We will post a year update sometime next week, but I just wanted to share our CHRISTmas greetings!!
And share the Christmas nugget I've had on my heart for the last few weeks....
Sometime in our Advent studies and Sunday morning sermons the conversation between Elizabeth and Mary in Luke 1!
Although we've had a pretty "quiet" year, we've had plenty that has come before us that has been hard and some things just really seemed (and still seem) "impossible". I'm not going to share the who/when/where/whats but only want to go back to the Christmas Story and see the HOPE that is there.
For years Elizabeth had struggled with infertility, wanting a baby, having a natural God-given desire to mother a child. And in His time God allows that to happen in a miraculous way that fits into His plan. She is overwhelmed with joy. And when confronted with Mary's part she gets just a glimpse of understanding of who her own child will become, that he has a role in the bigger picture of God's plan of redeeming the world.
Speaking of that plan, people for generations before Elizabeth were also waiting and wanting. They were looking for one that God had promised centuries beforehand that was going to rescue His people, all those willing to make Him Lord.
I continue reading in the conversation and I am confronted with Mary's response. Obviously she is humble, but what strikes me is her willingness! She didn't ask to be the Mother of the Savior!! She didn't ask to carry the burden of a basically unwed mother within a society that could have cast stones at her... not words, real stones to kill her like the law would have allowed.
But she accepted it, willingly. And we see her at the crucifixion of Christ... a faithful, willing, and devoted mother.
I am definitely NOT saying that my struggles are made right because I've decided to "give them to the Lord" and be used by Him during the hard times. Or that my struggles compare in scope to these great biblical women.
But what I am suggesting is that maybe, just maybe, having an attitude and outlook that is focused on the Lord and trusting Him to work it all out in His time (while being faithful to do what I am supposed to be doing... like Gal 6:4,5 NLT) would help. I can still walk in faithfulness and joy and not let the situation weigh me down even when it feels like it's staring me down or holding me back.
Maybe, just maybe, if I'm willing to trust and be used these struggles will one day seem soo distant and temporary and I will be able to see how God used these times to bring me or others to closer to Himself.... which has been His plan all along.
I just have to check my words and deeds and see if they demonstrate a heart that is willing to see struggles as not impossible to God but a means to fulfill His great plan. I have to be willing to confess when it's my heart and plans that are trying to lead instead of being lead by the Lord.
Isn't it crazy how this simple event still carries soo much power! It's life-changing on the big Redemptive scale and on the small my life scale.
Praying that in where ever life has lead you, that you would see the HOPE of the Christmas Story... that you can believe in the impossible and be willing to trust God... through the good times and bad!