Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Grown Up Christmas Wish

I sip my coffee to the sound of Christmas promises.  The music fills me ears and the lights on our rotating Christmas tree catch my eye and steal my writer thoughts.  {I suppose the benefit to allergies is the ability to get a fake tree that moves J  It’s a hit with the kids}

Underneath our unique green sit two gifts.  Each one has been made by the girls at school.  Soon more packages will be removed from their hiding spaces and placed under the tree in pretty paper and bows.  But, the truth is, my heart this morning is for the people seeing these lights dimmed.  Life doesn’t always feel like the nice, neat wrapped up presentation of the season.

For many this is a time where pain and hope co-exist with dream of a better tomorrow.

And my husband asks me what I want and I gaze at the luminesce, digging deep for an answer that respects his desire to bring me smiles with the earthly while balancing swelling hope for the holy.


I wish peace to take root in the heart of all weeping because life has necessitated a new normal.

I wish appreciation for marriage and the choice to love everyday in a culture bent by fleeting notions of romantic love.

I wish respect for all life.

I wish security in the lives of children and that they wouldn’t be defiled of their youthful innocence due to situations outside their control.

I wish confidence for teenagers- that they would remember their value comes from their Maker not a number on the scale, who their friends are, or if they have a significant other.

I wish known gratefulness to families separated by service to our country. 

I wish safety in homes, on campuses, and on battlefields spanning the globe. 

I wish focus on what we have and not what we think we are lacking. 

I wish for authenticity in a society of mask-wearing individuals.

I wish that we would all challenge ourselves to be a gift to others so that we can unknowingly stand in the gaps and be a living gospel to a world desperately in need.

I wish to make more room for Christ in our lives so that in the times of greatest trial confidence prevails.

I wish not to chase the stuff of this life but the One who makes it.

What I want cannot be tied up under my circling tree.  It can only be prayed over in the heart and challenged in how I live.  But, perhaps that is what makes Christmas so magical.  Maybe the real smiles come not through the pretty put together pictures of the season but the brokenness that colors this side of Glory it mends. 

“She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”  Matthew 1:23

The Almighty leaves His throne to join our messy lives in a messy stable and, in doing so, claims oneness with our humanity.  Because of this chosen beginning, we lean in through every emotion and situation life presents, confident that we will not only be held up, but that He will make us strong and empower us to be the instrument of change to make these Kingdom transforming wishes come true.
Sweet manger child, thank you. 

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Life on Our Knees {A Christmas Devotional}

 image credit Tracie Stier Johnson
“My soul is quiet and waits for God alone.  My hope comes from him.”
Psalm 62:5 NLV

I was at dance practice with my daughter, preparing for the mother/daughter dance we’re a part of for the Christmas show.  Like much of my life I was so focused on getting my steps done perfectly in time that I failed to note all that was happening around me.

In the corner of my eye I caught glimpse of my friend, also dancing with her daughters, bowed before the manger.  My heart hiccupped and tears filled my eyes with choreography that magnified a posture I want to live.

A life lived well is spent on our knees.

The world claims....

To finish reading this devotional please visit MODSquad where you will also be blessed by many more devotionals to get your heart in the true spirit of Christmas.

For more on how God used this dance uniquely in our mother daughter relationship, please read the story.

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Monday, December 9, 2013

The Stage, My Girl, & A Dance to be Remembered

"All the world's a stage," Shakespeare once said, "and all the men and women merely players."

Each move we make watched, memorized, etched on the heart of those watching.

Needless to say when the email arrived inviting me to participate in a mother/daughter ballet dance my heart flip flopped.  When I retook the dance floor this summer I was reminded how much I missed formal instruction in a studio that was once my second home.  And my sweet Grace?  Well, ever since she's been old enough to know what "What do you want to be when you grow up?" means she's consistently said a ballet teacher.  This is a love we share.

"Are we going to do it?"  Her eyes sparkled with longing more than I've ever seen in anything she's asked of me in her eight years on this earth.

"I don't know," I sighed.  "I haven't been on the stage in a long, long time."

"Oh, you'll be fine, mom" she responded with the bat of her hand, completely unphased by my fear.  "Just send the email."

I wanted to drink of her confidence but right now I simply needed to move my fingers.  I knew this was a moment that she was watching me and my yes or no would permanently be remembered.  Email sent.

Dance is the is like dreaming with your feet. ~Constanze

Each Saturday we made way to class together.  We swayed, twirled, and potaboureed in unity.  The twinkle in her eyes never dimmed.  Movement of the feet said, "I love you" without words. 

A couple weeks in the first bad dream came where my ballet slipper slipped and I fell on stage.  In the next one I forgot my moves.  My blood pressure went up a million fold over the whole public performance thing but I tried to keep it under wraps for a girl who takes to the dance stage without fear because she is being taught by teachers who build her up in a way that gives confidence in every arena of life.  The mother/daughter instructor being the same one I danced for all of my years.

To mask my concern I told Grace I needed to practice every night because I was old, which makes me prone to forgetfulness. :)  And dance in our living room we did.  Only it wasn't just her.  The younger two had to have their turn moving their feet in harmony with mine and having their face cupped in love right along with her.  Enchanting adoration impossible to duplicate in another way.

The day of the recital arrived and I loaded the vehicle in a state of disbelief.  The last time I was on stage big glasses and N Sync were cool.  Grace smothered me in a hug, whipping me back to reality.  "I'm so excited, mom."

The dresses were removed from the hangers and I tied the back of her cream cascaded bodice while she admired herself in the mirror.  All too soon this is going to be a wedding dress.  {Dramatic it may seem but we waited years for her and in the blink of an eye she is eight.  Time is never to be taken for granted.}  Tears welled.


The music was cued and on my count I stepped toward my girl, taking her hands into mine and dancing to words I honestly pray over her life {Grab a Kleenex}

The black out hit and we did our ballerina runs off the stage.  Tears burned hot for minutes gone too fast, no mistakes, and a reminder from my God that the dance stage isn't nearly as scary as I'd made it out to be in my head.  It was me and my girl in a magical moment that I know will go down as one of the memories we forever recall.

Dance is the hidden language of the soul. ~Martha Graham

This morning I turned on the radio and through the sound waves was playing "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" aka our curtain call, and I couldn't help but smile for God's precious reminder of one of the most beloved gifts I've ever been given.  Dream and love we did.  And, oh how I pray we get to do it again.

The stage of life is filled with entrances and exits many.  Life pulls us in a million directions.  But, from this experience I'm reminded for me, for you, that when we listen to God as our director, we can pause where we need to, experience added courage where we need it, and get our part right.

There is a loved one watching you with hopeful eyes, friends. Be aware and share in that which you love most when you are able.

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