Monday, December 22, 2014

He's Bigger than a Christmas Present

The stockings are hung, the tree is decorated (and quite stunning, if I do say so myself), and the nativity scene sits prominently on the wine chest. All the presents are wrapped. Well, almost all of them. Only one left to wrap. Only one. My son's BIG Christmas gift. And it is nowhere to be found.

Oh, I ordered it. Two months ago. And it arrived. One month ago. I took it off the front porch. I marveled at how heavy it was for such a small package. I noticed how much packing tape was wrapped around the box. I carried it into the study. I put it in the closet with the other gifts. At least I THINK I did.

And now it is gone. I have looked in every drawer. In every closet. On every shelf. But it's gone. Yesterday, I felt physically ill. I broke into a sweat. I even asked both boys if they had seen the package. My husband suggested I sleep on it and wake up fresh. And guess what? I dreamed about it.

This morning, I started over. Still missing. So I continued to look - and pray. Consumed with anxiety and worry, I even posted a plea on Facebook:

"Friends ~ I can't find on the of the boys' MAJOR Christmas present. I remember bringing in the package from the front porch and can tell you what it looked like (smaller than a shoebox) and the weight (like a brick). But now I am beside myself with worry... Any prayers are greatly appreciated."

And it was shortly after that it hit me. I can not handle this. For some unknown reason, it's just too big for me and I feel overpowered. I have to release it. I HAVE to release it. I just have to release it - and let God handle it. Because it's too big for me. But not too big for Him. He created the whole universe. He saved my husband's life when he was on the brink. He protects my children every day from the evils around us. He saved our lives from the darkness of sin. He is so much bigger than a lost Christmas present.

And so I am ok. I still don't know where Sumter's double bass drum pedal is. (Don't worry. He never reads my blog.) But I am ok, because I know that it is being handled. Because God is just that big. And I am trusting in His taking care of the situation.

Maybe not with the outcome I desire - but maybe!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Child in the Manger

In the midst of the Advent/Christmas season, I find myself in the car - a lot. Not that the rest of the year is not busy what with shuttling my boys around town.  It just seems busier. More people are out. There is a sense of urgency that is missing the other months. There seems to be a common purpose or mission. More events. More doing. More active preparation.

Our life is no different.  In addition to Jackson's basketball practices and games, we have band concerts, church productions, Social and Cotillion Christmas formals, and parties.

So again, I am in the car - but now with Christmas music. I love Christmas music.  However, I REFUSE to play any until the day after Thanksgiving. I program my iPhone with Christmas playlists. I flip flop between the two stations in our town that play nonstop holiday favorites, both religious and secular. I love Christmas music. And every year, I have favorites.

My two favorites for 2014 are Michael Buble's "Cold December Night"  (Christmas, 2011) and Michael W. Smith's "Medley (Away in a Manger, Child in the Manger)" (Christmastime, 1998). 

Disclaimer: I am not a big fan of children singing solos unless it is for a church or school play, so I fast-forward to the 2:00 mark on the song - after the Away in a Manger part.

Last night, I had to drive forty-five minutes to Augusta to take Sumter and two other boys to their Cotillion Christmas Formal. (Another parent was picking them up for the return home.) While the drive with the three teenage boys was full of laugher, comradery and playful jabs, my drive home  became one of reflection and worship.  I listened to "Medley..." Over and over and over.

The words and music were powerful. They pulled me further into the season of Advent, preparing my heart for the arrival of The One. The arrival of a baby, who was born just like every one of us. Who was tiny and frail just like every one of us. Who was held and taken care of  just like every one of us. Who cried and was comforted just like every one of us.

BUT unlike any of usHe was perfect. Holy. Our Salvation. Our Victor. Our Redeemer. Our Savior. Lord. 

That baby, just like every one of us... but unlike any of us.

...Child in the manger, Infant of Mary
Outcast and stranger, Lord of all
Child who inherits
All our transgressions
All our demerits on Him fall

Once the most holy
Child of salvation
Gentle and lowly
Now as our glorious Mighty Redeemer
See Him victorious
O'er each foe

Prophets foretold Him
Infant of wonder
Angels behold Him On His throne
Worthy our Savior
Of all our praises
Happy forever
Are His own

Saturday, December 6, 2014

A Beautiful Veneer

We all worry about our children feeling left out and passed over. We want them to have friends. We want them to feel included. We work on it. But what about ourselves? Do grown women ever feel left out or passed over? The answer is yes. Now this is not a pity party. It's is not a guilt trip. It's just a reminder that supposedly strong, supposedly "with-it" women have the same insecurities as a sixteen-year-old girl.

You wonder why you aren't included. Did I do something wrong? Did I say something that rubbed them the wrong way? Has our friendship dwindled and I just didn't know it? The questions abound. And in the world of social media, it is so much more in your face. I know those pictures and statuses aren't posted to hurt me. Of course they weren't even posted with me in mind. (I'm not THAT narcissistic.) But yes, even women in their forties can feel a little sting - no matter how unintended. 

In my head, I know this is ridiculous. I have a wonderful husband, two great boys, a beautiful home, a God who loves me more than I can even fathom - and a fabulous veneer.  I smile at all the right times. I give the teenage girls in my Bible Study such words of wisdom and compassion. I write words that (I've been told) give others strength and encouragement. I have a warm, beautiful veneer. Because I am human, I have emotions. I have insecurities. I get my feelings hurt.  And I mask it with that impenetrable veneer

I debated writing this. But it felt good to get it on paper. And I know I won't always feel the way I do at this moment. I know I can't be the only one. I wonder if I've unknowingly been an unwitting cause to someone else feeling the same. Did they just smile and move one? Did they mask the hurt? How many of us share that beautiful veneer