We really enjoyed our time together at the annual Ornament Swap! 2020 has been a rough year, but Jesus still sits on His throne! And today we celebrated our Savior! There was fun, encouragement, laughter, and even a few tears. And boy, oh boy, were there beautiful ornaments all up for grabs! Thank you, ladies, for joining us. We hope you left today with joy in your heart and were encouraged in your faith. Now go share those special invitations with someone who needs to hear the real reason for the season!
I used to think growing up if I just could escape a situation everything would be good. If I could be part of the “in crowd” or win that award, I would be happy, and life would be good. How would you fill in the blank? My life would be complete if_______? It took a while, but I finally realized all these things were temporary, and soon I would be back to wanting things to change and my life to be like those fairy tales moms read to their children. Years went by with no knight in shining armor that would instantly change my life.
Isn’t that how it always goes in the fairy tale. Well life is not a fairy tale and knights don’t exist that can rescue you or me from our emptiness, erase mistakes, and make life brand new. Getting married I expected my husband and my new life as his wife to be free from emptiness and feeling incomplete. Well that bubble didn’t last long! Don’t get me wrong – my husband is a wonderful man and though our road together has included speed bumps and sometimes hurdles, I am very thankful for him and my love for him has only deepened.
Fast forward to a point in my life when I began to seek out God. I had been away from church for a long time. Once I started going back and getting into God’s Word I realized I wasn’t sure of knowing Jesus at all. God was so gentle, and I made sure I was His child. As my walk with Him continued, I came to know why my husband or no one else could take away my emptiness. Only God could do that, and it was unfair of me to place that weight onto anyone else. Only He could heal my hurts and my life be made new through Him.
My journey with Jesus has included speed bumps and hurdles too. But they have been used by Him to change, grow. and bring beauty from ashes. Now I know where contentment, satisfaction, and fulfilment are found. In JESUS alone.
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners., to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort those who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.
Isaiah 61: 1-3 NIV
The WM Team
God wants all of me. And He wants all of you. And He will do what it takes to get our attention.
I remember as a teenager I had it all planned out. My husband would be everything I needed and wanted. Charming, handsome, smart, faithful, committed. The list goes on. Our finances would be just like they were supposed to be. Good jobs, good credit, a plan in place for the future. It was a good plan, but God had a better plan.
Life happens and it’s messy sometimes. And the very people that we put so much stock in, the ones we trust the most, end up letting us down. Finances hit a bump – a job lost, a tanked economy.
I’ve been through it all and life today is not what I pictured it to be all those years ago. But I was building my own kingdom and building it on sinking sand. Things don’t last. People are imperfect and will disappoint us at times. But there is One who will always last and will always be there. Jesus Christ never disappoints, and we can always trust Him. He is the solid rock on which we can stand.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
We can easily turn our well-intentioned dreams into strongholds in our lives. But Jesus needs to be our all. He is enough. We can find our true worth in Him. We can find true love in Him. We can find peace, stability, and true joy in Him even in the midst of difficult circumstances. When our hope is built on Him – our solid rock, our cornerstone – our future is secure no matter what uncertainties swirl around us in this world.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
The WM Team
It was my 5th store looking for that perfect gift. Christmas was still three weeks away and I was already exhausted. Work obligations and gatherings with family and friends had not slowed down since Thanksgiving. I desperately wanted some time to exhale. Can you relate? I can’t help but wonder is this what God wants? I got into my car to head home without the item I had hoped to find. There was baking to be done tonight for the elementary school celebration.
As I pulled into the driveway I couldn’t help but notice the bright star right above our home. Was God trying to tell me something? I walked into the house to be greeted by our pair of terriers so excited to have anyone home. Shortly after, the kids came in the door with their dad, dirty and tired from soccer. While they hit the showers, my husband came into the kitchen and gave me a quick hug, too quick. I just wanted to stay embraced in his arms for a little while longer. He opened the fridge door and retrieved a soda. Brushing past me he went to change clothes and find a game on TV to watch.
I pulled all the ingredients out for the dessert I was making and begin to blend the flour with cocoa. Opening the pantry door to throw away the empty containers I was looking at an overflowing bag. Once again our son had not taken out the trash even though we had just discussed this with him two days ago. Sitting the containers down I pulled the bag out, tied it up, and went out back to put it in the large trash can. There was that star again, was it brighter than when I first got home? I stood there just gazing at it, and once again couldn’t help but wonder if God was trying to get my attention. The wise men had followed a star that led them to the Messiah.
Walking back inside I finished the dessert and went upstairs to take a long bath. After soaking for thirty minutes, I got up with my skin looking like a prune. Putting my robe on I walked over to the window and there it was again. The star! Just like a light being switched on, it hit me. God was telling me, “Stay focused on Me. After all I am the reason for all this celebrating.”
Have you ever felt like you were the last one to get something? My heart had been aching for some peace and it was right there all the time in Jesus. He had put that star in front of me three times saying, “I’m here, just whisper my name.” We find ourselves exhausted from our schedules. God says, “Come and sit with me awhile. Take time to truly enjoy Me and the gifts I have given you.” He tells us, “Be still and know I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” ~ Matthew 11:28-29
Father, forgive us when we get caught up in the hustle and bustle, and before we know it we have left You out of Christmas. Without you there would be no Christmas! May we be intentional about exhaling, resting in you, and rejoicing in the gift of Your love and salvation. Keep us sensitive to the ways you speak to us, even by a star. Amen.
The WM Team
(image credit: crosswalk.com)