a weary world…REJOICES

a-weary-world

Holidays are hard to avoid.  Decorations are everywhere, most work places are closed for the day, commercials well commercialize, and small talk can revolve around them.

But there are times when celebrating is hard.  When a sudden life change means you’re holiday isn’t going to look the way you envisioned.  Perhaps, the life change wasn’t close to the holiday at all…but it’s just your first one to go through without someone you have celebrated with for as long as you can remember.  Tough days.  Happy faces and casual greetings to everyone you see aren’t exactly what you feel up to.

There’s other seasons when celebrating feels natural…simply an overflow of the joy that is bubbling up from deep within – an abundance of gratefulness and joy of what each day holds – whether or not it’s a holiday.

However, when any of us stop – if we truly choose to look around us…life is hard.

Family/friends/ourselves – experiencing miscarriages, divorce, babies born with cancer, car accidents, human trafficking, missing children, affairs, house fires, mental illnesses, abortions, poverty, & hate crimes, and that’s not even delving into anything in the political realm that seems to be on everyone’s minds these days.  How do you celebrate when this is the life we know – that we’re living through or at the very least have a close friend who is walking through it?

How do you sing and dance when there’s SO much death and brokenness – hurt and hate? These issues – these problems…you can’t gloss over them and just because you flip the channel on the TV it doesn’t make them go away. How do you speak about the Resurrection when everything around you seems to relate more to the crucifixion? 

Well, I don’t know.  My heart breaks too.  Life is hard and the future here on this earth??  It seems pretty dim…BUT JESUS.  Friend, don’t forget that there WAS the resurrection.  There IS hope.  There is LIFE.  And honestly, in the middle of the weariness?  The desperation and sinfulness?

There’s Christ.

There is redemption.  There is grace, mercy, and forgiveness.  And there is no darkness that can put out the Light.  And that’s why we sing.  That is why we worship.  That is why I’m at church this morning…to REJOICE. 

There is no doubt that life is hard and that we each walk through our own struggles – rather private or public.  But Jesus does not change.  He is faithful.  So we keep walking and fighting.  We keep raising our hands in surrender & in praise.  We keep kneeling and weeping.    We will be weary…but we STILL rejoice.

Merry Christmas weary world.  Grateful for the reason to rejoice no matter the season.  Hugs to each of you today!!

For His Glory,

 

 

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All I want for Christmas

all-i-want-for-christmas

Our youngest heard the song “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” – and well…she’s hooked.  She thinks that it’s the funniest song and that it’s even more hilarious to wish for her two front teeth.

Add on top of that, that she happens to have just turned three and is still SEVERAL years away from losing any teeth (hopefully!) it is pretty funny to hear her sing it.  Since Ryleigh has recently lost her first tooth – if you bring up teeth into any conversation, Lyllian is quick to tell you that ALL of her teeth are loose and that one is absolutely falling out soon.

I’ve tried explaining to Lyllian that her teeth are in fact not loose and that it’s pretty pointless to wish for something that she already has.  But she’s three and that conversation is basically pretty pointless as well.  Sigh.

But then again – it’s not entirely pointless – especially when He uses it to remind me of what I need to hear.  How much time do I put towards wishing…praying for certain things that I already have access to?  Asking Him for power to overcome a temptation, armor to protect myself from Satan’s attacks, wisdom through His Spirit…from His word?  Yet, it’s all things I already have.  I possess each of these because of His life.  His sacrifice.  His death.  His glorious Resurrection.  His eternal reign.  I have them.  YOU have them.  As His children, He’s given us each and everything we need.  All of the mysteries are hidden in Him and we have access to Him.

These are not things that we have to write on a list and wonder which one we should ask for first.  I don’t have to pray, sit, wait, and wonder.  All He asks us to do is walk with Him.  Seek Him.  He has given us HIS SPIRIT.  The Spirit that raises the dead, gives sight to the blind, multiplies food, stops storms, heals bodies, and will SPEAK on our behalf.

It makes me look like the silly one and not my three year old…doesn’t it?  Oh how I desire to walk in this Truth.  To live as I say I believe.  To weld the Sword He has given me to destroy the lies I so easily try to stand upon.

What do I want for Christmas this year?  That’s easy.

I want to realize the depth of what I already have been given.

For His Glory,

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31 Women of the Bible – Book Review

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the characters we read about in the Bible are more than the animated versions we see in a Sunday School poster.  If you’re like me, you might be guilty of forgetting that they were real life people.  I have a friend that calls them Bible Biographies instead of Bible stories just so that her children know there’s a difference…and it serves as a reminder to her as well!

This book does a beautiful job of reminding you of the human-ness of each of these 31 ladies of the Bible.  As you review their stories that you may have heard hundreds of times, don’t be surprised when you start seeing bits of your story in theirs too.  These were ordinary women who the Lord used in extraordinary ways to tell His story across generations.

The author tells the story of each woman and then leads you into a “takeaway” – how you can apply what you’ve learned to your life today.  Then the section closes with a few questions to meditate on throughout the day or to discuss with an accountability partner or small group!

If you’re interested in this book – you can purchase one here!

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Lyllian Abigail ~ 3 years old

My sweet baby girl,

img_1812Your smile is contagious.  There were some ladies just talking about it yesterday.  You smile with your eyes first and I simply can’t imagine someone not smiling when they see you do that.

You are addicted to your thumb and chocolate milk.  It’s just true.  We’ve tried (for incredibly short spans of time) for you to stop sucking your thumb and it ends with you being in tears proclaiming “but I just LOVE my tums!!!”  We have gone through more bottles of Hershey’s syrup than I care to admit because of your love of chocolate milk.  There was a time when one bottle could easily last us a year or longer…not anymore.img_1487

You have become an expert “bedtime delayer” this past year.  The best excuse you have to not go to bed (or to come out of your room) is that you need to “tell us some-din” and then you’ll break out into a grin and say “I jus love you so much!”.  Yes, it’s as incredibly adorable as it sounds.

In the past few weeks you’ve started running to us with arms outstretched – saying “hug.  hug.  HUG!” & then saying that you want lots of hugs & kisses.  It can be while you’re watching a show, during a meal, while you’re playing, when you’re in the tub…it doesn’t matter – it’s like it suddenly occurs to you that you haven’t had a hug in the past 2 minutes and you. need. one. right. then.

You love playgrounds and bounce houses.  You adore tiny baby dolls/fairies/characters/animals – you will carry your favorites around in a gift bag or purse to be played with at any given moment.  Your favorite songs are Go Tell It (on the mountain), The Light (Joy to the World), If you’re happy and you know it, Lion of Judah (The Lion & the Lamb), and the chocolate milk song ( a Lyllian original).  It’s been fun listening to you lately making up your own songs and singing through conversations just like your big sister did (& still does).img_1533

You always want to know what’s going on and what the plan is (you get that from me – bless your heart).  You love your teachers at school and at church – but you also love spending your one day a week with your Lhi Lhi.  You really like drawing…just not on paper.  Bathroom walls, furniture, my bedroom walls, & Lhi Lhi’s kitchen stools…just to name a few places.  You don’t have a preference for your art tool either –  tub crayons, markers, your “favorite” pen from Kyrgyzstan, or normal crayons – just whatever is readily available.

It’s been sweet this year to see you catching on to pieces of Advent.  You loudly proclaim daily – “don’t forget AVENT!!!” Last week, you held up one of our Advent cards and asked us what the picture was on the front and then told us all about Noah.  Mimicking everything you’ve seen us do – for the good and for the bad!!img_1712

Sometimes I just stare at you when you’re talking because I’m trying to remember if I’m talking to a 3 year old or a 13 year old.  You like using words like “absolutely” and “pretty sure” in your sentences.  Your favorite is to sing song “I just don’t really think so” and you get told “You better be glad you’re so cute…” quite often!

Grits and “J-U-M” (gum) are your favorite “foods” but aren’t asked for until after you’ve asked to eat your chocolate milk – told you that you’re addicted!

Your favorite color is pink – you want pink everything and you loudly shout out anytime you see the color around town.  You love getting dressed and then putting your hand on your hip and asking “how do I look?” with your lips puckered out…we still have no idea where that came from.

You have two extremes…being completely independent and wanting to do everything by yourself or totally convinced only a certain person is capable of helping (ie momma, daddy, Grandma, Lhi Lhi, Gran Gran, or Rock) and it’s usually whoever is no where in sight!img_1612

Two things you say all the time are telling people “I jus kidding” when you think you’re about to get in trouble and then when you’re getting in trouble you suddenly say “my tummy hurts” or ” I don’t feel good”.

You keep us laughing and I am forever grateful that He chose to entrust us with you.  His mercies are new every morning…from those cloudy rainy days in the Johannesburg NICU to the town where your momma grew up…He is faithful.  Praying that you know that faithfulness personally one day soon.

I love you baby girl,

Momma

 

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