Category Archives: Christmas

December 1, 2020 anticipation

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Good morning, DearHeart.

It is December. I’m caught between ‘where did the year go’ and ‘2021 can’t get here soon enough’ and ‘let’s give 2020 the boot’.

In my head I hear Dale’s voice of reason “be careful what you ask for, Ang. It can always be worse.”

So, in the waiting for the new year, we get to experience anticipation. Do you remember Simeon?

He’s an interesting person in the story of Christmas. We don’t know much about him. Maybe he was a priest although this is not clearly to us. We are told, however, two things about him:

1. He was righteous and devout and eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel” (Luke 2:25b, NLT), and

2. That day the Spirit led him to the Temple” (Luke 2:27a, NLT).

That day. It was the day Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the Law required all parents to do.

And, Simeon just happened to be present. It was an ordinary day much like all of our days. People going about their business, and putting out fires, and keeping an eye on the sheep, and drawing water to wash the dishes later. A day like any other.

There were probably many others who had also come to the Temple. But, only Simeon saw Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus fully and clearly.

Because Simeon, had been

waiting,

looking,

and anticipating the Messiah’s coming … he was the one who recognized the Messiah.

He saw not the babe in Mary’s arms,

but the Savior,

the salvation prepared for all people,

the Light of the World.

In his devotional, ‘Because of Bethlehem’, Max Lucado reminds us of the day the young couple came knocking at the door of the inn. Nothing signaled to the innkeeper that this couple was different, or that the world was about to change for all time.

He turned them away saying there was no room at the inn and missed the opportunity.

“Many still do.

They miss the chance to open the door.

They let the birth of Jesus pass them by.

The miracle of Bethlehem still happens …

He sings to us through Christmas carols.

He calls to us through Christmas sermons.

He reaches out through the Christmas story.”

Here we are – December; now Advent begins and we begin to read about it all month. Jesus pursues us through the simplicity and majesty of the Christmas story.

Simeon was

E. X. P. E. C. T. I. N. G

the Messiah – Jesus – to burst onto the scene in his lifetime. He would not give up hope because he knew the promise.

Oh, DearHeart, do not give up hope.

Jesus comes knocking at our hearts in the midst of the

pandemic,

the fear,

the lights,

the shopping,

the wrapping,

the baking,

and the stress.

“Look! I stand at the door and knock, if you hear My voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” (Revelation 3:20, NLT)

Both actions are required.

We must hear and open our hearts.

And Jesus will come.

Wake up.

Anticipate.

Look for the Savior of the World.

Every minute.

You will find Him when you look for Him.

Go.

October 27, 2020 ice storm

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Good morning, DearHeart.

Life gets tricky. So do words. I was asked if we have a whole house generator yesterday, I said “yes”; then realized later that I misspoke. We weren’t talking about the same type. We have a generator that runs the freezers, or the range, or the heater, but – not at the same time. Dale rotates them. And, gases it up occasionally.

The kind she was talking about was one that keeps everything running at the same time. I’ve heard of those. Lol. I think you flip a switch or something. Oh, well.

Safe and warm. One way or another.

I think this is the first time Dale and I have had to do an ice storm without at least one of our sons. So, there’s that. 😳

Ice storm.

Life.

A left hook sneaks in.

Stakeholders move on.

The unexpected checks in.

So, what is there to do when the next 2020 unthinkable drops in?

Fear rises, grief rises; then the stages play out . . .

-brutal,

-searching,

-just breathe,

-sucker-punch,

-acceptance,

-baby steps,

… they all overlap and rare-up, and replay and settle down again, but always present.

As a child of the Most High, there is a tickling reminder that an always present God is still in control.

‘And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians‬ ‭3:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬

So, wonder – ask, “Father, what is this here to teach me? You’ve promised me another degree of glory, even here. I believe you. What’s the gift in this unexpected season?

Show me each one.

Stay with me.

Grow me.

Let me invite you, DearOne, to consider this: the unexpected is to be celebrated. If life was exactly the same ten years from today as it is now, you’d be a puddle. It would not be pretty.

The unexpected gives us juice.

Adventure.

Discovery.

Even when it hurts.

Even when unwelcome.

It is not comfortable. But, the Holy in us is always, ALWAYS, working for our highest good. Always moving us, you and me, into His next degree of Glory.

How about if we simply trust Him a little more today, and doubt a little less . . . of life, of others, of yourself? How about if you and I allow our Creator room to make us uncomfortable so that He can deliver sweet gems of insight that are right there, waiting, just beyond the fear, … ahhh, yes, there they are . . . waiting to be seen?

His ways are right.

Trust Him in this moment.

Add another blanket.

Trust His ways.

Wake up.

Allow room for the next degree of Glory.

Go.

March 31, 2020 ammo

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Good morning, DearHeart.

Luke was loading ammo in the middle of the week (yes, we are 2nd Amendment people, don’t hate, get over it). Our friends have a toilet paper stash to the ceiling. I’m buying powdered milk. These days are not normal. Unusual activities.

Fear or preparedness? Maybe a little of both. It doesn’t really matter.

There is a heightened awareness of threats that surround us. We take extra precautions that are unusual to our norm. The numbers of victims, day by day, continue to rise. In masks and gloves, we sanitize going in, and again going out. And, several times in between.

Such a strange adventure.

When it is over, we will all be living a ‘new-normal’.

When disasters like this virus strike, or any world event comes, we often feel like we have no control over the impact of what is happening, it creates fear, stress, and overwhelm.  It’s so easy to go into that space of feeling like the world is coming to an end and there’s nothing we can do about it.  But we have a choice.  We can flip that perspective and come from a place of

strength,

of empowerment,

and contribution.

It seems to me that our hearts are softer in the quiet of the morning or evening. Especially during times of crisis. Those are times for prayer. Here is one you may want to say, or use, or add to, to make it your own.

‘God of Wonder,

God of Glory,

we come before you with uncertainty

and fear

as we see this disease riddling our towns

and our families

and our care-givers.

We pray that Your presence would be felt by those who are grieving,

who are sick,

who are jobless

and those whose worlds have been

and will be rocked.

We pray for wisdom

and safety for those who are responding to the people in need

and the many challenges left in the wake of this disease.

We pray for our church,

that through us,

we may be a witness to Your compassion

and care for all who suffer.

God, you are our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in times of trouble (Ps 46:1). 

You will not leave us or forsake us (Heb 13:5).

You are for us, so who (or what) can be against us? (Rom 8:31).

For this we give You thanks

and ask that You hear our prayers for Your people.

In the precious and holy name of Jesus, I pray.

Amen

Wake up.

Pray.

Go.

November 25, 2019 morning

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Good morning, DearHeart.

God loves impossible situations. Over and over God’s word shares the insanely bizarre pickles of His followers, yet God doesn’t leave. He stills them. They panic, He stills them more … He stills you and me out of our panic until we can hear Him.

This time of year my guys hunt very early and late in the evening. One of my favorite parts of them hunting is listening to their stories of what animals and birds they see and hear from their deer stands. As we wake each morning, there is an entire creation coming alive … stirring in the woods, venturing out … tentative … stretching … sniffing the air, then sniffing the earth beneath their feet.

They get still and God pulls them into His care.

In the intimacy of the new sunrise , a settling of hearts and emotions pulls us to His stillness. He reminds us He is near. He reminds us Who He is, and who we are in His presence:

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?”

‭‭Job‬ ‭38:4-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Picture that.

When we think our chaos will consume us, a new sunrise offers an invitation for our eyes to open to the deeper invitation of one day’s gift, one day at a time, with the Giver of all good gifts.

When He speaks, stars spew from His lips … you can trust that all around you … around your broken places … the shadows are trembling in the light of His presence on this new day. God’s got a plan.

Wake up.

Your shadows are trembling.

Your eyes rise with confidence.

Go.

November 26, 2019 language

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Good morning, DearHeart.

There is something so sacred, so deeply holy about the way Of God toward His people. He speaks to the very innermost part of our heart- in our heart’s unique language.

“When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Now go out where it is deeper, and let down your nets to catch some fish.” “Master,” Simon replied, “we worked hard all last night and didn’t catch a thing. But if you say so, I’ll let the nets down again.” And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear! A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.” Luke‬ ‭5:4-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬

When God spoke to the wise men, He spoke to them through the stars. When He spoke to a young shepherd, He used the language through sheep. When He spoke to these seasoned fishermen, He used the language of fish. God loves our tribes. It is not by accident that He has individually set us in our place, so He can meet us right where we are. He can speak to us in our own language that our hearts can understand most clearly. This place in which you find yourself today is the place where holiness breaks into your familiar world and speaks to the language of your heart. The mundane is not so mundane after all. In case you are wondering … you are right where you belong. Do not take that lightly.

Wake up.

Notice God’s intentions.

Go.

November 21, 2019 brothers

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Good morning, DearHeart.

Have you been told, and do you really know that you are a work in progress? Sometimes, I think we approach God with small thoughts of ourselves. We are maybe ashamed, or heavy, or guilt laden for … being human, … making human error, … thinking human thoughts.

I grew up with brothers, have mostly male cousins (I’m the only girl grand on Dad’s side of the family), and I raised boys to men. I’m really, really partial to the brother stories in God’s Word. One of my favorite is when Andrew meets Jesus and knows he will follow Christ forever, but first he went back and got his brother, Simon:

“Andrew went to find his brother, Simon, and told him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means “Christ” ). Then Andrew brought Simon to meet Jesus. Looking intently at Simon, Jesus said, “Your name is Simon, son of John—but you will be called Cephas” (which means “Peter” ).” John 1:41-42 NLT

Jesus laid eyes on the Peter, a young rowdy fisherman. Not an ordinary glance, not just any eyes, He looked at Peter with God-eyes … the eyes of a Maker who knew what He created him for before He placed him in his mother’s womb. He saw Peter’s future … “upon this rock I will build my church”. Jesus also knew how messy the process would be for Peter to go from here to there. Because Christ knew the end of Peter’s story,

knew his legacy,

knew his impact to the Kingdom,

Jesus set a Covenant in place with him, and

told him who he really was.

Jesus changes everything.

He tells us who we are … “I know this is who you’ve been, who you think you are, but this is who I see you to be. No matter your failures or accomplishments … they pale in comparison to who God Almighty says you are.

You are His.

You are fully known to Him.

He sees you becoming.

He is with you, holding you, fighting for you.

What a freeing place to start.

Wake up.

See yourself through His eyes.

Go.

November 20, 2019 Chex

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Good morning, DearHeart.

I am a homebody. Deluxe. Home is my place of peace.

I’ve always been compelled to bring a certain level of comfort to our home … a place where our sons and their families come as a place of refuge and peace … an escape, like my mom & dad created for us – a home that Steve, and Russ, and I, and our kids still run to.

My guys were in and out this past weekend. Luke came through and smelled Aunt Norma Lee’s recipe for ‘trash’ (Chex mix) baking in the oven and said, ‘It smells like fall in here – I love this time of year!’ I totally agree. Deer season begins next weekend and there are certain sounds and smells and traditions that invite them in. It is intentional.

I want my home to be a safe haven for my family, for Dale to gladly anticipate coming home each day. I want my home to be

-relaxing; a refuge from this busy life;

-warm and loving, so that my man and my family feel my love before they even see me;

-a place of tranquility and peace, a place that is conducive to learning of God’s unconditional love for them.

-a place free of clutter so our minds can likewise be free of clutter. (I’m working on this one, lol).

-to be inviting and welcoming. I want to share God’s love with those coming into our house by how our home feels; not stuffy and perfect, but rather comfortable and loving. Creating a place we call ‘home’ provides a foundation for reaching, caring for, and loving on others.

“By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”

‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭24:3-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

‭‭Wake up. ‬‬

‭‭Create warmth. ‬‬

‭‭Precious and pleasant. ‬‬

‭‭Go. ‬‬