Thursday, December 29, 2011

The New Year

Here comes a New Year. 2012. I wonder at the possibilities. What will it hold? I have hope for new experiences and healing. I don't know if it will be, but I can hope.
I've been working today on tidying up from Christmas. It feels good to accomplish stuff and see my clean surfaces emerging from the pretty decorations.
I started my new medication yesterday. It did cause an upset stomach and made me tired yesterday and today. It wasn't unbearable and for that, I'm happy. We'll see what happens next Weds.
I hope that all those who read this will be blessed with joy and hope as we look into this next year. I know that God will be at work and we will all learn and grow through whatever He sends our way.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Wow! Christmas! I feel it. I feel it in my heart--the hope, the peace, the joy and the Love of Christ. I finished wrapping a couple of gifts yesterday and enjoyed family time and worshipped with my church. I wasn't sure that Christmas would feel like Christmas. 
I realized something...
Maybe I'm so used to the over-the-top,
kind of Advent;
I can't feel Christmas excitement without it?

We didn't do that this year.
We simplified. My energy isn't up to more but our attitudes have changed, too.
We want Christmas to be more about Christ and less about us.

It's different. It takes some getting used to.
Today, I like it...
Today, we're relaxing, enjoying one another, really enjoying our new gifts.
My Dd loved her bike. Apparently, we've started a new tradition in our family. She's in 6th grade. I got my "big kid" 10 speed my 6th grade year. Hubby did, too. She was thrilled for the bike but it means even more now that she knows her dad and I had the same rite of passage. 
My SIL got my son a slingshot. I cringed. My brother got in BIG trouble with his when we were younger. She didn't know the story but it seems as if life is coming another big circle. Little son uses his to launch pompom angry birds at the stuffed pig she included with the gift. (Better than rocks at the mailbox. Right, D.R.)?

Full circle: It's my little son reminds us it's time to light the "big candle in the middle." The Christ candle, lit after hope, peace, joy and love. Thankfully, those things can burn bright in our hearts even though the candles are melted down to almost nothing.
Merry Christmas!
The waiting is over...
It's time to serve.

as always...
It's time....

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I never learn...

Discouragement, no, despair sits heavy on my heart tonight. I'm trying to create joy in Advent. In celebrating the coming of Emanuel. It's not there. My heart is heavy, sad, and (time to admit it), despairing.

Into the despair comes these words:

"Just when Mary’s astonishment over meeting Gabriel calmed down, her heart took another cataclysmic leap. Pregnant?! If Gabriel had the message right, then God’s master plan for Mary was totally out of sync with what she had imagined. The good news was that God’s promise to put an heir on the throne of David would be fulfilled through Mary’s son. The bad news for Mary was that she was going to have to explain this pregnancy to her family. 

It was no easy road, but God faithfully guided Mary every step of the way; her faith never wavered. If Mary could trust God’s plans, then so can we. Maybe you know what it’s like to feel that a situation is the opposite of what you hoped for, but perhaps is all part of a bigger plan. It’s okay to doubt or be afraid or even a bit angry in that circumstance. Ultimately God asks us to let go of our own agendas and trust that the Master plan is ultimately in our best interests. Trust. That’s all God asks of you."(Tammy Wiens

My previous post was celebrating the comfort of knowing that God is with me. Today, He feels far away.

I feel guilty. 

My trust is wavering and anger and fear have reigned and caused doubt and despair. My life is not at all what I want it to be and I'm having a hard time trusting that all this pain is good for those who live with me and are getting less of the wife and mother that they need.

Honestly, it ISN'T good. 

This is a world of sin and bad things happen because of the broken world. God says He will work these bad things for the good of those who love Him. So, I have to trust He will. After all, He's fulfilled so many promises and worked so many miracles in my life. The bad has always been turned to good. I know He'll do it again.

Right now, though, my prayer is less of Mary's "May it be to me as you have said" and more of Jesus', "Father, let this cup pass from me..."

Help me, Lord, as I struggle with the "not my will, but thine be done" response. Please bring me to the point where I can wholeheartedly have Mary's attitude and trust even with the consequences of Your holy plan.

Advent is not just a time of joy. 

It's a time of pain. 

  • The pain of those who don't believe and gossip and turn away from an unwed pregnant teenager. 
  • The pain of family not giving a room to this young woman and her husband.
  • The pain of a husband's helplessness in finding a clean and healthy place for his young wife to give birth.
  • The pain of labor and the birth of a child.

It's a place of fear.

  • The fear of "What will people say?" 
  • The fear of a beloved being killed if things are made public.
  • The fear of traveling so far away from home.
  • The fear of not finding a place to stay.
  • The fear of angels appearing.
  • The fear of having your baby boy killed by a jealous king.
  • The fear of running away to a foreign land to save your baby.

In my season of waiting, I understand the story more deeply than ever before. This season of waiting for Christ is filled with pain and with fear. That's just an integral part of it.

The impossible irony is the pain and fear are needed for there to be trust. Trust that what we see and what we experience is all part of a greater and bigger and impossibly miraculous plan.

And Advent? It's all about the trust. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent Waiting

I am just so blessed when God talks to me. I've been discouraged. Sunday, at church, I kept crying. Everything just spoke to me of His love and care of me. I was comforted. The message focused on the Hope of Christmas--Immanuel "God with us." I needed that. God is WITH me! Do you get it? When I'm frustrated with the stupid little annoying things my body is doing while I'm trying to recover--the canker sores, the skin irritations, the pain of the area that just won't heal--the Immense, Unfathomable Creator of EVERYTHING is WITH me. He's here. He knows. He understands. He helps. He does it all because He Loves Me! Amazing. Comforting. Humbling.
Then, a friend posts a link to an advent devotional. I followed the devotions at Lent this year and was blessed. Now, I'm reading the Advent ones. The message on Monday hit me like a ton of bricks. This God who loves me has good things for me. I need to face each day with expectant waiting. The sort of expectant and joyful waiting I felt as a child as Christmas approached. This is what they said,
"Let us begin Advent, waiting.
Not the “going back to sleep” kind of waiting.
Not the impatient pacing, or the wasted anxiety of waiting.
Not even the passive-aggressive waiting that says, “Really? We’ll see.”

Let us begin Advent, waiting.
Getting up and joining the adventure,
Even when we don’t know where it will take us.
Shifting the impatient waiting to expectant living.
Boldly claiming the Good News that we know will come.
Waiting with joy as we reach out with the grace of God that is so much more than amazing.

Let us begin Advent."
In a facebook post, I said this in response, "I love this idea of waiting--expectant and joyful. I'm really struck by the phrase, "Really? We'll see." That's the waiting I've felt lately over my possible healing. Praying that I can turn my focus to waiting for Jesus to just teach and touch me however he wants each and every day--not waiting for someday but ready for now."

I found another devotional blog. "A Holy Experience." She's focusing on waiting, too. The Lord making His message known to me. "Wait. Wait for me. Wait joyfully, expectantly, happily." 
"How, Lord?" is my question. 
Today, a start of the answer. Jesus came as a baby--a small thing in a big world. Yet this small miracle changed history, changes lives still. 
So, I'll look for the small miracles God works every day. I'll wait for them and look for them knowing that "Emmanuel" will perform them. And, I'll do my best to do the small kindnesses for those around me. I know it will require sacrifice and I may not always remember I'm performing miracles for Him but I'm wanting to try. Help me, Lord. 

My facebook post and comments today.
"Advent is an active waiting. And Christmas comes to those who wait for the whisper, who look for the little, who seek the small, scandalous signs of the every-where presence of God.
The only way to see the Savior this Advent is to see the small, and wise men find ways to slow the season down."

"All Advent, this pouring out in small acts of kindness: a hot cup of coffee, a sticky note on a mirror, a treat left on a seat. And for every small act, this planting of one small seed.
A seed that sprouts, a shoot out of the black earth, a small act of kindness that grows bold love straight up into the dark."
By Ana Voskamp

More info on waiting--active waiting. This goes along with the other message I received on "Expectant living." I've taken my focus off of the small seeds and acts of God's presence to ask for the "big" miracle. I can ask for that but need to remember to focus on Him--the enormous power packaged in a small baby. I must wait expectantly looking for the small miracles in the day and give thanks. Then, I need to be His love to others, joyfully performing small acts--little miracles in other's lives.
Ana likens Jesus to a seed and calls Him, "impossible power contained in the small." I love that image. We've been watching NOVA about quantum physics and theoretical science--impossible science in many ways. My God is even MORE unimaginable, unfathomable and impossible that that! Whew! I feel a seed of expectation starting to burst from it's seed coat in the still darkness of my discouragement.

Thank-you, Lord, for speaking and answering my prayer.