That Time God Showed Up

Years ago I read Stormie Omartian’s book “The Power of a Praying Wife,” a book I found while slowly looking through a Christian devotional section in the public library. It was an easy read, and more importantly, a really powerful way to view and care for my husband. I took notes, but ultimately had to return the borrowed book.

About six months ago while in a Christian bookstore, I saw that same praying wife book and another that caught my attention: “The Power of a Praying Parent” by the same author. I snatched them both up. And then they gathered dust.

I’ve really wanted to just open these two books, read a chapter and say the provided prayer at the end the chapter. That should take 15-20 minutes. But naturally, I’ve not been devoting that time to God (or my relationships with either my son or husband by choosing to not devote prayer time to them as well).

So one morning this week I forced myself to carry the books with me until I had at least read two of the prayers – one in each book. I ended up praying the first parent prayer acknowledging my limitations and seeking out God to take control. Then I read a prayer for my husband about work. It was the end of the school year for my teacher man, so you can imagine everyone in his building was ready to throw in the towel. The prayer focused on finding purpose and reward in work, to develop his skills to be more valuable, even to clearly show him a different path if this isn’t the right work for him.

These two prayers took me less than 5 minutes to read and focus on. 8:03 – 8:08am. Then I went about my day.

That same day was the last for Jim’s school year. He told me that evening the day ended with two cool experiences for him.

First, a non-English speaking mother asked Jim for a photo with him and her two boys.

These boys have a lot of progress to make when it comes to school. But they love to fish. So Jim has taken old tackle from his own fishing supplies stash and allowed these boys to earn their tackle by accumulating points through a reward system for good behavior, completing work, that kind of thing. But earlier this spring, one of the boys talked about wanting a tackle box to put all his gear in. So at Jim’s leading, the teachers set an unreasonable number of points to earn: 400,000 to be exact. Take note: average point totals at this school are 50,000. And 10 days before the end of school year, Jim checked in with said student to learn he had earned 250,000 points. Jim and this young boy had a conversation about how this young boy needed every single day to be perfect behavior and work getting done – plus bonus points, so he needed to get his servant attitude on.

I think you see where this is going…The kid got the points. And my husband went and spent part of his monthly “blow” money on a little tackle box for this boy. This is money that Jim and I don’t have to justify to one another what we spent it on, or save receipts for the monthly budget meeting. I’ve used it on a massage, new items to decorate our home, or…other selfish things. But my husband used some of his cash to buy his student a tackle box.

And this boy’s mom just gave Jim the “thank you” eyes because she didn’t have the English to say any more.

(gushing wifey moment)

Second, Jim’s students have crazy barriers. Some never really gain the ability to read well. Do you have any idea what your life would be like if you couldn’t read? Especially as an elementary student with a minimum of 10 years of school left? And on the last day of school, a dad walked up to Jim, shook his hand, and said, “You’re the reason my kid knows how to read. Thank you.”  

After he told me this, I shared the prayer I had said just that morning. You know? The one about finding purpose and reward in his work?

I’m not crying! You’re crying!

Seriously. God showed up, y’all.

It’s so interesting that I wrote a blog last week about being reminded of all the ways God has “shown up” in my life. This leads to my lesson learned this week:

When I engage with God, he engages with me.

It’s not a surprising lesson to me. I know it to be true. But how very often, I forget.IMG_20170520_083420

It works the same in my human relationships too. When Jim and I prioritize date night, that time together improves our communication, our affection, our respect for one another. When I prioritize Mommy-Owen time, that kid cuddles me more, he’s open to new experiences with me, and I start to understand him a little better. But I make that choice. That decision.

I can choose Instagram or Facebook scrolling. I can choose the ever-disappointing news feed about our shrinking federal budget or discrimination against a local non-white family. I can choose cleaning up the house.

I’ll certainly still choose those things (I really like a clean house. That one really pained me to write down). But sometimes I need to refocus. Now, I won’t lie: I won’t just pick up my Bible. Where the heck do I even start? It’s so overwhelming. And often difficult to read.

So sometimes it’s easier to start with reading a faith-based blog (Her View from Home is my favorite).

It’s easier to call and have a conversation with a friend about what’s going on – and being intentional about finding God in our situations (especially after a negative vent session).

And even though it can be difficult to get out the door and survive the hour that is church with children, sometimes it’s easier to listen to worship songs and a pastor share a message of Christ’s love. And you just sit with a lump in your throat the whole time trying to not feel because you don’t need everybody seeing you totally lose your composure in church. (But when I see some other woman start to bawl in church, I never judge her. Because I get it. You think I’d allow myself the same freedom.)

But don’t always choose the easy way out. It’s not easy, and I forget the reward so often, but it’s oh-so-good when I choose things God blesses. Choose to find a faith-based book about something you’re struggling with. Choose to rest and enjoy His presence. Choose to engage with God so He can show up. 

I’m Spent

I’m tired, exhausted, and just want to close my eyes. And to top it all off? Both O and I got ourselves infections this week – his bronchial, mine sinus. Both related to our love of allergens (insert sarcasm font here). In short: I’m spent.

Late May signals the end of seasons in our home. End of school slows down my job and totally halts my husband’s (after grades are due, mind you – a deadline we’re both anticipating) and we’ve ended another soccer season for those high school girls that J coaches too.

We’ve run our tails off the last couple months and are ready for a heck of break – which is coming. Summer is a time of reflection and planning for the next year at my job. J kicks into summer soccer mode (which is much more subdued) – and, I hope, restful fishing time too. And our family time becomes rich: playing on the deck in the kiddie pool while daddy grills and mama drinks a glass of wine.

But lately, J and I haven’t been reading our Bible passage together at night. I haven’t been opening my Bible app or reading any of my faith-based books. I haven’t written a blog post in a month. In short: I haven’t made an effort in my relationship with God.

We went to church today for the first time in weeks. (We’ve decided to spend Sunday mornings at home as a family because we’ve all 3 been in the same room for about 3 waking hours total each week.) And today as I listened to a child take a simple proclamation of faith, I felt so emotional. But not out of guilt (pretty sure that’s the first time ever – I tend to let guilt hang when I’m not meeting “expectations”). I felt tears welling up because I was reminded of God. I was reminded that He’s been with us these past couple months. Even when we just put our heads down and survived one-day-after-another, God was there. Even though we were ignoring Him.

And I felt compelled to write. But about what? My mind felt totally blank. All I had were deep breaths (slowly – it helps the oxygen get to my brain and give perspective).  I hadn’t been talking – or listening to God in a while. So I sat and listened. And He told me to read my own damn blog.

So I did. And started to bawl. I mean just ugly cry. (Which are the best kind because I feel so much healthier afterwards – it’s like a renewal of my heart.) I cried about every time God has showed up for our family in the past couple years. I cried through the lessons He has taught me. I rejoiced in writing these stories down because I needed those very personal moments to remind me that we are so cared for. We are so ok. And we’ve got so much more living and struggling to do.

Don’t you sometimes hate how God is always right? I mean, c’mon!! Stop being the Creator and Awesome Manager of Everything! It makes me feel inadequate.

And that’s exactly the point. As my husband would tell me, “He’s in charge. He’s got this. All you have to do is let him.”

So what happened after the ugly cry? I felt physically spent. (Anybody else gotta hydrate after crying?) But emotionally – well, not totally renewed. That is going to take a few sleeping-ins, cups of hot chai, and a screaming O in the swimming pool having the time of his life. But I feel…better. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

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I almost died while giving birth

The doctor walked into my dark room and woke both Jim and I up only after an hour of us falling asleep.

“Kristin, you were suffering from HELLP syndrome. We’re lucky your husband will be taking you home too and not just your new baby.”

I didn’t know it, but apparently, I almost died while giving birth.

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Pregnancy felt awful. I was sick all day, every day for at least 8 of the 9 months. I ate little more than fruit and vegetables. Meat was terrible. Sauces: no thank you. And anything greasy? Ugh! I finally got some relief in month 7 and had a craving for real food: BBQ ribs. So Jim took me out to a local restaurant and we chowed down. There were appetizers, several entrees, and dessert, y’all. It was ridiculous and wonderful all at the same time.

I was finally living the “I finally feel good again!” again for a few weeks.

And then my feet started to retain water. And my stomach aches came back. My feet and hands started developing a red, dry, itchy rash. I wondered where in the world I would have picked up athlete’s foot and how it could have moved to my hands. I used an obnoxious amount of lubriderm to try to stop the irritation, to little avail. I was back in the hell of pregnancy. I was feeling unsure of my ability to give birth with what little energy I had. I was dreading waking up each day. I was feeling hopeless.

The stomach pain started to hit an intense level on a Saturday, and I struggled to sleep through the night. I reached out to the on-call doctor and he suggested I was likely suffering from the flu, and to keep my Tuesday afternoon appointment with my regular doctor. I felt really discouraged and not confident he was right. But it was the same-old pain I had been suffering throughout my entire pregnancy, so why get all worked up?

I stayed home from work on Monday because I simply hadn’t slept or eaten due to the stomach pain. That night, my feet reached a heightened level of itching. I actually got out of bed and put together an ice pack that would lay on my propped-up feet to make my toes go numb so I wouldn’t feel anything. By Tuesday morning, I told that doctor’s office they had better get me in ASAP, and when I walked in for a 1:30pm appointment, I was on the brink of tears from little food, extreme pain, and exhaustion. They took my blood pressure (a common action of every prenatal visit), and it was extremely high. My blood pressure had never registered as a concern to them in the past, and suddenly I was their number one priority. I was taken for an ultrasound to check on baby’s health, and they determined baby was ok but I was not. I completely lost my composure (from the hunger, hurt, and the unknown) and sobbed, while Dr. L came in and informed me to run home to grab a sandwich and meet her at the hospital in an hour. I was being induced.

As Jim and I met up at home, we realized: we were going to go have a baby. This is actually happening. And something’s not right. He reassured me the best he could, and we ventured to the hospital to meet life’s next journey: parenting.

I was offered an epidural, but was basically told because of my situation, it would be a good idea because they didn’t know how this labor was going to play out – and they knew I was already in a lot of pain, wanted to alleviate it, and prepare me for a long night. I was so incredibly miserable that I agreed to anything providing relief. They also began pumping magnesium into my body, in an effort to avoid seizures. A short while later, around 9pm, I was feeling a break and actually closed my eyes to sleep. It was the first time I’d really rested fairly comfortably in four days, as a result of feeling numb. Every hour, I remember being awakened by my nurse to check the dilation of my cervix. And every time I woke, I shook uncontrollably for several minutes, hence the need for the magnesium. It was scary, annoying, and frankly: I just wanted to be left the hell alone. We finally hit pushing levels at 5:00am.

And did I push. In every position. With every little ounce of strength I possessed. For three and a half hours. There were a lot of nurses in the room, and I wondered if that was normal, or if they were anticipating issues and needed “all hands on deck.” Mostly, I was just trying to not pass out. Or vomit again. The one time was enough.

The nurses gave those encouraging little cries every time I pushed: “Oh, you’re doing so good! Yes, keep coming!” But I knew when they weren’t good pushes. And it’s not like you’re not trying to give a good push. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. But Jim knows those encouraging little quips don’t help me, and he was dying to say, “You’re sucking! You need to do a better one! Step it up, girl!” But he was in a room full of medical professionals. He feared the repercussions of police questioning him and asking me, “Do you feel safe?” or “Blink twice if you need help.” And he feared the judgement of all those female nurses watching a husband be a total dick to this laboring wife. But I’m a tell-it-like-it-is kind of person. And negative criticism swings me into action faster than a polite comment on how I can improve something.

That baby FINALLY came out at 8:30am, and I just wanted to be left the hell alone. new-babe-owenI was so incredibly thrashed by the whole experience, and to be honest, struggling cognitively to take in my surroundings. I held Owen for a few minutes and then the nurses started to do their typical checks before taking him to the nursery. The medical staff recommended Jim and I get some sleep, and they’d holler at us in time to order lunch from the cafeteria.

At 11:00am, a male doctor (my doc went back to the office to see her patients) walked into my dark room and woke both Jim and I up only after an hour of us falling asleep. He proceeded to explain the complications I was having: low blood platelets not causing the blood to clot, my liver shutting down, and a red blood cell breakdown. Apparently my itchy extremities were a sign of my liver shutting down. And the magnesium was pushed to prevent seizures of preeclampsia. So every time a nurse woke me up, my body would shake for a short time – a lesser version of the seizure. If I had waited any longer, the outcome may not have turned out so well.

“Kristin, you were suffering from HELLP syndrome. We’re lucky your husband will be taking you home too and not just your new baby.”

I later learned I pushed for 3.5 hours because my doctor feared doing a c-section. She didn’t know if my blood would clot, which was necessary to survive surgery. She figured I’d have a better chance of survival with a vaginal birth. Jim told me later he’d notice Dr. L deeply thinking, perhaps about how to get Owen out. He didn’t realize she was weighing the options of how to keep both Owen and me alive. A friend later told me she believes God worked through Dr. L to make the best decisions to keep both his babies (Owen and me) on this earth a bit longer.

HELLP syndrome is a serious form of preeclampsia. It was only first named in 1982, and women are dying of it in 2016. Globally, mothers die at a rate of 25% once diagnosed. I know people who have friends who have died of this in the United States – in the past two years. I’m 25% likely to have this syndrome again if I become pregnant. I’ll be considered high risk. So I don’t know if we’ll ever have another baby. Because I’m scared of the 9-month nausea, the intense sickness and exhaustion, and the chance that I won’t live to see my babies grow up. I’m afraid of dying again while giving birth.

I hope parts of this story resonate with other mothers, and more importantly, I hope others know that if something feels wrong, speak up. Doctors are humans too, and we all make mistakes. Make the doctor’s office take you as a same-day appointment. Make them check twice. Don’t be embarrassed. You know yourself best. So always trust your gut. Especially your pregnancy gut.

Someone Sedate Me!

(I found this post in my “drafts” from early 2016. I didn’t realize I hadn’t published it, and it gives such a picture of Owen’s development at the time that I couldn’t change it. This post is nice to reminisce on today.)

In typical Martha fashion, I found myself cleaning out old Facebook quotes I posted while in college. I found one from a favorite show that my roommates and I watched religiously on Thursday nights. Seriously, we locked our quad/suite door and hollered at anyone who bothered us. Don’t mess with Grey’s Anatomy night. One particular episode had intern Christina Yang yelling, “Someone sedate me!” Apparently for some reason, it resonated with me. Probably all the stress from classes, etc…

But now this quote caused me to consider the question: What am I choosing to “sedate” myself from? What all are we choosing to dull, and consequently miss in our everyday lives?

I love routine (I know, you’re not surprised). But sometimes, and forgive this obvious observation…it gets old. At our house, we wake up, get ready for the day, make lunches, distract baby O so he won’t put his hands in toilet bowl water (it’s lots of excitement at our house), and J and I also give a quick kiss and “I love you” before we walk out the door (an essential routine in our marriage that I don’t ever expect to change). When we come home from work, it is get dinner on the table, clean up (sweeping the floor under O’s chair every night is required), a little bit of family time, then baby’s bedtime. Sometimes I get frustrated by the same schedule every day, but other days, I feel like God flicks me on the ear and points out how good we’ve got it: to see what new thing baby O can do (right now he’s becoming a stronger walker), and to look at my husband and remember why I married him six years ago (because he makes me a better person and I feel so happy when I’m with him. And he’s smokin’ hot).

Sometimes I get so caught up in my Martha-ness routine and get-stuff-done mode, but God knows what I need and always has a way of reminding me to not miss this time with my boys. So I stop myself and watch my little boy put the block in the bin again (putting small objects into bowls, buckets, etc. and then pulling them out again is pure entertainment for him). And I watch J cheer baby O on when the applesauce spoon is facing up and at least some of the food gets in his mouth, but mostly ends up on his nose, chin, and bib. Or, we watch a complete meltdown (see said meltdown in photo). And I smile at the little things that could get lost in the mundane routine.

I also feel a blessing mixed with a curse, with an overwhelming sense of my eternity. We won’t be on this earth forever, and I don’t know my last day or the last day of those I love, so I need to stop wasting it away! Now, I am still going to clean the kitchen floor tonight, y’all (it’s truly disgusting). But maybe I could just sweep it after O goes to bed, and leave the mopping for another time.

What are some great observations you have made when you take a moment to recognize the little blessings happening in current time around you?

Would You Wanna Hang With You?

That was the question I posed to myself last fall as I again went on a rampage against my husband – but not in real life (…this time…). Only alone in my own thoughts.

I contradict nearly everything my husband suggests.

“I’m going to go hunting on Saturday.”

“We really need you to mow the yard, finish the deck, and sand that picnic table.”

 

“I think we should get those retaining blocks another day.”

“What other day? We’re not home together again all week.”

 

“Will you pick up something for dinner and we can eat quick and have a quiet night at home?’

“Well, we planned for pork chops and we could really use the leftovers.”’

 

Ugh. I am so annoying!! And I realized it on an “off” day.

I struggled to focus on any task at hand. I spilled food at dinner. I was basically acting like a normal human, which is not my strong suit, considering I’m a perfectionist. I looked at Jim and said, “I know what it feels like to not have things go well – and have what seems like everything fight against you. I know what it feels like to be you. And I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for you to be you when I’m being critical.”

The man about. fell. over. He just looked at me with those big, defeated eyes and gave a breathy, exasperated, “Yea!”  

This revelation led to a single, simple thought: would you wanna hang out with you?

My simple answer: no.

I’m mean, critical, judgy, and definitely not a grace-giver. I’m everything Satan loves some days. And while we all know Satan is super fun to hang with (e.g., the dancing and drinking I did in college – which aren’t always sinful, but in my case…probably were a bit), we also know that Satan only provides a short term high, which ends in feeling totally lonely, isolated, and empty. And it got me thinking about when I’m more pleasant: when the devil’s on my shoulder, or God is guiding my thoughts and actions?

This seems like a no-brainer answer: when God is #1 in your life, right? But I honestly don’t know that I’m super fun in that mode. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve got a lot great qualities that come out when I’m focused on a demeanor that is God-honoring. I’m actually pretty authentic, a decent listener, and quick to serve. But when the devil’s on my shoulder, I’m more likely to take risks, speak before thinking, and let my cockiness overpower my confidence. Maybe those aren’t great qualities, but haven’t you noticed people who get attention have those qualities? It starts as young as grade school, with students who act out getting the most teacher time. We’re drawn to sensational reality TV shows, and we are living in an era of a narcissistic president. Everything in our world screams to us: be louder and bolder than everyone else. And get rewarded.

As reflected on that, I thought: being a follower of Christ is BORING! No wonder so many don’t spend their time with Him. But then I reflected on those times I feel lonely, isolated, and empty as a result of shrugging off God and choosing the Devil. And I realized I feel more fulfilled, at peace, and calmer when I’m in strong relationship with Christ.

It’s tough to be counter-culture. It’s tough to not want to feel the high of hanging with the devil. It’s tough to stop being critical and love on people like Jesus does for me over and over again every day. Luckily, my two-year-old is my consistent reminder of this love Jesus offers. And yet it is amazing how quickly I can go from adoring love for this beautiful, constantly-in-awe human…to complete exhaustion and on-the-brink-angry-meltdown (that my husband and I call tapping out – “He’s yours. I’m tapping out”).

But today I was reminded that long-term, consistent joy is so much better than exciting, short-term happiness. People flock to that attitude, and can see Jesus living in you (which, is kind of the goal, Christians). And…no one likes a crabby, critical curmudgeon. So today I choose joy. And I’ll need to be reminded of this month after month for likely the rest of my life. But maybe, just maybe, I’ll get to a point where more often I’ll be less critical to those I love the most, and want to hang out with me than not. And maybe others will feel the same too.

If that fails, I’ll just buy wine. Friends always show up when there’s free wine, right?  🙂

I tried spiritually reaching out to my husband

I love growing in my faith. I love learning new things about God and new aspects of stories and situations in the Bible. But it’s really difficult to get excited about opening the Bible and just start reading, when I need context explained to me to really understand the passage. And a daily devotional doesn’t go deep enough to meet my need for learning.

I took a day off between Christmas and New Years, while my son went to daycare. I needed time to realign with my spiritual needs. So I went to a Christian bookstore and bought a few devotional books. I found a few and quickly swept them up for an inexpensive $30 (hurray, sales!). And I got started. But there was no one else reading with me. I wanted to have conversation about what I learning; that helps me process it and make it stick. And it is usually difficult to be motivated to do this reading after 9:30pm…once I’ve helped put the 2 year old in bed, finished any necessary household chores, attempted to do yoga (half the time I get sucked into other YouTube videos on the way to Yoga with Adriene), touched base with the husband, and accomplished my ready-for-bed routine.

So, I chose to be bold and ask my husband if he wanted to have a quiet time every evening together. We’d start small: read anything Biblical-focused for 10 minutes then pray together. He was a bit hesitant (due to nerves for what this might “look like” – and let’s be honest, probably more fearful of what a huge deal I might make it. I am an overplanner. That’s not always a good thing.) The only problem: I had material from the bookstore and he didn’t have much to work with. He asked me if I’d be willing to seek out something for him, or us to read together. I didn’t prioritize that action; I simply kept it in the back of my mind. But we stuck with this 10 minutes or reading and praying as best as possible – and only missed one or two nights per week. But it felt very separate. I liked the reading, but I was missing the “growing by talking about it” piece, and the actions we were taking weren’t totally helping us grow with God either (granted, this was a month-in, so a bit preliminary to make those kind of accusations).

Fast forward to the first week of February, and my decision to spend a Friday evening and most of Saturday attending the IF:Gathering in Lincoln. This was a choice I agonized over for weeks. When you work outside the home and away from your family full-time, evenings and weekends are extremely coveted time for the three of us. In addition to the mom guilt I feel for being away from lil O, do I really want to spend this time away from my boys? Jim, like the dreamy husband he is, encouraged me to go. And I got a friend hooked in too, so there was a bit of accountability factored in as well. 

But when I made the decision to commit, God showed up. IF:Gathering is a large women’s conference held annually in Texas – and live streamed across the globe. It’s just what I needed: to be reminded of God’s presence in my life, via inspirational speakers who are clearly walking close to Him. I learned about the many IF tools, and noticed their IF: Gathering app, a totally free resource with devotionals that involve reading, a short video, and a place to comment and connect with others in that community. It was designed for women, but I approached Jim with the tool to see his interest in it potentially being our “together” thing.

The verdict so far? I’d say it’s working. We connect most nights sometime between 9 and 10 o’clock to read a short IF:Gathering devotional (we’re in the Acts study right now) and, more importantly, use the one discussion question to spark conversation. Jim has said he’s enjoyed having something intentional to talk about that isn’t “the schedule.” I couldn’t agree more. When you’re in the day-to-day grind of who will pick up the kid from daycare, what meal to put on the table, and setting up numerous appointments, your brain runs out of energy for anything meaningful. The one conversation-starter question typically leads us onto other topics that challenge us, but best of all, reminds us of why we’re together: to grow together.meg-6-27-2010-wed0292

I was reminded of my favorite verse that can be related to married couples. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says: Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

We symbolically put this verse into action during our wedding ceremony, with us braiding a cord with three ropes. And it hangs in our bedroom as a reminder of our need for God in order for our marriage to survive – and, hopefully, also thrive.

I was really nervous about reaching out to Jim and asking him to do a quiet time with me. I was afraid of his rejection and also fearful he would be intimidated by me taking initiative on this ask. He knows I’m a very independent person (I can practically see him raise his eyebrows and speak under his breath, “you think?” to that statement), but I know I can be a little overpowering. But just like sex, money, or what to have for dessert at a restaurant, spiritual matters can be tough to bring up. Jim was all-in.

But God was at play in our circumstances. He knew we both needed time with Him and each other, and I’m thankful for his presence.

What it Really Means to be Blessed this Christmas

I use the word “blessed” to describe my needs being met, and more likely, my level of happiness with my current life circumstances. Which means I might feel blessed on Tuesday because Jim and I had a great conversation, but not so blessed on Friday when the kitchen is a giant mess. But this past weekend of advent, our church pastor gave a very different definition of blessed:

“Strengthened and repaired in every one of our human capacities, to be utterly transformed.”

Forgive me for not writing down his source, but it led me to check out dictionary definitions. Of course, descriptions ranged from “of or enjoying happiness” to “bringing pleasure, contentment, or good fortune.” But then others struck me: made holy, consecrated. Being blessed is a continual journey to reach out to Jesus in our good and bad times – all the times – every day, in an effort to grow to be more like Him.

Jeez. Talk about a slap in the face of this mama and wife who wants a candlelight Christmas eve service with the exact songs I want sung, in which we walk out into a beautiful, soft snow coming down. Then walk into a hot-and-ready dinner (where Owen doesn’t refuse to eat

potatoes), followed by all children quietly watching an old White Christmas movie with Bing Crosby (an old 2 hour musical) eating popcorn and drinking hot chocolate in their Christmas pajamas. My expectations are always incredibly unrealistic…and we haven’t even nestled the children all snug in their beds yet.

 

It was a dang good reminder to recognize our reason for celebrating at all: the birth of our Savior.

Perspective is a powerful thing, isn’t it?

So this Christmas, may you sincerely be blessed by Christ the Savior who came to this earth for our salvation. And to come help a recovering Martha who is always in need of being reminded this life’s struggle is less about making Christmas perfect and more about continuing to find ways to involve Jesus.

Merry Christmas, y’all.