No such thing as Santa?!!!!

28 Nov

As Christmas draws near & our kids get that infamous question from family members & strangers alike, “What is Santa bringing you for Christmas?”… I thought it necessary to do some ‘splainin’.

In our house, we don’t do Santa. We have personal convictions on the issue. First, let me say that I don’t think negatively of any parent that chooses to include Santa into their Christmas tradition. I hope that we can be given the same regard. & here is why we choose not to incorporate Santa:

Reason #1- Originally, we actually sold the story of Santa to our kids (well, Keely). Although, we were already beginning to feel a tug on our hearts to go in a different direction with our family. Still, we wanted our kids to have the “fantasy”. Until, one day, a very grown up 4 year old (cancer tends to do that to a kid) asked, “mom, if Santa takes toys to everyone, why do we need to buy toys for poor kids?”. That was the final tug… that last opportunity I needed from the Lord to be obedient with what He had been laying on my heart.

Reason #2- Keely has been through a lot more than typical kids her age. Many parents don’t know how important it is to have a trusting relationship with their young child. We never wanted to lie to Keely due to medical reasons. If she were facing a painful procedure, we would have never told her, “this won’t hurt”. Trust is damaged at that point. As her parents, we became her safe haven. We wanted her to know that we would never lie to her in order to comfort her in the moment. We would tell her the truth & promise to be with her & encourage her to pray with us for God to be with her.

Reason # 3 (the greatest reason!)- Jesus. I never used think that incorporating the fantasy of Santa did much damage to the reality of Jesus. God kept showing me how it did, however. Little revelations came to me periodically. Little revelations like these:

You can’t see Santa, but we’re encouraged to “just believe”. Isn’t that how we teach our children about Jesus (this one hit me hard as I heard them singing one day “He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake”. Huge check in my spirit! I had to let them know that singing the song was okay as long as they understood that no one has that ability except their Father)?….

When Santa is in the mix, how can we realistically expect a young child to focus on Christ? Only one mystical creature at a time please….

Why would I want Santa taking the credit when we struggle to give to our children? When my husband is working a second job for 2 months leading up to Christmas just so that we can put gifts under the tree for 3 kids. I want our children to understand & appreciate what they are given because they have seen their parents work hard to give to them out of love & because they have sacrificed time with their daddy for these gifts. Too many children have a sense of entitlement. This helps teach appreciation, & the value of hard work & sacrifice early on. It also begins to lay the foundation for the sacrifices that were made by so many for the birth- the death & resurrection of Christ.

I do not believe that we are robbing them of “fantasy” by taking Santa out of our Christmas celebration. We do so much throughout the year that encourages imagination & fantasy. Our kids are very healthy in this area… & I love that! I was a dreamer & “fantasy” kid myself & I think it is one of the things that fostered my creativity. I don’t think Santa had anything to do with that. & our children are just as excited about Christmas as all other children!

So there you have it. No more dirty looks from strangers when our kids politely respond that “there is no such thing as Santa” & no more lectures from family about how we are “ridiculous”. These are our convictions & we feel good about them. Mostly though, we are being obedient to the Holy Spirits beckon on our hearts & that is all that matters.

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Chaos. Stop. Take in the beauty.

21 Nov

That moment in the middle of my choatic, busy life… when no one is watching & all is quiet, & I can just stop, admire her & take in the blessing & the simplicity of this scene. She is my little piece of beauty, peace, & sunshine 🙂

 

9/28/2011

28 Sep

Funny…. he drives me the most crazy (age & phase induced, I’m sure), yet he’s the focus of my “memory moments”….

He may be a small fry, but he put the seat on, pulled down his britches, & climbed up there all by himself while I was cooking. Here is his “daddy! I go pee!” face 🙂

& here he is “teaching”. He got his pencil out & used it as a pointer just like mommy does

 

As I pray daily for the blossoming of their friendship….

23 Sep

…. I see it manifesting right in front of my eyes

It’s something that I desire deeply for them as they grow… to know the value of a sibling, to always be an active part of one another’s life, to have a forever best friend through life… someone who has walked with them all of their life… who knows their past & believes in where they’re going. To truly treasure the blessing of having siblings.

I absolutely LOVE this picture. Here we are making their favorite cookies for “C” week. This is proving to be a fun year of school!

and here’s my moment… (playing catch-up again)

23 Sep

Truth is… she’s the best big sister a little boy could ever ask for *^_^*   He can’t quite push himself, so she drops what she’s doing to help him get in a few laps.

“Finley, come get in the bath. Finley??…. Where’s Finley?”….

Here are a couple of pictures from our birthday party preparations….

Finley, my “helper” taking care of the access powdered sugar while I whip up the icing for the cupcakes.

Keely & I playing in the party supply store…. (lotsa giggles!)

 

…. & the birthday party

*^_^*   Lovebugs

Happy 4th Birthday Optimus Prime 🙂

 

Philippians 4:7

9 Aug

Philippians 4:7 “and the peace of God, which surpasses (transcends) all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

We’ve all heard that famous piece of God’s Word. Most of us have prayed it over someone. But I’m sure, many of us, like myself, can’t fully grasp it.

Keely had her final bone marrow aspiration & spinal tap this past Friday. NOW is when the measure of our faith is really tested. Treatment is done… now we will see what her body does now that there are no meds being administered to keep the cancer away. For almost EVERY family, this is the time of most anxiety & fear. In the weeks leading up, I had this horrible feeling in my stomach. I felt uneasy, worried… all of those things that make no difference in our situation, that stand outside of what faith says, & that we have clearly been instructed to avoid. I decided to fast. What rewards that brings!!

Over the next week, I realized how at peace I felt. Even those “what if” thoughts had no effect on me. That’s peace that comes supernaturally! We are still waiting on the results from the bone marrow & I don’t even feel on edge about it. I know the results. & I know what the results will be every time.

As I was basking in this peace & giving thanks to my magnificent, gracious, & loving God, He impressed Philippians 4:7 on my heart…

Our natural minds say that it makes no sense to have such peace during what should be the most anxious time, yet, I do. God softly whispered, “that’s what ‘surpasses all understanding’ means. I told you that I would give you peace that you might not understand. & that I would guard your hearts & minds through Christ Jesus. Not even your own negative thoughts can penetrate that peace in your mind that was set forth when He said “it is finished”… because through & because of Him, your heart & mind is guarded.”

I pray that you can not only come to fully grasp what it means to not even understand the peace that God has already placed in your hearts & minds, but to EXPERIENCE it & rest in it.

The Lost Sheep

11 Jul

As a church, do we show as much commitment & concern to the existing “body” as we do the salvation of unbelievers? Don’t get me wrong, it is my goal to share the gospel & be a witness of Christ!… but something was brought to my attention by a friend who is a long time Christian & is facing difficulty in her walk, that has really been stirring in my heart. If we rescue the “lost” & lead them to redemption, what happens when they stumble? Do we then say, we lead you to salvation, now you’re on your own? Everyone, Christian or not, understands that everyone will periodically have a need that needs met at certain points throughout life, a struggle (whether it’s a physical one, inner struggle, financial, etc.). As a church, are our eyes open to caring for the existing body as well as the “lost”? Are our eyes & hearts open to the needs within the body?

We use the parable of the Lost Sheep to refer to Heaven’s concern to rescue the 1 sinner as opposed to the 99 who are good with God at the moment. But can a Believer also become “lost” & have that same need to be rescued or helped? If a person in the body suddenly isn’t a familiar face anymore, who cares enough to call them & say, “everything good with you, girl? You’ve been on my mind. Where you been?” Or do we just move along with church agendas & reeling people into BECOMING a part of the body. What about the people who already are?… the people who have served God & the church… who have been a blessing to their brothers & sisters… who have a heart for God, but have just hit a bump in the road? Are we as diligent to rescue them… to BE their FAMILY as God has called us to be?!

The only way people are really going to want to be a part of the church, as opposed to some random social group, is by the evidence of the love that flows throughout the individuals within that church. Are we representing that?… & not just toward newcomers or people who are “good with God” right now & in church everytime the doors open. Discipleship is a broad calling. Are we placing all of the focus in meeting the need & ministering to the hearts of one specific group of people? It’s easy to love someone when they are serving in the church regularly, there everytime the doors open, a smile on their face (cause everything is good), etc…. but what about when that same person disappears or tapers off? Or makes some wrong turns?… did we love them only because they served or were simply easy to love in that time of “being good with God”? Or because we considered them as “spiritual” as ourselves? Or do we actually invest real time & energy in loving them, even when it’s difficult? Do we call them regularly to ask to join them in prayer or encourage them? Do we bring a meal (& not just when they have a baby!)? Do we help them financially? (Eph 4:2 -“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love“). It’s something to examine!

It doesn’t begin & end with “we helped you to find Christ”. It should be, “We helped you find Christ & now we are indebted to loving you & fostering that walk from now until eternity!”

As a church, are we missing something?

1 Peter 1:22 – “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another FERVENTLY with a pure heart”

1 John 3:16-18- “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

Galatians 6:2 – “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ”