Friday, December 26, 2014

This Christmas

Yesterday was Christmas.  I anticipated it with some dread and some excitement.  There will forever reside within me a little girl that hopes for something so magical, so incredible.  That hasn't happened since childhood, but there you are, it's there never-the-less, doomed for disappointment.  ;)  Then there is the dread that it will be a nothing-ness Christmas, no different than another day off, and all the hopes and fears of all the years will come and go without notice.

Every year since 2012 there is an empty spot at the table, wherever that table may be.  Josh usually made it home for Christmas, bearing PBR and his own punk-style flair.  I miss him so much it aches.  He tried to call twice yesterday, and I missed them both, which broke my heart.  I know we'll talk soon, but it was Christmas and my mom's heart can't take much more of this being apart.  Still almost a year to go.  His grace is sufficient I continually remind myself.

So yesterday began with our going out for coffee, some places were open, but only the drive-thru's.  So that didn't happen...but turned into a nice little tour of our new city.  Came home and had a delish new recipe, Paula Deen's baked praline french toast.  Then we watched some holiday shows we had recorded, and generally laid around, lol.  Got last minute invitation from wonderful friends, but i'm still mending, and for some reason yesterday was particularly painful at times, so stuck close to home.  Missed seeing the grandkids and their mom, that was just miscommunication, perhaps next year....which could get complicated, so who knows.  Put up the card table in the living room, had our ham sammies and deli goodies by the glow of the tree lights and watched White Christmas, we have to see that one every year!!  A tradition that started the first year we were together.  :)  Then we drove around and looked at Christmas lights, so pretty.  That custom began when I was a kid living in Lancaster, CA.  Dad liked doing that and we were out for about an hour or so.  One year I was so thrilled, my brother let me go with him and current girl he was dating, he was driving then.  lol  Ended the evening watching Alaska: The Last Frontier.  lol  Nice tho, they all made homemade gifts, and they were really neat! 

Anyhow, point was, instead of being a let-down as has happened the last few years, this was a really, really nice Christmas.  Just me and my love, in our little home, being self-supporting....although we know we should really say, being God-supported, as is and was always the case.  The surgery I dreaded, behind me, just patience still required for healing.  Sadie relishing all the yummy special treats and her Christmas toys.  :)  We indeed had, a merry, little Christmas and it was perfect.  That said, of course we missed our loved ones and hopefully next year that will be different.  But it was as it should be for this year.

My heart is full.  From a time where everything was very bleak and hopeless, to now be here in this place I love, with this very special man that I treasure more than life, and our furry child, I can only utter heartfelt thanks to a God that loves us more than I can ever fully comprehend.  Hoping in my heart that my family, blood and otherwise, had a truly special Christmas.  I am blessed to see Autumn, I will call her my daughter-in-law, and my grandbabies having had their own little Christmas.  How blessed I am to see the pictures.  God's love shed abroad at Christmas.  Happy Boxing Day!  ;)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Advent Continues

I lit the 4th candle this morning, the Love candle.  The Love that came down from Heaven and saved me.  Saved me from my sins, from eternal death.  But these past few days some things are being brought to remembrance, I believe by the Holy Spirit.  Such a sweet calling to remind me of His love and presence in my life.....all my life. 

Through either my own wrong choices, or those who sinned against me, there have been a myriad of crises and circumstances that were dire.  And in every one, He either delivered, or His grace was sufficient. 

A son who so like the Biblical prodigal, has chosen his own way, which eventually led him to prison.  Financial challenges since 1989 that are still ongoing.  Yet, when all seemed lost, He rescued.  Money came from generous family, but often times from unexpected sources. 

Now we are faced with a huge medical bill because of the surgery I had.  And because we had no steady work for 7 years, we have no resources to pay it.  But as I look back at other impossibilities, they were met because of the baby that came in a stable.

That is just the financial.  When I thought I would literally die from heartbreak from divorce, He and His Word sustained me.  When my son became someone I didn't know, He sustained me.  When health threats came, He delivered and sustained.

I am now 60, have two grandchildren and the time has flown.  I sit in our "new" home in Vancouver and recollect.  I almost want to write the woman my first husband left me for, send her a thank you note.  ;)  Because in the next room sleeps a man that I love with all my heart.  So very different from the first one, I am safe and loved in a way I never thought possible.  Our little furry child is by him, content and loved, giving us daily joys.

I confess I have a tendency to see the glass half empty, always have, it's my nature.  But i'm not stupid.  I also see the blessings, and there are many.  The greatest of which is what we celebrate on Christmas.  To know Christ is all.  To have this relationship with Him, at times I can't even get words out.  It's too deep, too precious, words haven't been created to express my gratitude, or His big love....and it comes to me.  One so quick to complain, to see the one light out amidst a million that shine bright.  But He loves me and loves me enough to continue to care for me and bring me along, even if it's slowly.

Every answer to every heartache, every problem, swaddled in a manger.  Amazing.  Perfect.  Merry, merry Christmas.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Advent: Joy

After listening to Ann Voskamp's video on the third candle of Advent, the candle for joy, and how God takes impossible situations and makes a way, I had to write from a heart overflowing with gratitude.

In my life, with God:
impossible barrenness was changed to 2 beautiful children
heartbreak and abandonment was changed to the romance and love of a lifetime
poverty was changed to "enough"
extended unemployment was changed to a job and all it provides

And above all, a death sentence was cancelled and eternal life was gifted.

When I think of the babe in the manger, I think of every brokenhearted soul feeling without hope, of every addict feeling trapped and hopeless, of wars and man's cruelty to one another, poverty, sex trafficking....all wounded hearts in the world, and the answer to it all wrapped up in a little baby that came to die for us all.  And that gives me joy.

As I lit the Joy Candle this morning, my heart is indeed filled with joy.  At this moment, I have so much to be thankful for, there can't help but be joy.  There have been many, many years when there was little to be joyful over....but Christ, which is indeed, enough.  But this year, there are added blessings that bring joy to my heart.  In this season, I am aware of so much.  I am so very happy to wake up in our little home every day, so blessed to have a yard and good neighbors.  I have had the surgery I dreaded and am healing.  We returned last night from a truly wonderful weekend visiting with friends and family, such a blessing to my soul.  I got to meet a friend face to face that i've only known through Facebook, what  My son called from minimum security prison as opposed to medium, he sounds so much  Seeing loved ones, sharing, 

So as I continue to heal, move through my life, I look over at the candles.....Hope, Peace, and now Joy, how can I not fall on my knees before a God that loves us so much, who came to save us and didn't stop there, but watches over us with such tenderness.  This is irresistible love.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Blessing of Being Sidelined

As a Christian I believe that every detail of my life is seen by the Lord, and that He has a work in every detail.

So after this surgery, I find out that it was much worse than what we went in believing, she didn't know the extent until she started surgery.  God knew.  And so the recovery process is relatively long...especially for me.  Don't get me wrong, i'm no ball of fire, I ultimately do not place my worth on what I get done.  But I am a creature of habit, and it truly bugs me to have my plans thwarted, even tho they are usually simple plans.

When we moved into this house, it was...and is, my joy.  I have cleaned things routinely that don't really need cleaning.  I so want to honor the Lord for giving us this home.  I was aware enough to ask that it not become an idol to me.  I don't think it is, however, I have to wonder.  Now I am way-layed.  I can't clean thoroughly for some time.  Will probably be almost spring.  So I am looking at the Lord's timing in this. 

My world has gotten so small.  We don't have two cars, so I go nowhere until Dave gets home, and he's worked all day, so I try to avoid that when I can.  I have no friends here, and with no car, couldn't meet them if I did.  That has been my greatest adjustment.  I knew this would be a "biggie."  And it is.  I am blessed with some really, really good friends and our weekly meetings meant the world to me, not being able to do that has left a huge hole that will remain unfilled.  I don't want people to have to come to me, I don't want rides with others, etc.  So it's simply the way it is until the Lord changes it.

Point is, the Lord has put me in this place, in this season.  And arranged for surgery during the holidays.  I am forced to be still to convalesce.  Lots of time for thinking, reading and praying.  I fail a lot and just fill time with silliness.  But I have also adopted some practices that are enlightening and opening up new ways of seeing.  I am reminded anew of how gracious and loving our Lord is.  I think about the past, look into the future and know that ALL security lies in Him and Him alone, and He is faithful.  He doesn't think like humans do, He doesn't keep score, He is love.  That is my security.  I have to know that He loves me, will do what is best for me, and just trust.
I have a few things so close to my heart, I will ask for these things, knowing He hears.  And during my favorite time of the year, because of the holidays, and the season, Autumn and Winter are my favorites, I will seek Him and hopefully grow in Him.  So, this time aside, idle, quiet....what a gift.