Happy New Year!

Dear Friends, I ADORE fresh starts!!! Just think…we’ve been given a precious gift-another year, another chance to get it right!! 
I have several things hidden in my heart for this new year, but I have one thing I desperately want to share with you today. 

Let’s let this year be the year of letting go:

  1. Let go of grudges and unforgiveness. 
  2. Let go of perfectionism. Do your best, trust God, and embrace life’s messiness. 
  3. Let go of clutter. 
  4. Let go of people in your life who don’t belong there. 
  5. Let go of wrong thoughts-and wrong thinking. 
  6. Let go of excuses. 
  7. Let go of too much stuff. 
  8. Let go of sarcasm, snarky comments, and rude behavior. 
  9. Let go of having to be right. 
  10. Let go of fear. Be bold! Be courageous!  

I know you can add to this list and I’d dearly love you to share in the comments. As always, I wish you MUCH joy!

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11 ESV 

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV 

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19 ESV 

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Beat the Holiday Blues

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year

With the kids jingle belling

And everyone telling you be of good cheer

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

It’s the hap-happiest season of all

With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings

When friends come to call

It’s the hap-happiest season of all….”  

 ~Edward Pola and George Wyle

Andy Willams is playing on my iPod this very minute.  I love this song. I love this season. 

The truth, however, is sometimes the holidays are not the most wonderful time of the year. 

The endless schmaltzy movies (which I adore-full disclosure), cheerful music blaring (which I, again, adore) in every store, unrealistic expectations (which I’ve fallen prey to)…there are about six weeks from mid-November to Christmas  that will sweep you away.  Will you be caught up in thanking God for our myriad blessings,  in the glory of our Savior being born, in the fun of the season, or in the frustrations, heartache, and disappointments? 

Okay, let’s stop for a moment. 

Thanksgiving. I know, I know  it’s a loaded word. But isn’t it truly supposed to be a time of being mindfully, intentionally, profoundly grateful? Christmas … another loaded word…. Isn’t it really a time to remember that our Savior was born. He lived. He died. He rose again. Y’all, He lives!!  Ummm, that’s miraculous!!! 

When you look at the essence of the words, of the holidays they’re quite wonderful. We have made them hectic, chaotic, and less than holy. 

So many of my friends are facing a different holiday season this year. A son is serving overseas in a dangerous locale, a man is grieving the death of his beloved wife, a woman is spending her holidays in the hospital, a child is recovering from the loss of his daddy, a  woman is grieving the loss of her marriage–too many are learning to cope with the new normal in their lives. 

There are a few things you can do if you’re struggling this year:  

  1. Remember the holy. Deliberately focus on what the holiday is, not what man has made it. 
  2. Seek God. He is the lover of your soul, your maker, your hope, and your salvation. He is the only One who can soothe your soul. 
  3. Practice gratitude. Yeah, you’ve heard of gratitude journals and you know to make a list of 3-5 things you’re grateful for each evening. There’s a reason you’ve heard of it. It works! 
  4. Help others. Get the focus off of yourself and your pain. Actively seek out ways-big and small-to serve and “love on” others. It really helps. 

God is good. He is here. He loves you and He wants a relationship with you. Thanksgiving and Christmas should remind us of these things.  As always, I wish you MUCH joy! 

“In his epistle, James reminds us that this precious gift called life we have been given lasts only about as long as a vapor. Our days on the earth are limited and very precious; we must not waste a moment.” Christine Caine (11/29/15)

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6, NKJV

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What Does Jesus Want for Christmas?

I saw something on Facebook recently asking what Jesus wants this Christmas. I didn’t read the post or watch the attached video, but the idea stuck. In fact, the idea won’t leave me alone. Hmmm. 

Finally realizing this must be the Holy Spirit at work, I paused one Sunday and asked Him what He wanted. 

I know this is a busy, crazy, festive, holy, chaotic, stressful, blessed time of year. I know you still have shopping or baking or wrapping to do. I know you don’t have time to get still before God. Do it anyway. 

Right now, put the iPad down, mute the tv, go find a quiet corner, and ask Him. Then wait. He WILL answer you. 

And the truth is He really just wants you-time with you, a relationship with you, your heart….

As always, I wish you MUCH joy. 

Today let this truth sink in deep: when you reflect on God, you better reflect God.” Gwen Smith

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