Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Celebrate the Day

It's the music in the background playing as he lays to sleep that captivates my heart. The song has played in our car numerous years as my husband's Christmas favorite, yet for the first time as I sing it to my baby I begin to whimper in the dark room.

The piano begins striking me as usual, but this time the words hit me harder than usual. God, are you seeing me as the same from last year. I would say, "no!" You have chipped away at parts of me that I didn't want chipped. You have plucked things out from me that I would have preferred left in. You even tore down walls around my heart that I give thanksgiving for. The walls of misunderstanding, the walls of naivety to what I assumed, and You gave me a new heart for a people I didn't really know I could have.

I learned to throw away my perceptions on appearances, on love, on gratitude... on joy.

It has been a year of transformation in my life and with new convictions surfacing over moments. One of the greatest thanks is giving me a husband so full of understanding and sensitivity to these changes in my heart.

Was it the words of what You realized?

And the first time, that You opened your eyes
Did you realize that You would be my Savior
And the first breath, that left Your lips
Did You know that it would change this world forever

The words create a lump in my throat because I wonder, what did He fully know that night? Did He fully comprehend His fully man, fully God nature? Did He know that night?

Did He?

Every night reading scripture leading up to this moment God's plan was so divine, so holy, so planned. From the beginning before He was born from the virgin He knew that He would come down to be the ultimate sacrifice, but once placed here on the earth did He know? What does a fully man/fully God nature know at infancy? I believe He knew because the favor of God was upon Him.

However, those were not the part of the song that got me weeping on my nearly asleep two year old. It was the sound of sleigh bells, the strokes of the keys, and these words:

To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
In the hope that what You did
That you were born so that I might really live
To look back and think that 
This baby would one day save me

And I, I celebrate the day 
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life

We forget. We read scripture of Christ as a man, and we forget that HE IS MAN! He was tempted; He was a laborer; He had friends; He had brothers; He was PERFECT! He came as a baby. Even though his parents knew what he would become they still did not understand who HE really was. He is, I AM!

It's hard to imagine that I celebrate the day that He was born to die so that I could pray for Him to cleanse me from my sin, so that I could pray for Him to save me from myself. I proclaim my observation of this day. It's not about a man in a red suit eating cookies and milk. No, I celebrate a day that God came down fully man/fully God to trade his righteousness for shame. This is truth. It is a truth that makes me weep over my baby. I weep over the words that make me remember.

God continue to mold me into your imagine. Forgive me for not remembering. Thank you for your grace, your mercy, your love! You are holy; You are just; You are GOD!

If you haven't heard this song, here it is:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Last Christmas I gave you a net...

I remember this time last year reading, praying, and wanting to change my life during the Christmas season. I was sick of the hustle and bustle of gift giving, angry people, and just the loss of focus that materialism had on me, friends, family, and those surrounding me.

It was a time for change.

It was a time for action.

I glanced at the wall in my living room smiling at my boys...

I remember swooping Luk into my arms, sitting on the couch, and starting browsing our catalog.

"What do you think? We could do a cow?
Or two goats?

Or we could do 10 nets? What do you think?"

"What else is there?"

"School supplies, immunizations (shots), helping start a new business"
"I think we should do nets."

"Why do you want to do the nets?" (I was secretly hoping for the small business launch for moms.)

"Well, I don't like being bit by mosquitos. It gets itchy, it hurts, and I don't want that to happen to the people."

Then it occurred to me that my then four year old related to people from a different nation. We began discussing how the bite can cause more than just an itch and red spot, but a sickness called Malaria that was killing people when there was a cure for it! It's never too young to explain that life is not just how you experience it, but the way it effects the nations. Last Christmas, we bought ten nets, ten or more saved by a sheer netting that prevented a bite.

This year, I don't know.

Will we give a safe water to a family for their entire life?

I don't know. I'm hoping that a Smith's precious sister will be registered so that we can sponsor her. After all their mother promised and held me tight at the thought back in September. I don't know.

I do know that our boys got extra gifts from us, and I wonder what the letter will share. Their birthdays were filled with new shoes to trek through miles on the graveled road and rainforest terrain to get to their church, sweaters to brave the cold, and food to ease the hunger pains. What will Christmas bring to them?

Do you have a heart of compassion for the people? Do you see that giving up that Dance Star Mickey will save six children? When we realize that our children can absorb compassion from young childhood and they want to save someone his or her age, what a gift! What a lesson you giving!

Give the gift of compassion this year because the beauty in this gift giving is that not only will you be changed but so will our people!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

My Holiday Spirit: Laden

My house is anything but quiet today; it is anything but quiet on most days. Inside is the ring of talk, screaming, and the evening snores at the end of a hectic day. There are moments that I pause, the holiday season speeding by not waiting for me to catch up, and I wonder what I am doing wrong? I stare at our Christmas Tree laden with the Word, to be weighed down, to draw water! Isn’t that what the Word does? It draws everlasting water to our thirsty souls. To find that HE is the only one to quench that drought that tries to dwell in our inner most being. It battles with the Holy Spirit while our sin tries to spread through out vessels so that we can feel like we will NEVER have healing.

I stop for once to just listen to the music playing, and I am reminded of the beauty behind the keys, and it brings me back to just listening, "The Promise." The song’s name and I can’t help be thing of the Ultimate Promise that has been the focus of each night before laying in bed,

There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. And the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD. And his delight shall be in the fear of the LORD. Is 11:1-3

I close my eyes, and I just listen to that promise, the only one that can bring truth to my life. What am I doing wrong, when I lose my temper, when I complain, or when I just don’t want to deal with the chaos? I crank up the music that I have been ignoring for some time, "Waiting Here For You" the keys each touching a part of me that I want to refine, I need to refine because deep down I know what a failure I am without Him.

One evening, I am told I love the younger more than older. Pain sears my heart from the mouth of a child, he later apologizes saying,

“I know you love me!”

It’s hard for me to believe he believes it.

“Do you, do you know?”  Heart aching knowing I know!

“Yes, because you have the Holy Spirit living inside you!”

Silence, water filling in my weary eyes, what? The saying out of the mouth of babes, but I know that there is only One that is gracious enough to let those words spill out of his mouth. Then the Lord opens my eyes to His desire to use me. I don’t understand it, nor do I try because within it all lies a woman broken and fallen. It is a woman that loses her temper, cries in defeat, and I grumble at my circumstance. Then I read the words,

Yes, Lord. My only desire that through it ALL it ALL points to You!

I go to the Word so that it may laden my soul,

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy; you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy. 1 Peter 1:13-16

I go knowing that my soul will be weighed down in truth, that my spirit will remember that GRACE will be given to me through Christ. THE PROMISE! 

He will come from the line of Jesse.

He will present rest to the Spirit of the Lord.

He will be wise and full of understanding.

He will give counsel and might.

He will have knowledge.

He will fear the Lord!

He will delight in the fear of the Lord!

As His obedient child I strive to fight the conformity of my past, and my passion is to be holy through HIM! Lord, what am I doing wrong in all this? I know. I start to conform to the old me: self-reliance, self-seeking, SELF. What I’m doing wrong is not remembering YOU reliance, YOU seeking, YOU!

I don't refine, He refines!

Thank you, Lord for your promise, your use of me, and for letting me disappoint to point to you! Thank you for your constant wisdom, understanding, counsel, might, knowledge, and example of fear. Thank you for loving me enough laden my spirit, for drawing me to your water, and for calling me to your purpose!

Continue to shine, Lord.

Continue to convict, Lord.

Continue to give grace, Lord.

I would be concerned with my life if this weren’t the case.