This blog is going to be in two parts….one is the thing I sent out to my email list and so if you read that you can scroll down to my final gift idea for the week.
Good morning and happy day-after-Thanksgiving!
I hope you had a good day of whatever fills your tummy and your heart.
Holidays are tricky sometimes, aren’t they?
We can be right in the middle of all the good feelings when a wistful reminder of something or someone can cast a gloomy shadow and steal the joy of the moment.
This mixed bag of emotions happens all year long, but at the holidays it seems our emotions are on over-drive with the excitement and hype that is swirling around us.
During a particularly difficult season in our lives with extended family dynamics, I received some wise counsel from our friend and pastor. As I dealt with the loss of “normalcy” due to my father’s Alzheimer decline, I seemed to be crying all the time. I mean..more than usual, ok?
I finally went to seek some help dealing with this and our friend told me that I was experiencing a deep grief. He showed me that I was not only grieving the loss of relationship with my father, but also the realization that some things I would have hoped to be with him would never be. He called it “grieving what we never had.”
My father loved me and I loved him. This is solid. But there were many parts of a father-daughter relationship that someone of my nature would have treasured that were just not possible for someone of his nature.
No fault of his, please hear me. He would have walked through fire for me, this I know…and he probably did so more than I was ever aware.
It’s just that he and I…like all of us…are flawed and we love and live the best we can, but we are broken in nature.
This is one of the zillion reasons I am so thankful for the work of Christ to reconcile us back to God. Not only does His power save us, it helps us live better as we wait for His return.
As we gather with various family and friends over the course of December, there may be some raw places that get rubbed. In the midst of the joys, we may sometimes have opportunities for offense.
Perhaps we could just begin to enter into all gatherings with a reminder in our hearts and spirits that we do not and cannot fully understand the struggles and inner processes of those around us.
Maybe we could just prepare our hearts before we go into that party or dinner or the sit-around-the-tree and take time to thank God for each of the individuals we will encounter and ask Him to help us see one another with His eyes and heart.
Easier said than done, I understand. But let’s try, shall we?
Be blessed as we enter the season of Advent to know that God will give us all the strength and love we need to love our people well <3
This was a gift for no particular reason…my favorite kind.
I love it for the thoughtfulness of the giver to just want me to have it, but I also love it because it is a modern day take on living the Gospel that is grounded in the same thinking as so many of my favorite devotional authors.
In the line of Oswald Chambers and Charles Spurgeon, Andrew Murray and E.M. Bounds…so many of those authors who have exhorted me to look at and apply what God’s Word says about this walk of faith that is lived out in the daily.
I am taking my time to read this as part of my morning devotions because it is not something to tickle the ears but rather to exercise and discipline myself as I apply the “breath prayers” and applications of Scripture to the realities of being human.
He uses an “Apprentice Prayer” throughout the book as well as short prayers to breathe in and out over the course of your day.
One line of the Apprentice Prayer that has grabbed my heart for several weeks is this:
Dear Father, I ask you to ordain the events of this day and use them to make me more like Jesus.I trust you, Sovereign Lord, that you won’t let anything happen to my family or me today, except that it passes through your loving hands.Page 4 of introduction from Your Best Life in Jesus’ Easy Yoke; Rhythms of Grace to De-Stress and Live , by Bill Gaultiere, Ph.D; SoulShepherding.org
That’s a brave prayer, my friends. And He meets you in the midst of it.
You can purchase the book on Amazon.
Also check out the ministry of SoulShepherding.org here:
Ok…when we meet up next it will be December and we will be counting down to Christmas.
The past few years I have done a daily countdown and I am feeling like I will do the same again…so fasten your seat belts…let’s start this sleigh ride on Sunday <3