T'was the Night After Christmas

One year ago, Christmas night, my husband and littles were next door sleeping.  I was sitting at the foot of my parents' bed, massaging my mom's feet with essential oils.  Her head had hurt so badly, and for so long, it was difficult for her to tell us if anything helped.  She barely smiled and nodded when I asked if massaging was helping, so I kept on softly rubbing her feet.  I reminisced about the last time I rubbed her feet, when she was expecting my siblings and her feet were swollen from late pregnancy.  I had always enjoyed doing that for her, and she would lavish me with thanks when I did.

My brother Josh quietly entered the room, and walked to Mom's bedside.  She weakly reached out and took his hand, whispering, "I like your pants".  She had picked out the Hollister sweatpants for him, and he unwrapped them that morning when we all exchanged our gifts.  It was a wonderful Christmas morning with her, as she sweetly bore the headache, the light, the noise, so that she could be with us for our presents.

She held Josh's hand there for awhile, while I rubbed her feet.  He leaned down for a soft hug and told her he loved her, before he headed to bed.  And I wept.  Rubbing her feet there in her room, I wept fearful tears.  I didn't know why for sure at the time, but there was a peculiar dread, one I had never known, filling my chest.  Peculiar, because while the dread brought the weeping, there was a stillness--God was good and I could trust him.

I finished my massaging, said a short prayer for her, told her I loved her and went next door to my sleeping family.  Just a few hours later, the morning of December 26th, my Mama would breathe her final earthly breath.

I had always feared this.  Just a month before, I had been struggling and praying for such fear.  The Lord had been preparing and challenging my heart to trust him even in my worst fears.  I had always pictured such a tragedy being experienced with frantic anxiety, loud weeping, unbelief, fear, and pain so intense that you can't breathe.  But from the moment I got the phone call from the ER, my Dad's broken voice telling me that she was gone, there was a stillness.
When I had to hold my siblings as they wept soft tears, and I with them...a stillness.
When I had to do what I never thought I would do...
pick out my mother's burial clothes, her casket, her flowers...a stillness
When I saw her earthen body, which barely resembled the lovely lady I knew in her life...a stillness.

He, my gracious Father, was with me.  And the deeper understanding I had of the good news of his Son, the deeper was my comfort.  I urge you, friends, to know the Gospel of this Savior.  To know Him and be found in Him (Phil. 3:8). Know the love our Maker demonstrated for us in him (Rom. 5:8).  Nothing else matters, and it won't merely be nice reminders in hard times--it, and most importantly HE, will be your fortress (Ps. 18:1-2).

I know Christmas can be the most difficult season for those who are grieving lost loved ones.  And while it's been really hard as it's come closer to the milestone of her passing, I've been thankful that she passed the day after Christmas.  The same time of year that we are reminded of how death struck us with painful loss, is the same time of year that we celebrate that death will not have the last laugh.  We celebrate the advent of the incarnate Word of God.
We celebrate the Cross of Calvary.
We celebrate his Resurrection.
And we celebrate his Second Advent.
When despair tempts us in our grief, we don't have to look very far;  in lights, Christmas trees, nativities, carols and hymns, traditions, and advent sermons, and we are bombarded with reminders of Christ and the hope he gave us with His life.



Wednesday Words

As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
Luke 11:27-28
"How great a privilege was it to this young virgin (Mary) to conceive in her womb and hold in her arms and suckle at her breasts, a Child who was the great and eternal and infinitely beloved Son of God, the Creator and mighty Governor of heaven and earth and the great Savior of mankind.  Well might she say upon it, "My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior."
But hearing and keeping the word of God renders a person more blessed than any of those privileges.  By 'hearing the Word of God' is either intended an external or an internal or spiritual hearing.  The woman to whom Christ directed himself in the text had been hearing the word externally.  Christ therefore here informs her that if she not only hears but keeps this word, he will render her more blessed than that privilege that she spoke of."
--Jonathan Edwards
Luke. English Standard Version. Wheaton: Crossway, 2001. Print.
Edwards, Jonathan. "To Be More Blessed Than Mary." Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus.
Comp. Nancy Guthrie. Wheaton: Crossway, 2008. 57. Print.
Parenthesis mine.


Happy Birthday, Bee!

Now that she's walking EVERYWHERE, we officially have a second toddler.  These days, you'll find our sweet Bee just trying (and thoroughly succeeding) to keep up with her big sister.  While still incoherent, she's quite the chatterbox and vocalist.  If she's not singing songs, she's dancing to them--which is a cute, bouncy, swaying, wobble.  Among her favorite songs are our Happy Song, the theme from Bubble Guppies and This is the Day (that the Lord has made).

Bee LOVES books.  Even if the book is bigger than her, thus she cannot carry it, you will see her army crawl across the floor dragging a large book behind her.  She's learned our inflections when we read, so it's the funniest thing to hear her read to herself in gibberish!  Her favorite books are picture/word books and Guess Who?.

She eats EVERYTHING.  Before I inflict jealousy on the moms of all the non-eating toddlers, I literally mean everything.  Her favorite non-food items are potting soil, raw russet potatoes, paper of any variety, anything from the trash and foamy soap.  I promise I don't feed her these things, I'm simply constantly getting it out of her mouth!

For her first birthday, we had a girly luncheon and tea party!  Her decorations were lace, pearls and flowers.  We used my Grandma's china, had soup and sandwiches, and chocolate and strawberry cupcakes!

While she's growing into her own temper, our little Bee has always been a tender sweetheart.  She loves to please, rarely complains and just goes with the flow.  But she also gets her feelings hurt very easily and often!  It's her favorite thing when she and her sister have to apologize to one another; she is tickled to pieces to give/get sorry hugs and kisses.  It may not last long, but there are times I can take something away from her and she doesn't even put up a fuss.  She seems to just trust that she's not supposed to have it, and moves on.

In observing her sweetness, the Lord has humbled me greatly in regards to my relationship with him.  I find I need to trust him even when I don't get what I want or how I want it.  I need to learn to go with the flow, without worries, complaints or fits of anger.  I also need to learn to enjoy apologies (ouch)--just like our precious Bee.


Wednesday Words

Donne, John, and Joseph "Skip" Ryan. "Tabernacled Among Us." Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus.
Comp. Nancy Guthrie. Wheaton: Crossway, 2008. 20. Print.


Wednesday Words

Whitefield, George. "Contemplating Christmas." Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus. By Nancy Guthrie. Wheaton: Crossway, 2008. 11. Print.