Weeping Cherries

faith, family, food and frugality

My Ugly Heart December 6, 2011

  • (DISCLAIMER:  I have no idea how those bullets down the side got there or how to remove them.  SORRY!)
  • photo found at rachelgoode.blogspot.com

  • The Christmas season has a way of revealing to me what a sinner I am.  Fitting, since the holiday is a celebration of my Savior’s birth, but humbling none the less.
  • Every year around this time I get bit by the bug.  A bug so rampant, I’m thinking it needs to be added to the strains of illnesses included in the flu season records.  As a helpful guide, I am including a list of symptoms.  You may have the Christmas bug if:
  • 1. As you are shopping through Target, every toy you pass you imagine being opened Christmas morning by your child with a huge smile on their face, accompanied by the exclamation, “I love it!  You are the best Mother in the whole world!”
  • 2. The words “Honey, we bought each other a house (or insert needed appliance, car repair, or plumbing job here) for Christmas, let’s not exchange gifts this year” make your heart drop with sadness no matter how right they are.
  • 3. Your store daydreams change from #1 symptom to imagining your child unwrapping the boring things like underwear that they really need but don’t want with a disappointed look on their face, accompanied by the proclamation, “This is the WORST Christmas ever!”  (you only think that’s an exaggeration- I have a very dramatic little 5 year old.)
  • 4.  You start wondering how kids during the great depression didn’t break their parent’s hearts after opening their one and only gift- an orange which was a rare treat to them.
  • 5.  You realize now, more than ever, you are much more materialistic then you ever imagined…
  • Treatment for the Christmas bug includes a hefty dosage of reality:
  • 1. Your child doesn’t need every toy in the store, in fact they are undoubtedly better off without it and so are you.  Not to mention, as the years pass, their enthusiasm for gifts drastically reduces and last year we were horrified to hear the dreaded phrase, “what else did you get me?” escape our child’s lips more than once.  “Where did we go wrong?”, we asked ourselves.  After all, we had been careful not to make Christmas about the presents…or so we thought.  We didn’t “do” Santa, we limit our gift giving to a few special items per child, we read “The Three Gifts of Christmas”  leading up to the holiday, we even tried no gifts on Christmas day one year opening them on Christmas Eve instead so all of Christmas day could be focused on Christ’s birth.  How did we end up with such greediness coming from our children? Perhaps the first dose of medicine I needed to swallow was the reality that my children get the Christmas bug too.  Whats worse?  They caught it from me.  MODEL CONTENTMENT!
  • 2.The house, furnace. dishwasher, new axles for the car, toilet repair, you name it was a BLESSING!  And despite the little pang in your heart that tells you otherwise, it is enough.  Gather friends and family in that gift of a home.  Warm bodies from that furnace mean warm hearts snuggled in their beds on Christmas Eve.  Dishes covered in food being loaded in the dishwasher make me grateful when I think back on six years without one and thankful that food was on those dishes around the table where my family joins together to eat.  Whatever you may have inserted in that blank, whether a car repair which enables you to travel and see loved ones or even the fixed toilet that saves your ears from the constant sound of it running-  GIVE THANKS!

  • 3. When needs are met, whether through Christmas or any other time of the year, teach your children to praise God!  “Kids you know you needed new underwear, don’t tell me you didn’t notice the holes in yours and no- holiness isn’t a good thing when it comes to underwear.  Praise God!  He provided you with new underwear this Christmas!”  CHOOSE JOY!

  • 4. Oranges DO make great stocking-stuffers.  Throw in a ziplock baggie of cloves and let your kids decorate them to make pomanders for your Christmas table centerpiece.  BE CREATIVE!

  • 5. Pray that the Holy Spirit would change your heart about Christmas.  Pray that He would take your greed, selfishness, and desire to please anyone but our Savior.  Pray that He would transform your family through the power of His love and that we would all be awestruck by the wonder of His glory!  PRAY WITHOUT CEASING!

Ara and James at the Christmas Tree

My dear friends, that truly is “All I Want For Christmas”…  for God to take my ugly heart and give me one washed clean by His blood.  Hallelujah, HE DID!  And that is the reason for the season!
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Conversations with God June 29, 2008

I wanted to share a conversation that I just had with God because when I hear about how God is working in other’s lives it is always encouraging. Hopefully, this will be an encouragement to you. I would love for you to leave a message about how God is speaking in your life and how you have been blessed recently in the comments section so that I may be encouraged through you.

I have struggled my whole life with fully surrendering my life to God’s will because quite honestly I felt that once I did God would call me to give my life and kill me. I know that sounds crazy but I had to get to the point where I was okay with COMPLETELY trusting God’s will for me and to use me in the way that would most glorify Him. Tonight, I was praying that God would use me to glorify Him in EVERYTHING. That my life would be a living testimony to His love. I realized that I was at the point where I could surrender everything to Him. My desire is to have a long life filled with bringing glory to His name and raising a family who leaves a legacy of strong family units that glorify the Lord, but I know that God knows my purpose. His will is perfect.

After that, I literally felt cleansed and renewed and started to pray in another direction and I have never before felt God speaking to me so clearly. I have been reading this book that Guideposts published about the life of Abigail, wife of King David. The Lord used her many times to reveal His will to her husband ultimately for His glory and also for the glory of her husband. She spoke words to King David that God revealed to her not to bring glory to herself but the King. At this time during my prayer, I asked that God give me the words to speak to my husband to encourage him and turn his vision towards Christ and His work and purpose. I told Him that I would be still and listen for the words.

I felt Him leading me to list those things that I admired about my husband. I want to list those things here so that I may bring glory to my husband publicly for the gifts the Lord has blessed him with. In my conversation I told God the things that I love about my husband were his quick wit, and his discernment. I felt Him leading me to the fruit of the Spirit that Paul (my husband) demonstrates most in his life. My husband is full of goodness. When thinking of his goodness I think of his absolute standard of truth. My husband demands and speaks truth. Even the tiniest exaggeration or minute detail he will call into question if it is not truth. Sometimes, this is hard for me as a wife when his answers are truth and hard to hear. I do not feel that it is coincidence that my husband is named Paul. When I think of Paul in the bible I think of a man that was not afraid to proclaim truth. My husband has done this many times. Most recently, I overheard him on the phone speaking hard truth to a friend in love, encouraging him to search the scriptures for what Christ would have him to do. I love this about my husband. I received conformation that God spoke that encouragement to me when I shared this with my husband. I wanted him to know that God loves this about his spirit. He said it was what he needed to hear.

I have never felt closer to God than this evening and I hope that this encourages you to simply ask God to reveal to you how your words can bless or encourage someone today. As women, our words are can be a blessing or a curse. We can uplift or tear down. I know this the hard way as my tongue has torn others down many a time. Join me on this journey of prayer to God for how we can use our powerful tongues to edify the body of Christ!

 

Happy Anniversary Sweet Love June 2, 2008

Filed under: Love — Jen @ 12:40 pm
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Three years ago, I married my college sweetheart, Paul, but our story starts Fall Semester at Lindenwood in 2003.

I met Paul through the music organization at Lindenwood University.  He was a jazz drummer and I was a choir girl.  One evening after a musicale that the women’s group put on, Paul, Lena, Jeff and I went down to the Riverfront to enjoy the weather/evening.  One by one, Jeff left and then Lena and Paul and I found ourselves not ready to call it a night.  We were enjoying each other’s company too much.  We talked and talked on that bench until, much to my surprise, the sun began to rise over the horizon.  I drove him to his morning class and as he got out of the car, he chucked a note at me and ran off to his class.  The note said, “I wanted to kiss you all night”.

A little over a year later, he proposed to me on that very same bench by the riverfront and we were married June 2, 2005.

I Love You Sweet Love!