit like He gave Caleb. One that is willing to follow God wholeheartedly. I want to raise wholehearted men who love the Lord more than they love their wives, their children, their life, their anything.

Last night Andrew and I read from The Jesus Storybook Bible (his very favorite). We discussed the story and God’s relentless pursuit of His people. Then we prayed. In the middle of praying, I said, “Lord, I pray you create in Andrew a spirit like Caleb’s, willing to follow you wholeheartedly.”

Andrew’s eyes flew open as he cried out, “Caleb??? Caleb? Oh no, mommy! I’m never going to be with God in Heaven. I can never be as good as Caleb!!”

I looked into his innocent eyes, and ran my fingers over his cheeks. “Andrew, you don’t have to be as good as Caleb. God doesn’t expect you to be “good enough” or like anyone else. He created you to be you.” I continued, “When I pray that, what I’m asking God to do is to make you love Him so much that you will follow Him wherever He leads you.”

He let out a sigh of relief, then he said, “But, mommy, I’m still so worried I’m not really a christian.”

“Andrew, do you love God?”

“Yes.”

“Do you believe you are a sinner?”

“Yes.”

“Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God sent to die for your sins and He is the only way to God and to Heaven?”

“Yes.”

“Did you confess to Jesus that you are a sinner in need of a Savior and ask Him to be the Lord of your life and tell Him that you want to follow Him?”

“Yes.”

“God knows your heart. You need to stop worrying. The fact that you even question it shows me that you understand that a life with Jesus is worth making sure you have. And I did the same thing when I became a Christian. I was so worried because it just seemed too easy. There had to be more to it than that. But there isn’t. It’s a gift to us. We didn’t earn it. It’s grace.”

He still didn’t look convinced, so I asked, “Do you want me to lead you in prayer again?”

“Yes, please,” he said sheepishly.

I led him for about the 4th time in prayer asking Jesus to be the Lord of his life.

And for many years to come, I will continue to pray for his faith. That it will be strengthened, matured, and that it will become his own, not merely an extension of our faith.

And this. This is Christmas. Christmas isn’t the season, the day, the gifts, the parties, the food, the decorations. It’s not the Christmas movies by fire with hot cocoa. All fun and wonderful.

Christmas is the most amazing gift we could fathom, given in the humblest of ways. God became a baby to grow up to die for our sins. Willingly. What kind of love is that?

So, I get Andrew. That kind of love is too much to bear, too grand to understand. To receive that kind of love freely? It makes no sense.

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Fighting the Christmas Pressure to Impress

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There is something about a Christmas stocking I love. It’s this idea of giving in secret. A simple gift from the heart. One that doesn’t seek to sit on center stage, doesn’t demand attention, desires not to impress. One content to wait patiently and humbly in hiding for one reason and one reason only. To bless.

As I sit here looking at our stockings hung from the mantle, they all look the same on the outside. Christmas morning each stocking will be filled with items uniquely given for the one to receive. On the outside they will all look the same. But there is this little humble secret inside. These gifts given from the heart. Simply.

When a gift from the heart is wrapped in simplicity, room is made for splendor. No distractions compete for attention or overshadow the true gift.

Christmas simplicity makes room for the splendor of a King.

Luke 2:7 Then she gave birth to her firstborn Son, and she wrapped Him snugly in cloth and laid Him in a feeding trough-because there was no room for them at the lodging place.

Jesus, the ultimate gift ever given, was wrapped in simplicity. Magnificence cloaked in simplicity. The gift came humbly.

Jesus, Savior of the world. Prince of Peace. King of Kings. God became a baby. This gift sought not attention from the world or desired to impress the world. He sought only to give of Himself. He came quietly and humbly.

Simplicity makes way for the splendor of a King.

It’s not hard to drift into the American way of bigger is better, more is preferred. Christmas is a simple message. Christ was born to die for our sins so we could have eternal life through Him. He was born to die. A simple message that needs nothing added to it to make it better.

Many of us struggle to keep Christmas gifts simple. Our culture creates a pressure to add more. Outdo one another. Images shared at lightning speed fill social media that whisper to us, we should add more, we should do more, we aren’t enough, give more, do more, decorate more. Be creative, be unique, be different. Stand out.

We feel this unspoken pressure to consult Pinterest to create the most creative teacher or friend gifts ever given or to create memories for our children in the most unique of ways. Simplicity and humility flee.

This is why I love the stocking. It’s gifts given in humble simplicity, hidden, not shouting for attention. A gift in a stocking isn’t crying out, “Look at me. Did I win best gift award?” It’s not asking, “Do I earn your approval?” It seeks only to give and desires nothing in return. No favor.

When we fall to the pressure of our culture in our gift giving, it becomes about us.  The attention is taken from the gift recipient and placed back on us. We might earn favor or impress, but we lost our humility. Christmas is the greatest picture of humility the world has ever seen.

If we want to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas, it starts with modeling humility.

Jesus knew He was the ultimate gift.  Heaven came to earth. What greater gift is there? Pinterest has got nothing on that.  He came to be the gift, and He wrapped Himself in cloths, lying in a manger, announced to simple shepherds, delivered by a simple, humble girl. All humbly simple.

When we simplify, we can magnify Christ.

In a share all, show all world, we feel the pressure to perform, which holds hands with the pressure to impress.

The spirit of christmas is humility. It’s seeking the lesser position. A gift given in humility is not a gift that seeks to impress. It’s a gift straight from the heart that has lowered itself.  It’s one that attempts to be the stocking gift, tucked away quietly waiting to bless privately.

The attention we receive from our gifts can change the intention of our hearts with time.

What if each gift we give this season seeks to be the stocking gift? The one wrapped in simplicity.

When we aren’t influenced by the idea that we will receive credit, we are able to focus on loving and blessing the receiver of the gift rather than seeking to impress the receiver.

I’m finding freedom this Christmas in choosing to simplify my gifts.

When I let go of the pressure to receive praise or earn recognition, it’s amazing how my heart changes. When I take the focus off of myself and what I receive back from the gifts I give, suddenly my heart is turned to the ones I want to bless. And I can love them in the most simple of ways.

I’m not weighed down by putting together friend or teacher gifts that will receive praise. Instead I’m free to humbly express my heart towards the one to receive the gift. It stops being about me, and the blessing has room to bless.

If you feel weighed down by the pressure to impress, choose to follow the example of Christ. Give a gift packaged in humility that seeks only to bless and desires nothing in return. No favor. No attention.

Be the stocking gift that tucks away quietly awaiting its moment of private blessing.

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How We Can End the War On Christmas Right Now

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I’m ready to put it to bed. This idea of a war on Christmas. It’s only a war if we let it be a war.

Now, satan, he loves to watch us get in a tizzy over this holiday. A holiday that, by the way, we created.

We created Christmas. We are fighting the world to keep the Christmas tree and the words Merry Christmas. Jesus wasn’t born under a Christmas tree. He never declared we greet each other with Merry Christmas. We are fighting to keep ideas and traditions that I can’t for the life of me imagine Christ desiring us to fight for.

We are falling right into the hands of satan’s plans.

Christ can’t be removed from Christmas. Christmas is the celebration of His birth. Jesus overcame the world on the cross. John 16:33.

It’s impossible for the world to remove Christ. The world will try, the world is trying, the world will continue to try. But have you read to the end of Revelation?

The war will end. He wins. He won on the cross, but there is coming a day the entire world will know who wins. So why are we fighting over a holiday that celebrates His birth?

Instead of fighting against the world to keep Him in Christmas, we need to fight a different battle. We need to fight for the world that is blinded by the enemy. That’s where the true battle is waged.

It doesn’t matter if someone says Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas. What matters is that whatever they say, we show love. We don’t scowl, cross our arms, stomp our feet, and huff ‘Merry Christmas’ as we storm away.

We don’t demand to have Christmas our way. 

Pride demands to have its own way. Humility places love over the need to be right.

Jesus is the ultimate picture of humility. Lowered Himself to be born a baby to one day willingly hang on a cross. For us. So we could have eternity with Him.

He wasn’t born so that we could have Christmas adorned with trees, singing carols, decked out halls, and shouting Merry Christmas for the world to see.  He was born to die so we could have eternity with Him.

Oh, church.

Is there a more humble birth than to be born to a common family, wrapped in swaddling cloths, placed in a manger because there was no room in the inn? When you are the Son of God!

Is there a more humble death than to hang on a cross and cry out to God to forgive them for they know not what they do??

It’s overwhelming.

Our humble Savior.

If we want to keep Christ in Christmas, it begins with taking the humble position. It’s not standing up straight and arguing to the world around us that this is our holiday and how dare they take it from us.

We are called to LOVE the world.

God is love.

If we want to keep Christ in Christmas, we love the world in a radical way.

If a company removes Merry Christmas, it means nothing. Not one single thing. Jesus never said this world would honor and adore Him. Why are we surprised?

We are fighting the wrong battle.

When a secular company doesn’t recognize Christ at Christmas, why are we aghast?

Love them. Love them. Love them.

Love wins.

We better love this world in such a radical way that they will come to know the One who gave His life for them.

Jesus was unconventional. Let’s follow Jesus. He never did things in the ways we would expect.

There is an enemy blinding our world. We must be the light. We are here for such a time as this. We can’t fall into the trap the rest of the world is falling into. Not at Christmas. Not at anytime.

Let’s rise up together. Then together, let’s sink. To that lowly position. The one that doesn’t demand to be heard, to be recognized, to be seen.

Christ doesn’t need us demanding Christmas trees and Merry Christmas greetings to make Him known.

They will know Him by our love.

Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples. John 13:35

Let’s do it different this year. Let’s CHOOSE to not be offended. Let’s CHOOSE to show love. Let’s CHOOSE to be the hands and feet of Christ to the world rather than demand a Merry Christmas from them.

Maybe we take it a radical step further?

When the world races and fights to complete shopping lists, we stroll among them, be with them, but we serve them, we love on them. Let’s put ourselves in the middle of the chaos and shine a light. Smile, hold the door open, pick up the last item only to place it in their hands, wave them into that last parking spot and choose to walk the distance along the way chatting with others not so lucky in the parking lot.

Love them to smothering pieces. I believe love grows. I believe the more you love, the more you love.

I believe that when we ask God to help us to love others, He delights to say yes to that. But do we dare? Are we afraid, perhaps?

People often say be careful what you pray for. Yes, God delights to make our hearts bent to Him. If we ask Him to help us love others, watch out.

We never know how our small acts impact eternity. There is an actual war. If we had eyes to see what is happening in the spiritual world, I can’t imagine we wouldn’t fight a different fight. I believe we’d stop fighting the silly battles and we’d fight unconventionally. With love.

Merry Christmas. Season’s Greetings. Happy Holidays. Whichever you choose, say it from the heart, smother it in love, deliver it for Christ.

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The Power of a Story and Help With Your Christmas Shopping

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I attended the Allume Conference a few weeks ago. I leisurely strolled the tables displaying businesses and products. None really grabbed my attention initially. It takes a lot to get me to stop if I think you want me to spend my money. So I’m very careful to move at an appropriate pace so as not to be caught.

When I reached the table for Ever Thine Home, I stopped. Willingly. Abruptly.

I love beautiful things, but I love beautiful things with meaning so much more. I don’t want a house full of beautiful things with no story. I want a home that tells a beautiful story.

The entire table of Ever Thine Home products was nothing but beautiful things that tell a story or help you share a story.

Stories. We are missing good stories today. We are too busy running after life and chasing what we will never catch. In the process, we are missing grasping the most beautiful gifts and moments wrapped in the package of a story.  Stories shared in relationships.

That is what captured my eye. A table full of beautiful home decor items that opened the door to the stories. That created a reason to unite in relationship.

I was drawn into this table and began talking with the lady at the table. She was so lovely – her name was Laura.

Her story captivated me. It’s her story I continue to hear the Lord whisper to me.

She told me how her mom was gifted artistically, but knew the Lord wanted her to lay down her talents for the season of raising her children. I believe they had 6 children. And it was AFTER her children were grown that the Lord led her to pick up the gifts and talents He’d given to her to create art to be used beyond her home.

I’ve thought of this many times over the weeks. What obedience. As moms it’s easy to feel that life is passing us by. When the Lord gifts us or places passions in us, it’s easy to believe He must want us to do something with them now. Right now.

I wonder sometimes if He allows us to see the gifts and talents He’s given us, yet He asks us to use those in our homes first. And to save the dreams for when He says Go. I wonder if we chase our bigger purposes and miss the greater purposes?

I’ve thought how much I admire Laura’s mom for her obedience. Obeying isn’t always easy. Especially when our gifts are itching to be used.

In the season of motherhood, those gifts are never wasted. They are used in the loveliest of ways right inside our homes. When they are given in our homes, they will reach outside the home. And then a season comes where the Lord might say, “Ok, now go.”

I likely scared poor Laura silly. I think when you set up a table, you are expecting to have to “sell” someone on your products. Tell them why they would love them. Laura didn’t have to sell me on a thing. I get it. So get it. And so want others to get it that my excitement can be a bit uncomfortable at times.

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So that is what happened when I discovered these Untie Your Story napkin ties. I started babbling about how much I’m in love with them before I’d even bought them.

 

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I bought every kind of Untie Your Story she had. Memories, Gratitude 1, and Gratitude 2.

And then I proceeded down the table. Ornaments. Oh goodness. One day my dream is to have Seeking Christmas ornaments produced and packaged and sold with the book. And part of the reason is that I never find beautiful Christmas ornaments that tell His story.

Until now. My friends, you are welcome.

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It’s hard for me to give a gift that simply has no meaning to it. These napkin ties, make the perfect gift to keep on hand. Teacher’s gift, a thank you gift, birthday gift. Obviously, Christmas gift.

We should really share stories more with each other. Remember my coffee post last week? Stories open doorways through which relationships enter.

Today, share a piece of you with someone. Tell a story. You never know how the Lord will use it in their life down the road.

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The One Christmas Preparation We Can’t Miss

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I avoid going out in the final days before Christmas. The hustle and bustle, the anxiety and stress, the talk of preparing for Christmas, and the conversations of “I’m not ready” or “I’m ready for it to be over” are a discouragement. Instead, I hide away at home with my boys in these final days. To rest. To be still.

While the world keeps itself busy in preparing for Christmas, I pray He prepares my heart. It’s the one Christmas preparation I pray to remember. If the gifts don’t get wrapped, if I forget a gift, if I fail to get everything on my grocery list, if I forget to send a few cards, Christmas will still go on. Christmas won’t be ruined. If I stress about the preparations, I will miss Christmas completely.

If I don’t create the most magical Christmas imaginable for my kids, it might be the greatest gift they unwrap this season. It might just make room for them to be dazzled by their Savior.

It’s not too late, my friends, to change the course of your Christmas season. If you are tired, stressed, and overwhelmed, be still. The only preparation He wants from us is to clear space in our hearts to receive Him this season. He doesn’t want us to work so hard to prepare to celebrate Him that we fail to experience Him. He doesn’t need our never-ending to-do lists.

If our kids don’t get everything they dreamed of, it’s ok. If our company doesn’t think we were the best hosts imaginable, it’s ok. If it doesn’t all get done, it’s ok. It’s deceiving to think it’s possible anyway.

In these final days, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of our King, let’s do one thing. Slow down. Slow down so we don’t miss Him completely. Slow down so we have eyes to see Him right here, right now. Mary and Joseph didn’t speed their way into Bethlehem. They journeyed. Let’s journey in these final days.

Then let’s not stop. When we pack away our Christmas decorations, let’s not stop preparing our hearts to celebrate Him. Let’s not stop talking about Him. It’s not just one day. It’s every single day. He was born to die to offer us eternal life and to glorify His Father.

The Light has come. The light shines for the world to see the greatest gift that has ever come, the greatest gift that will ever come. Let that light shine for the world to see. Let that light illuminate your heart and your home in these final Christmas days. The light remains past Christmas. Keep shining. Be still and watch that light. Stand back and watch your children and grandchildren mesmerized by the Creator of true Christmas magic.

Let’s fix our eyes on the light. The Christmas light that shines all year long. The Christmas light that has come into our world. The Christmas light that never burns out, that never fades, that never short-circuits.

These last days can be hectic or slow. It’s our choice. When we slow we truly see the light illuminating the world around us.

From our family to yours, we wish you a very merry Christmas. We pray blessings over you and your families this season and beyond. Thank you for being a part of my life here in this blog space. I hold you close to my heart and truly treasure each of you. Thank you for the love you have shown to our family.

Much love,

Renee

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Longing for Christmas Rest

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As the final days of Christmas unwrap before me, I rest. Rest looks different than I realize most days. For me rest is more internal. It’s a turning over my plans, my ideas, my hopes, my failures, my fears, my everything to Him. I am resting in Him.

It’s been a tough fall for our family. We have encountered attacks from the enemy, we have journeyed down new roads, we have learned we need to bend and change more as our children grow. More than anything we are realizing that living in total submission to God is one of the most beautiful gifts we’ve unwrapped this season.

He has tilled my heart in the most glorious of ways. I’ve been speaking so much this fall that I’ve not been able to blog as much as I’d hoped. I have much to write, so much to share. I feel as though God has taken me through a bit of a spiritual growth spurt over the past few months.

That doesn’t mean I think I’m holier now. I don’t mean that I think I’ve become a “better” person. What I mean is that God has been speaking to me in ways I’ve never heard before. He has opened up parts of my heart that I’ve never known existed. He has allowed me to learn new things and view life in new ways. He has given me eyes to see His gifts in the middle of what looks frightening.

His Presence this season has overwhelmed me. To the point I have so much to say, I feel silenced.

I am taking a bit of a writing and speaking break through the New Year. All fall I’ve longed to just rest in Him. I’m learning. Resting in Him is a gift to be cherished. He longs to lavish us with His love. When I rest in Him, I am overcome by His great love and mercy over me.

Over the next couple of weeks, I won’t be posting regularly. I will resume the first week of January. However, I will be sharing some of the most popular posts over the coming days and weeks from this past year. I will share on Facebook and Twitter. I’d love you to join me there as well.

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When Your Christmas Season Doesn’t Go According To Plan

 

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I walk past the 4 foot tree in the upstairs hall and take note. A sprinkling of handmade ornaments hang on its branches. The rest of the ornaments remain in the box. A box of handprints. A box of painting gone wild. A box of love disguised as art projects.

It’s not the most beautiful of trees, but it is the most special. It’s the one that displays every ornament ever made by the hands of my boys. It’s the one with the colorful lights that remind me of childhood Christmas. It’s the one that the boys have taken ownership of over the years. Their special tree. This year it looks different.

It’s only partially decorated. Without my permission these little boys are becoming bigger boys. Their interests are changing. The little things that once delighted are becoming sweet memories. They are growing up. Somewhere along the tree decorating way that day, I imagine a game of tag broke out. Or a foosball match was challenged. Or a game of backyard football took shape. Something more exciting came along leaving this tree half finished.

I reflect on the years of watching their faces aglow as they meticulously hung each ornament. I remember how they worked together, each securing a spot on the tree that was all theirs. “Look, mom, isn’t it beautiful?” they would call out.

It always was beautiful. It still is beautiful even in its most imperfect, semi-forgotten state.

In our most imperfect, semi-forgotten state, He knows us. He doesn’t forget. He holds us close.

I walk through the house and take note of how different this Christmas looks in our home. “God, give me eyes to see your blessings that never cease.” I continue asking God to let me see the beauty that looks different than I envisioned. Lord, they are growing up too fast. Slow them down. Please, Lord, slow them down. I love each Christmas season as we celebrate you and watch these little eyes dance with joy. But those little eyes are beginning to look deeper into this life you’ve given them. Times are changing. My boys are changing. Show me how to change with them. Show me how to change with you, the One who never changes.

A medicine dropper leaves a sticky residue on the counter. I’m reminded how our season began in a way I never imagined. Multiple trips to the doctor, a son in excruciating pain, a diagnosis of Lyme Disease. A blessing. Answered prayers. A son held close to the Father. A child’s faith growing daily as he experiences the healing hand of his Creator. A child learning what it means to know God is good all the time even when life feels painful. Christmas blessings of hope burrowed deep in the blood and tissues that house his soul. The world calls it disease. We call it hope.

Endless phone calls and trips to doctors, physical therapy visits, researching and discussing, praying and understanding. These have taken the place of the typical Christmas busy. But isn’t Christmas about experiencing Him? Isn’t it about seeing Him? The Savior born into the world that Christmas day? Remembering that from the beginning of creation, God has put a plan in place to save us?

This Christmas looks different, but the message hasn’t changed. 

This Christmas looks different than I planned, but we are experiencing Him moment by moment. Isn’t that Christmas? 

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I walk past our Advent house. The one that counts down the days until we celebrate His birth in full. The one that holds a special activity or moment each day of the season. I think back to the years before. A door opened, a little note read, excited little voices to declare what we would do together. “We get to paint an ornament tonight!” I think back to hours ago. A door opened, a little note read, not-so-excited voices declared, “It’s paint an ornament night.”

I take note of the voice. I see the lack of enthusiasm. It’s ok. They are getting older. They are boys. They are growing and changing. Painting ornaments is supposed to lose its excitement. But thank God, I’ve had the years and the moments He’s graced me with. I delicately pick up the memories and tuck them neatly in my heart, gently closing the door. They are mine to hold forever.

This little advent house hasn’t been the giver of good gifts over the years. He has been the giver of good gifts. He only used that little house to give me those gifts, those moments with my boys. Blessings. He will continue to be the giver of good gifts. He will continue to be the giver of moments. Sometimes they will look different than I envision. He is always good.

This year the gifts look different, but the gift giver hasn’t changed. 

I walk past the box that holds our Christmas movies. Mickey’s Twice Upon A Christmas this year has been left in the box. They are too old they tell me. I take note. They are getting older. Thank God for past memories. Praise God for new ones.

This year the small moments look different, but the giver of moments remains the same.

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I unplug the lights from the tree. The tree that leans left no matter which direction you view from. The tree that I envisioned looking a particular way. It should be 9 feet tall, full and round, perfectly spaced limbs. It would be bigger and better than any tree that’s ever taken a spot in the family room.

This tree isn’t what I had in mind, but the hands that found it were given to me to hold for a season.

This year the tree looks more imperfect than I hoped, but the creator of that tree remains perfect.

I envisioned a trip to the Christmas tree farm to pick out the perfect tree. We would come home, decorate the tree, decorate the outside of the house with lights, listen to Christmas music while we sipped hot chocolate and lavished each other with love. Instead, I awoke in the middle of the night with intense pain, unable to move my leg because of muscle spasms.

My perfect day became a day I rested instead. God does this to me frequently, and I love Him for it.

My perfect Christmas plans are best lived out in ways I never envisioned, so I can experience Him in ways I never imagined.

Instead of a family trip to the farm, it was a dad and son trip to the lot. Instead of me working tirelessly making everything just perfect and right for my family, God allowed my family to serve and love me in a way that showed His perfect love for me.

This year my perfect Christmas plans failed, but the perfecter of my faith never fails.

I sat on the cold driveway, leg numb from the ice pack, watching Steve carry out the Christmas plans I so badly wanted to take part in. I wanted to be with him connecting and testing lights, weaving them just so along the bushes. Instead I watched. I watched him work with joy. I listened as the Christmas tunes drifted from his car. I took note of the little ways he was trying to create what he knew I wanted to create that day.

Times are changing, my boys are growing, our moments are looking different. This Christmas looks different than any others we’ve celebrated. My boys see the change. I see their realization of the growing up, the getting wiser, the changing preferences. They partly embrace the new moments and changes, they partly hold onto what once was.

Andrew, only 6 years old, requested his own alarm clock so he can get himself up and ready like his big brothers. Jacob, 11, stopped me as I left the room. “But, mom, will you still give him ‘yay-yays’?” (little tickles and kisses up his back).

“Oh, yes, I will never stop doing that until he tells me to.”

His shoulders relaxed as he leaned back into his pillow. “Ok, good.”

The changing is hard for each of us in our own little ways. But so very, very good.

The changing seasons of life are to be celebrated and embraced.  While some moments change, some will always remain the same. While the moments look different, what drives each moment remains unchanged.

If my Christmas season looks different than I envisioned, I can rest in knowing it was carefully laid out by the One who makes no mistakes.

And now we rest in Him as we embrace each Christmas moment that comes our way in the next days leading up to Christmas Day.

Seek Him wholeheartedly this Christmas.

SC

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