Faith, Reflection

Lights, Cookies, Action!

We have decorated our house with lights. We have made a batch of cookies. We have experienced non-stop action with four anxious children. It’s time for the annual Christmas celebration!

What could be better than celebrating the holidays around some crazy, wild, and fun children? I am trying to soak it all in, and hang on to each memorable moment. My hope is that my children will remember the fun times of the holidays. I also hope that they’ll remember the true reason for the season.

It’s not about the lights. It’s not about the cookies. Heck, it’s not about the gifts under the tree (that our cat has conveniently chewed open). It’s about a little baby boy, coming to earth 2000 years ago in the harshest and humblest of circumstances. The savior of the world, born in a stable, misunderstood by most people, hated by some (even King Herod wanted him killed), and rejected by the current political and religious systems (way back when and even now).

Not much has changed in 2000 years. Even though technology has advanced our world, the human heart and human nature remain very much the same. People still need a savior, yet they will reject anyone who says you have to give up your own life and follow him. It’s the greatest gift ever given, and it’s also the greatest challenge to accept.

I will not sit by idly while people are living and dying for instant gratification. I may not be able to change the course of human history like Jesus did, but I can and I will share the good news to my family first, and then to my friends. Even Linus shared the good news in the “Charlie Brown Christmas Special.” In the 1960s, though, it was still okay to mention the birth of Christ. Today, it’s a form of intolerance.

Enjoy your lights. Enjoy your cookies. Enjoy the action of energized children waiting for the man in a red suit. But, please remember what the celebration is really about. A little baby, who changed everything, for all mankind.


Salt and Light

Another crazy week has gone by, and I’m still alive! My husband just returned from a 5 day visit to Florida to meet his birth mother. It was a surreal event for all of us, and I know that good things will happen because of his visit. I kept the home front running as smoothly as possible, even though there were so many extra things to do this week. Daily drama rehearsals for my boys gave me the opportunity to drive 32 miles a day. I am so thankful that I didn’t have any college classes to think about or squeeze into my schedule.

But, through all the hustle and bustle of busyness I realized something: we were all doing what we were supposed to be doing: being the salt and light to our world. Robert was the salt and light to his newly discovered extended family; I was the salt and light to my children; and my children were the salt and light to the community through their theatre performances. We all have important roles to play each day. We have the opportunity to reach out and make someone else’s life important and special because we are alive!

This time of year is an opportune time for reaching out. For those of us Christians who understand the concept of salt and light, we need to be reminded each day of our calling. Jesus came into the world as a baby, and he was born in the humblest of settings. Jesus grew into a man who had a three year mission, a full time career of being the salt and light to the world. He spent the majority of his short life as a carpenter, but when the time came for him to fulfill his calling, he pressed forward and didn’t look back.

Each day I am learning about something profound, yet I am acknowledging that most of my current experiences were actually tiny seeds planted in me years ago that are coming into fruition. Why must I have waited so long for some of these things to resolve or appear? Apparently, the timing needed to be right. Twenty years ago may have been too early for me to fulfill my calling. Now, I know that there are many things I encounter (people, places) that change as a result of my existence. I have salted the people and places that God wants to touch; I have been the light to people and places that God wanted to show.

Please don’t get me wrong; I am not trying to boast myself up or act superior. I just wanted to encourage you as the reader to also become the salt and light to the people and places around you. You are so important… to everyone you know, including me. You have been created in this time in history to make a difference that will change the course of history forever. Yes, you, just one person, can do that. So, no matter how small you feel, how insignificant you may seem in the big picture, you are important, and you matter. You are loved by God, even if you don’t love him back. You are loved by those with whom you interact. So, be the salt, and be the light. And don’t forget to smile 🙂

Marriage and Family

More human "being" and less human "doing"

I can clearly remember learning about the different conjugations of the verb “to be” in elementary school. I dreaded the thought of reciting the infamous lingo: “am, is, are, was, were, be, being, been.” I really didn’t think about it when I was a child, but those words have been etched in my brain since that time. It’s similar to a bad dream, but I can’t get rid of it because I use these words ALL the time! Okay, enough with the grammar lesson (that’s the teacher in me)…

So… I recently stumbled across the saying “to be a human ‘being’ instead of a human ‘doing'” in a book by Cheri Fuller. The context of the saying revolved around a woman who is raising five children and is struggling with the dilemma of getting everything done on her daily “to do” list and still find some time for herself. I can totally relate to these struggles, as I have preservered through them for many years. As a full time mother of four I cannot express my thoughts and feelings enough to share the joys and trials of the never-ending day. Twenty-four hours is never enough time for a busy mom. The only way to make more time for myself is to schedule into my life everyday on purpose!

So, what’s a busy mom to do? How do I fit in some “me” time into my already jammed-packed schedule that seems to never end? I think the answer may lie in the above saying: incorporate more human ‘being’ time and less human ‘doing’ time. But, how do you do that? You are probably thinking I am a bit crazy by now!

Well, if there’s anything I have learned in the past two years, the biggest lesson is to purposefully S-L-O-W D-O-W-N. There must be some leeway, some wiggle room. An OCD person like me will push myself until I get so drained that I become ill. Oh, wait a minute… I already had that happen to me! My body clearly reminds me that the immune system can only handle so much stress from foreign substances. Whether these substances are external (like germs) that invade, or whether they originate internally (from free radicals, hormones, etc…) they are likely to cause great havoc over time. Trust me when I say this… you do not want to get as ill as I did in 2008. My lesson has been taught, and I do not want to repeat it for mastery!

I’m still thinking about the infamous verb “to be”. Many references talk about it, but the one that sticks in my head is what the psalmist said, “Be still”… Think of a beautiful place that is serene, calm, peaceful. Perhaps it is a grassy area that leads to a lake or stream. The sun is peaking through the trees, and you can enjoy hours in this place just walking or resting by the water. The moment won’t last forever, but the imagery gives enough perception for the imagination to soar! I try to find those serene moments in the midst of my daily storm. The eye of my hurricane-filled life is my saving grace.

So, my encouragement to you is to “be” more, “do” less while remaining true to your form.