Sunday, December 23, 2012

That's What He Came For

I decided to post what I wrote last Christmas, because I felt it appropriate again this year. It has me thinking, there was so much sadness last year around Christmas, and then again this year as well; what if that is no coincidence? He did, after all, come in the dark of night to be the light of this World. May you be reminded this Christmas, if you feel like you are surrounded by darkness; that's what he came for.

Posted 12/16/2011:

I've been recently feeling overwhelmed with prayer requests. Not that the thought of praying for all these people leaves me overwhelmed, I've just been feeling bogged down by all the needs, sadness, worry & stress going on around me. A few mornings ago I knelt down to pray and started just lifting names up to the Lord, one by one. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I thought "Father, what an awful time of year to have such BIG prayers. It's Christmas time, a time for fun & fellowship & Joy & celebrating YOU!" And then he responded...

"That's what I came here for."

If you're feeling sad, anxious, lonely, mourning, or hopeless this season, please know one thing- that's the reason he came here. He didn't come so we could have candy canes & Santa Clause & fudge & gingerbread houses. He didn't come with a promise of a life filled with joy. He came to break your chains, to have a relationship with you, so he could walk beside you in your sadness, carry your heavy burdens, take away your worries, and give us hope. If your head can't find joy in any of the celebrations this seasons, I pray your heart can rejoice in knowing that our Saviour loved you enough to leave the glories of Heaven for this sin-filled earth for you- and he is still reaching down for you this Christmas season.

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
to show mercy to our ancestors
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
Luke 1:68-75

Friday, December 14, 2012

Whom Shall I Fear?

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1

I own 3 kindergartners. After I heard the news about the school shooting in Connecticut I spent most of my day in a teary fog. Trying to make sense of something I know we will never be able to make sense of this side of Heaven. How could someone do that to children, to the babies in the school?

It's obvious that if even grown-ups are questioning this situation, a child would as well. So how do we answer them? As parents we sometimes teach our children that we will always keep them safe, that God will protect them, we want them to believe that. We want to believe that. But I'm reminded of a conversation I had with my sister just a few weeks ago. She is no stranger to tragedy, and she called to discuss this very topic; how can I tell my kids that God will protect them when (God forbid) that may not be the case?

So, what do you tell your kids? Whether or not you choose to talk about this tragedy directly with your kids, it's a good reminder to be speaking truth into their little hearts. And the truth is that even though we should still continue to pray and ask God’s protection on our family, bad things may happen. But the bigger truth is we don't have to worry because we know that no matter what happens to us here on Earth, we get to go to Heaven someday, and nobody can take that away from us. That is our victory. That is why we don't worry or fear, because our eternity is secure. Truth. So hold your babies tighter tonight, leave the fingerprints on the door, read them an extra bedtime story, and pray like crazy for this nation, and the people affected by this tragedy.

Hey mama...
I don't know you, but I'm praying for you. I'm crying for you. My heart breaks for you. I feel as though God has one specific mama on my heart, and I don't even know your name but I'm sending up prayers for you. I will keep praying for you, mama, as you begin to pick up the pieces. Time will not ever completely heal this wound but I'm praying you will at least have the strength to carry on. I'll be praying for you over the next few days as you bury your kindergartener. I'll be praying for you on Christmas day as you watch his presents sit without being unwrapped. I'll be praying for you throughout the year as life around you moves on, but time in your world seems to be standing still. I'll be praying for you, mama. Praying that God makes himself known to you in a big way, praying you feel his presence constantly with you, praying he gives you little pieces of reassurance that your little boy his safe in his arms. He is big enough to carry your anger, your sadness, your questions, I pray you lift those to Him. God Bless you, sweet mama.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

My Treasure Chest

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Luke 12:34

The boys have started getting pretty nasty to one another lately, and in our efforts to find a creative way to deal with this problem, we have recently started a new rewards program around here. Each boy has a clear plastic cup with a line on it, and every time they exhibit good behavior they get to put a marble in their cup. On the contrary, every time they are mean to a fellow triplet they must take one of their hard earned marbles and put it in said triplet's cup. When they have earned enough marbles (or been victimized to the point of having a cup full of marbles) they will be rewarded (or consolated for being picked on) with an ice cream cone or some small treat.

So tonight before bed I asked one little boy (whom had not one marble to speak of in his cup) if he would pick books up for me. The tired, worn out, and stubborn little 5 year old that he was immediately told me 'No, I didn't make that mess!". "Okay fine I replied, although, had you picked that mess up nicely like I had asked, I was going to give you a marble." Oh, that little boy fell apart, begged me to give him another chance to earn that marble. "Please, please PLEASE I'll do it! Please let me have a marble!"

To which I responded "No, I wanted you to help with those books because you love me and you want to be helpful and obedient to me. NOT because you only want a marble."

And then it occurred to me how similar this was to what God wants from us, and I had a wonderful opportunity to share with them why they should serve God. Not because he can do stuff for us (and he does!) or give us things (we've got tons!) but because he loves us. He knows what is best for us, and daily obedience to God puts us align with his will, and being in God's will is the only way to live a truley satisfied and content life.

And then I had to do my own faith-check. What were my prayers lately? Did I, despite the fact that our bank account said otherwise; feel rich? Rich with God's love, God's grace, his forgiveness, his mercy, his presence, his fruit... rich with things that can truley satisfy ones soul? Was my treasure in this home, or was my treasure buried my chest; where you abide in my heart and soul?

So this Christmas season, as we as a culture are wrapped up in buying and spending and wanting and needing, take a moment to ask yourself; Why do you serve God? Do you seek him for what he can do for you, change for you, fix for you, or give you? Or do you just seek Him because he is worthy, because he loves you, because you long to know more of Him? What do your prayers sound like; are you asking for more things or asking for more of Him? He desires to change YOU, not your situation. He desires to give you more of Himself, not more 'stuff'. The treasure he wants to gives you is eternal; He is our treasure, my undeserved treasure.

Help me check my motives in everything that I do. Help me instill in my children that you are more than enough. We don't deserve the salvation you died to give us, let a lone all these earthly possessions you bless us with. Thank you for the opportunity to teach my children about how much you love us. Help me set an example to them of a mother that wants nothing more than just to seek your face and know your heart. Help me be so satisfied with only you that nothing or no matter what is going on around me, I am always content. My cup runneth over.
In Jesus name,