Tuesday, November 24, 2015

There's Nothing Magical About Christmas...

When i was younger, Christmas was magical.  When i was younger, gifts "suddenly" appeared under the tree and all i had to do was try really really hard to fall asleep the night before.  It was a MIRACLE!!! mostly everything i told this smelly dude at the mall wearing a red suit and fake beard that i wanted suddenly appeared.  But as i grew older and i found out the truth about Santa, who's handwriting "mysteriously" looked like my mom's...it became less and less about what i got for christmas.  sure there are things that i wanted when i was 15 years old.  but i knew then that the things i wanted came outa my mom's paycheck.  it didn't mean so much to me anymore.  In fact, i remember a Christmas about 10 years ago.  I opened my gifts and went to the bathroom to try on all the clothes that I helped my mom pick out for my christmas gifts.  I remember crying.  And it wasn't because it was the wrong sweater or i didn't get the things i wanted...it was because i realized that christmas was so much more.  there were so many others that weren't in a home, or had gifts, or family or turkey or mashed potatoes.  i felt guilty that i had so much and others had so little...or nothing at all.

10 years later, and I'm 29.  and the stuff... doesn't really matter. in fact...it matters less and less every year.  there are things far more eternal and personal and emotional that matter to me now.  i care about putting the tree up, stringing lights and hanging decorations.  i care about being with people i love.  but you see, over the years, things die.  traditions, people, friendships, hopes, dreams, goals, expectations.  and christmas means hardly anything anymore at my house.  I'll be working christmas eve and christmas day.  I'll get time and a half pay...but that doesn't really mean a whole lot to me anymore.  money is nice...but it sure isn't everything.

This year, a tradition dies.  my grandpa has been gone now for 8 months.  gone unexpectedly.  We won't go to my grandparents house this christmas like every year for the past 30 years and sit around a large table and share food, memories, stories, and a tradition started 2 years ago, Bingo.  And i'm left in this lonely place of decision.  Do i choose to believe that the best is yet to come?  Even though things aren't the way i had hoped or planned or expected?  Or do i stoop into grief and stay there, "protected" during the holidays when family and friends and the miracle of Jesus are what is celebrated?  It's hard.  this life of faith...is hard.

Christmas is not magical, but it is supernatural.  A baby born of a virgin, whom through the Savior of the world would come.  Christmas is a miracle.  Not because we get what we want off of a list, not because of anything other than Jesus.  If I am to believe that "hope is here" because hope is anywhere I am, it certainly is a choice that i have to make.  Even though i look around my world and see that things are so not what they used to be, traditions are gone, people are gone, and other things gone...I can still choose to believe that hope lives because Christ in me is the hope of glory.  And because He is in me, Hope is in me.  and hope is not magical. but it is powerful.  hope fills my lungs and breathes onto my faith that sometimes looks just as dead and broken as some of the things around me.  I can have hope to its fullest capacity that the best really is yet to come.  And just because i can't see it ... doesn't mean it's not here.

Friday, November 13, 2015

A tiny post about a big "F" word

It's not what you think. My "f" word is controversial, yes. Offensive, maybe. It might even pack a mean punch. In a world that lives and breathes off of negativity and fear, I have chosen to, somewhat fearfully, live a life of faith.  Living courageously doesn't mean we do it with the complete absence of fear. Sometimes, as Jocye Meyer has said, "you gotta do it afraid."  So here's a short word on the "f" word...faith.

I wish I could accurately describe what the last 8 months of my life has been like. 
If ever I have experienced the truth of God's Word in a season, it has been this last one. The one that is over. But that tries to tell me it's not. The dust tries to hold on for dear life. And I keep trying to shake it off.

For the better part of my life, I chose to live in fear and to believe the lies that the devil suffocated me with. I made decisions based out of fear. I watched things die bc of my fear. And in the midst of fear and failure, I've chosen to spray out the stench of those two "f" words with unbridled, and absolute foolish faith. 

I invoked my right to remain silent as I allowed for the enemy to arrest my soul with his putrid lies. But Born in the dust of my failure, God had already manufactured a miracle. And my unbridled, foolish faith grew legs and started walking. Wobbly at first, and now learning to stand and believe for things that aren't as though they are staring me right in the face. Things that I cannot reach out and touch yet but believe with all my heart that I actually am touching them. 

On my journey thru life, I have hurt people. People I love so very much. I've come to see the truth of the cliche saying "hurt people hurt people." I allowed my hurt of what I needed and didn't get as a kid to dictate my selfish nature. I became a "taker" and found that I was actually more empty the more I took. 

So now, I am choosing to believe in faith, with faith and by faith...that God had a plan of restoration before any of my failures breathed their first breath. I am choosing to believe by faith...that on the ground of my greatest failures and mistakes, His grace will promote a story of redemption and restoration.  Something more precious than gold.  Something more special than anything materialistic. I'm believing by faith...that He's not done with me yet. I'm believing by faith...that my disappointments are setups for divine appointments.