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Christmas in December

 

December

A little colder,warm-christmas-decor-red-decorative-balls_1920x1440.jpg a little darker, a little scary to realize another year has already passed.  It’s no wonder Christmas is celebrated in December!  What better way to alleviate that cold, lonely fear than with bright colors, jingling bells, catchy songs sung by children, random acts of kindness by friends and strangers alike, scents that melt ice and warm your toes, dreams of past memories, hopes for future ones, savoring the moments that will bring joy in the years to come.  Christmas would not be as appreciated, as important, as impactful if it were any other month or time of year… and God’s hands in such a thing cannot be discredited.

Taking Christ out of Christmas won’t change any of the reasons we feel a little warmer this time of year and God knew that above all things, He and all things in His name would be attacked, especially Christ on Christmas. Do you think it’s coincidence that a Holiday we mark as the birth of our Savior has been celebrated in mass by nonbelievers around the world every year?  Of course not because even if they take Christ out of Christmas, they can’t take away the season God designed just for us to feel better, happier, warmer, more loving, more giving, more appreciative when it’s most needed to help us carry on through the cold, dark winter.

God designed Christmas, right down to the icicles and bitter cold that with the right lights and warmth would become beautiful and full of hope instead of frightening and full of despair and He did this for ALL of us, not just those who believe in Him.  Jesus was not sent here to heal the healthy.  He did not spend His days on earth ‘preaching to the choir’ so to speak.  Christmas, even if they remove His name, was designed to bring believers and nonbelievers together, surrounded by peace and hope, a time to love and be kind, thoughtful and giving.  Why do you think so many want Christ taken out of the name completely?  Because every person, believer or non gives glory to His name each time they say Merry Christmas.

Do not believe for one second that our omnipotent Father did not foresee the way the world would view Christmas, merry-christmas-nativity-dxkfghfse
how they would push against giving any glory to Him, how they would pervert it with greed and selfishness, how they would manipulate it to fit their own will and needs. I believe, with all my heart that He was counting on it… for with out all the worldy influences it wouldn’t be a holiday season, celebrated by all of God’s children, together, in His name.

Grandma’s Quilt

Grandma’s Quilt

gma quilt

My Great Grandmother was a simple woman. She loved God before all else and it was evident in every part of her life. She was strong and gentle, firm and compassionate, beautiful and modest, wise and humble. She was a wife, a mother, a grandmother, great grandmother and great-great grandmother before she passed away. There were so many things learned from her by the women in my family. If there was a woman of this century who fit the Bible’s example of a “virtuous woman” it was she.  

When she passed away, she didn’t look around at the vast amounts of riches or glory she’d gained, there was no thriving empire to look out over and see what great things she’d built in her long life. Instead, she laid peaceful in a bed, surrounded by all her children, all her grandchildren, most of her great grandchildren and even some of her great-great grandchildren. She listened to their voices, singing songs that she’d taught them, stories that she’d told them or been a part of.  Some had her hair, some her eyes, some her strong chin, her soft complexion. She was able to look around her before she took her last breaths, see the faces, hear the voices, the love, the laughter, the sorrow and understanding and know that this was what she built, what she gave, the empire she left to last lifetimes survived her in the generations that sat around her and would continue to carry on with out her.

 She didn’t just pass down knowledge of recipes, sewing, gardening, mothering and keeping house, the way she lived her life, loved her family and loved the Lord were the greatest treasures she passed down.

 She made a quilt for every baby born in our family and I imagine, babies born in other families too. One memory that stands out when I couldn’t have been older than four. She sat with a pile of material beside her, old dresses, aprons, table cloths and scraps. Humming a sweet hymn, she took out a piece at a time, cutting away the threads that held together whatever pattern it was before. An apron, faded and worn out quickly turned into a pile of rags, frayed along the edges, no longer held together by string. I glanced up when she came to a dress I recognized, a dress I’d worn more times than it could handle. Too small, too worn, it was no use to give or sell, she quickly set to undoing the stitches, cutting away at the pattern that made it mine. “Grandma!” I must have shouted, girl’s tears easily filled my eyes. I can’t remember my words, but the intent could never be forgotten. How could you ruin my dress? She was so calm, so gentle, so easy with words. She paused only for a moment to smile at me and smooth away invisible wrinkles in the dress.

This dress is too small and is worn in places that can’t be patched or fixed. It’s useless anymore as a dress, but watch and see.” She shook it out and went back to cutting, her nimble hands working quickly as she continued. “It’s exactly the color and pattern I need to make something new.”

I don’t remember if I accepted what she said or simply understood that I couldn’t wear it anymore but she continued cutting away, stripping away the shape and fittings in one pile, leaving a heap of what I saw as ruined dresses, aprons and clothing in another. Eventually she cut them all into squares, strips and shapes though I’m sure I didn’t sit there long enough to see it. One day she’d finished, holding up a beautiful quilt and I could see my favorite dress, the pretty color and pattern in fitted shapes with an apron, a tablecloth, an old shirt. These were things we’d worn out, used up, couldn’t give away or sell. Rather than throwing them away, she turned them into something beautiful, useful, something that would last longer than a size 3 dress or a button up shirt with holes.

Sometimes I sit, one of my grandma’s quilts wrapped around my legs and remember that day. I knew I couldn’t wear that dress anymore, I knew it was ruined and no longer useful and fought with her when she shredded it but she knew that she could tear away all the bad and make it into something better. As I smooth away the wrinkles, I see an old apron or tablecloth, a dress she often wore and remember her nimble hands, working magic over something “throw-away,” turning it into something treasured.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God,

to them who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

God works that same “magic” in our lives if we trust Him to do so. It might feel sometimes like our lives are being ripped and torn, shredded into pieces and we can’t see passed what it used to be, what we wanted it to be to see what it is, something ruined, no longer useful, not pleasing or serving to the Lord. If we give it up to Him, let him use His nimble hands, He will turn it into something new, something beautiful, something better and long lasting. Like the quilt that covers my lap, whatever He makes will be cherished and we’ll see Him turn the fabric of our past into something unimaginable, something so much better, something according to His purpose.

quilt

Love is Patient

Love is Patient, Love is Kind

They say every pregnancy is different and Lord knows, being pregnant with number two after seven years, this one was definitely different.

With the first I felt beautiful and full of energy, waddle or not, I loved every moment I was pregnant. I was full of love, hope and anxious to be a mommy. This time… let’s just remember the SEVEN years in between.  Seven years to learn exactly what I was getting myself into.  Seven years to know what to expect without having to read about it.  

By seven, my son was waaaaay passed the -needing my constant attention- phase. I could actually go to the bathroom with out getting interrupted… AT ALL!! My free time consisted of hours in the day, not just minutes. By seven, he was self-sufficient and I was raising him, not just sustaining his life. 

By seven months pregnant, I was heavy, achy and had trouble fitting my huge belly behind the steering wheel and be close enough to reach the pedals.  I had to turn sideways to do the dishes or to stand at the stove and stir a pot. The grocery store became the worst imaginable ordeal, bending, lifting, twisting, reaching only to repeat it all loading up at the check out and at one particular store, you bag you’re own groceries only to repeat the process three more times loading everything into the car, out of the car and then into all their proper places at home.

Needless to say, after a trip to the grocery store, I was tired and my feet hurt, just looking at them made me cry.

heart phone

When my husband called, I couldn’t help but complain about how I waddled through the store, having to twist and turn and ask for help reaching the top shelf. I was feeling sorry for myself, awkward, fat, swollen and embarrassed. I knew that I shouldn’t waste the precious time I had with him when he was working so far away but I couldn’t seem to help it. I knew he might quickly find reason to hang up or just be quiet and let me go on or even worse, tell me what a bad day he had and then I’d really feel terrible.  He surprised me, instead.

My big, strong, former Marine now Roughneck husband who was probably a little sweaty, a little covered in mud and exhausted from a long day’s work on an oil rig somewhere out in the hot middle of Texas, said simply, “aww, cute.”  It was so unexpected it caught me off guard and I was grinning like a weirdo, mid sentence.  Here I was, describing the most awkward and uncomfortable time of my life and my husband just imagined how cute I was, my big ‘ol belly in front of me, waddling around the store. That’s Love, patient and kind. 

love-is-patient

Where Two or Three are Gathered

Where two or three are Gathered

paper-church

For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20

Whether you’re facing hardships, good fortune or it’s just like any other day, there’s no better time to get together with friends. In the hustle and bustle of our lives, we get stuck in routines and forget to find time for our social life. Get together with the girls for lunch or an evening over dinner and desert, even if you have to cart all the kids, taking turns to keep them all in line.

guard your tongue

Of course, there’s always the chance that a night with the girls will bring out all the latest gossip and complaints, but attempt to keep your thoughts and words in a God honoring way and you’ll renew your strength and peace for the coming week, wondering why you hadn’t done it sooner and more often.

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths,but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29

holding hands

Talk, comfort and strengthen each other. If for no other reason, remember that your friends may need you more than you admit that you need them. Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” What better way to do that than to fellowship regularly with other women and mothers who understand you in a way only a friend can?