Hi dear ladies, congrats on making it to January. We can all take a deep breath and also take a minute to realize what we’ve accomplished. We’ve navigated another holiday season. Although it was done imperfectly, the fact remains that we served our families to the best of our abilities, did all the shopping, choosing, planning, decorating, cooking, wrapping, sizing, baking… and all the other things. God is gracious to give us such a reason to celebrate and the strength to make it special for our dear ones.
You can read our family Christmas Update 2021, here.
Just two things have been on my heart for the year ahead.
Look around at whatever God has given you. In front of you, beside you, in your hand. Do you know what these things are? Gifts, yes. But not just gifts, as if God is continually giving you birthday presents. All that you have can properly be called tools. Tools for what, you may wonder.
These tools are given to you for the purpose of building the kingdom of Christ in this world. Nothing should be an end in itself– if it is, it has become an idol in your life.
Pick up where you are, with what you have, and go forward. Build the kingdom. There is ground to take, there are enemies to be defeated. It won’t look the way you’d like, because building will always be messy and laborious. But take whatever you’ve been given (fresh tomatoes, a kitchen, good health, a ukelele, a dozen children…) and get busy building, for the glory of God. You have a part to play in this Grand Story. ♥
The lines of separation between good and evil in our society are now drawn more clearly than ever. Evil is definitely raising it’s ugly head and gleefully having a heyday. As we observe the chaos of our times, one phrase keeps coming to my mind: “There is no future in that.”
Meanwhile, I’ve been reading and re-reading Psalm 37, which speaks to the same theme– those who have a future, and those who do not.
God has made His world to work by certain unchangeable principles. He tells us who will have the future. Although we find ourselves living in a time that is not for the faint of heart, take courage and take comfort from this Psalm, which presents a clear contrast between the good and the evil.
Repeatedly mentioned in this Psalm is the phrase “inherit the land.” This phrase strongly implies a future.
It’s a weary, weary world right now. Maybe you feel it too. It’s a bleak horizon and I can feel the grayness in my soul. A personal weariness, a national weariness, a global weariness. This is a strange subject to write about merely days before Christmas, I agree. But somehow, the joy of Christmas also brings out the weariness of the world.
I was texting someone recently about this, and she replied: “It is a weary world! We took some treat plates around to some neighbors the other day and I realized fully for the first time how elderly our town is. At least 50% of the town is retired, some of them very elderly. Several people invited me/us to stay and chat, several said they love seeing our family walk by…one neighbor stopped back by and dropped off a gift for the kids and said ‘I’m so glad you’re my neighbors!’ And we received three Christmas cards and two thank you cards back in the mail! One of the cards says, ‘nice to see a family together.’ So many lonely folks…I told my husband that our ministry may be to just walk around town as a family and be a little corner of togetherness in people’s lives…the older people seem to really resonate with seeing our family out together.”
“And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the LORD; let it be to me according to Your word.'” Luke 1:38
What a response to the announcement she had just heard from the angel. Some say Mary was incredibly honored to be the recipient of this incredible announcement. Others say it would have been shocking and frightening; a major shake-up in Mary’s life. Probably it was both at the same time. Whatever emotions she was feeling, whatever thoughts were racing through her mind, no doubt her world had just been turned completely upside down. And yet, what do we find in her one sentence response?
Congratulations to Megan, the winner of our recent giveaway!
I just found a post that I wrote this past summer but never published. It’s appropriate for right now too, with the crazy election and bizarre virus and looming holidays and uncertainty on every hand.
Here it is, written a few months ago:
Steve and I have been reading books together in the mornings. Often we’re joined by one or two of our little people; sometimes it’s just us and our coffee and the birds and squirrels running around our yard.
Recently Steve read me a chapter by Frances Ridley Havergal* called “Our Moments Kept for Jesus.” It’s rare to read something that kind of revolutionizes your life, don’t you think? That’s actually what this chapter did for me.
God has you where you are for a reason, even though you may not understand what that reason is. None of us fully understands God’s plan at work in our individual lives. It’s tempting to think that something really important, something that makes a lot more sense, is out there somewhere.
“That something else is, in our imagination, a very important thing, and it has an imagined importance that makes sense to us. It is a creature of ours. And if it makes sense to us, then it is a sure thing that we are flying blinkered and blind.” -Douglas Wilson, Ploductivity
At Joshua’s high school graduation, as I envisioned each child reaching this same milestone in quick succession, I remarked that the “dominoes were beginning to fall.” Steve replied, “Not dominoes. Arrows. Today the arrows are beginning to fly!”
I know he’s right, of course. They ARE arrows and it’s super exciting to watch them fly.