10. 9. 8. It goes that fast. I was getting in trouble for my chatty mouth in fourth grade yesterday and today I am the mom raising a little chatterbox. 7. 6. 5. Just the other day, it feels, I was the cold college student running across the campus lawn under the starry sky and it struck me, I missed my husband I had not met yet. I knew one day I would be made complete with the love I was longing for. Today, we are knocking on the door of a thirteen year anniversary. 4. This life is so meaningful, so important, so valuable. But it is a glimpse, a blink, a breath. 3. 2. A new year, a new me. I want to see more of the gym, I want to save and accumulate, and have some fun! But 1. The last number is coming. The curtain will fall. The last new year will come. I will rise with a new life. And this new year, my resolution is to lay to rest the things that do not matter so that a new life will rise and the earth will applaud, this is the purpose I came to accomplish, the reason I was born.
Literally and metaphorically, On the road. Christmas tradition has it that the Hendrys celebrate Christmas morning at home with our family traditions of the three of us. The night brings celebrations of one side of the family and then the morning of the 26, the car is loaded down and we set off for a second Christmas with FL grandparents. Somewhere along this trip, it hits us: another year is gone. We have partied, stuffed our bellies, and ended the year in more fun than should be allowed.
Now here we are, on the road, driving home. We are leaving 2014 behind us and each mile brings us closer to 2015. I will, literally, spend the last hours cleaning up our messes from our 2014 adventures. I will, metaphorically, clean up Caroline and start over in a new fresh year.
Happy Memories of the Past and Happy Welcoming the NEW YEAR!
The fog settles on my face. The heavens rest upon me and my mind leaves my body. It knows of a heaven that is higher. My eyes stare at the mountains, the sun falls behind them and paints a pink sky. The art of nature surrounds me and I know of better things. I taste a meal of the freshest fruit and a sensation of perfection, a fulfillment of good things. There will be a time when cities have justice. There is a world where citizens meet their potential, voices sing, legs run, and hands accomplish. This world reflects the beauty of heaven and foretells of forever perfection. But what of suffering? The human spirit is the answer. The fight, the whisper to conquer and accomplish because it is temporary. Yell out, there will be victory. The human spirit cries, even in the struggle, there is better to come.
Caroline, Put on your big girl panties and get to work. I have an amazing life, like everything I ever wanted kind of life but still I wake up in the morning and there are beds to be made, laundry to be done, bills to be paid, dinner to be made, cleaned up…..IT NEVER ENDS! Life can be so exhausting! And that just covers the daily keeping up. I am called to do more!
One of my favorite movies is Braveheart. I think there are few people that don’t include that on their list of favorites. “They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our FREEEEDOOOM!!!” Please! How can that not inspire you?!
Madison was reading aloud the story of David and Goliath, “Mom, David was just a kid. How did he kill the giant?” It is the beauty of the story, accomplishing the impossible!
George Washington, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther….the list of inspiring people continues. I want to be on that list! And that is what Christians are called to be! We are never called to a life of comfort. Are you a follower of Jesus? He is not safe! He is not calling us to build a house, keep to ourselves, and not offend anyone! Everyone is so afraid of offending someone! Hell? Yeah, that is offensive! One way to heaven? Offensive. One God? Offensive.
“I love you too much to let you do that.” This is a phrase that my husband and I have lived by as parents. Madison wants another donut? She wants to walk around the shopping mall by herself? She wants to pet the stranger’s dog that is growling with drool foaming around his fangs? She wants to buy this and that….says something unkind…..wants to wear shorts when it is below freezing outside…the list of a seven year old. It is my job, as a parent, to tell her “no.” Sometimes she doesn’t like that. Sometimes it hurts her feelings that she can’t buy that stuffy. Sometimes she gets really mad when she can’t have another cookie. I love her too much to let her feelings override what is best for her! I could not love that little girl any more and that is why I have to do what is best for her, which is not always what she or I want to do. Application: I AM NOT AFRAID TO OFFEND SOMEONE!
Oh, the things that I do and say that offend “people of the church.” Oh! The things I do and say that offend the general population. I do not want to get into a debate. I do not care to argue. Not really my thing. However, if it is right, God calls me to it.
I do not want to be tortured like William Wallace. I want to be the David that defeated Goliath (past tense) but I do not really want to be the David walking out onto the field facing the guy that every statistic says is about to feed my body to the birds. But God told him to! God does not call us to be a bunch of comfortable wimps! Lord God, I want to serve people like Mother Teresa AND I want to offend people like Martin Luther! I want to do what is right! even if it makes me uncomfortable.
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The pain seeps in, permeating my body. Too much. Maybe this time I have reached my limit. Have I met the end? My body is only human. Hurt knocks again at my door. Stop! But he pushes his way in and the unwelcome guest will not leave. I cry out and my mind thinks you have forgotten me.
And then you call to me and your love holds on. It sings me a song, reaching down to my soul and filling up my heart. You take a little of my pain and carry a little of my load. I see tears running down your cheek, this is not how you want it to be. Squeezing your hand, you guide me on my way. Tenderly you sing to me. Lovingly, you comfort. My God, he sings to me.
Today is December 26. The waiting is over. Christmas has come and gone. So, how’d it go? Did all your dreams come true? Get everything you want? Well, I’m not instantly rich or famous and I still want a swimming pool but my waiting is not over yet.
I love Christmas! Exclamation point! Love everything that goes with it! And we had an amazing day! Holidays with a seven year old are magical. We scattered reindeer food on our yard Christmas Eve night. The sprinkles are the main ingredient. I love that we have unopened new board games waiting to be played. My Renaissance girl wants to learn to sew so gifts included a new sewing kit and we are going to learn together. James assembled a new desk that has hours and hours of future learning to be completed on its surface. I also have video of one of the funniest Christmas events that is now a Christmas memory that I will never forget. One of Madison’s gifts included an Ant Farm, so Sweet Daddy assembled that for her. Dump in the sand, moisten the sand, dump in the ants (caution: these ants will sting) dump in the ants…”Caroline! help!” I am ashamed to say that I recorded the catastrophe instead of rushing to help. I see James chasing red ants all over the living room table!!! …And the cherry on top for Madison’s day was a collection of new stuffies. That is Madison’s thing. She is perfectly content in life with a stuffed animal in her arms. I treasure these days. There are not enough Christmases in my mothering career where my girl will giggle and sing and life will be made complete with such simple toys.
So, I’m content with Christmas and life with my family but I’m still waiting. I’m waiting today and I will be waiting tomorrow and I will still be waiting when next Christmas comes and goes. Because, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Christmas, but that is not what I’m waiting for. Those presents won’t be opened on this earth. The very best presents are yet to come.
We counted down the days until Christmas and I realize that it so so much bigger than that. Since the fall of man, believers hoped and counted down to the birth of the Messiah.
I have held a newborn to my cheek. It is not something easily forgotten. A parent cherishes the first moment of laying their eyes on their precious child and the touch of their skin is believing in miracles. And I know that Mary and Joseph were favored and blessed among humans because Mary carried God in her womb and she looked upon his face and she cared for his infant body.
Today is Christmas, but it is so much more than that. I LOVE the magic of first stepping into the living room, carols playing, a fire burning, stockings overflowing. Breakfast will be set out and will be much too much for the three of us to eat: quiche, donuts, fruit, sausage balls, cinnamon rolls, orange juice, and coffee. Presents will finally be opened. I can not wait to play with Madison’s new gifts with her! We will feast for lunch and then open more presents. Then we will gather with family and smile and hug, feast some more, and gather on the best day of the year. But this celebration is all a remembrance. This birthday is of my God. Immanuel. God is with us.
I was lost, and sick, blind, poor, and had no hope. But now I am found, and perfect, and rich, and a child of God. Christmas is everything!
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