Archives for December 2014

Oh Come, Oh Come Emmanuel

Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel,

That mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear.  – Lutheran Hymn

The word “Christmas” does not stir up warm, fuzzy feelings in me.  And I hate that.  I want this time of year to linger and fill my heart with lovely memories.  I want friends over, celebrating.  I want to stroll through stores holding my hubby’s hand, not race around on a weekday morning trying to beat the crowds.  I want to make time for people and not act like they are in my way and keeping me from my never ending list.

My default at Christmas is Stressed Out Wreck.  So even if I had a beautiful memory happening right in front of me, I wouldn’t enjoy it for all the loud churning and clanking in my brain.  It could happen and it would slip right off me like water.

This year, I wanted to enjoy the season.  I was intentional.  I was meditative.  I started an Advent study, because I wanted to absorb the whole Christmas story into my being.

jesusmaryandjoseph

The very first day the Holy Spirit made me weep as He gave new meaning to Jesus as the Light of the World.  I kept reading more and more scriptures until I was reading for pure pleasure and not really following the devotional anymore.  And then something weird happened that I would have recognized as a blaring warning sign if I’d been paying attention (which I wasn’t).   Even though I was mesmerized by this new understanding of my God, I started to get frustrated that the Holy Spirit wanted to speak to me outside of My Plan for studying Advent.

Let’s let that sink in for a moment.

Completely clueless to the danger that lay ahead, I plowed on.  I got busy.  I quit reading.  And in so doing, I quit looking at myself the way God sees me and listening to His heart for me that day.  I began comparing myself to all the women out there who seemingly have it all together.  They own creative businesses and home school and run their family’s farm.  (I home schooled for ten years and it was a good day when I had time to wash my hair.)  All their decorations are hand made.  So are their presents.  And their wrapping paper!  And right now their homes are spot on amazing.  I did it.  I fell right into the trap and began believing the lie that I am less than.

Why do we do that?  The comparing?

God loves us.  If we are in Christ, He sees us as perfect.  Our families love us and just want to enjoy the season with us.  Our friends just want to celebrate with us.

So why?

Pride, I’m sure.  Self-righteousness, definitely.

Anything done for the wrong reason will get flipped upside down and drag you under before you know it.  Am I reading my Bible because I want to hear God’s heart and know Him, or so I can check off the devotional box on my list for the day and pat myself on the back that I’m a good Christian?

Am I decorating right now because my vintage Santas remind me of all the care free happiness of being a kid at Christmas and I can literally picture myself scootching up under the Christmas tree to stare into the twinkly branches? Or so I can snap a picture for my Instagram feed and hashtag CLSantaSighting?

vintagesantamugs

My heart hurts over the state of my humanness.  At the neediness and longings and the twisted way I will try to fill up the empty spaces.

Yesterday, I threw down the gauntlet.  No more running around with my teeth clenched doing things because I have to instead of want to.  When God is moving in and through me, there is Joy and Peace.  His Grace gives me the ability to do every single thing He has asked me to do.  Why would I want to do ANYTHING apart from Him?

This season is about God coming out of heaven to rescue you, His beloved.  Stop right there and let that absorb.  Let that trump everything on your to do list.  Let that be the plumb line for everything we do as we center back to what is real in life.  Not just now at Christmas, but everyday.  Amen.

What gets decorated, gets decorated.  I will delegate as needed.  I will enjoy my family and my friends.  And I will turn my face to God in wonder at the miracle of His coming.

The Chair Goodwill Didn’t Want

This little boudoir chair was part of my attic clean out last week.

goodwillchair

Excuse me, Miss Chair, your boob is showing…

She once led a respectable life at my grandmother’s house and when I inherited her, my plan involved a lavender toile reupholstery job for my girls’ room.  But as is typical for my big plans, I had to fall back on Plan B when I couldn’t afford the $300 quote.  Let’s just say that Plan B became a DIY that will forever be known as the Glue Gun Upholstery Debacle of 2006.  After that she was shunned to the attic awaiting Plan C, which I’m sad to say, never happened.

So last week, I took charge of all the broken down crap that had been accumulating upstairs and in my attic.  Following the theme of If It’s Not Immediately Useful, It’s Going Bye-Bye, she ended up in my pile for Goodwill.

Can I just pause here a moment and talk about a personal scientific theory I have?  This theory says that left to it’s own devices, however much time you have will be wasted, however much money you have will be spent, and however much house you have will be filled to the brim with more stuff and what-nots than should be allowed to exist under one roof.  How else do you explain a family that moved from a 1600 square foot house with no attic, basement, garage or shed into a 2800 square foot home with an attic, basement, garage and shed, and now, ten years later, this particular home is so stuffed with stuff that opening any random storage area gives the lady of the house a panic attack and drives her to drink bourbon in the afternoon?  So let me tell you, when I say that I took charge of that attic, there was no mercy.  It was all going, even my sweet little chair.

My Goodwill pile barely fit into my van.  When I pulled up at the donation entrance and began unloading, I suddenly saw that little chair for what it was:  a pathetic mess.  As hopeful as I was that someone would want her and rescue her, let’s face it, not everyone has my astonishing vision for rescuing and repurposing.  I turned to the older gentleman attendant who was helping me.

“Should I just take this to the dump?”

“Oh ma’am, I can’t advise you about that.  I have to take anything you want to donate.  I really just can’t advise you.”   He shook his head at me a little.

“Well…she is looking a little rough.  Do you think anyone would actually want it?  I don’t want to give you junk.”

“Ma’am if you want to donate it, I have to take it.  I really can’t advise you.  That is your decision.”

“Okay,” I said handing him my other boxes while keeping an eye on the chair and trying to decide if anyone would actually want her.  If anyone would see the potential in this sweet vintage piece that would be so cute in lavender toile.  Finally, I decided yes…she deserved another life and began tugging on her to pull her out.

“Ma’am, if you want to donate that I HAVE to take it.  I HAVE to.”

I started laughing.  “Are you telling me you don’t want the chair?”

“Oh ma’am, I really can’t advise you on that.”

I looked down at the chair hanging halfway out of my van and pushed her back inside.  As we drove home, I may or may not have talked to her in a soothing voice.  The rest of Thanksgiving weekend, she was there looking at me, and I was a little sad knowing her days were numbered and she’d be going to the dump soon.

This morning was trash day and I put her out by the curb and left to take my son to school.  I wasn’t paying any attention when I came home and went about doing my morning routine stuff.  At some point, I wandered back outside with the dog and glanced over at the curb.  She was gone.

Yes!  (Little fist bump in the air.)  I was thrilled.  I’m glad someone else thinks she’s All That.  I also felt a little vindicated since in the deepest places of my heart, I had believed she could be rescued.

So, hey, if you got my chair…send me a picture when she’s all dolled up, will ya?

jane russell's chair look alike