A Life Stirred

Not a Normal Friday

Typically, Fridays are a relaxed day around here.  The girls wake up around 7. (Don’t be too jealous.  The sun doesn’t come up until 7:15 these days.  Then it goes down at 3:45.  Ooof.  Not enough daylight.)  Anyway, we wake up, get dressed, and head downstairs for some leftover pancakes.

At this point, it’s about 7:20.  I’ve already “enjoyed” 2-3 tantrums from the girls regarding wearing vs. not-wearing socks and whose job it is to carry the water bottle downstairs.

So, we eat breakfast, then watch a Curious George (or two…I’m not a morning person).  I drink coffee; the girls play.  I break up fights over toys, pencils, snack cups, and who gets to hold Baby Jesus.

Normally, Fridays will continue on like this.  We play, do dishes, have tantrums, go potty, pick up toys, eat lunch, take naps, play some more, color a million pages, and prepare for Dada to come home.

Normally, Fridays are just another day.  Filled with all the normal-life things.

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Just a normal Friday

But we all know that this Friday isn’t just a normal Friday.

It’s Christmas!

We have been building up to this particular Friday for months now.  No other day in the year has been so eagerly anticipated by kids and grown-ups alike.  We do so much to prepare and to get in the Christmas mood–carols, twinkly lights, decorated trees, fun parties, and tasty treats, and  festive movies.  Each activity adds to our excitement for this Friday.

This Friday will be picture-perfect.  We have every kind of expectation placed on this Friday.  We have expectations for our kids, of their gratitude and attitudes.  Expectation of ourselves.  Expectations of the food (heaven forbid we burn something or forget the rolls).  For crying out loud, we even have expectations on the weather!!  (Anyone been disappointed by the unseasonably warm weather?  I mean, not here…but I’ve heard that it’s warm elsewhere.)

The anticipation is heavy.  We are all eagerly awaiting this Friday.  We count down the days.  We can feel the excitement in the air.

But this Friday cannot possibly bear the weight of all our hopes and dreams and expectations.

We will be disappointed by this Friday.  Our kids will have a meltdown or two (I mean, they’ve had a meltdown every other Friday of their life…this one will be no different).  The meal won’t be perfect.  Our family won’t be perfect.  Our own hearts will be selfish and frustrated.

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Or your daughter will offer this very special smile  when you just want a nice picture by the tree.

But I have good news for you!  This Friday may disappoint, but this Friday isn’t meant to meet all of our expectations.

It is only a shadow of something greater.  The celebration of that first Advent–Christ coming to earth as a baby–should point our hearts to a second Advent–when Jesus returns to earth!

On that day, there will be no disappointment, no tears, no meltdowns, no frustration.  All the anticipation and expectations that we place on that day will not disappoint.  It will bear up under the pressure of our expectations.

So as we celebrate the first Advent, let’s remember that it is simply a shadow of a greater joy that will be coming.  This Friday is just another Friday.  A Friday where we remember what God did for us by sending His son to us and making a way for us to come to Him.  And that is certainly worth celebrating!

Let us not place our hope in this day, but rather let’s place our hope it the God who made this day.

(PS I totally stole this truth from Matt Chandler. Go listen to him.)

 

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What a Privilege…

It’s that most wonderful time of the year!!  CHRISTMAS!!!  Who feels like breaking out their best Peanuts-esque dance move?  (I know you have one.)

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This really is such a special season.  There is so much to do, and so much to get excited about.  There’s the anticipation of Christmas morning (which is really just so much more awesome as a mom).  There’s Christmas carols, twinkly lights, trees, candy canes, present-shopping, present-receiving, festive parties, and the birth of a Savior who is God incarnate come to us!

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(Sounds like a good Christmas-y day to me!)

I love it all.  I really do.  But there’s been something on my heart and mind this season.  (Really, it started before this season, but it’s particularly heavy right now.)

What a privilege…

What a privilege that I get to enjoy this season.

There are moms all around the world who do not experience such a privilege.  They wonder if they have enough food for their children.  They wonder if they will be safe tonight as they sleep.

There are moms, dads, children being murdered for believing in the very same Baby Jesus as I do.

What a privilege that I get to decorate my house and wonder how to remember the “Reason for the Season.”

What a privilege that I get to fill Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes with my girls…as we sit in our comfortable house with more than enough stuff to fill many, many boxes.

There are moms whose children will receive those boxes.  And they won’t be sitting in a comfortable house.  Those boxes may be the only toys their children own.

What a privilege that I am here.

Honestly, those three little words are rocking my world.  I almost don’t even know how to proceed with my everyday life.  All my worries seem so small in light of those words–What a privilege…

And don’t get me wrong.  (This part is important for you to read.)  I’m not saying any of these things are bad.  I love Christmas and festive Christmas-y things.  I loved doing Operation Christmas Child (it’s a great, concrete way to teach young kids to give).  None of the things are bad. I believe they are good gifts from God.

And yet, I can’t shake these new lenses.  I am seeing my life differently. It’s changing the way I think about things.  It’s changing the way I think about everything. 

I really have no idea where this new perspective will take me or what the Lord will do with it.  But I do know He is shaking up my “comfortable,” and I just can’t shake it.

Really, these new lenses have nothing to do with Christmas.  They have everything to do with realizing that this life I’ve been given is a gift.  It’s about shifting my me-centered gaze to a world full of people who are hurting.  And these people are not just on the other side of the world.  They are here too.  Right in my own community.

So for now, you will find me trying to find a balance.  A balance between enjoying the good and fun and frivolous of Christmas AND remembering that it’s a privilege that I get to enjoy the good and fun and frivolous of Christmas.

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What a privilege…

Does anyone else have a hard time balancing these two things?  How do you enjoy God’s good gifts without losing sight of others who may not have the same good gifts?  Does this even make sense?

And in case you want to read another blog post that will get you thinking, Shannan (who I don’t know at all in real life but I like a lot) wrote a really good one earlier this week.  It’s a tough one.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

 

 

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Ten on Ten :: A Poor Substitute

Well, I missed “Ten on Ten“…again.  Which at this point isn’t really shocking.

But there is so much I want to remember about right now–about the girls, about our day-to-day life.  It’s stuff that I will no doubt forget all too soon (forget or block out…same thing).

So, I present you with a poor substitute for Ten on Ten…aka “Little Bits about our Life Right Now Without Any Pictures (Sorry, Mom).”

In a lot of ways, life is exactly the same as it’s always been.  Wake up, eat, play, errands, play, eat, naptime, play, dishes, survive until Daddy gets home, eat, play, bedtime, crash!  (Not included: all that “training” that comes with having a two and three year old…and by “training”, I clearly mean, teaching them to not meltdown at everything!)

But there’s something a little extra sweet about this season right now.  The girls have hit a seriously awesome stage.  Their developing personalities are so enjoyable.  They are each other’s best friends, and they will play together (with minimal disagreements) for hours!  Sometimes they just disappear upstairs, which is so strange (and nice).

Joanna is, as she would say, “almost 4.”  I mean, she’s got two months until her birthday, but she’s excited.  I’m not sure I’m quite as ready for 4 as she is.  Four seems like a real big kid.  She says the most hilarious and awesome things.

And in case I felt like Jo was growing up too fast, I can just look at Claire, who is DEFINITELY growing up too fast.  Last Monday, she came into my bedroom (before I was even out of bed), and said, “I want to wear big girl underwears.”  This was pretty much out of the blue.  I had casually been mentioning that “big girls wear underwear.” But I wasn’t actually that eager to dive into potty-training again.  And I definitely hadn’t wanted to do it before Thanksgiving (because 15 hours in the car does NOT work well with a potty-training toddler).

Anyway, she requested big girl underwears.  So we did it.  And the determined little kid potty-trained herself!!  She hasn’t looked back.  It’s absolutely crazy…and oddly easy.

And then that Friday (5 days into big girl underwears), she got a haircut.  It was time to get rid of the mullet.  For her sake and ours.

Anyway, with the combo of the haircut and the underwear, my baby is gone.  It was all a bit sudden.  I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m so stinkin’ proud of her.  And I love the haircut.  But esh!  We don’t have a baby anymore!  And it happened literally overnight.

So, that’s our life lately.  It feels so ordinary, and yet, when I look back, these are going to be the days that I remember fondly.

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The Elephant in the Room

Let’s just address the elephant in the room, shall we?

Or the elephant in the blog…

It’s been forever since I’ve blogged.  Like legit forever!!

I’m not sure how you make a comeback from that kind of blogging-break.  I don’t know if it’s even possible.  I mean, three months is like 5 years in internet-time, right?

So, I’m doing want I do best–pointing out the obvious, laughing nervously, and moving on.

I’ve missed this.  I’ve missed writing.  I’ve missed this place to share my thoughts.  I’ve missed having my affections stirred for the Lord through processing and writing and interacting with the occasional reader.

So, I’m back.  But I’m not making any promises.  I just wanted you to know I haven’t forgotten about you, my dear blog and readers (is it presumptuous to assume I have more than one?).

The elephant in the room has been addressed, and now I’m free to write again.  And hey, if I write at least one post before mid-March, then I’m improving, right?

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