Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Today I Realized....

That this will be the first Christmas that I can think of that I have not been with my parents....


I sure am missing them right now.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

'Tis the Season

I have been alive for 44 Christmas Days. I know, I am only 43 but I was a whole week old at my first Christmas, so it still counts.

44 Christmas Days.

I can still remember years ago when I was very small, probably 4 at the most, we were at my grandparent's house. Everyone had told me that if I heard someone knock on the door that I needed to go answer because it was probably Santa. (my grandparents didn't have a chimney)

Man, I was SO excited! I crawled into bed with my sister ready to listen as long as needed for the *knock.* But, as soon as we were alone in bed my sister told me "You know it is only PaPa dressed up like Santa."

I still went and opened the door, but some of the excitement was gone for me. When I looked at Santa I could see my PaPa's eyes. Although, knowing it was him did make it OK for my Grandma to sit on his lap!!

I don't remember believing in Santa past that point. That's kind of the way for the younger ones.

My parents never went *crazy* at Christmas time. We got presents, but my parents didn't break the bank. But there was always plenty under the tree that put a smile on my face for quite some time.

When Denise was about 3, Bobby borrowed a Santa suit. We were staying at my parents and she was having a hard time going to sleep because of all the excitement. We told her that if Santa came and she was awake he would leave with the presents.

So, as planned, I drug a sleepy Denise out of bed because I thought I heard a noise. She shuffled down the hallway, eyes half closed.

Then...we rounded the corner and there was Santa, putting presents under the tree with his back to us. Her eyes flew open and she turned tail and RAN to bed and pulled the covers over her head!!

No WAY was Santa catching her awake.

We have movies of the kids when they were about 6 and 3. We LOVE to sit and watch little Denise and little Ethan open their presents. Just seeing their faces and the magic that shown in them. They would get up at 3am and come in our room....

And we were as excited as they were so we all got up....

Everything Ethan picked up he would yell "It's JUST what I WANTED!!"

Now my kids are 22 and 19. Christmas takes on a whole new meaning because Thomas the Tank Engine books no longer send Ethan into spasms of glee and Denise is not that impressed with an Easy Bake Oven.

Now we are shopping for adults who say, "Just get me _________ because I have been needing that."

Not wanting....needing....

Someday, at some point, when I have been around to celebrate a few more Christmas Days, I will have my babies' babies to buy for and that will be more wonderful for me than I can say. Just to see the wonder in their eyes and the love in the eyes of their own Moms and Dads, well, I can't even think about it without my eyes misting over.

'Tis the season to look back over the years and to look forward to the days to come. 'Tis the season to remember the reason, and remember His many blessing in my life, past and present and FUTURE!!

Oh, how I love Jesus...because He first loved me.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Identity Crisis

For so many years I lived the life of Mary. My thoughts, my actions reflected my praise for Him.

But, somehow over the last couple of years it seems like Mary has been disappearing from my life. She has been replaced by commitment and demands. She has been overtaken by dirty floors and laundry, by the drive to do a good job, by the need to make sure things were in order.

I don't resent Mary as Martha did when she complained to the Lord in the 10th chapter of Luke.

10:38-40 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he (Jesus) entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet and heard his word. But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

I don't resent the Mary's, I long to return to my own Mary identity.

There is a work to be done, and I certainly don't want to be found sitting around with what the Lord has given me and not using it for His glory. And although there is a movement in the religious ranks that tries to tell us that you only need believe to be saved I am thankful that I know there is more, much more in the Word.

James 2:17-19 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works; show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God. thou doest well, the devils also believe, and tremble.

James 2:26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

If it were only necessary to believe in God then Heaven would be full of devils according to the Word of God.....but that's another blog.

Abraham was "justified by works" in this willingness to sacrifice Isaac. That was an expression of his faith in and commitment to God.

So even though I know it is important to do a work for God I also know how much He values my praise.

Luke 10:41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things; But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her.

Serving God is important, even essential and good. But our first and most important task is a love and devotion that expresses itself in worship, prayer, and fellowship with the Lord.

Sometimes we become so busy doing the work of the Lord, attending services, and doing good that we forget to have a spiritual communion with the Lord.

I seem to have forgotten who I am and what I am supposed to be doing.

When was the last time I laid down the broom and laid at His feet? The last time I took the box down and broke it onto His feet and did not worry about the price of the oil?

I have made a decision for this day and the days to come. I am returning to the Mary in me....

I am intent to find that balance between Martha and Mary inside of me. I know there is work to be done, but I also know that the only way to truly do what He wants me to do is when I lay aside those tasks that would hinder me and I get on my face before Him.

We sing a chorus about being called to a higher place of praise. The line that captured me tonight was "It becomes my highest praise when ALL that I am responds to who you are."

That is the key to my own personal Mary. ALL that I am....the Mary part of me and the Martha part of me need to respond to who He is. That's when I am giving Him my highest praise, that is when the mountains move and lives are changed.

I am determined. I AM Mary....

"I want to pour my praise on Him like oil from Mary's Alabaster Box. Don't be angry if I wash His feet with my tears and I dry them with my hair. YOU weren't there the night He found me, YOU did not feel what I felt when He wrapped His loving arms around me and YOU don't know the cost of the oil in my Alabaster Box."

I AM Mary....who are you??

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Race Is ON

Such a Hustley Bustley time of year....

Ahhh....the Christmas Season is upon us. A time to share with family and friends.... A time to reflect on the meaning of Christmas and what is important to us... A time to reevaluate our lives and our commitments to our fellow man and to ourselves.

YET...it seems to me as the years have gone by I have less and less time to spend dwelling on WHY we celebrate as I try to keep up with the various celebrations and gift purchasing.

And as usual, I do a poor job of keeping up with the pace....everyone racing around....crowding the stores....I would rather hide out right here in my house and just focus on Him....

But, the real world beckons me again and again.

Several years ago we went to Houston with some very good friends. While we were there we decided to drive those little Indy cars. My husband and my friend were first up....

Off they went, racing to the finish line...it was over in just a minute.

Then it was my turn. I got strapped in and took off...or so I thought.

I thought I was flying...man I had to be breaking the sound barrier....

When I finally landed at the finish line I found my husband and my friend bowed over laughing...

AT ME!!!

Come to find out I was not flying at all. Not by a long shot. I was creeping along "like a grandma."

A few years back I had the opportunity to drive a Nascar. I once again was strapped in and off I went.

It felt like it took FOREVER! I thought, man I am going too never get finished going this slow.

And yet my top clocked speed was 132mph.

I have been running the race of life for almost 43 years. Sometimes it seems like time has just stood still and then I reflect back and realize all the years that have passed, seemingly in the blink of an eye.

Yesterday I was getting married....today I have been married 23 years.

Yesterday I gave birth to my daughter....today she is 22.

Yesterday I had a baby boy...today he is 19.

Yesterday I gave my life to the One who gave His life for me....

Now years have passed and I have not accomplished nearly enough to justify all that I have been given....

I am running a race....I want to finish the course....maybe not the fastest, but I want to finish. I want to reach the end and look back at the miles I've traveled and see lives that I have touched through Him.

I want to hear "Well done" at the finish line....

Whether you are on the right course or not, there is a finish line for this race called Life. During this Christmas season stop long enough to check your course, to look at the compass provided in the Word of God, and to refuel on His preached Word.

And as you are hustling and bustling around remember....the greatest gift of all was given over 2000 years ago.