I'm off. My count is off. My 2011 resolution is very off, and I have failed at many points. You know, that's kind of the story of my life.
I fail at so many points. I need a Savior to cover up those failures with a grace that runs deep and wide. I think that's something that has really stood out to me this year. Every day the goal is to give blessing to God through gratitude and praise, to recognize his grace that he gives me every day despite my heart condition or mood.
That practice has not only built me up but made me humble.
I'm glad that I did this. I know I've mentioned that before, but I'll write it again.
Christmas is coming fast. And there are lots of going-ons going on. There are Christmas lights to see, and cookies to bake, and stuff to do.
Tonight was another occasion of that.
My husband had a work party, and so we went. There's really not much to tell about it. I've had a cold, and have lacked sleep, so combine those two things and I wasn't very chipper.
I feel bad. I wanted to be more talkative and friendly, but I was just struggling. In fact, I had my husband drop me off at home before picking up the kids so that I could go straight to bed. Then I proceeded to have an on-off sleeping experience. So that was lame, but what are you going to do?
Another fun thing was my son having a Christmas party with his pre-school. He had a blast, and I am so thankful for his teacher and the experiences he is having there. He's really blossoming this year.
In a neighboring town they have a neighborhood that puts lights on most of the houses, and so we went out there (instead of staying home and watching a depressing board meeting or going to it). I'll tell you, my son is a crack up. If he saw a nativity scene, he would exclaim, "Oh look! Jesus!" or "There's God!" So that was pretty great.
All we have left that is an actual "event" is the little Christmas program at church.
I'm not sure if we'll do a Hanukkah night this year, even though I want to.
We're just getting a little bombarded with all the goings-ons.
Lord, let not any busyness of the season keep me from the joy found in you.
We've been anticipating December 13th for a long time now. Last month I was able to go to a school board meeting and watch as a panel of seven people listened to parents give testimony and try to sway at least four of them to keep my daughter's school open. This month I wasn't at the board meeting, but it was the one we were waiting for. Tonight was the moment of truth.
The vote happened, and in a heart-breaking loss of 3 votes to 4, my daughter's school was closed. Budget cuts are necessary. I know that. All across the country there are boards just like this one, making difficult decisions. I think the last thing a district does is close schools, but it is what it is.
Now we have to make some educational decisions for our kids. We transferred them intentionally into this school, and now we have a lot of things to weigh out, and a lot of questions on what affect closing the school will have on the whole area.
Lord, thank you that school boards aren't sitting on the throne, but you are.
I've wept. I've been angry. I've been exhausted and tried. I've prayed. I've whined.
You name it, and I've probably felt it this week. Between, hearing my work news, to being provided for, to being excited about picking up the kitten, there's just been a gamut of emotions. On top of all these things, it's been a crummy mom week.
I have been dealing with whining, disobedience, angry outbursts, and sassing. It has come from both children, and my oldest has been leading the charge.
Tonight, the camel's back broke. I calmly, after being sassed at bedtime, told my firstborn to go to the kitchen and wait for me. Leaving my son in his top bunk, I entered the kitchen and brought out the Tabasco. She had talked disrespectfully too much. I needed a strong object lesson.
Judge me if you will. I had to do something, and since this was the most calm and humane thing I could think of, this is what I chose.
As I put the Tabasco on the spoon, I prayed that it wouldn't hurt my daughter, that she wouldn't throw up or that she wouldn't hate me forever for using this punishment. I prayed for the Lord to give me words to speak to her as to why I was giving her the hot sauce and why her behavior not only deserved it, but why it was not to continue.
Well, she almost threw up, and she cried. She thought I was mean, but the lesson sunk in. I told my daughter, my precious daughter that as much as she doesn't like the Tabasco, that's how much I don't like being spoken to in the way that she had, and it's how much it hurts God when He sees that kind of behavior.
It was a powerful object lesson.
I have no idea if it will be remembered tomorrow, but I do know that tonight she hasn't disobeyed since. I do know that it made an impression, and that I cannot and will not have another week like this last week. I will lose my mind if I have another week like this last week.
Lord, please don't let this week be like last week.
It's a simple prayer, and I need you to fill in the rest because I am tired.
I just want to be a mom that promotes peace and honors you in raising my children.
I don't deserve them,
but in your wisdom, you gave them to me.
And I know that if you gave them to me,
then you will give me the wisdom to raise them to your glory. I'm counting on that this week.
When I got home from all my errands yesterday, I had a voicemail waiting from another semi-employer. I had worked for The Children's Place on Black Friday, and I have a good relationship with people there. I spoke with the manager there letting her know my predicament, and she told me that she could see if she had any hours that I could have there.
When there is a need, God provides.
It may not be the perfect solution, but it's one that He has provided thus far. I'll take it. I will rejoice in it.
Lord, thank you for getting me through this week.
I know it's not over, but you've already gone before me.
On Monday I called in to work to see what my hours would be, and I was put on hold to speak to our new general manager. He informed me that I wasn't scheduled until a short work meeting in a few weeks and then for one day at the end of the month. Talk about lame.
So, basically, I've lost my job for the month of December, and no one bothered to warn me or anything. That's unacceptable. I understand the severe and seemingly unreasonable hour cuts. I understand that my boss is in an awful position. I don't accept being kept in the dark though.
My plan was to go in today and speak with this manager, and ask for an explanation for this treatment (nicely, don't worry); but I couldn't because he had a family emergency.
Great. I was on pins and needles, thinking and praying over what I was going to say and how I was going to say it (and I'll be honest, a couple times ranting and chewing him out in my head with no intention of doing it in person because that's rude- but cathartic nonetheless.)
I went in to work anyway to speak with another manager, and ask some questions. I'm really glad I did because both he and one of my co-workers were there. As it turns out, we're all in the same boat of frustration, and bewilderment. We're all asking questions to ourselves of, "What do I do?" We spent time, not griping, but simply sharing burdens. My manager can't pay his mortgage. My co-worker can't help at all in the household bills.
As it turns out, it was pretty encouraging to me. I needed the camaraderie of these dear ones that I have the privilege of working with (um, kind of, if I get to work at all).
I'm still intending to speak with the general manager. That is an important and necessary thing that I should do, but I know that the time will come. In the meantime, I know I'm sustained and provided for by God. He'll never let me down. He'll always help in my time of need.
ThereforeGod has highly exalted him and bestowed on himthe name that is above every name,
so that at the name of
every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
Whenever I see a "therefore", I was taught to ask myself, "What is the therefore there for?" And this is a verse that has been on my mind a lot in recent weeks. As our church hears the depths of Hebrews, in small group we just finished studying the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew. There's a lot to be said about who Jesus is, and what he has accomplished and fulfilled. So I have been thinking a lot about Jesus, and all that he is from High Priest, to Savior, to Emmanuel.
So, what is the "therefore" there for?
We find it in the verses before this amazing statement:
...though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form, he humbled himself bybecoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Christ had to be born in humility and obedience, fulfilling all that the prophets wrote about him. He had to become a spotless Lamb and die on the cross. Being God, he conquered death, and has victory to the glory of God the Father. There is power in the name of Jesus.
On Sunday mornings I teach a Sunday school class, and I usually have three kids in it. One of the children is a little girl named Karis. Slowly she's accepting me as a teacher, and that's been a fun journey with her.
On Sunday evenings our church has an AWANA program, and Karis's mom is a helper with my son's age group.
As I drove home from picking up my son from his AWANA night, the thought occurred to me how sweet it is that every week, Karis's mom and I get to bless the child of the other. We just have a blessed kid-swap every week!
The next thought that occurred to me is that things like that make the body of Christ beautiful, amen?
Today we worshiped with some saints in another town, in another church. Casey was filling the pulpit for a pastor who wanted to be at our church for his granddaughter's baptism. That was a good enough reason to so a swap between the churches, and it was a nice blessing to be among God's people, no matter where they are.
After church, we went to a couple's home that attends the church. What's special about them is that we actually knew them from our first ministry in California. They had moved to Oregon while we still were serving down there, and many years later, our paths crossed. It was very nice to catch up and, in some ways, get to know them. We really didn't get much time to spend with them in the past, and this was probably the most time we had ever spent with them!
It really is a sweet thing to know that God builds his church everywhere, and that no matter how far a distance is laid between believers or how much time, there is still the same Spirit and fellowship in Christ.
Father, thank you for the fellowship of your Spirit bought in full by Jesus Christ.
Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With th’angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”
Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time, behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.
Hail the heav’nly Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conqu’ring Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours, and ours to Thine.
Adam’s likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
I've been thinking about this hymn, especially the words. Read them without thinking of it as just a Christmas carol. It is a song rich with Biblical truths, and doctrine. There is depth.
Want proof that I'm a preacher's wife? In thinking of these things written so eloquently, my repeating thought is, "Well, that preaches."
Last night was our church's craft night, and it was so nice to be away and share some time with the wonderful women in our church body. There were several crafts to choose from, and the two that I did were the greenery centerpiece and a yarn knotted scarf. So fun!
My hands got all sappy, and my brain nearly exploded from yarn choices, but I survived.
I am so blessed by the church that I am a part of, and it was delightful to have a night out with the girls.
Today, I got a real deal. I explained on Facebook that when I got my Christmas decor out, I was a little tired of it. I've had things for a while, and it's all fine. But I'm just kind of tired of it. A lot of it I didn't even choose myself. I just was given it, so I used it and that's been fine.
Many women commented that they feel the same way, and that made me feel a little better. I wasn't alone in my boat. That's always nice.
I wasn't complaining. I had just never really experience that before. So it was new, and therefore fascinating enough to make it my status update.
Well, a friend wrote to me, and asked when she could come by to drop something off. What she brought overwhelmed me. She had purchased a gift card to Real Deals, a home decor store, and just gave it to me. She said, "Now go get stuff for your house for Christmas!"