My furry companion is awfully curious this morning. He's not sure what to think about all the presents under the tree. He's been a good boy, though, and has not messed with the first thing. Ornament OR present. I'm proud of him.
I cannot believe that today is Christmas eve, and in a mere week we will be saying goodbye to 2011. Whatever happens to make time go by so quickly? It happens after you have kids. When you're young, time can't seem to move fast enough, and you're always wishing away those precious years. And then, when you become a parent, you can do nothing but watch it quickly slip out of your fingers. I so often want to just freeze time. I try really hard to enjoy the moment the boys are in. I don't always, but I do always try my hardest. Whether it's the not so fun argumentative times, the times when they think you don't know what you're talking about, or whether it's quite possibly their last year of innocence (as in believing in you know who). I know how important it is to live every moment like it's your last.
Time is precious. I want my kids to remember a loving home...not necessarily one that was the biggest or best decorated, but a home that was filled with love, laughter and warm memories. I was having an online conversation with a friend a few weeks ago who lost two (out of three) of her sons last Veteran's day. She would give anything in the world to enjoy one more Christmas with them. Just one more hug. One more conversation. One more "I love you". She probably wonders if she ever took time for granted, even though I'm sure she didn't. She was exactly the kind of mom that I hope to be for my boys.
I don't want to do that. I don't want to take one single moment for granted. I'm not the best mom. I'm not the most kind or the most patient. I completely fly off my handle sometimes and yell at them. And I'm sure that I will do this again....over and over again, until they're adults. But I don't want them to remember that. I don't want them to think that I talk "down" to them all the time, or that I always talked in a mean way. I want them to feel valued and treasured. Even if the story consists of something that takes Noah fifteen minutes to tell me. I want to be patient with them. I want them to remember that I was a flawed mom...but that I wasn't ever too proud to apologize to them.
Why do we let apologies be so painful? Why do we let wasted time spent in fights consume us so? If we would just stop and say those precious little words, and mean them...how much fuller would our lives be?
I'm so sad to say that my family will not all be together this Christmas. Some are not able to come because of living away, and some won't be there for other reasons. I know that it's hard on parents when all their children can't be with them.
I am challenging myself (feel free to join me) to make the most out of whatever time I am given. Time with my husband, with my boys, with our extended families, even time spent in the company of people I don't know. I'm challenging myself to make good use of that time. With strangers, I'm going to try and be more bold with my faith. I've been doing that this Christmas season, and I hope that I have planted some seeds. I hope that my "May God bless you this Christmas" has taken roots in someone's heart. I pray that God gives me courage to continue doing this all year long.
Looking back over the year, I remember in January that Klove radio station issued a challenge to all its listeners. The challenge was to find a word, any ONE word, and make it your word for the year. I'm sure you remember me talking about this...anyway, after much thought and careful deliberation over my one word (there are so MANY amazing words!!!), I decided on "steadfast".
Definition of STEADFAST
a : firmly fixed in place : immovable b : not subject to change
steadfast doctrine of original sin — Ellen Glasgow>
: firm in belief, determination, or adherence : loyal
I thought that the meaning of the word challenge was to "be" that word. It's funny how we always think one way, and God thinks a whole other way. (“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:8,9)
But that wasn't it at all. God showed me this year, 2011, that He was going to be steadfast to me. But in times when I wanted to quit...He wouldn't let me. In times when I wanted to give up, He was there to guide me another way. When I thought my heart would break over leaving our beloved First Assembly, He led us straight into another amazing body of believers...one that we have fit right into and that we now consider "home". When I didn't think I could memorize over twenty Bible verses in a year, He gave me the strength to keep pushing on. When I got frustrated at my husband for nothing at all (except that maybe he was breathing), He showed me that that was not appropriate for a Godly wife...and that I should say "I'm sorry".
He has been amazingly steadfast to me all this year. And He will continue to be steadfast to me, as long as I keep walking in His ways. I don't know why He is so good to me, but He is, and I give Him all the credit. I didn't "do" anything to deserve this unspeakable gift...and you don't have to, either. Grace is a free gift...for any and all who want it. All you have to do is ask, believe, confess...and He's all yours.
I don't really want anything else for Christmas this year. Even though I know I'll get gifts, His presence is the only thing I need. His grace is sufficient for me. It can be for you, too.
Well, I told you that someone would be awake by the time I was finished writing this. It kind of went all over the place didn't it? I just love when God reveals something to me, like He did this morning. He is so gracious to do that...to allow us little glimpses of Him. He's always there, always around....all we have to do is look for Him. I see Him in everything. The outdoors, my kids, sunshine, even in our animals...He is the wonderful Master, Creator of all...and He abides in me.
I hope the best for you this Christmas. I pray that you take the time to enjoy the moment you're in...and that you make some memories with those you love. Merry Christmas, and may my sweet Jesus bless you today, and every other day of your life.
"All generous giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with Whom there is no variation or the slightest hint of change." James 1:17