A Christmas Longing

Christmas has been hard this year for me. Deep inside there is an ache, a longing. I remember childhood Christmas’s past filled with lots of family, laughter and love. While we didn’t really have any particular family traditions my mother always tried to make the day about family no matter what was going on or how hard 2013-12-10 09.36.20the season of life was. It’s been 27 years since my mom, sister and brother have been together for Christmas and over 10 years since I’ve spent Christmas together with my mom and sister. I miss them all.

So while my heart may be sad it is also filled with so much joy of the season.

I am blessed that I can spend time with my boys and their family. I can love on my grandchildren and make precious memories with them. I am filled with a heart of joy for my husbands family whom I love deeply. Who still gather at Christmas time to share, laugh and love. They may be my ‘married into family” but in so many ways they are so much more than that. God blessed me far beyond anything I could dream for when he gave me my husband and a family who cherishes one another and has a deep faith in God our Father.

Most of all I reflect on the true meaning of why we celebrate the season. It’s the celebration of a precious baby boy who came to earth so that I might understand my need for God the Father.

I am grateful for a God who loved me so much that He sent His only Son in the form of a baby to earth so that I might know Him. Jesus came to earth in the form of flesh so that we might know His Father in heaven. Jesus came so that we might understand the love of the Father. He came so that we would see out need of a relationship with our Creator God. He came so that He could pay the cost of my sin. He came so that my sins would be forgiven.

So yes, there is a longing in my heart this Christmas for family, for the ideal Christmas celebrations, for traditions but I am reminded of an even greater longing inside the heart of every man, woman, and child. The longing for purpose, for love, for the God who created them.

I am reminded that there are many who will spend this season alone. There will be many who will find the emptiness to be too much and try to end the pain anyway they can. There will be many who will be hungry, cold and without the warmth of any type of celebration.

All this remembering and thinking makes me wonder if I’ve missed the meaning of Christmas all together. What have I done this season to reach out? How have I helped relieve the pain of aloneness? What have I done to show the love of Christ?

If I have missed the meaning of why Christ came and what my response should be what will I do about it now? What will I do tomorrow? Next week? Next year? It’s never too late to share the story of Christmas. It’s never too late to reach out and tell others about the baby that came to save the world.

It’s never too late to show the love of God who came to die for my sins and yours.

Merry Christmas my friends. May we share the joy of Christ’s birth all year long!

 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid ; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people ; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 1″This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there appeared with the angel multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.” Luke 2:10-14

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you,unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 1 Cor 15:1-5

A Longing Unsatisfied

unsatisfied_thumb.jpgI believe that there is a longing in every heart for a deep soul connection. A longing that often cries out to be filled.

We desire to connect with another person. To connect deeply. To be loved unconditionally. We desire to be accepted, valued, and complete.

Often when we get married we think that our spouse will fill that need, that longing to be apart of something bigger than ourselves. We marry thinking that every need, especially emotionally, will be met. We think that we no longer will be lonely or fill empty. We will have someone to share EVERYTHING with. We will have that one person who totally understands us.

Then comes reality. Our spouse cannot meet every need we have emotionally. Some will say that we need our girlfriends to meet our needs where our husbands can not. But again the reality is that I can have a good, healthy relationship with my husband, mother, sister or a friend but at some point in the relationship I will want more. At some point they will fail or disappoint me. Their love will never be enough to fully satisfy the longing. It’s impossible for any human relationship to fulfill that which was meant for God alone.

When we think others can fill the emptiness we set the relationship up for failure. To think your husband can or should fill your needs sets your marriage up to fail. God created each of us with a longing that can only be filled by Him. To expect anyone else to fill that longing will only bring disappoint in the end.

I believe marriages, and other relationships in our lives would be better, healthier and stronger if we would first go to God where we are completely satisfied. When we are in a relationship with Him the longing will be filled. Our relationship with our husband will not be enough if we have not allowed God to fill the longing in us first.

Once we are filled to overflowing by the Spirit of God we can then go to our husband without any thought of self. We are free then, and only then, to offer ourselves completely without any expectations to be filled by him because we are already filled to overflowing with Christ.

The beauty of living completely satisfied in Christ is that we no longer go to those we love in order to seek to be filled. We can however be free to give more fully of ourselves.

The only one  in this world that can fill the longing inside you is Jesus. It’s a relationship with Him, not our husbands that fully satisfy. Jesus says that He came to give you life, abundant life! (John 10:10) And in Colossians we are reminded that it is in Christ that we are complete. “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority.” (Col 2:9,10)

Oh dear one, you no longer have to live a life of emptiness or neglect. Jesus longs to fill you with Himself so that you will know joy, peace and abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Rom 15:13)

He waits for you. He longs to fill the emptiness of your soul.

Oh Father forgive me for the times I go to my husband to fill my needs when I should come to you. Even if my husband could fill all my needs it still wouldn’t fully satisfy apart from You. Jesus help me to live fully satisfied in your love. I want to be filled to overflowing with all of you so that I might not want from those I love but so that I can give of all I am to them. Help me to be a living sacrifice, help me to be an example of Your overflowing love. Amen

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”Romans 15:13

5 Things to Remember Before You Fall Apart

It never fails. I am in the midst of a crisis, no matter how big or small and I find myself at wits end. I am emotional, can’t seem to make a decision, at least a good one. So I stand there crying, wondering where it all went wrong, why I am here again. How did I fall into believing lies again? Why do I feel like I am falling apart?

Recently UpdatedI am weak. I forget my weakness. I call a friend and she reminds me that I haven’t been sleeping, I’ve been in pain and my defenses are down.

She has had to remind me many times. I have forgotten all to easily. Too many times. But she is patient, she sees what I do not. She knows that eventually I will get it. There will come a day when I will be prepared before I am tempted to fall.

That day is today. I do understand better that when I am weak physically I will be open to attacks spiritually.  My enemy knows that when I am tired and in pain I am more vulnerable to his attacks.

Today I came across something written by Charles Stanley which is an excellent reminder. He uses the word H.A.L.T. but I also added an S. When we find ourselves about to lose control or we feel ill equipped to make a decision we need to remember to stop or “HALTS” and evaluate ourselves.

1) HUNGER – Am I hungry? Have I given my body proper nourishment? When can get cranky when we are hungry. And we we are hungry we are less likely to make good decisions or react in a good way.

Am I hungry spiritually? Have I been in the word consistently or am I starving myself of spiritual nourishment.

If I am hungry then I must eat. Eating something healthy is wise. If it’s spiritual hunger I need to run back to the word and read it. I need to drink deeply of His truth.

2) ANGER – Am I angry? Is there something I haven’t dealt with or someone? Anger can distort our judgment. Anger can also cause us to lash out or over react to our current circumstances.

If I am angry then I need to deal with it. I need to talk to someone about it, forgive or do whatever is necessary.

3) LONELY –  Am I lonely? Have I isolated myself? Do I have someone I could reach out to.

If I am lonely then I need to call a friend. I need to reach out and make new friends if I am in a season of not having many.

4) TIRED – Am I tired? Having I been getting less sleep? Sleep is essential for our bodies.  When we are tired we can find it harder to be nice. We can find it harder to think straight or make good choices.

IF I am tired then I need to be intentional about getting more sleep.

5) SICK – Am I sick? To I have a fever or a cold? Am I in pain or just overall feeling sick? When we are sick we often feel miserable and in that mindset we are not thinking clearly. Again, when sick, we often are less likely to be kind or patient with others.

When I am sick I need to take care of my body. I need to be aware that when I am not feeling well I may not act well.

So what can we do?

Most of us find ourselves in one or more of the above. We must remember that when we are tired, sick and hungry that it might not be the best times to try to make a major decision. When we are feeling lonely we must remember that we become more vulnerable to the lies of the enemy.

We must also be honest. Be honest with yourself and those around you. Share with them that you are tired and in a lot of pain and while you aren’t using it as an excuse you want them to understand.

We must pray. Admit to God where you are at. Ask for His help, His strength and His Spirit.

And finally we might want to delay any further decisions or actions until you address some of these things. You can deal with them later when you are better equipped to approach it with prayer, patience, and godly wisdom.

We can choose to not fall apart. We can choose to look at where we are physically, where we are spiritually and then take these things to the cross of Christ where we have unlimited access to His love, grace, strength and help.

Please hear me on this. If you are not in a good place spiritually or physically then it will effect you emotionally. It will effect your coping abilities and your decision making. You will be more likely to “fall apart”. But it does not have to be that way. You can choose differently.

Now that I understand how these things effect me I am better able to choose to rise above my emotions. When I am aware that I hurt and I am tired then I can be on guard and better prepared. I don’t have to fall apart! That my dear friend is freeing.