Back to it

New Years is the time of year most people become resolved to change or set and strive for fresh goals. But for me as a stay-at-home mom and ministry leader, back-to-school time is the golden ticket!

My sweet kiddos started a new school year yesterday, and in many ways my year begins again, too.

Seriously. Have you seen sweeter kids?

It’s time to get back to it!

I’ve missed posting here on my blog. For the past year, I’ve allowed my ministry to-do list to crowd out my writing time. This fall, I’d like to change that, because God uses blogging in my life to punctuate how He is at work in the details all around me.

Earlier this year, knowing what God was calling me to, I asked Him to increase my capacity (aka the prayer of Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:10). The vision He had given was impossible to achieve without His presence and power — and Him stretching me even further in faith. God answered that prayer by giving me more to do and more people to love and serve. That’s just like God! 😉

I can say truthfully I haven’t “handled” it all well. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve burnt out in my own strength. And, God has allowed me late this summer to solely focus on my first ministry — my family — to rejuvenate my heart and clarify my priorities.

What God calls us to, He equips us to do. But you know how He does that? It isn’t that God suddenly gives you new skills or management techniques or aligns all your people in an orderly manner so that leadership is easy. He gives us Himself. He requires us to be with Him, stand with Him, depend on Him, trust in Him, and release control so He can work — in US.

That’s why I want to get back to recording God’s words and encouragement here in blog form. I want God to keep me on my toes, recognizing His work in the details of life so that I can stand firm in Christ, as He calls me in Ephesians 6:10-20 (note all times we are urged to “stand”). And, I want to be able to share with you the amazing blessing and miracle it is that God chooses to move and make Himself evident in our everyday lives — the places that real life happens, those in-between moments that define us.

This restart may not be perfect. It’s a beginning, again. That sounds a lot like grace.

Thanks for joining me in the journey!

Packing up Christmas

The ornaments and Christmas crafts and decorations piled up as I worked to pack it all up.

The ornaments and Christmas crafts and decorations piled up as I worked to put it all away.

On New Year’s Day, I was ready to take down the Christmas tree and pack up the decorations.

For the last several years, I’ve struggled with the after-Christmas letdown. I didn’t want to take down all the special ornaments and lovingly pieced together Christmas crafts the kids made at home and school! The Nativity scene looked so beautiful on my piano, and I loved my mornings curled up on the couch in the dark before the kids woke up, gazing at the lights on the tree. Christmas is my favorite time of year, and it always seems so stark and empty when it all is packed up in a box and stacked up in the garage.

This time around, as I surveyed the house full of Christmas on the first day of 2015, I knew it was time. Without remorse or even a tug at my heart, it all came down to be carefully packed away for next year.

My husband commented out loud that he wondered where his wife had gone! The one that usually waxes sentimental was now on a mission to clean up and move on.

This was a wonderful December, full of family time and precious memories. We participated in an exciting Journey to the Manger every day as we anticipated Jesus’s birthday on Christmas. We attended school programs, dance recitals, church musicals, and even managed to deal with a few bouts of sickness in the midst of it all. We had an amazing day with my extended family at Silver Dollar City, and enjoyed an after-Christmas trip to spend time with my husband’s family. Christmas Day itself was full of joy and wonderful time together!

So why didn’t I feel the same way this year that I usually do when all the festivities and Christmas celebrations come to an end?

Mangers aren’t meant to linger around.

Mary didn’t give birth to her firstborn son in a stable and lay Jesus in a manger because she wanted to…she had to because there was no other place or people who would make room for them. The young couple didn’t stay there long either. They dedicated Jesus in the Temple, and ended up living in a home in Bethlehem. It is there that the Wise Men found Mary and the child and worshiped Him with expensive gifts. After their visit, an angel visited Joseph with instructions to leave Bethlehem immediately for Egypt, sparing Jesus from King Herod’s rage.

Jesus didn’t come to stay cradled in the manger. He came to shake the earth and our hearts when he paid the penalty for our sins on the cross and burst forth from the grave!

Mary and Joseph left the manger, not knowing what awaited them as they held the Son of God in their arms. They would go to Egypt and back, and watch their Son grow in favor with God and men. Mary would see Jesus’s miracles, and the crowds clamoring for a touch and a word from the Savior. They had to move on from the manger to experience the adventure of life with Jesus!

I don’t know what God has in store for me or my family this year. I haven’t written out carefully constructed resolutions or goals, and frankly am not sure what we will eat for dinner tonight. But I know that my best days are ahead of me, as I follow my Jesus!

That’s why I was ready to pack up the decorations, and carry Christmas with me in my heart. My feet are ready to move and my hands are ready to get to work. It’s time to continue this life’s adventure with Jesus!