The Life of Surrender

He must become greater; I must become less. John 3:30

Month: December 2016

Remain in Me

Well, we have officially been on break from school for one week.  We have run the gamut of emotions: joy, happiness, frustration, crabbiness, and boredom.  I get so excited for these breaks from school and all the time with family.  I often forget that extra time with family doesn’t always look how I pictured it in my head.  The past few days it seems like we have been living in time out.  There is rude talk, fighting, and whining, and Peter and I have had to remind ourselves and each other that our family and home is our children’s practice field.  They are not going to be perfect and behave perfectly all the time and it is our job to teach them what we expect of them.  The process can be difficult and not look at all how I pictured our Christmas break to go.

The above picture is how our village looked after Christmas this year.  Luckily, I have a talented husband that glued them all back together again!  I feel like my soul sometimes looks like it’s been through the runner after Christmas as well.  I think my attitude often needs adjusting and I need grace from God so that I can give it back to my children.  I think I get very focused on my children’s behavior and how they are frustrating me and I often forget to think about why they might be acting that way.

I was driving my son to grab some pizza on the day after Christmas and he talked my ear off the whole way there and the whole way back.  I realized in that moment that even though we are all home together, I am not putting in intentional time together with each child.  With our 1 year old it is easy because she follows me around and begs for my attention all day long.  I think I often let Peter interact with the older two because I get so busy with Nora.  Our oldest daughter has been whining and talking unkind and it all came to a stop today when I got down on the floor with her and wrestled and tickled her.  I didn’t hear anymore rude talk the rest of the night.  She just wanted her mom’s attention.

Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  John 15:4

We also need to be intentional with God.  Jesus tells us to remain in him.  When we are focused on him, our earthly problems seem to disappear.  Just like Emily stopped talking unkindly when she got some attention, we also have better attitudes when we remain in God and get his attention lavished on us.  He is not withholding his attention, we are running away from it.

Remaining in God is the best way to get our broken pieces glued back together.  That is my wish for everyone this Christmas season.  Let’s lean into God and let him make us feel whole.

Episode 14: Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

In Charlie Brown Christmas, he was feeling sad because despite all the parties, presents, and pink aluminum Christmas trees; He felt empty because he didn’t realize the true meaning of Christmas.  We can get pretty run down in a season when we should be focusing on Christ and his giant gift to us.  When we take Christ out of Christmas, we can feel burdened and bogged down with the weight of the world.  This podcast will discuss how we can keep Jesus as the Reason for the Season and how it is so freeing when we do that! 

Show Notes

Introduction and Conclusion music is Buddy by Bensound.com

Books

Unwrapping the Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp

The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp

Blog Posts

What to do About Santa on Gospel Centered Mom

Five Reasons We Don’t Do Santa on New Orleans Mom’s Blog

The Christmas Conundrum  by Jen Hatmaker

5 Ways Advent Can Transform Your Marriage on Fierce Marriage

Promise of a Savior on Love God Greatly

It Meant Leaving Heaven  on Love God Greatly

He Came to Redeem the Lost on Love God Greatly

Ann Voskamp’s Advent Videos

Bible Verses

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  Philippians 2:6-8

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ. Colossians 2:8

Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules. Colossians 2:20

Peace When Loved Ones Are Hurting

Today marks the second week of Advent.  Even in this Advent season, people are feeling hurt, broken, afraid, sad, and unsatisfied with their lives.  This world can be a very difficult place to be.  I think we have all felt like we have wanted our wounds mended, our souls healed, and to live in happiness.  We also want these things for our loved ones.  I absolutely hate to see my loved ones suffer for any reason.  I hate to see them get their feelings hurt or feel unappreciated.  I hate to see them feel any pain.  I hate to see them feel even the slightest discomfort.  I ran home last week to get my daughter’s sweatshirt because I hated the thought of her sitting in her classroom uncomfortable and cold.

peacewhenlovedonesarehurting2

What I am realizing is that God will allow our loved ones to walk through hard things.  Our loved ones will not have a perfect life, just like we will not have a perfect life.  It is in the struggles where we grow and learn to trust God in everything.  When I try to step in and “save” my loved ones from walking through a hard thing, I am stepping out of God’s plan and trying to form my own plan.  My loved ones don’t need me to rescue them from their struggles, they need to know that I am praying for them and asking God to draw them nearer to Him.

A few years ago, a family we knew was going through a big heartache and struggle.  I told my mom that I just couldn’t get them out of my mind.  It was so hard to fathom what they were going through.  My mom wisely told me that the reason I couldn’t get them out of my mind was because God wanted me to lift them up to Him.  Every time I thought of that family I should pray as hard as I could.  That conversation has been in my mind quite a bit these last few years.  My biggest defense against the struggles of my loved ones is to turn those people over to my Heavenly Father.

This world is full of hurting people.  It can be very discouraging to feel like we can’t be there to help everyone.  The idea that I can lift all of those people that enter my mind over to God gives me peace.  I have really been enjoying Ann Voskamp’s Advent videos.  The second week of Advent represents peace.  Peace can sometimes be very elusive.  We see all the headlines around us and it is hard to be peaceful when this world feels so broken.  Ultimately, our only peace is resting in God through prayer.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ.  Philippians 4:7

This holiday season I want to have peace by putting my cares where they belong, with God.

Dear Lord,

   Please be with all of our loved ones this holiday season.  Help them to feel your peace and bring them closer to you.  Help them to feel your presence in their lives and help them to walk in your ways.  Most of all, Lord, help them to feel your love for them, your perfect love.

We love you,

Amen