One more Christmas picture where we almost caught everyone smiling! (and it only took about 30 attempts--amidst groans, guffaws, hilarity and "We have enough, already! A big discussion was if the boys should put their hands in their pockets or not! :))
"Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life."Psalm 39:4
I have put one more Christmas to rest and now another year is upon me. I see more clearly, the older I get, that life is indeed a passing story where I have the opportunity to live in such a way that my story can be one of pointing to God's goodness, His faithfulness, His kingdom, His ways. But to live a story well, I must make choices every day, to live that as my integrity and love to be intentional in my commitments.
This holiday season was one of the best I remember for a while. Seems all the kids have snuck into adulthood while I was busy and they have become strong and established in their own personhood. It is sweet tasting to my heart and soul to see them love each other, prefer each other, want to be together and affirm each other in our presence. If I ever wondered that all the work of training, loving, correcting, serving my children was in vain, I now know that it made a difference--that God was indeed at work using a small vessel like me to fill and form their souls. (And yes, throughout the years of fussing and tension that existed in normal life, I didn't know they would end up such great friends--Simply amazing and wonderful--take hope!)
Just this morning, a phone call from a grateful child and filled my heart. "Mom, you cooked and cleaned and served a lot this Christmas--but we were all watching and it went deep into my heart. The messages you shared and the devotions we had while we were home penetrated deep places and I just wanted you to know your labor has not been in vain. I love you and appreciate you more than I ever have."
A sweet salve to my heart and an unexpected surprise after working and serving this season.
Some thoughts have bubbled up during their time at home......
Discipleship is never over. In the midst of the busy days, I was sequestering each child by themselves to pour in vision and encouragement and words of life and exhorting, because I know more than ever how short my time is--and I know that they all have many voices in their pathways vying for attention. And so I remind them, "How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, but His delight is in the law of the Lord" and then over coffee and laughing and sharing hearts, I remind them again to seek the still small voice and the holy way above the other noises of life--and to seek to see His fingerprints and heartbeats.
Another thought is how my family fills my cup, and lives a reality that blesses me and renews my own courage and faith, as I want to be strong because they believe that I am strong.
Sometimes when I am exhausted, like now, and have lived through a looonnnnggggg year of trials, I am tempted to compromise my ideals--just a little here and there without noticing.
But that is not His way, and I do not want to capitulate to the ways of weariness. And so amidst serving them, I was called to a higher standard just by hearing them talk and dream and idealize--those I have served are now serving me and exhorting me to hold fast and stay the course!
And so, the next few days, I must follow the advice I gave to them, for myself. I will leave the internet, go away by myself for 2 nights and 2 days and be before the Lord.
What work do you have for me this year? How can I serve your purposes? What do I need to correct? How can I better serve you? Show the light of your life onto all the hidden places of my heart and let me give all of them to you.
I want to hear Him, His voice, His priorities.
I have found over the years that many people seem to know "God's will" for me and are free with advice. But I want to hear Him, follow Him and please Him. I am feeling the rumblings in my heart to pull back further from culture and expectations of others to have more time intentionally to invest on those areas that are on His heart and to make sure I have time with real live people to be personal and focussed in my love. But before I make any decisions, I must go to Him to hear His voice.
I would so appreciate the prayers of friends as I go into my vortex to seek Him, that I would be still and know that He is God, and please pray I will truly know how to follow His priorities and do what He wants, no matter what the other voices say.
And so, today, I wish you not only a happy new year, but a blessed year, a time when you can see His love and commitment to you and hear His voice of wisdom and compassion.
And along the way, may you have a lot of fun and enjoy this life He has placed into your hands.
Be blessed, my friends.