Day 18: It’s About the Cross

One week to go! I fear you must be sick of my posts by now.  This personal challenge of mine has gotten harder the past few days, but it has been great to keep my focus on the real meaning of Christmas.  So whether you actually read all of my ramblings or not, thank you for letting me use this blog as a place to focus my thoughts and my heart on Jesus this Christmas.

For today’s post, I want to share another one of my favorite Christmas songs.  We came across the a cappella group, Go Fish, when my kids were very young.  Their song “It’s About the Cross” is full of such great Gospel truth.  My kids can now sing every word.  I love that it has helped them understand that the manger was when God poured His love out on mankind, but the cross was were He poured out His grace and mercy.  We wouldn’t have the cross without the manger, but we wouldn’t have the gift of eternal life with God, without the cross.

May the baby in the manger point us all to the Savior on the cross this Christmas and always….

Day 17: Daddy’s Girl

“When is he going to be here?”

“How much longer?”

“Should I wear my pink sparkly boots or my black sparkly boots for him?”

My dad is coming today, and the excitement in our home is palpable.  He is coming a little ahead of my mom, who is sweetly staying at their house longer so she can be near her grieving elderly aunt.  I have been so blessed with an amazing mom and dad who love the Lord, each other, myself, and others fiercely.

We have been getting ready for my dad’s visit for days.  We washed sheets, made up beds, cleaned carpets, bought his favorite foods and scoured the bathroom.  As I was cleaning earlier today, I started thinking about all the things I still had to do to get the house “perfect” and wondered if I would finish in time.  Then I smiled as I realized that my dad just wants to see us, the house being meticulously clean is not the most important thing to him.  Granted, it is nice to have a clean house for our guests (even family guest;), but it is even better to have a open heart and open home to invite them in.

The Holy Spirit seemed to open my eyes to an important spiritual truth today:  My Daddy (God) is coming again soon, and there is much I should be doing to get ready; however, He loves me just as I am, mess and all. And all He asks is that I open my heart to Him.

To get ready for the return of my God and King, I should be telling others about the life He offers, spending time in His Word, and allowing Him to have His way in my heart.  But as I do those things, I also need to remember that He loves me just as I am at this very moment.  He knows the mess I try to hide in my heart, and He loves me anyway.  I don’t have to put on a show for Him, or try to fix myself before going to Him.  He loves me and treasures me as I am right at this moment.

I am proud to be a Daddy’s girl, both to my earthly father and to my heavenly Father.

This Christmas may we all remember that there is no such thing as a perfect Christmas, a perfect house, or a perfect gift.  There is only a perfect Savior.  May we rest in our Savior this season.


Day 16: One of Those Days

Today was one of those days.  You know, the “tree has been leaking but didn’t know it and now all the presents are wet and the carpet stinks; the faucet in the kitchen just exploded all over me, the kid’s sink is clogged, the mailbox fell over, the dog ate twelve puzzle pieces from the puzzle you and your kids have been working on for weeks, and my sinuses are killing me” kind of day!

Little hard to find my Christmas mojo today……..but then I get a text that changed my heart.

It was from a friend who showed me what my daughter wrote for a school project. The kids were asked to make cards for people in prison this Christmas. Hers said:


It says: “Mary Christmas! I hope you will now (know) Jesus as your Savior. I hope I could give you a Bible.  We wish you a Mary Christmas.”

OK, so my sweet girl will not win the spelling bee, but she did put things in perspective for me:

Yes, some presents got wet;

yes, I got wet;

yes, we have plumbing and mailbox issues;

yes, my dog is going to poop a jigsaw puzzle,

and yes, my head still hurts.

But I do know Jesus and I have His Word in my heart.  Nothing else really matters.  The rest is just stuff.

For anyone else having one of those days, I pray that Jesus provides peace in the midst of your chaos, and comfort in the midst grief.  May Jesus always be all that really matters.

“Mary Christmas” 😉

Day 15: Ten Day Tip

With 10 days to go till Christmas, I find myself getting a tad stressed and fighting to stay more focused on Jesus than my undone to-do’s. One way I try to do that is by listing attributes of God in alphabetical order. My family calls it the “Letter Game for God.” Simply list an attribute or characteristic of God that starts with the letter A, then B and so on. It really helps to refocus my heart, and I pray it helps your too 🙂

My list for today:

Awesome, Beautiful, Creator, Daddy, Eternal, Forgiving, Great, Holy, Infinite, Just, King, LORD, Mighty, Near, Omnipresent, Powerful, Quiets my Soul, Redeemer, Savior, Truth, Unlike any other, Victorious, Wonderful, eXcellent, Yahweh, Zealous

Day 14: Mary, Did You Know?

We played this song for our second grade Sunday school class today, and love it so much that I wanted to share it here. You have probably seen and heard it before, but it is such an incredible rendition that I just had to share.

ps-my son just informed me that we can officially now say that Christmas is next week! (insert kids screeching with joy and me hugging myself while chanting Bible verses on peace 😉

Day 13: It’s My Christmas and I’ll Cry if I Want To….

My beloved Grandmother would have been 96 today.  She, however, is no longer concerned with earthly birthdays, because she is in the presence of her Savior and King.  She was a remarkable woman: tiny in stature, but huge in spirit and love for Jesus.  When I think of my greatest treasures and blessings, Grace Marshall, is at the top of the list.

This Christmas I have found myself reflecting on the blessings of people God has placed in my life:

  My Granddaddy, who I used to describe as a combination of Superman, McGyver, and Santa Claus;

  My Grandmother, who would pay attention to your favorite food and then make sure she had that for you when you came to   visit, and who also prayed for every single member of her family every night;

  My neighbor who I called “Grandma”Ruth, who was the most gentle and giving soul;

  My other Grandma who had a special way of taking care of you when you were sick that involved coffee ice cream in a plastic   green cup that somehow always worked!,

  My Uncle Edd, who could tell a story in his beautiful Cayman accent that made you feel like you were there.

These precious family members are no longer with me on this earth, but I carry them in my heart.  As my Granddaddy once told me, “my family along with the Lord make up my roots, and I should never forget my roots.”  I praise God that He provided such strong “roots” for me.

This time of year I find myself reflecting on those roots and my heart feels both heavy and joyful.  Christmas seems to be a time of year when tears of joy and sadness fall simultaneously.  I joke with my husband that at some point every year, I will have a Christmas catharsis.  I cry because my children will never really know the amazing people that God used to shape my life. I cry because I miss Christmas Eve at Grandmother and Granddaddy’s house, where the entire family was gathered together. I cry because I am so grateful that God allowed me to love and be loved by such wonderful people.

I try to hold the tears in, because it sometimes feels like if I left myself start, I will never stop. But today, on my Grandmother’s birthday, I am going to let myself have a few moments to remember, reflect and rejoice in her life and the lives of all of those who I have had to say “goodbye for now” to.  Crying will last for a few moments, but the legacy these remarkable people left, will live on in the lives of all of those they touched.

Do you find yourself with an aching heart this Christmas? I pray that the God of all comfort will pour His peace over you today, and fill your heart with His presence.

I long for the day when I will be reunited with my loved ones, and I thank God for sending Jesus to provide the way for us to have eternal life with Him.

Merry Christmas to my “Amazing Grace” and all my other “roots”. I love you!

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Day 12: From The Lips of Children

“‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise'” Matthew 21:6b

Write my lesson, go to doctor, go by grocery that comes last so things don’t spoil, pick up four gifts, need a teacher present, kids are out of school Tuesday?!?!, band concert is tonight…where is the iron? do we still have one?, pick up kids from school…oh great, they just love going to the grocery store, coffee…must get coffee!

That was the running commentary in my head this morning (and always it seems!).  I was feeling overwhelmed and overstretched.  I prayed that God would settle my spirit and calm my anxiety so that I could write a lesson on Paul.  I begged God to take my to-do list and hold onto to it while I read His word and tried to rest in Him.  I said, “amen” and opened my computer.

My kids had been typing on my computer last night while I was fixing dinner.  I heard them talking and singing, but wasn’t really paying attention to what they were doing.  As I stared at my screen, I realized that God used the words my kids had typed to give me a message.  Here is what I found on my screen (unedited):

A Christmas Carol for God, from us:

I Love my God.

I love my God my God my God. I love my God. He created Noah and the animals.  He created adam and eve.  He gave Moses help with the isrealites.  and He sent Jesus to save us. have a merry merry christmas and a happy happy new year.I love my God my God my God. I love my God. ooooooooooooooooooooooooooo. yah

So I don’t imagine this will take the place of “Silent Night” or “Away in a Manger”, but it was exactly what I needed to see today.  I love my God and my God loves me.  He loves me so much that He will give me the strength and ability to get through my crazy day.  He loves me so much that He sent His Son to save me from eternal separation from Him.  He loves me so much that He uses children to teach grown ups about what really matters.

Today, I choose to love my God, my God, my God and rejoice in the birth of my Savior.  All of my to-do’s will get done in the power of the One who loves me more than I can fathom….and hopefully, He will lead me to my iron 😉

Day 11: You are Loved

Who am I, that the Lord of all the earth,    Would care to know my name,     Would care to feel my hurt?    Who am I, that the bright and morning star,   Would choose to light the way,   For my ever wandering heart?                                                    Casting Crowns – “Who Am I” Lyrics

As that song came on the radio this morning, my eyes filled with tears.  Have you ever had those “who am I?” thoughts?  We humans are complicated creatures.  We can go from feeling entitled to unworthy in the span of a heartbeat.

As the demands of the season mix with sleep deprivation, my happy ho-ho-ho-ing can quickly turn into a short tempered bah-hum-bug leaving me feeling guilty and worn.  And oh, how the enemy loves for us to feel guilty.  Guilt keeps our heads down, focusing on what we have or have not done.  But Grace lifts our heads and gently reminds us that it not about us, but about what Jesus has already done.

When those moments of unworthiness come, when you feel like you have blown it yet again, when Christmas starts to feel more like a chore than a reason for cheer, may we remember just how loved we are.  May we remember that the King of the Universe willingly left the perfect glorious majesty of Heaven, so that He could put on flesh and bones, containing His presence in the form of a helpless baby.  Our Creator allowed Himself to be born to one of His creations.  The One who holds the world in His hands, allowed Himself to be held by the hands of a simple girl.  The Great I AM traded His throne for a manger, His Heavenly worshippers for hostile crowds, and His Divine crown for a crown of thorns.

Today, may we walk with heads held high, gazing into the face of our Savior and King.  May we not allow guilt to keep our heads down, but may we allow grace to lift our heads and remind us just how loved we are by the King who gave everything to save us.  We are worthy, because we are His.

Day 10: A Mary Christmas

Today’s post is actually a Christmas devotional I wrote for our Women’s Ministry at church. I love thinking about the Christmas story from Mary’s perspective and wanted to share the devotional here (and to challenge myself to submit to God’s will in all things, as Mary did.)

Do you ever wonder what Mary was doing when the angel Gabriel appeared to her? Was she collecting water? Cleaning up from a meal? Or looking up at the stars at night? We can only imagine what it was like for her to hear the voice of God’s messenger as he interrupted her normal activities.

Mary was living her life in faithful obedience and submission to God. She was engaged to be married, and was most likely planning a quiet, simple life with Joseph. As Gabriel greeted her by saying, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you”, she was fearful and confused by his words. It seems as if she was asking, “Who me?” Mary’s response makes it clear that she was not campaigning for the position of Jesus’ mother. Nor was she trying to earn her way into the Bible hero hall of fame. She was just a girl, faithfully serving the Lord.

After telling Mary that God was with her, Gabriel told her not to be afraid. Mary would have much reason to fear. In earning God’s favor, she would be risking her reputation, engagement, and her very life. However, the reward was far greater than any possible risk. The reward was Jesus!

As Gabriel spoke to Mary, she would not have been able to fully understand the implication of his words, or how the events he spoke of would forever change history. Yet, she answered him with some of the most beautiful words of submission ever spoken: “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.”

Mary willingly, faithfully, and graciously accepted whatever God’s will was for her life. She trusted God with the details and simply rejoiced in His favor and His calling. Mary provides an extraordinary example of what it means to trust in the Lord. She must have had so many questions, but instead of asking for answers and assurances, she fully surrendered to God’s plan.

What is God calling you to do? Has He interrupted your daily routine to ask you to trust Him more? We don’t have to know all the answers or how a situation is going to end, in order to trust Him. God is trustworthy and will enable us to accomplish the task He has set before us. Mary was just a girl, willing to faithfully serve her King.

How will you serve God this Christmas season? Will you trust Him to move you out of your comfort zone as you embark on a new adventure with Him? Will you serve Him in the mundane activities as you wait on His perfect timing? We can rest in God’s perfect plan for our lives because we know that our reward is the same as Mary’s was; Jesus.

May we all carry the love and truth of Jesus to those around us this Christmas season.

Day 9: Singing for Jesus

“Sing to the LORD, bless His Name; tell of His salvation from day to day.” Psalm 96:2;                                                               “Let us come into His presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to Him with songs of praise!” Psalm 95:2

My little girl, along with about 80 other children, sang their hearts out to Jesus last night during their Christmas musical. It was so precious to hear those little voices praising their King and thanking Him for Jesus: the best Christmas present ever!

It was awesome to see my shy girl step up to the microphone and sing for no one else but Jesus, her audience of One. Although, she did tell me that the compliments were really nice 😉

Praying today that I will keep a song in my heart for the LORD throughout this Christmas season, and thanking Him for singing through my girl!

The video quality is not that great, but had to share her solo 🙂