Sunday, November 30, 2014

Christmas...A Love Story

Advent is here...the season of waiting and hoping and delighting in what is to come. I have to be honest with you though, thus far this year the real meaning of Christmas has been far from my mind. I have been giddy with anticipation of Christmas trees and wrapping paper. I have bags full of adorable stocking stuffers and gifts for my wee ones. I have been covered with flour in my baking frenzy (and, consequently, have been eating far too many fall and winter goodies!) But...until today I have been almost flippant about the part the King of Kings plays in the whole season.

And then, somewhere between the list-making and the cookie baking, God showed up. I caught a glimpse of Him through the crowd of Christmas sales and holiday decor. He was so calm and laid-back, the antithesis of what much of this time of year can stir up in my heart...and I thought, "There it is. That's Christmas. He is Christmas." It was almost as if he was standing there waiting for me to notice him, and the twinkle in his eye when I finally saw him made my heart skip a beat.

It might sound crazy but today I was reminded that Christmas, as much as it is about a baby in a manger and spending time with family and finding our childlike the end it's really a love story. God's love so deep and intimate that He formulated and carried out an extravagant plan to live out the depth of his love for us. And he started it with that first Christmas morning.

So this Christmas, instead of getting caught up in how much we should (or shouldn't) do, may we stop and take a moment to notice Him. Perhaps the expectation he has for us this year isn't to get all the perfect gifts and do all the perfect things. And perhaps it isn't even to not get gifts and forget about doing the things. Maybe, instead, it's to let go of the pressure to get it "just right" in whatever way "just right" looks to us. And maybe, whatever we choose to do or not do this season, he's just asking us to start with him. Can we do that? If we don't, he will still stand there watching and waiting. But if we do, maybe this Christmas can be our story of love rekindled. May we fall in love with Him this season, whether for the first time or all over again. May we fall in love with Christmas.

This week I am linking up with Mom's The WordMom's Morning CoffeeWe Are That Family, and B Inspired Mama. Check them out by clicking on their name!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

These Beautiful, Holy, Crazy Days...Hold Onto Them

Mamas, let's step back from this blissful, crazy life for a minute and just take it all in. I need to take it all in ya'all. To remember what it's really about. Lately I have been finding myself getting swept up in my own self and missing the moments that I so desperately want to soak in!

I have to tell you this has been a difficult mothering season for me. Honestly, some days I have been wishing it away and missing the beauty that God has put right in front of me. And isn't it true that once we're in the muck of frustration and overtiredness and "if onlys" it is dang hard to pull ourselves out. I am sure I'm not the only mama who can throw a rager of a pity party. I might think I'm going to keep the party small but it is inevitably interrupted by party-crashers Anger, Selfishness, Ego-centrism, Jealousy, Self-Righteousness...the list could go on. By the end of the thing my heart is trashed and I am not exactly sure what happened! But one thing I do know? I don't feel better.

So what if we step back from the self-pity, step back from the busyness, step back from the overtired, worn-out, if-I've-said-it-once-I've-said-it-a-thousand-times diatribe we sometimes get stuck on. What if we take a big step back and see The Big Picture. The picture that those crazy puzzle pieces are forming...of beautiful, holy, curious, joy-filled little ones learning how to grow in the safety of our love.

The things I miss when I am focused on me are too many to count. The joyful lighting up of those precious faces when they delight in something (even if that something is running away from me, bare-bummed, as they attempt to avoid a diaper change). The smiles and giggles (especially those mischievous ones...where I know there must be a hot mess somewhere in the house because that face tells me so). The fresh baby-hair smell that I could breathe in all day long. The sweet sounds of my toddler chattering away about all she is seeing and experiencing (again and again and...wait for it...again). The baby toes. Ohh those baby toes...I can't even get enough! The messy kitchen table that shows I am making memories with my precious ones even if it means that my just-swept floor looks like it hasn't been touched in weeks...and is covered in sparkles that I know I will be finding for like the next five years. The heart-melting snuggles as I comfort my babies over some newly acquired bump or bruise or hurt feeling. The middle-of-the-night stroking of soft hair as I help my loveys back to sleep after a bad dream. The face my babe makes when he tastes a new food and tries to decide how he feels about it. The ridiculous way neither of my kiddos can end a meal without food from the top of their head to the bottom of their feet. The hilarious way my girl looks at you when you tell her no and she can not believe you would deign to say such a thing to her. The way my sweet boy scrunches up his face in agony when he sees me walk by and not pick him up...the nerve! These are the moments my friends. The moments. The ones that make that big picture I want hanging above my mantle when I am old and grey. And I don't want to miss them.

So enough with the annoyance at what is not. Let's focus on what is. Let's have thankful, attuned hearts that delight in this crazy mess of life. It will not last long. Whatever season you are in...whether you are in a season of littles or one where your babes have grown great big beautiful wings and taken to the skies...don't miss it. Step back. What do you see? What is beautiful and holy and good and right? What is fun and silly and crazy? What are the keepsake moments from this season that you see? Grab them tight and place them in your heart...let them stoke a fire and be reinvigorated to delight in these moments.