Wednesday, December 24, 2014

{ a colorado christmas card }

It's Christmas Eve - the presents are wrapped, the tree is trimmed and glowing with lights, stockings are stuffed, things are quiet after a week's worth of parties. We're ready for Christmas!

The funny thing about all this, is that I'm not with my family. I'm spending Christmas out here in Colorado with the children. It's a small little family right now - since several of the staff aren't here - and that feels a little funny too, but this truly is such a precious time.

To be honest, I'm missing my family - the realization that I'm not going to be with my extended family tomorrow at my Grandma's house, with all my cousins and aunts and uncles just hit me yesterday when I opened a package from Grandma full of all the yummy treats she makes every year for Christmas. And Maddie was here this past week for a few days to visit, bringing a little bit of home with her. I'm not going to see Mark, who I haven't seen in two years, or Jessica and her little ones - one of whom I've never met. We have so many traditions, so many of my favorite and sweetest memories have been Christmas afternoon at Grandma and Grandpa's...I get a little teary thinking about it.

that year Mark missed Christmas 'cause he was at boot camp.

But there's also grace to be out here. Jesus's birth can celebrate anywhere and everywhere, and hearing the stories, singing the songs, and seeing Christmas through the eyes of the children is precious. I'm making new memories - treasuring this short season of life that Jesus has me in.

And boy, what memories these are! Christmas parties galore, Secret Santa, Christmas concerts, carriage rides, Christmas lights, more cookies than we could ever eat, making gingerbread and graham cracker houses, painting Christmas ornaments, decorating the uncles as Christmas trees, a Christmas pageant at Pastor Eric's house, singing Christmas songs in English, Mizo and Amharic, cozy nights at home, and so much laughter.

Tonight the children are going to sing at Ellerslie's Christmas Eve service - and then we'll all be over at Mike and Christa's. Tomorrow will be such a sweet family day...pajama snuggles, presents to exchange, yummy food to eat, praises to sing.

I was thinking back this morning to last Christmas. One year ago, I was not the happiest camper....really struggling to fully enjoy everything when I was just days away from saying goodbye to our farm for good. Our house was in boxes, I didn't want to move, I didn't want to live in the new house, but most of all I didn't want to leave the farm. 

One year later, I'm sitting on a couch in my living room in Colorado, listening to a few pattering feet upstairs as the girls are waking up and getting ready for the day. It's pretty cozy down here, the tree is glowing and the lights in the room are still off. Katie's here for the day, Josh just came in and said good morning and dashed upstairs to wake up the boys, and I'm minutes away from preparing breakfast. It's a new life, a different life, than it was last year...I never dreamed this is what I'd be doing this Christmas...but there is such peace and joy in knowing I'm where I'm supposed to be.

Christmas is usually such a sweet, peaceful season for me...but even more so this year, because the tender love of Jesus is so tangible. I'm away from everything I know, but yet I'm at home because I'm with Him. There's true peace - true joy - true light.

Christmas is about worship. It's about seeing the sacrifice, and rejoicing in love. It's about giving up everything to follow the Son - looking past the holiday and seeing His grace. Recently, a few of us staff have been talking about the wiremen, and their story. How they traveled thousands of miles, and all it says they did was bow down and worship Jesus and give Him gifts. They didn't accomplish anything - didn't gain anything - didn't do anything. In fact, they probably *lost* a lot...time, resources, possibly even their health, or the lives of their servants and animals. But they gave it all....just to worship

This Christmas, even though I'm far from home, even though I'm surrounded by children and grown ups who I love so dearly, even though I'm smiling and happy and loving every moment of this sweet season, I want to truly worship this Christmas. To truly SEE my Jesus and His beautiful never-failing deeper-than-an-ocean love for me, and to worship Him.

So, sweet friends and family, my dear readers...Merry Christmas, from my family to yours.

Joy to the World!

Monday, December 15, 2014

{ i am free }

Here at Your feet, I lay my past down
My wanderings, all my mistakes down
And I am free

Here at Your feet, I lay this day down
Not in my strength, but in Yours I've found
All I need, You're all I need

Jesus, Jesus at Your feet
Oh, to dwell and never leave
Jesus, Jesus, at Your feet
There is nowhere else for me
There is nowhere else for me

Here at Your feet, I lay my future down
All of my dreams, I give to You now
And I find peace, I find peace

Jesus, Jesus at Your feet
Oh, to dwell and never leave
Jesus, Jesus, at Your feet
There is nowhere else for me
There is nowhere else for me

Here at Your feet, I lay my life down
For You my King, You're all I want now
And my soul sings...

Jesus, Jesus at Your feet
Oh, to dwell and never leave
Jesus, Jesus, at Your feet
There is nowhere else for me
There is nowhere else for me

'Cause I am free (here at Your feet)
All I need (is at Your feet)
And I find peace
We're at Your feet
We're at Your feet

And I am free (here at Your feet)
All I need (is at Your feet)
I find peace
We're at Your feet
We're at Your feet
We're at Your feet
We're at Your feet

Here at Your feet...I lay my life down.
"at your feet" by casting crowns

It's kinda beautiful, when Jesus shows you Himself in deeper ways. When He shows you that there's no "this is as good as it's gonna get" with the Spirit of God. He continues to heal, restore, and work mighty things, even when I can't see it, and then He shows me what He's done...and I'm in awe. It's beautiful, and it's freedom and it's the way He works. I love that. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

living spent.

You know, we only get one life. And we don't even know how long it is.

That thought in itself doesn't scare me. How ever long Jesus wants me on this earth really isn't any of my business, and I don't need to know. I have one life, and that's all I need.

But yet, there's a responsibility.

How am I using it?

That's a little intimidating to think about.

That IS my business.

And my only business should be the business of the Kingdom.

I've been thinking about this for the past week or so, as we've been on tour. Each night, when I tuck in the girls, I think to myself, "Did I give them all I had today? Did I spend myself in love, in prayer, in energy, in strength for them? When I say, 'I love you', did I show them that with my actions, or is it just words I say because I always do? Does my heart ache because I loved them so much I'm sore?"

Each day, I get twenty-hours to honor Jesus. (because yes, you can honor Him in your sleep.) I've been entrusted with twenty-four hours to shine His light on this earth.

He's given them to me to use them for His kingdom...the responsibility is mine.

Thankfully, He hasn't left me to do it alone. The Spirit living inside me is guiding me and leading me as I go...provided I'm not quenching Him. When I go to bed at night, did I give everything I had for Jesus? Did I commit myself to Him in such a way that He affected everything I did? Did I waste my time on myself, or did I take every minute captive and set my heart on the things of the kingdom?

How am I spending my days? Am I joyfully exhausted at the end of each day? Am I fully given to His cause in everything? Am I loving the people He's given me to love with all that I am - holding nothing back because I'm afraid of getting hurt, or losing them, or making myself vulnerable? Do my girls see me in prayer? Are my priorities clear to them - putting Jesus and them first, instead of myself?

Jesus gave everything for me. He lived spent. Heck, He actually physically gave up His life so I could live. I love the line of "He Made A Way in A Manger", a song the children are singing in concert this season, that says, "He is the life that died our death"....He lived to die. Am I dying daily so others might live?

I want the testimony of my life to be that I lived spent. That I gave everything, everyday, holding nothing back.

I don't want ever to be too tired, or too selfish, to give. I want to enjoy every little moment - from snuggling during movie night, to laughing playing dress up, to goodnight hugs and kisses; treasure every memory - from funny days on the road, to Thanksgiving dinner, to teaching everyone to ice skate; rest well when I sleep - even if it's just a few hours 'cause I'm awake comforting a sick little one, or packing and preparing to leave for tour; and spend my energy and strength when I'm awake to further the kingdom in every single task - big or small - laid before me, and every adventure Jesus brings.

When I ask these questions of myself, it's not to condemn or even really to convict...more to inspire me to keep my two little brown eyes focused upward, and to glory in the freedom and power He brings to my life to enable to live it fully.

“I seek not a long life, but a full one, like you Lord Jesus.” 
- Jim Elliot