Advent, Christmas, Jesus, pressure, holidays, rest, busy, season, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry, nonprofit

Remembering Jesus: Overcoming the Pressure of the Holiday Season

The pressure of the holidays can be suffocating. Remembering Jesus, our Savior, and resting in His presence allows us to overcome the lies and expectations. 



I can already feel the lies of the season…

Do all the things. Be all the things. Give all the things.

»Pressure«

Why in the world does this happen during the Christmas season? I know it’s all been said before, it’s all been penned, it’s all been discussed…

Busyness vs. Peace • Mantle vs. Manger • Presents vs. Presence.

The pressure of the holidays can be suffocating. Remembering Jesus, our Savior, and resting in His presence allows us to overcome the lies and expectations. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #Advent #Christmas #Jesus #busy #rest #holidays #pressure

Expecting Gifts

Christmas isn’t about the things… We all say this, but we fall prey to the trap every year. We allow it. It creeps in with every Christmas song, movie, and commercial. With every dollar-spot stop at Target. Every ‘SALE! SALE! SALE!’

GIVE all the things…

I’m seriously contemplating -deep breath in- little to no gifts this year. GASP! As everyone screams, ‘Look away! Look away!’ The horror. The nerve.

The freedom…

Imagine, for just a moment, if the pressure of buying the perfect gift, or anything at all, was lifted from our shoulders. Imagine if Christmas was about the conversations, the number of hearts beating in the same room, about being around, not the presents.

What if the gift of the season was about experiencing each other, hearing each other, breaking bread together, grieving together, laughing together, living life together…

Giving what we have…giving ourselves. Our Creator provided us unique gifts to pour out on those we love. Baking, making, hospitably serving, singing, reading, smiling. Giving love, listening ears, open doors… Giving Jesus. Jesus – the most perfect gift.

God has given each of you some special abilities; be sure to use them to help each other, passing on to others God’s many kinds of blessings.

1 Peter 4:10, TLB

Christmas Busy

Christmas is about spending time with loved ones…Yet we still fill our time with events, parties, and programs that take us away from intimate moments with the ones we love. ‘Tis the season to be busy. Christmas parades, Christmas programs, Christmas events…

Christmas is stamped at the beginning of these words, adding a new level of pressure to attend. We run ourselves ragged making sure to show our faces, our kids’ faces, our spouses’ faces at it all.

Please understand I’m not trying to close everyone off from societal traditions. I’m simply trying to spark inspiration in finding rest, seeking the warmth of hospitality, and taking pleasure in the calm.

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6, NLT (ephasis added)

Yes, this verse refers to a time when governments practiced seasons of peace. However, through His sacrifice on the cross, Jesus offers peace to us all, at any moment. He offers us calm in our spirits, though there’s strife all around. He provides quietness through the hustle and bustle. Falling into Jesus brings rest, comfort, and a stillness that is unmatched in this world.

Overcoming Pressure

Christmas is about Jesus… But we fill the season with so much that Jesus isn’t. From the moment of conception to the moment of ascension, every bit of Christ’s life is what we cherish at Christmas, and all the other 364 days. Well, it should be.

For what Jesus accomplished in our place, we should be filled with overwhelming joy. He came to earth as the Son of God, died on the cross for all our sins, rose from the dead three days later, and gave us hope for eternal life with our Father. From that joy should spring forth immense generosity… supernatural generosity.

Though they have been going through much trouble and hard times, they have mixed their wonderful joy with their deep poverty, and the result has been an overflow of giving to others.

2 Corinthians 8:2, TLB

The load is lifted from my chest, and I take a huge sigh of relief. It’s beautiful. Warm. It’s Jesus. Only Jesus. Rejoicing in His gift, being in His presence, and resting in His hope is what the days ahead are all about… it’s what life is about.

Sister, I pray we can join together in overcoming these lies of the holidays. That we can shift the ‘normal’ expectations and rest in Jesus. Rest in remembering Jesus.

The pressure of the holidays can be suffocating. Remembering Jesus, our Savior, and resting in His presence allows us to overcome the lies and expectations. Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional | Christian Nonprofit #devotional #scripture #Advent #Christmas #Jesus #busy #rest #holidays #pressure

unsplash-logoeberhard grossgasteiger

In Her Corner, episode 2

This is a series to learn about different moms and their different situations. Through interviewing these women and sharing their stories I hope that we can all have a better understanding and appreciation of each other. Hopefully we can support and encourage her “in her corner.”

 



 

Who she is…

A mom of 4 in her mid 40’s. She homeschools her younger two. Shuttles her older two to and from school and work. Sings at her church. Mentors college students. Teaches English at her homeschool coop, as well as teaches a college English course online. And she juggles doctor appointments and treatments for her third child.

Her third child is thirteen. As a baby he had reflux, only they didn’t know it because he was aspirating it. This led to damage in his lungs causing asthma. He currently still has scar tissue in his throat. Later he was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, a type of arthritis which, for him, is mostly in his knees. This arthritis has also led to uveitis, inflammation in his eye that, if not treated, can lead to blindness. His treatment for this is to have an infusion of drugs every 3 weeks, without an end date in sight. Mentally he is a normal 13 year old boy, physically he is the size of a 5 year old. And they don’t know why. They’ve seen a geneticist and an endocrinologist, and have come to accept that even if they had a name for it, he would still need his symptoms treated in the same way.

“We keep our dishes down low in the bottom cabinet so he can get them himself and help unload the dishwasher and be a contributing member of the family. But the reality is if I try to let him do too many things on his own, somebody is probably going to try to report me to DSS! They’re going to be like, what is this woman doing letting this little kid run around?!?”

On any given day she may need to take her son to either the Rheumatologist, Orthopedic, ENT, Pulmonologist, Sleep Doctor, Endocrinologist, Geneticist, Oral Surgeon,  or Gastrologist.

What her day looks like…

She rises early to read scripture, plan her day, and exercise with a friend. Then it’s breakfast, homeschool, doctor’s appointments, lunch, groceries, pick up children, and fix dinner.

There are parts of her homeschooling day that her children require her full attention, and other times they just need her present in case they have a question. During this time she checks in with her online class, answers emails, sends texts to stay in touch with friends.

“When my kids were younger, we had a much more structured schedule. But I have found it to be easier to think in terms of, this is what we need to finish in a week.”

What she struggles with…

She struggles with getting frustrated and overreacting. She forgets that her children are still young and still learning. She wants them to be more mature than they are, but she knows that what they need is for her to extend extra grace to them.

She also struggles with being easily offended. When her children don’t do the things that she wants them to, she takes it personal. She has a tendency to sit and fume and think that they have a personal vendetta against her.

“They didn’t leave their plate on the counter because they were doing it to me. They didn’t leave their pants in the bathroom because they were personally trying to get to me.”

What her strengths are…

Going to the Lord in prayer has always been natural for her.  Whenever there is a concern, or dispute, her first response is to pray. She is continually living out her faith in front of her kids so they can learn from her example.

What her fears are…

She fears her children’s faith is not going to matter to them when they grow up. She has sacrificed as a mother and put things in her own life on hold believing that this would encourage her children to live with the same faith. Now her oldest is struggling with what she believes and is struggling with making certain life decisions.

“Did the past 18 years really make a difference?”

And this is scary for her. She wants to parent with passion and doesn’t want to change the way she feels about parenting.

What are her joys…

“That’s kind of hard right now. I know there are things that bring me joy. I kind of need to remember what they are.”

She does find joy when she sees her children learning and are self motivated and take personal responsibility. And when someone else brags on her kids she is encouraged. It’s easy to feel discouraged. Parenting is one of the hardest jobs.

“Nobody is coming in saying, ‘Thank you for making me clean my room.'”

She clings to the Bible verse that says, “don’t grow weary of doing good.”

What she wants you to know…

She is her own worst critic, and believes that most mom’s (including herself) feel like they are doing a horrible job. It seems that whatever decision a mom makes, she will second guess it. Moms are so hard on each other and themselves, comparing themselves to others. She wishes everyone would be a little kinder to each other. She is doing the best that she can, so please show her grace and don’t tell her how to parent her children.

“If I could [parent] any better or different, I already would have by now.”

How she stays sane…

Exercising helps her release extra energy. And she really enjoys walking with friends. If she is happier, then everyone else in the house is happier. Pouring into other people energizes her and makes her feel special and needed.

“All of that, and of course coffee!”

 


 

Oh mommas! We are all doing the best that we can. The Lord has given each of us our own particular children. No one can be a better mom to our children than us. No one. Let us encourage one another to be our own kind of mom.

 

xoxo

Dashing Through the Holidays (and laughing all the way)!

I was running around like a crazy lady. I had about 2 hours to get all my errands done while my hubby was home with the kiddos. And I said it. I admitted I was ready for the holidays to be over. So sad. I already have a humbug reputation because I don’t like Christmas music. Now I was wishing the whole season away.

There are parties to go to, eggnog to drink, cards to write, children to dress up, and friends to hug. So much fun stuff. The problem is, this is in addition to: a job to work, a house to clean, children to feed, laundry to wash, and groceries to buy.

Lots of people do not have the luxury of slowing down during this time. Think about it:

  • The retail worker
  • The delivery person
  • The mom of school age children
  • The mom of a child with special needs
  • The mom of a child with compromised health
  • The mom whose husband travels
  • The single mom
  • The mom (what mom isn’t busy??)

 


 

I hear people talk about slowing down and focusing on what Christmas is all about. That sounds nice and all, but is that realistic? Can we have both? Can we be crazy busy, but still enjoy ourselves? And most importantly keep focus on the point of Christmas?

I have been thinking about the birth of Christ, and what it was really like. Most likely…

It was not peaceful: Mary was 9 months pregnant. Traveling. On a donkey. I was 7 months pregnant traveling in a SUV and was miserable. I guarantee there was some stress involved. The urgency to get there. Feeling uncomfortable. Needing to pee.

It was not quiet: There was no planned induction with an epidural scheduled. My last two babies came super quick and I did not have an epidural. I’m naturally a loud talker when I get excited (my family will attest to that), but in the delivery room my husband was actually uncomfortable with how loud I was. Non-medicated childbirth involves some yelling. Or at least strained moaning. And then there’s the baby. Now I know he was the son of God and perfect and all, but I’m willing to bet he cried. A lot. (I was just informed this week that some people do believe that Jesus never cried and that the birth wasn’t painful. I respectfully disagree. But that’s a whole different conversation for another time.)

But I’m sure that…

It was joyous: Pushing out a baby is no easy task (with or without medication), but holding your child for the first time is absolutely one of the most joyous moments that can be experienced (including adoptive parents).

It was awesome, humbling, emotional, and a relief: Can you imagine? Her whole life she was taught that a Savior would come and rescue them. And then to be chosen to be the one to give birth to said Savior. And she loved Him, not just with a devout love, but with a mother’s love. In her arms was the baby who would grow to be a man that would provide a way for all people to be reunited with God. Not for people to be saved from a worldly ruler, but to be saved from an eternity apart from God.

 


 

If you find yourself in a situation where you are not able to slow down, then just embrace the hustle and bustle. And as you are rushing around buying/wrapping/giving gifts, remember the gift that was given for us. Rejoice! Turn up the Christmas music! Keep on dashing and laughing all the way!

 

xoxo

dashing