Friday, December 4, 2009

a Christmas challenge...

i did it.... yes i woke up at the insane hour of 3:30am on Black Friday morn, i quietly washed my tired eyes in the bathroom, hoping i wouldn't wake baby 'K' as he snuggled with daddy in bed, and i applied new makeup as i ran over my list of gifts in my groggy head. our lists are shorter this year than last, we drew names for some of the upcoming Christmas gatherings instead of buying a gift for every single person (which shortens the list quite a bit with families as large as ours!), and this year has been less profitable in some ways due to the economy and such... so as i slipped on my nikes, grabbed my scarf and my vitamin water, crammed all the ads in my bag along with my trustly list, i was out the door for some Black Friday shopping!!!

i turned on the radio to fill me heart with some Christmas music before braving the crowds at my first stop, and asked myself again, i think i said it outloud even, was i really sure that i wanted to do this yet another year? well, too late for second guesses, i'm up and i'm gonna get all these things on my list, no matter what!!

i had brought my book with me, i know how long the lines can be and this year i was shopping alone so what better time to catch up on my reading... and on a side note i'm in the middle of reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan, oh my goodness!!! this is an amazing book, truly calling us to live out our love for Christ boldly!! go buy it right now, seriously, merry Christmas to yourself!! okay, back to the gist of this tall tale: long lines=read a book... but i didn't grab the book, nope! darn! so i just struck up conversations with the other weary looking women standing in lines, trying to make the best of it, attempting not to be annoyed that this line was taking forever and the longer i stood here the greater chance someone else was at toys r us buying the 5am doorbusters instead of me!!! ahem...sorry for my little fit of shopping rage.

have you ever stood in a crowd and just watched people? while forever standing in the WM lines i looked around me, waving to some other moms i knew several lines over, and i saw my brother & sister-in-law checking out as well, but i saw many faces i didn't recognize and saw the stress & weariness in many eyes. now i do realize it was 5:20am and probably many hadn't even gone to bed yet, however it was a weariness that doesn't come from lack of sleep but from the stresses of life. does my face look weary to the others standing around me? do i wear my worries on my face too? where is the JOY?!!!

so these thoughts were abruptly interrupted as i got to move up in line, checkout and drive on my merry way to the next store with my organized list sitting next to me as a reminder of all that i had to track down

as i walked the aisles, annoyed about all the toys that were already gone, scooters that were no where to be found, i did remind myself to smile and say "hi!" and spread Christmas cheer. and while feeling frustrated and slightly disoriented & overwhelmed i reminded myself that all of this stuff didn't really matter... it is not in the least bit important!! my children will not be sitting on a couch with their therapist someday tearing up about the iPod they didn't receive, or the barbie dolls were not the right ones (and if they are, i have seriously failed as a mama!!). we enjoy blessing our kiddos with gifts and fun outings, we get much happiness being able to provide them with everything they need, due entirely to God's flood of grace & blessing & provision in our lives!! just fyi..., and the majority of what they want. so while i try desperately each birthday and Christmas to dive into the depths of my creativity for the perfect gift, this year i just keep hitting a brick wall... because my children have need of nothing!!!

i left the toy store as i was mulling over these thoughts, really in prayer because i felt a real heaviness of the Spirit as i waited in traffic, watching again all the hectic shoppers in their cars fighting for a parking spot, or rushing for a much desired gift, and i began to cry... this is all so meaningless! the Lord brought the Kaat family and Jaymun to my mind and i know that for Christmas they would just love to be able to squeeze & kiss all over that sweet boy. and as i prayed the Lord's peace and blessings for them, He reminded me of my friend Stephanie and her awesome hubby Eric & their 3 kiddos and how Eric & the kids would love nothing more than for mommy to be here this year, and how this will now be Christmas #2 without her.

"God why are you bringing all of this to me today? what is it that you want me to do? this their someone we need to bless? what?!"

and the longer i sat in the truck just crying and praying, trying to understand the root of all this joyless-ness i had seen today, He began to reveal purpose of this heaviness i had seen and felt in my shopping endeavers all morning. our family has need of very little... yes, we are trying to sell our house and i'd love a home depot card to be able to finish up a few projects prior to selling, and yes, the 4 wheel drive needs fixed on the truck and we'd like to take the kids on vacation soon... but nonetheless, in the grand scheme of things we need very little.

the Lord has graciously provided needed mercy in regards to my disease this year & poured into me like no other time in my life; and my Man is healthly & strong & loving & an amazing leader of our family; my love, master 'P' is in perfect health & becoming a teenager (yuck!! :) ) and is such a smart & intutitive boy; lil' girlie 'S' is all heart & she hasn't experienced any further hearing problems and the Lord has restored her ears to pretty much perfect condition; and baby 'K' is all-boy all the time with a toddler zest for life with inquisitive twinkle in his eye, and while he had a hard winter/spring last season with 3 bouts of pnemonia & hearing loss/ear problems due to an endless string of ear infections & a surgery, he is very well & healthy!! SEE!! i have all my children, my husband is right next to me (ok, not physically right now..) and i have a Lord and Savior who sooo loves me!!

but i am struck with compassion and grief for those near to my heart who could care less about the black friday sales, they just want their baby healthy again and in their arms!! and while i know that sweet little Jaymun resides right next to Jesus (this very moment he is running & jumping on the streets of gold with Jesus!! wow...), his family aches deeply for his physically presence... so my thoughts moved from sadness in the midst of the crazy shopping experience to "how can my family bless those that need some joy & hope & encouragement... and maybe a gift or two?"

if my kiddos and our family has need of very little in the gift department, then how about we transfer our money and our time to those who do? now this does not mean i have since taken every gift i bought for the Posse of Kiddos back to the stores, but it does mean that this year we're going with three boxes a piece. where did i get the idea for three gifts? well, this whole Christmas season is the celebration of the birth of our King, right?!! and if the King, our Creator, only received three gifts on His first birthday then that seems like a right number to us then too! i have three boxes for each of the kids and i'll put several trinkets and stuff in each box, but this will limit my shopping for them if i know i have limited space. so what about that extra money and time...

we are spending some time this month at our local Ronald McDonald House to bless families whose babes are sick with meals, gifts, and our time to talk & pray with them. we want to bless them with some gifts that maybe they don't have the time or money to go buy. i want to be used of the Lord to bring His joy to people that are going through a trial that might be overwhelming them. we are doing this in honor of Jaymun this year... there is so many more important victories to be won than scoring the latest and greatest toy.

i challenge those of you to stop in the midst of the hussle and bussle of the Christmas season, quiet yourself in the presence of God, spend more time loving on your kids than buying toys for them, look up from your to-do list to see the others around you that need a word of life, take your gently used toys to the local homeless shelter or women/childrens mission houses (i have the kids do this a couple times a year to teach 1. generosity & selflessness 2. gratitude for those you don't even know), call your local hospitals and ask what their children's floors might need for playrooms.

i'm so thankful that the Lord stopped me long enough to remind me again, that this life as a child of God is not about me at all... it is entirely about what God is doing in me and through me. thank you Jesus for using a sinner saved by grace, such as me, to show my children how to love selflessly and use the blessings you've so graciously poured out on our family to bless others.....
so... what are you going to do to bless someone else? share your ideas & thoughts, i'd love to hear 'em!!!

1 comment:

  1. Your blog is a blessing!!! LOVE the post!! God Bless!