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The Inn after Christmas

These are the leftovers of Christmas that remain underneath our tree.

The last of the gifts that need to be unboxed and placed in their appropriate places throughout the house. We chose to unwrap our gifts and then place them here instead of leaving our tree bare after Christmas morning. Weird, maybe. Lazy…whatever you wish to call it.

However, even though we prefer to purchase a live tree each year, we decided this year to leave it up a little longer. I happen to enjoy the twinkling lights. We were both home the full two weeks for winter break. And while living or artificial, each year we seem to want to put our decorations up earlier, and keep them up later and later.

Then there is also the twelve days of Christmas that played into this. The wise men did not visit Jesus on Christmas night. They actually paid their visit to the Messiah several nights later. Bearing gifts that were much more glorious than any sitting underneath our tree right now.

After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down to worship him. They opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Matthew 2:9-11, NLT

Whether you celebrate the Twelfth Night today or tomorrow (because yes, even that is debated). If you don’t even give it a thought. Whether you think it’s superstition to take anything “old” into a “new” year, and take your decorations down as soon as Christmas Day is done; or whatever Christmas decor lore you subscribe to, let’s remember this:

The true gift was never placed under a tree. He was swaddled with love and care, and placed in a feeding trough in a lowly manger. He is a gift that is ours for the taking daily, as long as we receive him in our hearts. His spirit isn’t relegated to a season, and his love and spirit of giving, kindness and compassion that lives in those who call him Savior should be present far beyond Christmas Day. Far beyond the day the decor is packed away. The carols are sung, or the gift boxes are placed in the attic. It is lived out daily. Given to others daily.

If you are a follower of Jesus, let’s look at others the way I look at my Christmas tree. With wonder. With delight. As if it’s the most magical thing you have ever seen, and you certainly don’t want it taken down.

Could we spend a little more time in awe of people this way? Even those who are hard to love? In awe of him this way?

Even after all the decorations and twinkling lights are gone?

Will there still be room for Jesus? For love, peace, joy, and compassion in our inns?

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2019 in Loving Others

 

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Before the world tells her different

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Sassy, Stubborn. Bull-headed.

Words I often use to describe my daughter. The words I use to describe the battle of wills endured here at home. After the “No, I won’t,” and “Yes, you wills.” After the demands to do this and not that. To wear boots in July. Flip-flops in winter. The demands to have her own way, and be her own person. To eat chocolate bars for breakfast. The need to have the last word. To fight to the end.

Sassy. Stubborn. Bull-headed. And under her sweet exterior, a gigantic force to be reckoned with. Fighting to the end.

My dear, dear friends, stand your ground. Don’t hold back…consider that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort. 1 Corinthians 15:58, MSG

It is her stubbornness. Her tenacity. This endurance to continue the fight that I hope to never dim.

Because, this gift. This trait that often frustrates me, will be just what is needed for her continue to fight the “good fight.”

The fight with the world that will tell her she is too sassy. Too outspoken. Too strong-willed. Before that passion and determination is squelched by a world that just can’t handle it.

Help her see, that even if it frustrates me, that these traits are exactly what the world needs. Exactly what God provided for His purpose in her life.

“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you. Before you saw the light of day, I had holy plans for you.” Jeremiah 1:5, MSG

That her stubborn nature will be just what is needed to persevere when she feels like giving up.

Her sassy and no-nonsense attitude-what is needed when she needs to stand up for what is right. Speak the truth, or communicate passion for a cause.

That her ability to not worry about what others think, care if she is mismatched, and desire not to follow the crowd will come in handy when the world tries to break her confidence. Tell her to “fit in,” to act, speak, and look a certain way.

That her tenacity will help her continue to embrace the word “no.” That she is content and steadfast in saying the word. Knowing that she has this right to say it to things she doesn’t want or doesn’t believe in. To protect her values. Her peace of mind. Her body. Her freedom.

And, if dealing with this sassy, mismatched, and tangled mess of a girl ensures she continues to love who she is….then I will stand by. Daring the world to tell her anything different.

“You’re beautiful from head to toe, my dear love; beautiful beyond compare, absolutely flawless.” Song of Solomon 4:7, MSG

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2016 in Broken, Yet Beautiful

 

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Giving Thanks to Him

I thank God for your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus. There’s no end to what has happened to you-it’s beyond speech, beyond knowledge. 1 Corinthians 1:4-5

Lord, you give me peace that

surpasses understanding;

a voice to praise you through

every trial.

You give me hope when

my faith starts fading;

a promise that my troubles

will only last a while.

Lord, you have given me grace

I never deserved;

a new life lived only for you.

You have blessed me with prayers

both answered and not.

There is no situation you have not

Brought me through.

Lord, what you have done for me

is beyond words;

A love given that could never be measured.

I thank you for a future, hope,

faith, love and forgiveness;

a bushel of gifts that will forever

be treasured.

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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His Will, Not Mine

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him. Psalm 127:3

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I remember the day like it was yesterday. I had just found out the news. I remember thinking to myself- How could this be? This was not part of the plan! This can’t be right! Two lines? Yep, there are definitely two of them-two VERY blue lines, in fact. My then 10 month old daughter was running in and out of the bathroom, and then it hit me. I’m pregnant! Again!

So, I did what any woman does who has waited for those blue lines to appear. I did what any woman does while waiting for a test to seal their fate. I did what any woman does when she finds out she is going to have a baby. You guessed it!

I sat on the bathroom floor-and cried!

I cried for the daughter I hadn’t had enough time with. I wasn’t ready to share her. We weren’t ready for another child. We had no room. We couldn’t afford it. We had so many of my own medical expenses to contend with, now this? This certainly was not part of our plan!

Not your will, but mine….

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That’s right. God had another plan. And it wasn’t the four year plan my husband and I had hashed out, and from day one Hunter has been a child full of surprises, unexpected blessings, and unplanned events.

Today is Hunter’s 5th birthday, and although according to my will he should only be a year old, God’s plan for his life and ours has been more amazing than we ever could have planned it ourselves. Through the “surprise” of another child, I have learned in the past five years about plans, blessings, and just how God works things out for His purpose.

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Every good and perfect thing comes from above. James 1:17

I planned to have a healthy child with 10 fingers and 10 toes. And I did. But, I did not plan on having a child who would eventually struggle to walk, to speak, to communicate what he needs, to adapt to the chaos of everyday life. I didn’t plan on the same child to be diagnosed with autism at the age of 3. I never planned on spending many mornings and afternoons each week in therapy sessions, or learning how to restrain a child who is having a meltdown, a child who at times is known to harm himself. I never planned to still be waking up to a screaming child 5 years later. I never planned on learning everyday how to interpret the needs of a child who still has problems communicating them to me.

I planned to have a healthy child with 10 fingers and 10 toes.

God had another plan, and it was nothing like mine.

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God planned on showing me just how much patience I really had. God planned on showing me how to be tolerant, and to not judge another parent who has “that” kid with them in a store. “That” kid is now usually my kid. God had plans to help me find humor in the midst of all the meltdowns. To learn that not everything is within my control. To be there for others struggling through parenthood. God had plans to show me how to love unconditionally despite flaws, imperfections, or pasts. To teach me that sometimes love isn’t about saying the word at all. It’s in all the things, actions and emotions that words cannot express.

And I learned this all through a small, angelic, quirky boy that was not part of my plan.

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 God had another plan, and it was nothing like mine. Oh, it was so much better!

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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