I am especially looking forward to this season of Easter this year. I do not know if it is the extremely brutal Winter we have had in Michigan this year (and are still having), or if I am just in desperate need of a spiritual renewal and uplifting in my life! Well, I would guess it is about 10% Winter, and 90% Spiritual uplifting.
I do not do good in Winter. It gets worse with each passing year. Last year was bad with the broken ankle and trapped-in-my-house for 11 weeks; my actual first venture out of my house where I drove somewhere was to church on Easter Sunday last year. I am grateful that I did not have that type of challenge in my life this Winter, but I have certainly brought on my own set of challenges by letting depression push me into a black hole I can sometimes bring myself out of, and sometimes make worse by just not taking good care of myself.
This season of Easter and Spring and Renewal and New Life is where I make the changes that will be permanent in my life. They have to be, in order for me to be the best self I am possibly capable of. I look forward to attending every service during this Easter season, spending time in my Bible daily, and just relaxing in the joy and knowledge that I am not on this journey by myself; I never was. The most important love of my life has never left my life, and I am grateful for Him and thank God everyday that I have Jesus in my life. Another goal is to bring others to him this season as well.
How are you looking forward to this season of Easter and all the blessings it brings?
Sound over-dramatic? Probably. Is it over-dramatic? Not to me. I tend to pick my battles with my children, and I don’t pick those battles based on my odds of winning them. I pick them based on their importance. Even if I am likely to lose the battle, I will have made my feelings known.
So to hear something come out of my child’s mouth that goes against everything that makes my life livable, survivable, enjoyable; it felt like she slapped me across the face. A sucker-punch to the gut. A year ago, she could have said the exact same thing to me, and I wouldn’t have felt such a strong reaction. I have been fortunate enough to finally be honest with myself and admit that I needed to change things in my life. To be Happy. Healthy. Alive. To enjoy Life, and stop wasting so much of it saying “if only” and “what if”. To enjoy the blessings I have been fortunate enough to be graced with.
So is this my daughter’s fault that I had a change in my own personal life that was so extreme and powerful that her voicing her beliefs would cut me to the quick? No. I did not get angry at her. I didn’t tell her she was wrong. That she had to feel and believe the same things I do. If it works for me, it will work for her too. She was making a mistake. I said nothing of the sort. I did not believe any of those things, so I could not possibly say those things to her.
What I did say to her? That what she said to me was really hard to hear. I didn’t tell her I was disappointed in her. Does it really matter what it was she said to me? No. You can think up any number of things that a child could say to a parent to get this type of reaction, and everything I stated would apply to that situation too.
“I don’t like church.”
That was it. Those four words. The one thing that has had such a profound change on my health, well-being, and our family life for nearly the past year, and she doesn’t like church. Was I wondering if she doesn’t believe in God and Jesus the same way I do? Nope. What I was wondering was does she have so little appreciation for the huge changes I have made in my own life to improve all of our lives that she just doesn’t really care. Do my efforts mean nothing? She says things are better, but how can she appreciate how much better our lives are but not like church, the very thing that allowed for these changes to take place?
As long as it works for me, it is good enough for all of us. I do not need her to like church in order for it to have a positive influence on my attitude, and my life. I have never forced my children to go to church every Sunday, make them go to Sunday school, or anything they didn’t want to do. Am I short-changing them because I am not exposing them to more religion? I don’t think so. If I live my life as a Godly Woman, they will see that. They can learn by example. They will remember the special memories of any number of things from their past, and they will see how my beliefs played a role in the atmosphere of our experiences. If they choose to raise their own families in a healthy environment where communication and valuing each person are important, they will remember what gave me the ability to live this life I provide for all of us. That is what will lead them to God and Jesus. They will remember the path I followed to get there, so when they are ready, they can find their way there too. And I will be there to help them along the way, but only if they ask for it.
For quite some time now, I have been praying for God to please help me with my patience. Okay. My lack of patience, which is generally a horrible problem for me. Most times I can cope fairly well, but when it is bad, it is really, really bad. When I seem to have 10 things to do and only time for 5, or I need to be in more than one place at the same time (this happens so much to me!), I get short on patience and long on anger.
Well of course I am going to have situations that test my patience, I keep asking God for just that thing. So since I am fully aware of what is going on, why can’t I deal with it better? Why can’t I take a deep breath, exhale, hold my tongue, and examine the situation for what it is? Take the situation in as a whole, divide it up into pieces, and work on one thing at a time, because that is really all any of us are capable of doing.
Instead, I immediately lose my patience, and Lord help anyone who is in the way of my words. I don’t yell or swear, but I certainly do not talk in a calm, helping manner. I feel mean, I feel upset that I can lose my cool that fast. I feel like this major character flaw I have is getting the best of me, at the worst of times. So, what do you do when you get exactly what you ask for?
Make the best of it. See it for what it is. An opportunity to improve, grow, change. To be a better you. To show a better you.
Don’t ask for something if you are not truly prepared to handle it. I am ready to handle it. In the worst situations, I can be at my best.
After a huge build-up to Christmas, and having a most wonderful Christmas, I would normally be feeling: “Now what do I do?”
I still have a couple days off from work, I am down to one child until after the first of the year, and I am running out of puzzles to assemble.
It is still Advent for those of us who Celebrate the Christmas season. Normally I go from Christmas straight to Easter, not stopping to focus on the very real season of Advent. From my Advent Devotionals booklet, today is the fifth day of Christmas. The fifth of 12 days of Christmas, although these 12 days are a bit different than the song 🙂
“Christmas is indeed a huge deal in our country. But is our world really that much different than the first century? How often is Jesus’ birth overshadowed by Christmas specials about St. Nick, snowmen, or grinches? Can we see the torch-lit manger beyond the bright, holiday lights, the high-gloss advertisements, the preoccupying parties? How often do our own Christmas planning and preparations push Him off to the side?” (The World Became Flesh and Dwelt Among Us, 2013, Lutheran Hour Ministries, pg. 23)
I know I tried to Keep Jesus at the forefront of my Christmas celebrations, and I think I did a good job, but of course could have done better. So I will focus on Advent, as we move into the Easter season, and keep putting the important things 1st.
Do you have a special tradition you do at Christmas to honor our Lord?
While there are a couple presents under the tree for me this year, there is one gift that can never be compared, and that is the gift of eternal life, thanks to my Savior, Jesus Christ, who was born today, and later died on a cross for the forgiveness of my sins! This gift can never be replaced, returned, and it never gets old or goes out of style. It is the one gift I will never put up on a shelf, and the one gift that I truly thank God for every, single, day.
There is nothing better for me than to see the smiles on the faces of my girls on Christmas morning, and I know without my faith and belief in Jesus, I would not be where I am today. To have my health, a secure job, a vehicle, and a warm place to live every day makes me happier than anything else ever could. To be able to provide for my family on my own and take care of all their needs is a wonderful, irreplaceable feeling.
This Christmas season is when I make my resolutions. To worship more. To Witness more. To help others more. To attend my church home more. To tithe more. To be me more. To reach more.
As I am starting to feel some mild stress at the fact that I have visited multiple stores looking for a particular gift, and will be doing the same today (in cold, blowing-snow Michigan weather), I am starting to feel my Christmas Spirit wane. I have to say, I have been feeling particularly wonderful this holiday season, much better than recent years past. And now it is getting to me.
Yes, I do truly understand the reason we celebrate Christmas, and there will be even more emphasis on it this year for my girls. I don’t want them to ever lose sight of the reason we have this holiday. Dessert for Christmas dinner this year? A birthday cake and ice cream for Jesus. I can take them to church three times a week and tell them the story of Christmas over and over, but if it isn’t sinking in, it isn’t sinking in. I think this will help them.
So do I give up looking for this one gift? No. I want to get this gift because this person will enjoy and appreciate it, nothing more, nothing less.
So I feel today is the day I finish all of my Christmas shopping, so I can enjoy the rest of the Christmas season for the reasons I am supposed to, and not be focused on something else.
Do you have a particular thing that stresses you out at Christmas? How do you deal with it?