To Live is Christ

To live is Christ and to die is gain. That is what the apostle Paul said (Philippians 1:21.)

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Oddly enough, I totally get the “dying is gain” thing. Heaven, peace, joy, basking in the presence of God? Yep, all gain. So, why do I struggle with the other part? What is it about “to live is Christ” that seems elusive? Why do I insist on making living about things? About people? About haves and have nots and worries and wants?

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I think about Simeon. After the shepherds saw the angel and the wise men saw the star, Simeon saw the Christ.

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. – Luke 2:25-26

He would not see death until he saw Christ. For Simeon, to live was Christ. The only reason he still drew breath was because he had not yet seen Christ. Each day that dawned was a new opportunity to seek the Savior.

And those who know your name put their trust in you,
    for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you. – Psalm 9:10

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Lord, make me a woman who desperately wants to know you more. Take my focus off of worthless things (Psalm 119:37) and keep my gaze on you. And, should you come tomorrow with the clouds (Revelation 1:7), may I be found seeking you.

Mom Talk Monday: All You Can Do Now is Wait

Right now, I’m sitting at my desk with a warm cup of coffee and my Bible. If I were to post a picture of this moment on Facebook, folks would “like” it. Maybe it would get shared on Instagram. It would look nice and peaceful. It would give the illusion of relaxation. It would also, however, be a lie. The truth is that I’m sitting here feeling overwhelmed.

I should be going downstairs and stripping the wet sheets off of my child’s bed. Why are there always wet sheets on somebody’s bed? I should be brushing the two year old’s teeth before I forget like I forgot last night. I should be tidying up before my mother shows up. Eventually, folks are going to want to eat so I should be planning some sort of meals.

Yet, here I sit with my Bible closed and my coffee growing cold feeling overwhelmed.

There are no more paychecks between now and Christmas. What has been bought is what will be bought. The turkey is in the freezer and the gifts are under the tree. It’s too late to do some things. Maybe it’s too late for you to get out of going to that party or gathering. It’s probably too late to order last minute gifts online. Possibly, you’ve waited too long and it’s too late to pick up that special item at the store. The pumpkin pies are gone from the store and you’ll have to settle for generic rolls instead of Sister Schubert’s. Christmas Ornament

At this point, there isn’t much you can do except wait. And that, my friends, is wonderful.

I challenge you to spend the next ten days waiting.

Expecting.

Anticipating.

Whatever else you forgot to do, it isn’t too late to wait.

No matter what else you ran out of time to do, there is still plenty of time to wait.

No eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him. – Isaiah 65:4

It’s Christmas, y’all. Expect to see Christ and you will not be disappointed.

You are loved.

Mom Talk Monday: Real Romance

Have you ever had one of those weeks that, by the end, you were just emotionally drained? That was last week for me.

Before I even had a chance to legitimately begin my holiday, I was blindsided by criticism. Fence

In an attempt to bring peace, or maybe just closure, to an old broken relationship, I extended an olive branch of sorts only to have it rejected.

Someone dear to me – the kind of friend who knows where the bodies are buried but would never tell a soul – is moving very far away.

I feel weary and worn. Everything in me wants to say, Katie, bar the door because it doesn’t seem worth it. I want to shut down social media. I want to give up on relationships because the cynic in me says it won’t last anyway. I want to hunker down with my babies, watch old Christmas movies and just put the world away for a minute. 

It’s 1:00 a.m. on Monday morning and I can’t sleep. I’ve cleaned my kitchen, paid my bills, planned my homeschool week and am seriously contemplating a cup of coffee. Seriously, y’all. Someone needs to stop me.

What’s a gal to do when everything seems to be going terribly wrong? She goes to the Words of the One who loves her so.

If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. – Psalm 119:92

I love how The Message paraphrases this verse. If your revelation hadn’t delighted me so, I would have given up when the hard times came. 

Scripture brings strength in times of sorrow. It brings comfort in the midst of confusion. It provides wisdom and peace. God’s Word enables us to live whole and holy lives no matter the chaos swirling around us.

The Bible is not a book of rules.

It isn’t a book about risks and rewards.

The Bible oozes romance. It is a love letter from God himself to you. to me. to each one of us individually. It is where we can go when we feel like we have nowhere to go. It is a safe place in the storm.

I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by. – Psalm 57:1

heart sugar cookieWhen we know God’s Word, we know God’s heart.

I will never leave you.

I will never forsake you.

I love you with an everlasting love.

That, my friends, is real romance.

Five Things Friday: 5 Things You Don’t Say to a Tired Mama

I am taking this week off for the holiday. Please enjoy this oldie but goodie. It is my most shared Five Things Friday post ever. Apparently, there are a lot of tired mamas out there. So, watch yourself! :)

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My first three babies were great sleepers. I’m talking sleep through the night at ten weeks old kind of sleepers. I’m not gonna lie – it. was. awesome. Then, I had baby number last 4. That sweet babe of mine did not sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time for nine months.

Sophia - Dedication PhotoThen, I understood. All of those tired mamas on Facebook suddenly made sense to me. I nodded in total agreement how coffee had become a necessity and showering a luxury. I repented of every time I had judged a mama wearing pajama pants at the grocery store. Instead, I applauded her for even making it there. I began having people tell me things that, though well meaning, were either irritating or (worse) discouraging.

So, on behalf of all tired mamas out there, I’m going to tell you 5 things you should never say in response to a post or statement about being tired.

  1. My baby is six and still doesn’t sleep through the night. Nothing will make a tired mama feel worse than the suggestion that there is no end in sight to the physical and mental exhaustion she is enduring. Some days, the only thing that enables us to make it through the day is the hope that tonight may just be the night. Please don’t stomp all over that hope.
  2. My sweet angel sleeps twelve hours every night. I’m just going to go ahead and tell you that this may get you blocked on Facebook. Oh, I kid. Sort of.  If your friend has a child who doesn’t sleep and she hasn’t had the energy to bathe in two days, it is not the time to brag about how well rested and wonderful you feel.
  3. Just enjoy it because you’ll miss these days. I will miss having barbies in my bathtub. I will miss having a toddler sneak into my bed at night. I will miss night time snuggles and footie pajamas. I will miss story time and days at the park. I will not miss being so exhausted that I wash my hair in body wash and mistake diaper cream for hand lotion. When you say this to a tired mom, you instill a sense of guilt in her because she is just tired and wants to wiggle her nose and be at the next stage.
  4. What you should be doing is… This is just a no-no. Mothering is such an intimate thing. The moment you tell another mom what she “should” be doing, it can seem like a condemnation of what she is currently doing. Now, I’m not saying that you never give advice. Just be aware of how you say it. A proper way would be: All children are different, but something that worked for me is… Or maybe you read something helpful. You could say, I read the neatest thing the other day. Have you ever read… Just be aware that a tired mama is a sensitive mama and speak accordingly.
  5. You look exhausted. We tired mamas like to think that we don’t look like we’ve been hit by a Mack truck. So, when you see us out and about at the store or church, just say how great we look. Seriously. We will know you are lying and we will love you for it.

If you are a tired mama, I applaud you.

You can do this.

You are a rock star.

You go, girl.

And you look fabulous!

Wednesday Morning Confessions

toys in the floorA little re-run for the holidays. :) Happy Thanksgiving!

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I knew I had really loosened up when I passed a bag of Cheetos to the kids in the backseat on the drive home from Thanksgiving vacation. Cheetos, people. In the car! I grew up in an era when you did not, I repeat, did not eat in the car. In fact, we washed our cars inside and out every weekend, rain or shine. Now, you could make a meal out of the french fries and cheerios you would find in the floor of my vehicle. My apologies to my father. The funny thing is that he has loosened up, too. He recently took my car for an oil change and told the workers, “If anything falls out when you open the door, just throw it back in. It may be important.” Ha. I love that man.

Last night, I took a nice hot bath – and I didn’t even bother to remove the kids’ toys first. When did I get to the point where I could relax while ten naked Barbies (one of which does not have a head) floated around me? Maybe it was at the same point when I stopped caring if my children had matching socks. Seriously, y’all, that is a losing battle. Our church small group went to a bouncy house the other night. All of the kids took their shoes off and my three year old was wearing one blue sock and one pink sock. The pink sock? It was mine. Yeah.

Now, it’s Christmas time and all of you guys with your Elf on the Shelf antics. Mercy. I have a hard enough time planning meals. I mean, this was lunch the other day. {Feel free to pin it so you can recreate it later.} lunch

I saw this article and I am just amazed and impressed with the things people come up with. Seriously, the one with Mr. Potato Head and the elf having a snowball fight. I know one of y’all are going to do that one.

This post really has no point at all. I’m sorry if you have stuck with me this far hoping for one. I just want to encourage you to lighten up – assuming you need that encouragement. Here’s the thing. I serve good meals – pot roast and homemade bread on Sundays. I scoop out the trash if someone is going to be riding in my car.

So, those may be the things you see if you go somewhere with me or see me post a food picture on Instagram. But don’t ever think that is every day. Don’t compare your every day to someone else’s Instagram moments. It’s not a fair comparison.

If you don’t believe me, just ask one of my kids to take off their shoes. Actually, don’t do that.