Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Come Adore

The house is quiet. 
It's a GLORIOUS, yet EERIE sound.
I embrace it with such need and yet it feels so empty.

I keep turning around to see where a little one is, watching the clock to see if it might be time to feed one, or countless other things on the list.  Parents know that when a child is quiet, it probably means that you are about to discover trouble or a big mess! Silence is typically pretty dangerous in a house with little ones!

The house SHOULD be quiet because I'm enjoying some time alone (unless you count our dog Baxter who happens to be snoring on the bed beside me) while Kevin and the kids are out trying to make a dent in a far overdue Christmas shopping list.  He is armed with a highly detailed list---if you know me well, you know it's VERY detailed.  :)  Though I know the house is empty, I'm still in mom & caregiver mode.  There isn't really any downtime during the day and I'm constantly bouncing between the needs of so many that it's VERY hard to turn that switch off. It's like stepping onto the edge of a treadmill to catch your breath, but the belt is still running waiting for you to jump back on.

I crave the quiet & solitude, but the solitude is almost unnerving at the same time.

I have been struggling lately not just in physical aspects, but in heart and spiritual issues.

I've been craving God and seeking Him, but even in the quiet, it's been hard to truly listen. It's as if my ears are ringing from the noise level of the day or my brain is in hyper speed and can't slow down.  He's been HERE with me and within reach, but it's been difficult to stay still long enough to wait for answers.  Some seasons of life are like that.  I HAVE to be purposeful or I quickly fall apart from not having enough time in His presence. 

Yesterday, I wrote some about the struggle with this Christmas season.  The difficulty I've had finding the true Christmas spirit that I crave so much.  It is a hard time due to the phases of grief, but it IS much more than that. I crave the simple.  I crave the peace. 

Simple and peace. 

Those are two things that are so difficult to find in such a busy and stressful time of year.

Tonight I found a piece of what was missing. I found a little glimpse of what my heart has been needing.

Kevin and I are total opposites when it comes to music and showers. He BLASTS music.  I LOVE music and have it on the majority of the time, EXCEPT when I'm in the shower. I enjoy just listening to the sound of the water.  It's calming to me.

Tonight, the quiet in the house just somewhat had me unnerved.  The wind is brutal tonight and the sounds were just so LOUD.  So I turned on the radio when I hit the shower...

And God reached in grabbed my heart and did some work.

He calmed some of the anxiousness.
He gave me a bit of that simple I was needing.
He gave me a few minutes to erase the stress that comes with Christmas and the last minute rush.
He gave me some time to let the waves of grief come and not be fought away.
He gave me a closer connection to Him.

All from a song...

A song I've heard countless times and sang many, many times.

"O, Come All Ye Faithful".....

Right the middle of the shower....He invited my heart to "come".  To drop everything else. To shut out the world.  To do nothing but come to Him.  Adore Him. It was as if He was asking me if I was coming to Him and adoring Him or if I was caught up in things of trivial nature.

Something about the words completely reaching in and holding me.  Not just words flowing from my mouth out of habit or memorization.  Words truly reaching in.  Pulling me to Him.

Exactly where I needed to be. 
To find Him.

The true Christmas spirit is found right in the simple place of a manger. By adoring Him.  By worshipping Him. It isn't whether or not I find excitement in shopping for just the right gift.  It isn't about the adrenaline rush of finding the "right" gift/finding a bargain on a desired item or the disappointment and frustration of not finding the right one (which this year has been GREATLY about the frustration of not finding the right items because stuff just "fit" our lives the same anymore!).  It isn't about whether this or that excites me or disappoinst me that determines whether I'm in the Christmas spirit this year or not. 

My focus has been misguided when it comes to whether or not the "spirit" of the season has reached my heart.

The only part that truly matters HAS.


If I'm embracing Him, seeking Him as the wisemen did....

Nothing else really matters.

That is where the simple and the peace is found.

In Him.

He invites us to just "come to Him". 

When you stop to truly soak in the words of "O Come all Ye Faithful"...the words are beyond beautiful.  They are truly an invitation that invites you to Him. To a place that brings peace to a weary soul.  A place I'm thankful to have found tonight.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Finding That Place

I have been taking a break from social media recently. Though I've kept my instagram pictures linked (so that family/friends can still keep up with our kids and our littles' families can still see what's going on with their precious wee ones) and replied to direct post notifications, I've been "absent" from the facebook world.  That's pretty huge for an "addict".  I even deleted my mobile app from my phone.  (*gasp*)

I found myself in the position of needing some white space.  My heart has been anxious and my emotions in turmoil and usually that signals that I need to step back, pull in, and just let God do some work from the inside out. 

Christmas season is here.  I thought I was going to be able to reclaim the spirit this year.  Reclaim it back from grief. 

I started that way.  I started with enthusiasm early. 


I lost it. 

We just got our tree up this week.  We only put up a small one instead of our normal big one or multiple ones. We put just a portion of ornaments on. We didn't bring up the boxes and boxes of decorations. I normally have Christmas shopping done in October.  I am not even halfway finished. It's become harder than hard to shop for "stuff" when we are losing that connection with "stuff"....especially as we know our hearts have been called to foreign missions.  It's harder to shop for "stuff" that really doesn't matter or will just be added to piles of other "stuff". 

I just don't have that spirit and excitement that I thought would return. 

Yes, oh BIG that greatly due to the surge of emotions that comes this time of year with the memories of November-December 2010 when we faced the news that Daddy had advanced cancer and then his being welcomed home to Jesus just five weeks later! Yes, Christmas is VERY hard.  While families gathered and created amazing memories, my memory became gathering around that giant table at a funeral home making final plans with my siblings and Sweet T. Standing in that room that no one wants to stand in as you try to process picking out a casket and all those little details. You can't fathom those "unreal" moments until you've done it. Christmas morning is an incredible time for parents as they watch their children beam with joy as gifts are opened.  That joy was replaced with our children looking at us with giant tears and wondering if Christmas would ever be the same as they opened their presents that friends rapidly packed in our van as we made the mad dash to get home to TN. Christmas became the moment that we gathered around and greeted friends and family from far and near as they came to extend condolences  and share memories of a man whose loss seems deeper each year. Instead of the aftermath of eating too much, bags of ripped wrapping paper and boxes to clean up....we stood in snow and watched our Dad/grandpa/husband/etc.. lowered into the ground. 

Yes, that does change Christmas.

Yes, that does hurt a heart.

Yes, this time of year DOES create the need in me to pull inward to try and process a wide array of emotions. (Not all the memories are grim.  Many were beautiful.  Last hours were priceless as we saw bits of heaven come down to earth as his earthly battle ended. Beauty in the reminders of the value of community of believers.  Glimpses of the hearts of many.  Reminders of his impact. Incredible medical team with HUGE hearts.  Other cancer patients with joy that overflowed.  Friends that truly became a life-line.  A husband that proved how very much of a rock he is. )

It's more than that. 

This is the time of year that I crave solitude.  I crave the simple.  I crave Christ.

It can be hard to find those moments any time of year, but especially when the calendars are full this time of year.  It's been especially hard this year to find that solitude with a house full of littles (5 two and under---whew!!!---but I LOVE it), a semester of home education with our 3 wrapping up, and just life in fast forward motion.


I have to stop. 

I have to find the place that I find Him the most.

The quiet.

The calm.

The serene.

The simple.

I can't do that with a technology saturated world.
I can't do that with a deluge of information overload.

Facebook is an amazing tool of connection and encouragement.  It can also be the center of WAY too much drama.  It can be a discouragement as too much of the negativity of the world creeps in, even in the circle of believers.  It can leave you feeling lonely even though surrounded by a multitude.  It can leave you with negative emotions of jealousy, bitterness, or "less" than.....if you let it.  Some people just find it necessary to stir up controversy and sometimes it's best to just distance yourself from it.

I used to say my excuse for spending so much time on it was because it strengthened my relationship with Christ because of the many blogs/speakers/writers/mentors that I follow that encourage me to dig deep, keep my eyes focused on what matters, and constantly challenge me to grow. 

Yes, that is true....but....

How many times did I let *them* be my Bible?  Let *them* do the work for me?  Let *them* do what only the Holy Spirit needs to do?

Sometimes the best and only place to find God is to be WITH HIM.  Alone.  Without someone else's words guiding.  Just me and Him.  Just me and His word.  Just me LISTENING and SEEKING Him without the crowding out or noise.

It's been good for my heart. 

It's been good to not worry about what others think, what others are doing or not doing, etc... Yes, I do feel disconnected with what is going on in other's lives....

...and yes I have missed out on some important things, prayer needs or praises, etc... I've missed some dear friends. I've missed the daily bantering back and forth with my husband and "publicly" encouraging him.


I feel so connected. 

I finally feel like I'm back at the well with a thirsty soul being filled from the PRIME source.  Not catching someone else's leftovers.  If I'm not filling up from THE SOURCE and finding THAT place that keeps my eyes on Him, I can't keep up.  I can't give to my family.  I can't balance the needs of the Littles in my care that I love so much.  I simply just can't be me.  I suffocate.  I shut down.  I drop way too many balls that I can no longer balance.

Physically, I've been in a flare up for 9 weeks and counting.  It's been some of the most trying times since the beginning years.  Pain has been intense and the exhaustion has been worse than I can remember.  Being too tired to fix nutritious meals or exercise has left me packing back on pounds that I have been grateful to be rid of, which creates a cycle of not feeling well because of not being in the best physical shape I can be. Though I'm feeling like better days are within reach, I know that the only way to survive these rough days is through Him.  He has provided and will continue to.  I feel me coming back more each day.

I can't get to Him if I'm crowding Him out with too many things, too much information, too much drama.....or just too much of anything that causes separation or clouds my vision. 

Christmas may still not be what I want it to be again.  This Christmas I find myself still deeper in grief than I expected and to be honest I don't know if that day will ever come that I can celebrate and embrace the joy of the season without the depth of loss stinging and cutting so deeply. 

But....Christmas is STILL overflowing with hope.

God has been BEYOND amazing and alive in our lives this year and we look forward to the new year to come with greater expectation than we've ever experienced.  We've seen some amazing miracles this year and had some incredible time of growth.

I'm happy to be finding this place of connection, even if I have to step away from the outside world to do it (though I'll be back....but just in a more balanced approach!).  I'm happy to be finding it even if I have to dig deep and SEARCH. Even if it's taking me out of my comfort zones or from what I feel is my "normal". 


That place.


Where I find Him. I need Him more than ever.