Month: December 2017

  • Joy to The World, The Laundry’s Done!

    If you just sang this title to the tune of Joy to the World in your head, you just got a behind-the-scenes peek at my crazy this week.  Throughout most of the holiday season I’m a lot like Buddy the Elf: “Smiling’s my favorite”, and spreading Christmas cheer by “singing loud for all to hear” (which I’m here to tell you will get you weird looks EVERY time).  

    I can usually rally under the busiest of schedules leading up to Christmas, knowing that I will have “time off” when Christmas comes. I can rally…until I can’t. It turns out our mortal bodies can only endure so much sleep deprivation and caffeine loading. Eventually it will rebel against you with illness, or just good old fashioned anxiety.

    So yesterday, as I drank my Echinacea tea, I folded my laundry and watched the Muppet Christmas Carol. And you know what? It was enough. The laundry was done. Some days we take victory where we can find it.

    Christmas is almost here, whether we are ready or not. Even though we feel the pressure to give into the busy and expectations of the season, take some time to slow down enough to enjoy the moments leading up to it. Our Christmas celebrations don’t have to be Pinterest-perfect to be absolutely beautiful and full of wonder.

    Grab a coffee (or better yet, hydrate!) and stop for a moment. Even 3 minutes can be a game-changer when you are collecting your strength and getting ready to navigate Target. Breathe in and out, and remember that your hope, strength and worth rest firmly in Christ alone. After all, He is what this is all about in the first place. When we take a minute to refocus on what is important, it frees us up to appreciate how God is at work in us, and in those around us. It makes room in our hearts and minds, to see as God sees, and to love as He loves. Don’t let the enemy steal your joy through the business of busyness.  

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  • Never Beyond His Reach

    There are times in my life when I get super busy and days will go by before I realize that I have forgotten to take time to acknowledge God in my busyness. I remember this was especially true when my kids were babies and toddlers. I was so exhausted all the time. A few minutes of time to myself was a rare commodity, let alone time to spend reading the Bible and praying.

    We all have seasons in our lives when it is harder than others to draw near to God. Sometimes it’s seasons of busyness, while other times its a seasons crisis or grief. What I learned during these times, is that even when I forget to draw near to God, He draws near to me and is already here with me in whatever I’m facing that day. God isn’t someplace where I have to go find him, but rather He is with me wherever I go and in whatever I do. In the diaper changing, He is there. In the driving from one appointment to another, He is there. In busy work day or in the exhaustion from an illness, He is there.

    King David knew this and wrote this down in the Psalms for us to remember as well:

    You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

    Psalm 139:5, 7-9

    Even though David was a King, he faced many hardships over the course of his life. Many times he was running for his life and other times he was running from God. Despite all this, he was still known as a man after God’s own heart. David recognized that there was nowhere that he could go and nothing he could do that could remove God’s loving presence from his life. Even if he went to the far reaches of the earth, up into the heavens or down into the depths of the ocean, God will still be there with him. He believed that God created him and loved him beyond measure. This truth allowed him to weather the toughest of circumstances and helped him lead a nation. Even when he ran from God or sinned against God, he knew he could always return to the one who calls him His.

    We too can turn to God in everything. Even in those times when you reach your darkest hour or those times you have run in your own direction, God is still here with you. When you are going a million miles a minute and haven’t stopped for three days because life has run away with you, God is still here with you. He goes before you and follows you; He lays His hand of blessing upon you, to guide you and hold you fast.

    Take heart, dear friend, God is with you in whatever your day brings you today. Reach out your hand and God will firmly grab hold. His love for you is beyond measure.

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  • Glimpses of the Kingdom

    “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him ” 1 Corinthians 2:9

    Growing up, my mom would wrap Christmas presents early for my brother and I, and keep them in her closet until Christmas Eve. Then she and my dad (aka Santa) would put them under the tree. Occasionally, she would give us hints as to what lie beneath the colorful paper and curly-Q ribbons, and we’d marvel at it and try to guess what it could be. All we knew is that it would be absolutely wonderful. It was thrilling.

    1 Corinthians 2:9 reminds me a bit of Christmas time and peeking at presents: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.”

    God loves us infinity more than we can comprehend. He has wonderful things in store for us that we cannot even imagine; the likes of which we have never seen or heard. But unlike peeking at Christmas presents, we are given countless glimpses of the Kingdom of God.

    We catch a glimpse of it in worship when we pour out our hearts to Him in praise. We experience it when we come together in faith, and pray. When we serve and put other’s needs before our own, we get a sneak peek at the Kingdom of God. When we laugh together, rejoicing with one another, we feel it, because we are living out the Kingdom of God. When we comfort one another in times of need, the Kingdom of God is near. Every good thing that has come from above, every blessing we experience, is just a hint at what’s coming.

    Jesus came to bring light and love to the earth, and left his Holy Spirit here with us, to help us do the same. These glimpses remind us of that. The life Jesus led, in turn showed us how to live, how to love, and how to be a sign and foretaste of the Kingdom of God until He returns and sets the world right again.

    Every time we interact with the world around us, we can look for ways we can point people toward Jesus. Our lives are a sign and a foretaste of the Kingdom of God. We can show them a glimpse of the unimaginable goodness to come.

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