Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Day After Christmas!

Now I LOVE Christmas. Everything from the lights to the tree, to the candlelight service and making food. But the thing I love most about it is the magic of Christmas. For me, it's knowing that two thousand some years ago, my Savior came as baby to save the world. Knowing that people all over the world are celebrating for the same reason you are. Spending time with family. And if you're anything like my family, playing Christmas Carols the day after Thanksgiving!

I get so excited and all caught up in the Christmas Spirit, and then...the day after Christmas, it's all over. It might linger for a few days but then back to real world. Slowly, the Christmas music fades, the Christmas movies stop playing and the decorations go back in the box. The stores take down their displays and Manger scenes get put away until next year. The snow is still here, but the Christmas warmth isn't. After we eat the cookies, return the unwanted gifts and take down the Christmas Lights, it's almost as if Christmas never happened. But then we're forgetting the real reason for Christmas is the first place.

 But a song by Matthew West really put into perspective why Christmas shouldn't be just one day. I think I first heard the song last year after Christmas and it really made me think. See what you guys think. I'll just post the end of the song, because I couldn't find any lyrics. But here's what it sounds like:

So take down the stockings
Take back the sweaters
Take down the lights
And the star and the tree
But don't let this world take
Your joy after Christmas
Take joy to the world as you sing

Happy Day after Christmas
Merry Rest of the Year
'Cause even when Christmas is over
The Light of the world is still here.
              Matthew West

Isn't that great?! It really makes me look at the day after Christmas a little differently. And if the Light of the World is still here, then why shouldn't we celebrate every day of the year? Let the World know why we are singing. Jesus didn't give us new life so we could live for one day, but every single day!

So here's hoping you had a very Merry Christmas and that you will continue to celebrate the meaning of Christmas the rest of the 364 days of the year!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lessons from a Pre-schooler

Sometimes God teaches us a lesson that makes us stop and wonder, how have I never seen this before? This is one of those:

I work as a gymnastics coach. And one of my most memorable experiences was one class that I filled in that was a pre-school class. Pre-school gymnastics....oh what fun! So the night before I was supposed to fill in, I sat there and prayed for patience with this class and that it would go well, and that the kids would listen because no matter how many times you yell-

And it's there that I stopped. It was one of those moments where you groan and kind of put your head into your hands. You know? I am a pre-schooler! Coaching a class of them, well it could be crazy... They have an attention span of about ten seconds. And their listening skills aren't much better. Soon you start to sound like a broken record, "Katie, sit down. Ryder, stay in line. Don't do that Jenna. Katie, please sit down. Bobby, keep your hands to yourself. Katie, sit down...." The good mood you went into the class with, doesn't always come back out.

Like them, our attention span is about ten seconds compared to God's. We can't even pray for more than five minutes! And our listening skills are worse! He tries to get through to us over and over again. He's practically shouting down at us. It's amazing that God never gets tired of us! Thank goodness God has more patience with us than I do with a bunch of three and four year olds! But even when we are like those pre-schoolers and it takes forever for God to get through to us and we don't listen and we're just running around around crazy, God loves us even then.

One of my favorite parts of coaching is when a kid gets a new skill. Their eyes light up and their so excited. And they can't wait to show the world, well at least their mom and dads. They finally understand, they finally get it. And when they look to their parents and show them, they're just as excited, if not more so, than their kid.

I wonder if God is like that when we finally learn something that He's been trying to teach us. When we finally get it, when we finally understand. I can imagine God looking down and and His eyes shining with excitement. Being our proud Father. And He can't wait for us to share it with the world.

I know I'll never know everything about God. I'm not supposed to. That's where faith comes in. But we have to be ready and listening to what God does want us to learn.

And I'm so thankful that He's so patient with this pre-schooler.

*And since then, I regularly coach pre-school classes and I love them now!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Trusting God

I thought once I got a blog, I'd be writing in it alot....but I was wrong! Anyway, it's been so crazy. Time is going by too fast! The stores are playing Christmas music already!

But God has been teaching me so much lately. About trusting Him, and giving it all to Him. I recently read the book Radical by David Platt. Great book. It challenged me so much. One of the points that he makes that really got my attention was on page 23:

David Platt is talking to a wealthy man who is thinking of giving away much of what he owns after hearing a sermon on giving to the poor. And the man asks if what he's thinking is crazy, "I wonder at some point if I'm being irresponsible or unwise. But then I realize there is never going to come a day when I stand before God and He looks at me and says, 'I wish you would have kept more for yourself.' I'm confident that God will take care of me."

And that's the question that it all boils down to, do we trust God? Do we trust Him enough to let go and let God ruin our life for the normal? Because if we give our all to God, He's going to take it and turn it into some extraordinary. But do we really trust Him to give Him our all? Our life? Our future?
 This is the point I've been stuck at for some time. The point between faith and fear. God is waiting for us to take that step in faith. And even if we fall, He will always be there to catch us. But we have to take that first step.

And if you really get down to it, and really think about it, if God is for us who can be against us? Yes, God might take our life and turn it upside down, but the rewards for living for Him are totally worth it. It all starts with trusting Him.

Psalm 62:8,"Trust in Him at all times, O people;
pour out your hearts to Him,
for God is our refuge."

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The start of the chapter...

The start of another chapter. In case you didn't guess from the bio, I love writing. There's nothing that can quite beat it. There's nothing like sitting down at a notebook or computer and having endless possibilities in front of you.
 But not only am I writing stories, but I'm living one:

God is the master author. He writes stories too. Many stories. And each and every one is so beautiful that we can't even comprehend it. Every story is so interweaving and intricate. Each story is individual, yet a part of one book. God writes every story from beginning to end, with every sentence inbetween.
 Just as an author does, God comes up with the characters in the stories. He picks their personalities, traits and appereances. He breathes life into each character. No two characters are alike.
 Not only does He come up with the character, but He comes up with their story too. I wonder what God feels like writing our story. He knows we're going to fall, He knows we're going to make wrong decisions, but He loves us anyway. He doesn't like that we fall but He loves when we rise back up again. He loves the 'messed up' characters in the story as much as He loves the 'good' characters.
 God has a plan and a purpose for everyone. He wrote our story all the way to the end. He knows not only what's going on now, but what will happen at the end of the story.
 So the next time you wonder why this specific thing is happening in your life, remember that we can't see the end of the story but God can. It's for a purpose. YOUR here for a purpose.

We're all characters. We all have stories.
   What is your story going to be?

"All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be." Psalm 139:16 NIV