In the six weeks following Christmas, all three of my kids have birthdays, which means they receive a lot of presents in a short period of time. After the first awkward incident when my son looked at his grandmother and said, "But that's not what I wanted," we learned to prep them before parties and family gatherings when we knew they would be receiving gifts.
I keep hearing people say “new year, new you!” The problem is, I don’t feel new. The year is barely a week old and I feel overwhelmed and overburdened. I feel like I can’t do even one more thing, that the tasks ahead of me are too many. Work. Home. Friends. Family. Laundry. Dinner. Cleaning. I feel pulled in so many directions that I can’t possibly do it all, like I am not enough. I feel like the needs of those around me are too great. I just can’t do it.
Christmas is such a busy time of year! Between attending holiday parties, Christmas shopping, baking cookies and decorating, I sure do have my calendar full. I love all the festivities, but they can also wear you out.
The busyness also makes me think about how I am prioritizing my time. I’m fully participating in activities of the season, but am I sharing the great news about why we celebrate it in the first place? We have such a blessing to share!
When I was in my early twenties if someone asked me something along the lines of “Where do you see yourself five years from now?” I would offer an answer that included something about a fabulous job. But if I was honest with myself, I fully expected to work for about 2.5 years after college, then get married and blissfully slip into homemaker mode and get started on the five children I had always wanted to have.
As I am writing my first Willowdale blog, I question how I ended up here. I mean, just three years ago, if you simply invited me to go to church, I would have secretly giggled to myself. I know, because three years ago, I was invited to church, by someone I barely knew. And I giggled. In my head, but still.
Here in South Asia I attend a church on Sunday evenings. This time of worship includes boys and girls of all ages who come from four different homes that care for vulnerable and at-risk children and youth in the city. They all have different stories and backgrounds but the same desire to learn about Jesus.
When I was a teenager, I identified as an athlete. I played field hockey for my high school and college teams. My worth depended on how well I played. It felt great my senior year to win the league championships with the winning goal, but I didn’t know how to view myself in the years following a career-ending knee injury.
As the calendar turns to November, I usually start focusing on Christmas. I'm an early decorator for my favorite holiday and really don't do much for fall. So, my three pumpkins get put away in favor of trees, snowmen and twinkle lights. A few years ago, one of my boys asked me why we didn't decorate for Thanksgiving.
I was there in 1997 when Tiger Woods took command of the Masters golf tournament and drew the huge throngs of followers unlike anything we’d seen before. Watching his approach (by video…not in person this time!) to the 18th green in this September’s Tour Championship with a swarm of golf fans cheering and clapping and running alongside him was arguably better – but why?
Lately I’ve been asking God for a miracle. Nothing big, nothing particularly life-changing, but one I’m yearning for nonetheless. It’s one of those things that would be against all odds. I’m boldly asking, but then just as soon as I ask, I tend to dismiss the possibility that He will actually do this thing...
I was reading in 1 John earlier and got pricked by, “whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:6). This verse has many lessons to glean about living a life like His, but what got me was a literal question. Do I walk “in the same way in which he walked?”
A few years ago, our pastor started a sermon with this quote from AW Tozer: "What we believe about God is the most important thing". I remember thinking 'Oh, that's good'. I then heard, saw or read that quote five more times in the next two weeks. So, I thought, maybe God was trying to get my attention with those words.
It was a bit of a “fairy tale”… the beautiful orphan catching the attention of the most powerful man in the land. She moved from her home and was offered all the best that money could buy. This girl was not only lovely, but she was brave and wise too. But fairy tales usually have dark sides, and this one was no different. The young woman was in danger--as were her family and her people.