December 29, 2016

Surrender: A Year in Review

My word for 2016 was Surrender. I blogged about it earlier this year HERE. It wasn't a word that I was thrilled about, but I knew that it was a word I needed. I knew the Lord would redeem the word and make it something that would be a blessing instead of something I dreaded and even ran from.

The first part of my surrender was to start up some women's activities at church. You might say that is not surrendering, but for me it was.  You see, I had gotten into a bad habit of apathy. I used my day job as an excuse to not be active. Sure, I am exhausted from my job, but the Lord promises to give us the strength we need to do His work. So we began a monthly breakfast and a quarterly activity like a craft day, a Christmas tea, etc. We also started a Ladies Bible Study, which was by far the most rewarding thing. For such a small church, we have had a huge turnout. Women are hungry to share, grow, and be encouraged.

Another part of my surrender was the surrender of my time. As an empty-nester, I have a lot of time in the evenings. I tend to just watch Netflix and play games on my iPad (all part of that apathy and tiredness from my day job). I have tried to start writing again, but the surrender part was difficult, especially with outside circumstances got in the way. Which brings me to the last of my surrender.

It was a difficult year for my family. Just lots of stuff going on...some good, some bad. I really had to let my instinct to step in and help...aka be bossy and nosey....go and just surrender it all to the Lord. He can make good out of bad way better than I can. While it is not in His plan for bad things to happen, He can heal and bring good out of any situation.

There is a sense of fulfillment and peace in surrendering to the Lord. I know He wants the very best for me - I just need to surrender to Him and His will for me. Sure, there are bad times. We are never promised an easy life. But the journey we travel in this world develops our character and hearts to become the people He can use for His kingdom.

God knew I needed this word for this particular year. Surrender...a word redeemed.

p.s. I'm so excited about my word for 2017!

***Picture by markuso at freedigitalphotos.net***

December 25, 2016

A Sunday Christmas

Christmas 2016
I used to hate it when Christmas fell on a Sunday. We'd wake up early and open presents, dump out all the goodies in the stockings, then rush around to get ready for church, all the while glancing at our toys, wishing we could just stay home and play. I felt this way as an adult with children of my own, knowing that they too wished they could just stay home.

But I've learned that my focus was wrong. Sure, I would say that Jesus is the reason for the season, but they were just words. Those words really didn't affect my heart.

When your heart focuses on the One and Only, Christmas becomes sacred. A day that is steeped in wonder and awe. It's the miracle of the Creator God becoming a sacrificial lamb...a babe swaddled, lying in a cradle of hay.

This babe is Emmanuel...God with us.

Today Christians all over the world are gathering together to celebrate this coming King, this child on whom the weight of the world rests. Together we will raise our voices to praise Him who humbled himself to take on human form, becoming the servant of all, giving His life for each and every soul that ever was, is, and will be.

Today is special. Do you feel it? Do you hear the Spirit whisper into your soul, "Today is the day." He is here. Because of His birth, death, and resurrection, he is here...living in you. Because of His first gasp of breath, He now breathes into you His presence.

Rejoice! Worship Him! For He is here....and He will come again to take us home.

"Hope of all hopes, dream of our dreams, a child is born, sweet-breathed; a son is given to us: a living gift. And even now, with tiny features and dewy hair, He is great. The power of leadership, and the weight of authority, will rest on His shoulders. His name? His name we'll know in many ways - He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Dear Father everlasting, ever-present never-failing, Master of Wholeness, Prince of Peace."  Isaiah 9:6 (The Voice)

Merry  Christmas!

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