Thursday, December 24, 2009

Prince of Peace

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 4

"Peace will guard your hearts and your minds."

Sometimes I feel like my heart and mind are at war. War....and definitely not peace. My mind is screaming things at me all the time.

"What will they think if you do or don't-----?"

"You're not good enough."

"You're not smart enough."


"You have to ---------or all will fall apart."

The blanks could be filled in with anything. I have plenty to fill them with. Sometimes I fill them with the same things over and over again. You'd think I'd learn, but my mind won't let me.

My heart aches and whispers things between the tirades of my mind.

"What is more important?"

"You know the right thing to do."

"You are beautiful."

"Will this matter a year from now?"

"What you do makes a difference and matters."

"God loves you and desires to know you."

So the battle rages on.

I really want the battle to cease---the stress and anxiety to just go away.

I think there are many more people who feel stressful and anxious, but never admit it or say it out loud because that in and of itself is admitting some sort of failure and weakness. Then one risks people shaking their heads with pity and thinking....."what a shame....I thought she had it all together." In all honesty, people probably would be thinking...."I am so glad to know that she is human, too.....I thought it was only me that couldn't get my act together."
The father of lies wants us to believe that we are a failure. Or, better yet, he wants us to believe that what he wants us to do IS important and better than what God wants. God's way is almost always atypical of the world's pattern. Satan wants us to feel inadequate and incapable of holding it together between work, family, and especially church! The Prince of Peace wants us to realize our inadequacies and our shortcomings and embrace them as opportunities to fill us with his love and peace. Many self-help "experts" and life/motivational coaches preach that we all have everything within ourselves to be an extraordinary person. Doesn't that sound inspiring and eloquent? No! Truthfully, it makes me sad and know that there is NO WAY that I could ever have what it takes to be extraordinary. I am nothing.....nothing without the saving grace of Jesus. It is Christ and Christ alone that will bring me to fulfill my potential...the potential that God created me for.
Peace. Maybe the true peace of Christ will brighten the corner where I live in 2010. I am responsible for what God entrusts to me. Relying on His strength, His guidance, and His peace will empower me to take care of business.....His business.
Raise my children....
Teach them....
Love them....
Care for my husband...
And sit at my Lord's feet.....

And breath in the fragrance of love.....

And peace.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Perfect Christmas

What is your idea of a perfect Christmas?
Have you ever had one?

I am dreaming of a perfect Christmas. In my imagination this is what I find...

The only Christmas programs that we do are ones that minister to people who are less fortunate than most. Simple programs for those who need the love of Jesus and the GOOD NEWS of his coming are the kind that really make me happy. I've put on a lot of programs this season, and the one that has blessed ME the most was one for a room full of elderly people---some alert, some not, but all heard the sounds of Jesus' love through music, and also had great conversations, hugs and gifts from teenagers. It was a beautiful thing to see the gap closed between those generations.

Another piece to my "perfect" Christmas would be time. Time to spend teaching my children about GIVING. Not just giving gifts to family and friends, but giving to others. Thinking about others and what they need or what would really lift their spirits. I would love time to spend planning out blessings for others.

Then there is baking! Oh how I would love to bake at Christmas. There are so many wonderful recipes I want to try! But alas....I'm too tired at night to see them through. And the weekends....well they are so filled up with ACTIVITIES and PROGRAMS that we are rushing from one thing to another and there is no time to stay home and bake.

Parties! Oh how I love parties! But, sadly I haven't been to one this year. That's just sad, isn't it? I would even love to host a party! I love those cookie exchanges where you come with two dozen and leave with two dozen. I remember attending one when my girls were very little and I wasn't doing all these other things. My husband kept the girls and I attended the cookie exchange with cookies that I had baked. Oh how much fun that was! I've heard of a lot of those this season, but I guess I won't be attending any of those this year. After a while, people quit inviting you because they know you can't come.

Decorating! I've always wanted to put up lights on the outside of my house. Maybe someday I'll get around to that!

I just don't know how to change things. But next year, maybe by taking one thing at a time, I can do some of the things on my "perfect Christmas" list. Maybe next year my family can attend some things together instead of all being in different places.

The season often passes me by until it's Christmas Eve. In reality Christmas doesn't BEGIN until Christmas day. Maybe I can start having my perfect Christmas on Christmas day and in the real 12 days of Christmas after.

Until then, I'm strapping on my seat belt and trying to finish the roller coaster ride. Six more days of it to go! Then....maybe I'll do a little baking.