I used to think I was rather trendy at Christmas, every year I would add to or make new Christmas decorations for our home.  I loved to sew, and that added all sorts of creativity. These years tho, my favorite and most treasured decorations often involve the very old, and the child-made kind.

By very old I usually mean pretty shabby as these don’t always stand the test of time very well.  But Christmas would not be Christmas if we didn’t hang or set out these precious relics of our lives.img_2701

There is the little stocking I crocheted when our boys were small, and there is one of the plastic canvas ornaments that my dad’s cousin sent us almost every year.  Oh, and there is our daughter’s cat.  She isn’t a relic, but rather a symbol of all the cats who have graced our lives. At the left hand top of the picture is the tip of the wing of a handmade glass angel that a former pastor gave to each child in the church.  Above the cat is a paper star with glitter that our daughter made long, long ago in Sunday School.  These things meld together and make up our Christmas memories today.

My mom always hung a faded  tissue paper bell between our dining room and our living room. It was one of those accordion types, that folded flat to store, and you opened up to use.  It had belonged to some grandma, and probably held good memories for her. Having  always been a lover of things past, the faded bell never bothered me, but I wish I had asked mom its history.

One thing that always remains constant in our Christmas is the nativity scene that was made for us by my sister in law years ago.  Every year we unpack and set it up, and every year we are thankful for that little Baby that God sent so long ago.  That Baby grew up to be our Savior and the means by which we will rejoin all our family members who believe in Him someday in heaven.  Thank you Jesus.

Week One: Chapter One ‘The Best Yes’

This Thursday I am going to a Bible study at our church.  The book  is “The Best Yes” by Lysa Terkeurst, and after reading the first three chapters I know I am going to love it!

So why am I writing about this?  Because this book has given me so many thoughts of so many stories in my life that fit with the information Lysa shares in her delightful book. From experience both in attending and leading studies, I know that one person who always shares gets pretty tiresome to the leader and others of the group.  So I usually just make little notes in the sidelines of the book and indicate the insights and stories that leap into my mind. Then at the study I chicken out from sharing.  Or I talk too much, and it doesn;t come out the way I want it to.

But this time, I decided to record them into the blog; after all it is entitled “The Life He Gave Me”, and those stories are what my life is!

The first quote (written in elegant calligraphy) that caught my heart was:

We must not confuse the command to love with the desire to please’

Ouch.  For the majority of my life I have been a major people pleaser precisely for that reason.  I believed that God wanted me to show my love for Him by making other people happy.   Never mind the fact that it isn’t usually my job to make others happy, it often isn’t even possible!  Nevertheless, I lived a boundary-less life where if someone asked me to do something, I felt I had to do it, and usually right now!  My family suffered, by temperment suffered, I suffered.  And it was never enough.

I think that certain types of people must be able to sense us ‘people pleasers’ and see that big “ask me, I can’t say no” sign that must be taped to our backs.  Because however how much we do, and how perfectly we strive to do it, it is never enough!  Before you know it, ugly things like resentment and dread and anger begin to creep in and guilt begins to reign.  Why guilt?  Because I was afraid I wasn’t showing Gods love enough.  I mean these people were never happy!  And it was all my fault.

See what a tangle grows when I let my thoughts masquarade as Gods?  God wants me to do what He has planned for me.  When I am doing it, He fills me with joy and fullfillment even in the stressful times. So when resentment shows up, I do a reality check, am I in tune with God?  Reading my Bible, praying, sharing what He has done with someone else? If not, it is time to refresh my Spirit and begin again.

Micah 6:8 (one of my favoirite verses) says

“He has made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women.  It’s quite simple:  Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously — take God seriously.”

When I take God seriously, He seriously adds joy to my life, and enables me to do the things that I love.  I think  that is one the road to The Best Yes!