‘Twas the night before Christmas…

And all through the house, not a creature was stirring…except the puking youngest child… *sigh*

And so came crashing down the plans for our yearly Christmas brunch…*sigh*

We had great plans, which we hope to piece together throughout the week once all are strong and healthy again.  🙂  The kids had a skit about The Legend of the Candy Cane, we had brunch planned including such yummy things as quiche, she crab soup, crab cakes monkey bread, meatballs, champagne, desserts and other delectibles.  We had a new fireplace to share the “warmth” of Christmas.  😉  Not to mention gifts galore.

You know what though?… my kids (and myself, as well) were most disappointed about not getting together with the people!  We love being with our extended family!  We have been talking all month about how Christmas isn’t about all the frills and gifts, but solely the rejoicing of Christ’s birth.  The birth of our Savior!  Without this glorious day we would have no hope and no future.  And so, tomorrow, we will focus on that even more with our quiet and subdued day warding off illness.  I will miss seeing my family and serving them brunch and giving them gifts…but that will come soon enough.  Tomorrow we will just huddle together as a family and rejoice our king!  And if the kids are well enough, we will spoil them a bit with all the feast foods that are left to be eaten by someone…  😉  Oh yes and there will be presents of course.

Speaking of glorious, we just had an amazing Christmas Eve service at our church that was truly glorious.  Seriously, I would have paid money to see the worship team…their performance was amazing!  And the hope of Christ was clearly stated throughout the evening.

The hope of Christ gives such peace and joy!  I see it in my kids constantly.  They have such a wonderful perspective on things.  When we go to visit Joshua, it is a place of good memories for them.  The cemetery is just another playground where they are able to visit Joshua’s place, decorate it and throw in a game of tag.

I am going to repeat the quote I posted last time, because it is just meaningful to me.  Life changes, love remains…No matter what life throws at us…from a sick kid to a horrible loss…love remains.  Love is the most important thing we can give and receive.  Love from one another is an amazing thing.  Love from Christ, our King and Savior, trumps everything.

10.20.14

Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

Psalm 51:12

When I read this in my email this morning, I knew I had to share it today!  If we could all genuinely say this prayer every day…wow!  What a difference our lives would be and the lives of others.  

10.16.14

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 14:6

Mary, the mother of Jesus, is amazing.  She is amazing because of God.  God gave her the strength to live a life full of indescribable joy and indescribable heartache.  None of us can comprehend the courage she needed.  No one can comprehend being the parent of God.  However, Mary is not God, she is not Jesus, you cannot get to Heaven by praying to Mary.  Jesus Himself tells us that He is the only way.  THE ONLY WAY.  Please know that while Mary should be honored, she should not be an idol and she cannot be a replacement for Jesus.  He is the WAY…follow HIM and He will make your paths straight.  

10.15.14

I, even I, am the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed— I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord, “that I am God.

Isaiah 43:11-12

I have been reading “Prodigal God” and it is very good at drilling home that we all need a Savior.  The man on death row is no more a sinner than the man who has hate in his heart.  The woman who “works at night” is no more a sinner than the woman who lied.  Many of us know this, but how often do we truly believe it?  Do you know that you are as much a sinner as the people you judge?  Do you know, really know, that nothing you do will get you into Heaven?  Do you know that the person on this earth that you despise is a child of God?  We need to put our judgments away, we need to repent of our own sins, we need to pray for EVERY soul on this earth to change for Him.  And more than anything else, we need to trust Him, our Savior, our Lord, the Creator.  Our lives will be filled with joys and trials, but our life is the tiniest blip compared to eternity.  And He is waiting for us, all we have to do is knock.  

Perfection

I am glad I am not perfect.  I am glad I am so far from being perfect that I have no place to judge others.  Of course we all do at times, wrongfully.  But…I am glad that is not my authority.  (note: Christian accountability and malicious/flippant  judging are very different things)  I am thankful that God can see past even the ugliest of sins and see how He can use that for His glory, in many cases taking the sin away and creating a whole new person from the trials.

Right now there are some people in my life that are choosing very different paths than the ones in which they started.  I have Christian and non-Christian friends trying to take control of situations that need to be given to God.  Someone asked me yesterday why I want them to be in Heaven.  My heart breaks over each situation.   I pray that God changes their hearts quickly.  I am a sinner, too.  Perhaps their sins are more noticeable than mine because they are on display right now.  That makes them no worse than mine.  So while I pray dramatic changes in their lives, I also pray dramatic ones in mine.  Though I will never be perfect on this side of Heaven, I pray that I (and everyone) will grow closer to Jesus, and His will, everyday.

Praise God who gave His only Son.  Praise Jesus that His perfection reigns and that He took our place on the cross, so that when God looks on our lives He only sees the perfection of His Son.

Sweet Blessings

I know I keep saying this, but God is bigger.  Corny as it may sound if life is going to throw us lemons, God is the ultimate lemonade maker.  I pray that blessings pour out of the struggles that everyone is going through.  It won’t take away the pain, but may show the purpose for the pain.  Or at the very least, which is still amazingly great, we know He is with us through the pain.

Yesterday was Joshua’s birthday.  It is a tough time of year for me.  It is also a wonderful time of year for me.  I miss my little guy terribly, but I love Christmas.  Conflicting emotions.  My husband, the best one ever, took my kids out for a “secret mission” yesterday and they came back bearing gifts of balloons, ice cream and cards.  (The ice cream set me off on my emotion eating, which I had been controlling so well…but I digress).  It was the perfect gesture.  I cherish my family…I truly couldn’t be more blessed by them!

In the midst of sadness sometimes it is hard to find the joy…God allowed them to make the joy very apparent yesterday and I am thankful for that.

My heart still aches for my family and friends who are in so much pain right now, but it also sings with the joy of God’s blessings that I don’t want to miss through the tears.

Spiritual Warfare

I love Christmas!  Obviously first and foremost I love Christmas because of what it is.  Christmas is nothing less than the birth of my Lord and Savior.  Without His perfect and precious birth, we would be nothing.  Without His life begun, He could not have laid down His life for my sins and there would be no hope in this world.  We are nothing, there is nothing, there would be nothing to have faith in or hope for…without Him we would all be sentenced to eternal death.  Not only did He do all of that for me and you, but He has showered me with blessings of life, love, family, food, shelter…and on and on.   I also love Christmas because, as you all know by now, I adore being with family and friends.  I enjoy gathering around sharing food and fun memories while making new memories.  It is a special time filled with traditions.

The enemy does not love Christmas.  In fact, He knows that we are saved because of the birth of Jesus Christ.  I think that is why there is so much pain at Christmas sometimes.  He attacks people at their weakest at a time when they are praising the One who saved them.  He attacks and tries to turn their vulnerability into a reason to distrust God.  This is when we need God the most!  He will not let us falter, He will not let us down, He does walk through every joy and every sorrow with us.

Hanging the ornaments on our Christmas tree each year is bittersweet.  There are ornaments that were meant for Joshua.  There are ornaments from people that are no longer here…that died too young.  There are bitter memories along with sweet ones.  My parents just attended a funeral of a great man who was attacked by cancer.  His family knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is celebrating Christmas with his Savior this year, but each Christmas will have a scar as they remember the husband, father, brother and friend that they lost.  My friend just was served divorce papers this week, a friend who has done nothing but try to save her marriage as her spouse has thrown it away.  Another friend is facing her third Christmas without her husband at home.  Life is tough and it seems to get harder at the times when we think we should be untouchable. Satan may attack, he may even win a few battles, but we know that the Lord is the ultimate victor.  We know the end and He has already won.  Don’t lose hope, don’t lose faith, put your trust in the One who is with you each step of the way.  Celebrate Christmas and have joy in the Lord!

Prayer Warriors

I am a prayer warrior.  I don’t say that to pat myself on the back or to condescend myself that I can’t do it on my own.  I say it because I cannot do anything on my own.  I am nothing without Christ.  And because He loves me, He asks me to pray and bring myself to Him each day; to leave my heartaches, my sorrows, my joys, my triumphs, my everything at the cross.  It is all His already, it is just for me to let go and give back to Him.  

Jesus Himself spent a great deal of time in prayer.  Jesus tells us throughout the Bible to pray, to come to Him, to ask in His name.  

He doesn’t promise us sports cars and diamond rings.  He doesn’t promise us that life will go on the way we want it to simply because we pray.  He does promise He will walk through life with us, share in the joys and carry us through the sorrows.  And, He does promise that if we pray in His name according to His will, our prayers will be answered positively.  My husband and I have been greatly blessed to see Him answer our prayers with a resounding yes in terms of our children’s health before they were born.  We have also been blessed when the answer was not the one we wanted and He carried us through the pain.  

Even if His answer is “no”, “not yet” or  “not in this way” it doesn’t mean His love is any less.  Rather, His love is more.  He knows the final outcome, knows the plan, knows the hurt and lives through all of it with us.  Each time we pray, we come closer to our Lord and Savior.  Even if your prayers begin with one word, just His name, each time you come to His feet, you will grow closer and He will guide you more.   I encourage each of you to ask Him today to help you to pray more and more each day and thank Him for listening, for being and for loving.

 

Psalm 145:18

The LORD is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.

Proverbs 15:29

The LORD is far from the wicked but he hears the prayer of the righteous.

Matthew 7:11

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Luke 6:12

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God

Luke 18:1

Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up

Romans 8:26

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.

Philippians 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Colossians 4:2

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.

1 Thessalonians 5:17

pray continually

James 4:2-3

2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

“small” blessings

Sometimes the little things in life prove to be the biggest and best blessings and joys.

My youngest has an old soul as some would say.  He is goofy and crazy and rotten and young, but in certain things he has an understanding, a forgiveness and an almost wise.  When my daughter was sad a couple months ago about giving up her old bike (she could ride the new one, but it still made her nervous and the old one needed to go) he took the bike and said he would take care of it and moved it away from her sight.  So sweet, but not surprising.

Our cat is very sick and likely not going to make it much longer…all of the kids brought her their favorite comfort items and gently tucked them around her.

My youngest told me the other day that I was his best girl friend.  🙂

A few weeks ago we were coming home from a family outing and someone was throwing out a great air hockey table…which is now in our possession.

My two second graders had to write about someone they admire and my son chose his dad and my daughter chose me.  🙂

And of course endless hugs and kisses from all of them.  Life’s blessings are so sweet and simple, we just need to grasp them and cherish them.

And just to add a little turmoil to the life’s sweetness, but again on a very simple note…no crisis.  My lawn mower starter is my enemy.  It starts wonderfully for my husband but it doesn’t like me…and I do nothing different.  Oh well!  After 20…yes 20 minutes of trying to get it to start…would you believe the sky opened up and rained on me?  😛