Category Archives: His Help Meet

A MARY Little Christmas

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There are a lot of “Marys” in the New Testament. But since it’s Christmas, I want to focus on Jesus’ mama first.

Likely we are a hodgepodge of denominations here, but I bet we can all agree on this: Mary had to be a special gal to mother the perfect Son of God.

A few years back I discovered a film masterpiece, titled The Nativity Story. If you don’t own this movie, I highly recommend you buy yourself one for Christmas. The Nativity Story (Widescreen)

It is a beautiful glimpse into what it might have been like for Mary and Joseph in their little village and all the drama leading up to the birth of our Messiah.

Now, I’ve heard and read the Christmas story many times. But after seeing this film, I connected with this precious couple in a fresh way.

At the time I was introduced to the film, my husband and I were in a wilderness journey ourselves: misunderstood by extended family, falsely accused, and uprooted in a foreign state.

Film is a powerful medium.

Watching Joseph and Mary’s destiny bond them, even as their familiar world collapsed, deepened my respect for them.Seeing the sacrifices they made for each other and how they trusted God with their mind-boggling purpose, humanized them for me.Image result for the nativity story

It’s easy to think of them as historical icons or decorative figures on my table and in the neighbor’s yard. But they were real, regular folks, like us. And that helps me.

They inspired and encouraged me that my husband and I could maneuver the sharp turns and blind corners of our journey. That we too had an intertwined, ordained purpose to follow God. And we too would come out stronger as a couple. And we did.Image result for the nativity story

During this busy week before Christmas, do yourself a favor.Grab a copy of this spectacular  film (and a bag of something yummy) and give yourself a Mary little Christmas.

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MY FAVORITE THANKSGIVING PROJECT

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Pick someone you love. (I chose my husband but you could certainly choose a child, parent, sibling, or friend)44-img_0003

Create a Thanksgiving Journal for this person.

You need a notebook. We were in our poverty chapter when I did this, so I had to get creative. I used a recycled three ringed binder with a clear sleeve on front and back. I wrote on plain ole lined notebook paper. You could use anything. Just don’t let yourself get stuck trying to find the perfect book. It’s about your heart, not the packaging.

Begin on Thanksgiving Day (or close to it) and present the journal to your SWEETIE the following Thanksgiving. 365 reasons why you are thankful for them. Yes, it is a year-long project, but don’t let that deter you. We all know how fast a year goes by. Date entries or number them and do a few extra when you get behind. No legalism allowed!

Here’s the plan:
Once a day, write something you are thankful for about that person. The entries don’t need to be long. Some will be, but no pressure! For example, “I am thankful that you love me.” That is a great entry. See how short that was? And keep this project a secret. No spoilers!05-img_3518

When I created mine, it was the most difficult year of our lives.I’m NOT kidding: Bankrupt, carless, homeless, living on the good graces of my father-in-law in NC. Uprooted from our home state, I lost custody of my oldest son and had to leave him with his father in Florida. Jobless with no prospects with four small children. Then, we lost our baby when I was six months pregnant. AND my husband had to have emergency surgery! So… finding things to be thankful for that year was a stretch. Sometimes, I just wrote, “I am thankful you took out the trash today.”img_4801-001

But I am telling you, God used this little project to FLOOD me with HIS JOY (which is my strength, and yours too. Neh. 8:10).Winter didn't get the memo.

By the end of that year, I had my perspective back. God cleared the fog from my heart and my husband and I moved into a deeper love, far richer than we had ever known before the chaos of life threatened to swallow us both. daniel-with-1-2

Keeping my eyes on being thankful for my man, rather than on the difficulties and emotional turmoil in our life, changed me.It’s funny. When I started the project, I thought I was doing it for him.

XO

Happy Thanksgiving!