How do you sum up a whole year of blogging?
(I know what some of you are thinking--YOU DON'T!)
Sorry, Charlie, I'm gonna do it anyway. Consider it a little housekeeping task I feel compelled to do (hard to believe I used the words compelled and housekeeping in the same sentence, huh?!). I have slightly more posts this year than any previous year and should hit my 500th post in the next few months. YOWSA! I can hardly believe it!
So many words and yet so little said. Sigh. For your reading pleasure (or as a favor to you insomniacs) I'm giving you a rundown on the bests posts of The Next Step of 2009.
According to Google Analytics, the most popular posts of this year were:
Wanting More for Desperate Housewives
My Irrational Fear
Sometimes the Biggest Victories are Personal
But I Love You
For My Husband
But I must say I've gotten the most feedback from my 7 Quick Takes posts each Friday. They seemed to develop a following as soon as I started focusing more on my family life, giving each of my kids a pet name (what are you, a bunch of Nosy Nellies?). If you'd like to trip through them, I'm warning you, it may take a while, but here's the link. It starts with the most recent and goes back in time. I'm thinking this is a good thing, since they got much better as the year went on and you'll no doubt get tired of reading within the first ten minutes.
And since this is my blog, I decided to tack on a few of my favorites which aren't already listed.
What I Want My Daughters (and Sons) to Know About Sex
Julie and Julia Meet the Pioneer Woman or Adventures in Failed Imitations
A Tough Lesson
Blessings in Disguise
Finally, I want to thank you, readers. Often in this blogging gig I feel like a little girl speaking to her dolls, trying to sound smart and important, but in the end knowing I am only a small voice with no real audience. Your kind words and comments spur me on and let me know I'm not alone here. Thanks for the privilege of working out my faith without judgment and often with unexpected encouragement. Much thanks goes to every one of you who has taken the time to say something in person, write a comment, send me an e-mail or message me on Facebook letting me know you're reading. You have no idea how it touches me.
Thanks for making this an adventure.
Soli Deo Gloria--To God be the Glory.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
How do you sum up a whole year of blogging?
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
We finally saw the movie everyone's been talking about. I understand its popularity. What a great story.
But it's true confession time on this blog again (surprise, surprise). I came away feeling more defeated than inspired (Let's blame it on hormones and a weary body, 'kay? That's my excuse for everything, huh?).
Sandra Bullock's character is so spunky and strong and knows how to get things done. She's a mother bear who makes sure her cubs get their due (and looks good doing it!). Me? Not so much. I'm the woman who sits back and wonders what God's doing in her kids' lives. I don't march in and tell anybody how to deal with my children or how to get through to them. Have I slighted them?
The impact this woman made on one young man's life is dramatic. I want to do that. I want to touch people. I want to help them be who God has created. I want to introduce them to a life in Him which exceeds everything the world has to offer. I want to make a difference and point others to an amazing, Almighty God.
And yet my efforts seem so small. I know God's economy differs from the world's, that He measures hearts not results, but how much is enough for God? Can a Christian ever rest?
I've always had a desire to do something great for God. I read a blog post this week by Smoochagator that has me examining my motives again. I've questioned for years if I'm truly trying to bring glory to God or only wanting to make a name for myself. I wish I knew the answer. I possess a very real fear of messing up this life. I don't want to miss out on what God wants me to accomplish. I don't want to meet Jesus face-to-face and have Him shake His head at me in disappointment. And yet this desire to be better and do more puts a tremendous burden on my shoulders. Is it self-imposed? Can pressure be from God?
People who know me tell me I AM accomplishing great things for God. Why is it not enough? Why must I always want more? Is God whispering to my soul or Satan taunting my ego?
How much is enough? Did Jesus not lay down His very life for us? Does He expect less from us? Where is the line between striving and resting in His grace?
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Jesus, the King of the Jews, the Savior of the World.
Born to ordinary people, in an unremarkable small town, as any other baby entered the world, without great fanfare, void of the honor due Him, experiencing growing pains all humans face.
WHY?! If God is all about achieving glory, why would He allow His Son so little when He came to earth?
To know ordinary me. To understand ordinary you.
“Just as Our Lord came into human history from outside, so He must come into me from outside. Have I allowed my personal human life to become a “Bethlehem” for the Son of God?”
by ~ Oswald Chambers
My Utmost for His Highest
My heart is a regular Bethlehem, small, insignificant, nothing special. Until. . .
. . .it becomes the birthplace of a King.
Without Him I am common. With Him I am extraordinary.
O come, o come, Emmanuel. Make me more than what I am.
Join other In "Other" Words participants at Miriam Pauline's Monologue.
Friday, December 25, 2009
1) Ladies Man got in the van after his dad and me spent the day shopping.
Ladies Man: You not really making our gifts, are you?
Ladies Man (groaning): Oh, then they're going to suck.
Dad: You know, I'm tired of you guys thinking we aren't capable of making you something nice.
Ladies Man: Well if you're making it we know it isn't a video game.
Me: My minor in college was computer applications. I use to write computer programs all the time in college.
Ladies Man: Yeah, but you told me no one uses the languages you programmed in then and you don't know the new ones.
Me: I've been learning some HTML in my blogging stuff.
Dad: And I designed a whole website. What makes you think we can't do it?
Miss Innocent One: Yeah. They might be able to do it.
Ladies Man: They're not that smart. They're a broken down old piece of meat.
Me: MEAT?! A broken down old piece of MEAT?!
Dad pulls the van over.
Dad: You can walk home.
And so he did. Lest you think we're terrible parents, we were only a block from home and just in case you think Ladies Man is the cruelest son on the face of the planet, you must know he was laughing and giving us a hard time, not serious. We all got a good laugh out of it.
2) Take a look at the first thing we encountered as we walked into a Christian bookstore last week.
Can someone please tell me what in the world this is supposed to mean?! What is the message I'm to glean from this statue? I'm completely clueless and slightly disturbed.
3) We've had some good family time this last week. Wednesday night we took the whole brood to a movie. As we waited for the movie to start, I leaned over to Drummer Boy and Drama Queen.
Me: So are you past the age yet where it's lame to be out with your parents?
Drummer Boy: Eh.
Drama Queen: Ish.
Ladies Man: Yeah, well, no offense (ARG!!), but not really.
Me: Yeah, no offense (eye roll). Well, is it more respectable if you're with your whole family?
Ladies Man: Yeah, it helps.
Meanwhile Miss Innocent One, our only non teen, listens with a confused look on her face. Thank the Lord, I'm still cool in one of my kids' eyes.
4) We had a dilemma at our house over WHEN to open gifts. The boys wanted to do it Christmas Eve and the girls wanted to do it Christmas morning. Oh. My. Goodness. They drove me bananas! There was no listening to each other. No give and take. Once we decided to open some on each day, the questions started again. "What about the stockings? WHEN on Christmas Eve will we open? How many?" At my wit's end I decided I must be the most wishy washy mother on the face of the globe, catering to my kids' every wish since my children made such an issue of it all. Wednesday night I was ready to load up the Grinch's sled and give my Whos a reality check to remind them what we REALLY celebrate.
5) We're sitting around the dinner table and Kevin poses a question.
Dad: If you could be a character in the nativity, what would you be and why?
Uh huh. If you're thinking I vocalized my concerns from the night before, you'd be right! I've got a good husband, I tell you.
Dad: If you could be a character in the nativity, what would you be and why?
Me: I'd be a sheep. There's no expectations on the sheep. It gets to sit there and take in the whole scene. It doesn't have to do anything or say anything. It just soaks it all in.
Drama Queen stands and raises a hand in the air, you know, just in case we may miss her. Right.
Drama Queen: I'd be the star.
Dad: Why do you want to be the star?
Drama Queen: Dad. . .think about it.
Miss Innocent One: I'd be the angel.
Have I pegged these kids' names or what?!
Ladies Man: I'd be a shepherd. If you were a shepherd you'd have a chance to do what God tells you and find the baby.
Oooh, good answer. Drummer Boy agreed.
Drummer Boy: Yeah, I'd be a shepherd too.
Me to Dad: You haven't said what you'd be.
Drama Queen: You can't be the star. I'm the star. There's only one star.
Yeah, yeah, we know.
Dad: I'd want to be Joseph so I could be part of Jesus's life for longer than one night.
Me: But can you imagine the huge responsibility?
Drummer Boy: Yeah, that's why I'd be a shepherd. You get to be part of it, but not have a tough job.
Miss Innocent One: The angel gets to tell everyone the good news.
Drama Queen: But I'd point them all to Jesus.
Dad: But how would you do that?
Drama Queen: I'm the star! Everyone would see and know where the baby was because of me.
Dad: Next question. If you could give the person on your right some kind of service or something they need, what would you give them?
I sat to the right of Miss Innocent One. Her answer?
Miss Innocent One: I think Mom could use some ear plugs.
6) Drama Queen guessed right. We did make gag gifts, but only for she and Ladies Man since they are the ones who gave us such a hard time about it. Here's pictures with both gifts.
7) As I think about what Christmas means to me, how Jesus coming to earth affects me personally, one verse comes to mind.
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
I hate to think about who I would be or what I would have missed had I not sought after Him when He knocked on my heart. If God's calling you, don't be afraid. Know His plan is SO MUCH BETTER than your own. May you have the courage to put yourself in His hands and experience life to the full, my friends.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
One more batch of cookies. Another round of peppermint patties. One more gift. Another stocking stuffer. I should pick up some extra tissue paper, batteries, ice melt. I keep pushing myself to complete everything so I can relax, and while the list gets shorter, little after thoughts make it never ending. This constant going steals the season. The busyness, the stress of getting it all done takes away from what Christmas should be.
There's been no time for gazing at the lit Christmas tree in the dark, for imagining THE silent night, for pondering thoughts like Mary. A few moments in the morning do not satisfy my soul. I need to sit quietly in His presence.
I think of another Mary, resting at Jesus' feet while her sister, Martha, scurried about as I do now. I feel Martha's frustration as I look at my family stretched out across the living room while I whip up party mix. Pangs of jealousy strike as I'm wrapping gifts and my kids are watching movies. I want to sit, to soak in the environment of my home, to cherish the blessing of my family. I want to be Mary. Jesus gently whispers to my weary soul, "Mary has CHOSEN what is better. . ."
Ah. And so will I. My list will be done TODAY, this morning if I can do it. The preparations will be finished. I choose to call it good. No more Martha racing. It's time for Mary adoring.
It's time to celebrate Christmas.
O come let us adore Him.
O come let us adore Him.
O come let us adore Him,
Christ, the Lord.
Photo Credit: Flowery *L*u*z*a*
Friday, December 18, 2009
1) All the chickies are back in my nest. Drummer Boy came home from college Wednesday, although he won't be home as much as we thought. He'll go to the Holiday Bowl with the Husker band and will be gone for about a week since they're taking a BUS to California. He's excited, but a little bummed he may miss out on an extended family Christmas.
I knew from my own band experiences in college that there are some great free trips to be had from playing an instrument, but it didn't dawn on me when he was a squirrelly fifth grader who had to be reminded to practice that this could be his future. Even though it's tough to let a kid grow up, there are some rewards in seeing what they become too. I hope he has a blast.
2) Speaking of watching our offspring, we've been on a kid's concert circuit. Each one of them had a concert in the last WEEK. Drummer Boy's was last Friday, Miss Innocent One on Sunday, Drama Queen on Monday and Ladies Man last night. This is the last year we have four kids in four different schools, so that will help. We leave the elementary behind next year. Sometimes that makes me ecstatic and other times makes me feel old and nostalgic for our precious little kids, until I remember they weren't always so precious, even at 7.
3) Drama Queen loves to weasel out of us what her Christmas gifts are. She asks all kinds of questions--Is it something I will like? Did I ask for it? Have I mentioned it lately? Where did you buy it? Did any of the other kids get one too? She goes on and on, even when we refuse to give her any details.
Drama Queen: Oh, Mom's smiling. See I guessed it, didn't I?
Me: I'm not saying anything.
Drama Queen: Yeah, but you smirked. I'm close, aren't I?
Me: You're not getting anything out of me.
Drama Queen (to Dad): Is it what I asked for? Did you order it online or did you buy it at a store?
Dad (cashing in on the opportunity to drive her nuts): We made it ourselves.
Drama Queen: No you didn't. You wouldn't do that.
Dad: Money's tight.
Drama Queen: No sir. You're lying. It's a sin to lie.
Dad (egging her on, giving her just enough information to confuse her): I'm not lying. We made it.
Drama Queen: A home made gift? That's gonna suck.
Dad: Thanks a lot.
Drama Queen: You didn't make it. . .did you?
Dad: I told you we did.
Drama Queen: That doesn't make any sense. You didn't do that.
Dad: Well, we'll just wait and see, I guess.
Drama Queen: Wait, I bet you made a gift as a gag and then you're going to pull the real gift out after I open the gag.
She smacked the table.
Drama Queen: That's it! I figured it out.
We say nothing, just let her mull over her revelation.
Drama Queen: It's a gag gift. . .right?
Dad: No. We made your gift.
Drama Queen: But it's a gag and then you'll give me the real one. . .right?
Dad: What's wrong with a home made gift?
Drama Queen: You really didn't make it, did you?
It's so fun to watch. She thinks she has it all figured out, yet still questions herself. It's too easy to get her going. I'll fill you in on the actual gift AFTER the fact. I'm not taking any chances she'll figure it out before Christmas.
4) Remember when Miss Innocent One's friend said she was "too churchy?" Well, apparently the friend is over it now, because she gave Miss Innocent One a little Christmas gift with a note that said, "Thanks for being my best friend." I found Miss Innocent One's response interesting. She wasn't overjoyed and didn't put too much stock into it, like she didn't want to let herself believe it.
"Hmm," she said, "I guess she's okay with me now."
She's forgiven her and decided not to bring it up, but obviously she hasn't forgotten. Emotional wounds cause us to protect ourselves and she's keeping up her guard. On the one hand I'm proud of her for having the wisdom to do so, but on the other feel sad an eleven-year-old feels the need to do it.
5) After Drama Queen's concert on Monday night, Ladies Man had a couple of freshmen girls he knew in Middle School last year come up to him. They hugged him and talked and flirted and talked. One girl talked to him so long I finally had to go up to them and tell him we were leaving. I did the good mom thing and gave them some space while they finished their conversation, but on the way home I wished I hadn't when he blurted, "I did something really wrong at the concert."
My mind started spinning, expecting some horrible confession I wasn't prepared to hear from my fourteen-year-old.
"What?" I asked, bracing myself.
"I gave that girl my phone number."
6) There's one week until Christmas. How will you prepare? I'm hoping to finish all my gift shopping this weekend, do the food shopping on Monday and spend the rest of the week at home, wrapping, cooking, taking my sweet time to complete everything. There's something very peaceful about just being home, isn't there?
Often when I feel stressed, I find myself blaming it on the commotion, the noise level, the ungrateful slobs who inhabit my home and never lift a finger to help (can you tell this was my hormonal week?), but I wonder if the real problem is my expectations, both on my family and on myself.
I don't want the days before Christmas to be hectic, so I'm going to kill myself this weekend to make sure I have a few days next week of puttering in my house, quieting my spirit, preparing myself to be truly grateful for Jesus.
7) Here's a little something to get you in the Christmas spirit.
Have a terrific weekend, friends.
Catch some other Quick Takes at Conversion Diary.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I wish I knew more sign language. Me and the guy at the Y (whose name is John, by the way) now have a relationship of sorts. He finds all kinds of ways to communicate with me.
He notices if I come in a little later, points at me and rests his head on his hands as if to say, "Oh, so you slept in today." If I'm on a bike, he'll take a gander at my screen, motion to the cliff's edge and steer his hands. He'll tease me a little as I get hot and sweaty, pumping his arms. If he wants to get my attention he sounds like he's clearing his throat saying "Aaa!" He tells me I'm okay when he pats my shoulder and smiles. When I try to leave, he'll stop me, shake a finger in my face and tap his watch. I get the message--"You haven't worked out long enough."
Once I was staring off into space while I caught my breath and apparently he thought I was ogling some people in the gym. He pointed to me, then them and rubbed one finger over the other to say "shame on you." He shared his theory about the cracked window in the Wellness Center too. I think he actually ribbed me about pushing my husband into it! He went, "Aaa!", touched his left ring finger, motioned to me, tightened his lips and brow, made fists, then pretended to shove a head toward the window!
I'm never sure how to respond to him. Mostly I smile and shake my head, but since I'm not sure if he reads lips or not, often I say something. I have no way to know if he understands what I'm trying to communicate. But I know we are friends and wonder where God is going with this. Last week I was reading a book while pedaling away and saw him saunter over. I expected him to suggest I go faster or wipe his forehead, but when he got up to the bike, he noticed my bookmark, a leftover from our summer musical at church. He adjusted his glasses and leaned in to see it.
"Aaa!" he said, tapping it gently. He nodded his head and tapped it again.
"Aaah," he said softer before walking away.
What do you make of that?! I wish I knew how to ask him about it. Who knew a silly bookmark I absentmindedly threw into my book would start my head spinning about how to talk with my deaf friend about his relationship with Jesus? It confirms every action, no matter how minute or insignificant it seems, can be used by God.
I'm relying on Him to guide me in this relationship, to give me the right motions since I can't rely on my words. I want to be a good friend to John. And I'm thankful for this unexpected, kind of cool new adventure He's put me in. I know I will learn so much.
If you think of it, pray for John and me, 'kay? I don't want to miss out on what God has planned here.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
When the trials of life unravel the fabric of our plans,
when we face the deep confusion of painful circumstance,
when our feeble strength is broken, and we stand with empty hands,
that’s when the Father whispers "Trust the pattern I have planned."
Lyrics from song, The Weaver
I can't say I've experienced crushing tragedy.
I've never lost a child.
My health has not been at risk.
I've not been rejected by my spouse.
Bankruptcy has not tarnished me.
My childhood was not traumatic.
But I've had pain.
My parents divorced.
I watched my father die a miserable death.
Close relationships dissolved.
Providing for a family of six on one income brought great anxiety.
My sons were diagnosed with a scary childhood illness.
I grew up fearing I didn't measure up to society's standards.
In my pain I cried out to God.
Why? Why didn't you answer my prayer how I asked? What purpose could this have? Where is Your rescue? Why don't You come?
His consistent, soft answer was unmistakable.
Can I be completely honest?
His words weren't terribly satisfying or at all comforting. How is a person to trust the dark hole in front of them? How can you to see His light in the fog of hurt?
But He'd say it again.
All I could do was work on it. When I couldn't feel Him, I meditated on the Truth of His Word, over and over and over, willing my spirit to believe it, or rather, allowing His Spirit to transform my human thinking. And though tears were still shed, His peace nudged me forward a day at a time, until I discovered His track record in my very own little life.
He beckoned me in my trials, teaching me to believe, to trust Him, even when I didn't feel like it.
He did the rest, growing my faith, making me stronger, more usable, better suited for His purposes.
How can I not be grateful?
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
May your suffering lead you to earnestly seek Him as well, my friends. For then, your pain is never wasted.
Visit Loni at Writing Canvas, to see what others think about this quote.
Friday, December 11, 2009
1) I recently found out I am related to Francis Scott Key. Let me see if I can explain this correctly. He was the nephew of my great great great great great great grandfather James Key Sr. which makes him some kind of cousin. Ah, my musical genius is explained. . .HA!
2) Last Sunday a crew of people hung out after the conclusion of our church musical and helped take down the set. A dozen people, both men and women, wielded screw guns to dismantle the puppy. I promise I am not making up the observation I am about to tell you. Truly. When the women unscrewed things, they either picked the screw up immediately or right after they finished with a board, but the men did their work leaving the screws lay on the floor for someone else to pick up.
When I pointed out to the women what was happening their response was, "Mmmm hmmm, of course."
I guess if they aren't tidy with their underwear, we shouldn't expect them to be neat with power tools, huh?
3) Ladies Man snapped a picture of me in the orchestra pit after the final performance of the musical. Can you tell it was a long week?
4) Bless my husband's ever loving heart. He decorated the house for Christmas on Tuesday while I balanced the checkbook, paid some bills, did general bookkeeping kind of stuff. Just thinking about getting all the Christmas junk out makes me hyperventilate. You have to make such a mess before you get to the finished product. OY! So he handles it for me. Sometimes I wonder if we have some sort of fruity role reversal thing going on, but then I remember. He never touches the laundry.
5) Apparently Drama Queen is NOT happy about her name.
"Everybody else's name is nice. Mine makes me sound bad."
I reminded her I say lots of nice things about her and that her drama is quite entertaining, but she isn't buying it. So let me set the record straight. Drama Queen is an awesome teenager. Despite her tough exterior, she possesses a tender heart. She is discerning and insightful beyond her years. She is responsible and funny, a faithful friend, smart and a kick to be around. There's way more to this girl than drama.
Rest assured, Drama Queen, you aren't the victim here. You are my treasured, lovely daughter.
6) After two days of LOUD, Thursday was a gloriously quiet day. I got caught up on laundry, ran some errands, had prayer with a friend and didn't even mind cleaning or getting groceries at stinky Walmart! Aah. I hope my intolerance for noise does not mean I'm destined to be a grouchy grandma.
I remember visiting my own grandmother (who was FAR from grouchy) when my kids were very small. Always thrilled to see us, she loved holding the babies. I'll never forget her big, bony hands reaching out for the newest addition, holding it gently saying, "What a dolly." But I knew when she'd had enough. "It's so nice you could come," she'd say, "Come back again, okay?"
Maybe as you lose your tolerance for noise you grow more grace. I certainly hope so.
7) Need some motivation to celebrate this Christmas season? How about this quote from Matthew Woodley I found in my Mosaic Bible (Thank you, Loni!)?
Throughout Advent we catch glimpses of a better world.
And as we catch glimpses of this Messiah-healed world, we long for its coming now. All of the best Advent hymns capture this spirit of groaning and longing for Messiah's better world. When we sing "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," with its dark unresolved melody, it cracks our hearts open with longing's wound. And yet, we know Messiah has come, even as we wait for him to come again. Advent is a deliciously painful mix of joy and anguish.
This Advent-like longing is at the heart of Christian spirituality. . .C.S. Lewis claimed that in this life the Advent-like stab of longing serves as a spiritual homing device, placed deep in our heart by God to lead us back to him.
Advent trains us to ache again. Of all the seasons of the church year, Advent is the time to acknowledge, feel, and even embrace the joyful anguish of longing for Messiah's birth and the world's rebirth. So we sing our aching songs while we light candles and festoon the church with greenery. That is Advent longing. . .
Finally, an explanation for the sadness Christmas brings me, for the stirring within that says there's more to Christmas than what we celebrate. I do long for a Messiah-healed world. I long to know God without my human imperfections and limitations. For now I sit in silence, gazing into the candlelight or lit tree and imagine myself in His presence. And I long. . .
I pray you let yourself ache for God this Advent season too. Let Him meet you in your longing.
If you're curious about others and their Quick Takes, wander over to Conversion Diary.
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
It snowed A LOT in my neck of the woods this week and our kids have been out of school two full days. Look closely at Ladies Man, Drama Queen and Miss Innocent One. Do you see the twinkle in their eyes? There's a reason for it. They've had far too much fun tormenting their parents!
Maybe I'm just getting old (don't you dare say ANYTHING), but the kids seemed so LOUD at home this week. I knew I was in for it when Miss Innocent One started playing the piano and Ladies Man got his trombone out to accompany her. Of course, we did this with the t.v. on full blast. Then there were the chases up and down the stairs, craft projects littering the living room, the mocking of their dad's choice of Christmas music, and wet boots and clothes strung out in the kitchen. They were having fun with each other, for which I am grateful, but they were so. . .LOUD!
I know, I'm a monster mother. I read all the beautiful sentiments other moms leave on Facebook about playing games, drinking hot cocoa, watching movies, making Christmas cookies and playing in the snow with their kids on our snow break, and the guilt creeps in. We only played one game and I yelled at them more than a few times to quit laying in the snow and scoop already. Yowsa, my mothering skills are an epic fail.
So I get a big fat F on my mother report card this week and feel like the grouchy old woman no one wants to visit. Pray for me, 'kay? Or maybe you should pray for them--they have to live with me!
Lord, help us all. I love 'em, really I do. I mean, look at them. What's not to love? Maybe I just need to buy earplugs. . .
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
“If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: “God with us.” We tend to focus our attention at Christmas on the infancy of Christ. The greater truth of the holiday is His deity. More astonishing than a Baby in the manger is the truth that this promised Baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth!”
by ~ John F. MacArthur, Jr.
Like all infants, He must have needed nourishment from his mother's breasts. He must have known the pangs of hunger. Reliant on others to feed and bathe and provide shelter, He knew the humility of need.
God with us.
Did He squabble with playmates? Did He hear, "You're not my friend anymore"?
God with us.
Working as a carpenter surely tired His body. The toll of hard work called attention to His physical limitations.
God with us.
People doubted Him, mocked Him, insulted Him. Did He ever feel as insignificant we do?
God with us.
He became acquainted with loss and the sting of death when his earthly father died.
God with us.
He knew the pressure of expectations, the burden of being needed.
God with us.
Friends let Him down. Temptations swarmed. Loneliness set in. No doubt He witnessed spouses arguing, painful illnesses, worries over money, rebellious children, insecurity, infidelity, and a host of other human maladies.
He cried. He hurt. He grieved. He sweat. He bled. He suffered.
Just like us.
Immanuel--God with us.
We cannot say God doesn't understand. We can't accuse Him of being distant or uncaring or lofty.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
Merry Christmas, indeed. Thank You, Lord.
Visit Jennifer's blog, Scraps and Snippets, for more interpretations of this quote.
Friday, December 04, 2009
1) Oh my, it's been a whirlwind at our house this week. Our church's Christmas production opened last night and I can't tell you the number of hours we've spent working on it. When it gets down to crunch time and we're spending every waking minute getting the set ready, we start to wonder why we thought this was a good idea. But watching it come together on opening night whacks me over the head with the realization this musical is way more than a show. God takes about 50 ordinary people, working tirelessly for months, and uses them in His divine appointment. It's truly a miracle to behold and such a privilege to watch. By the end of the run I'm pretty sure I'll be a blubbering mess, so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it.
Oh, and FYI--I told my husband not to plan a stinking thing for today. We're spending the day sleeping, coming up for air and food, more sleeping, watching movies, laying VERY, VERY low. Whatever you do, DO NOT call our house.
2) One of Miss Innocent One's teachers had a rude awakening. Always looking for ways to liven up the classroom, she decided to bring in some Christmas music she listened to as a kid. Now, this is a pretty young teacher, I'd say under 30, yet some of the music was on cassette tapes. The Alvin and the Chipmunks tape caught the attention of the kids.
"Wow, I didn't know they were popular way back then," said one girl.
"What do you mean, way back then?" the teacher bristled, "It's not like I'm 100 years old, you know."
Oh, poor Mrs. M. I feel her pain. It reminds me of the first time someone called me "Ma'am." Ouch.
3) Drummer Boy is super stoked to go to the Big Twelve Championship game with the Husker band on Saturday. It'll be a LONG day, though. As he put it, they get on a plane Saturday morning, land in Dallas, hop on a bus, go straight to the stadium, have a rehearsal, do warm-ups, play throughout the game, then hop back on the bus, get back on the plane and come home. The game doesn't start until 7:PM. He's figuring he'll get home some time between 3:30 and 5:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Of course, as his mother I'm worried about when he'll eat and sleep, but then I'm just a kill-joy, huh?
No, not, really. I'm excited for him. It's a great opportunity. He'll have a blast. Besides, I quit reminding him to eat months ago.
4) A funny thing happened at my mom's around the Thanksgiving dinner table. Drama Queen was in rare form, making her presence fully known, when out of the blue, my brother (who does NOT read the blog) said to her, "Man, you're a Drama Queen."
Ha! I pegged her!
5) Tuesday morning Ladies Man started running a fever at school. He told me the nurse used some new kind of thermometer to take his temperature. In order to position it correctly on his forehead, she had to move his hair and while she was doing it remarked, "Your hair is so cute." The aide in the nurses' office concurred as well.
Sheesh. The kid can't help it. He's a cutie patootie, even when he's sick.
6) And now a joke from cutie patootie, Ladies Man:
A crew member of a ship ran up to the captain and announced, "Sir, the enemy has a ship on the horizon coming our way."
"Bring me my red shirt," the captain said, "Then if I am hit, the rest of you won't panic."
The crew member retrieves the red shirt and comes back with a new announcement, "Sir, now there are 45 ships on the horizon."
Says the captain, "Bring me my brown pants."
7) I suppose we shouldn't end on such a silly note. How about we conclude instead with my favorite Bible passage? This one got me through childbirth, scary financial times, times of waiting and uncertainty. I lean on it often.
I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, "You are my servant"; I have chosen you and have not rejected you. So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
Isaiah 41:9-10, 13
If you like this kind of goofy stuff, wander over to Conversion Diary and read some other Quick Takes.