Sunday, December 11, 2011

"Small" Christmas

It's that time of year! Can't you see all the ribbons, glitter and colorful packages that poor from under the tree...but not so much at my home as a child.

I was thinking today I don't remember making big wish lists for Christmas as a child, nor even in recent years. I grew up happy and with plenty. Never in need or deprived. However, in some people's eyes they may say I had a small Christmas, due to the lack of multiple and large gifts. We weren't the Johnsons, we lived on the common pay check to pay check family budget. One decent car and when fortunate enough to have a second car, it usually required a laying on of hands each morning before hitting the road. We shopped for only what we needed that week, it was completely enough. And until my sister and I were older, my mom stayed home with us rather than bringing in a second income.

My mom's goal was to give us one realistic main gift that our little hearts had been hoping for that year and then a few little things. I say realistic to emphasize that she'd get us a gift that was useful or we'd actually play with for longer than a week and of course one that we could it may not have been name brand or the hottest color but it accomplished its purpose no doubt! And happy we were!

And guess what hungry America? I'm now 29 years old and have never felt deprived or sad because of what some would say I lacked materially. I may have lacked in the mountainous amounts of gifts that others received. But I never lacked in joy, I have happy memories of the holidays!


A group of girls and I are reading through Colossians together and today we were in chapter three. The message reads like this: "...killing off everything connected with the way of death...doing whatever you feel like whenever you feel like it and grabbing whatever attracts your fancy!"

My 'little fancy' may never have fully been satisfied as an endless dreaming little girl. But more importantly I have memories of contentedness. I believe that foundation of "small is plenty" has grown me into a woman who finds herself content with little. Content with simple. Yes, I still have my needs and favorite things like Starbucks and scarves....but I feel confident that there's not much I can't live without or that I can't wait for.

Then built upon the foundation I received from home is my awareness and knowledge of those who severely lack, those in poverty. I've seen it with my eyes. Smelt it with my nose. Touched it with my hands. And heard of much, much more with my ears from those who have gone into streets and countries where I have yet to step.

So many may say I lack...but if we would really, really open our eyes then we'd see that I overflowed in abundance as a child. Gosh the American eye...stomach...desires...and more. It's just ridiculous...and even more ridiculous is how we get caught up in it. Yes, I said we...I have my moments, honest.

So are you caught up in the shopping frenzy? Did I get enough? Did you just swipe your 5th credit card so you could get your child their 17th gift on the list of 34 this year? Did you get up with the moon on black Friday to fight in line for the big deal...that maybe you really didn't need?

I pray I continue to seek and never lose sight of contentedness in the small and simple. my loved ones and friends will continue to challenge and encourage me so.

A small Christmas I'll hold in my hands but more important is the large Christmas I hold in my heart! Thank you Jesus for the largest and greatest gift I'll ever receive...Your LOVE!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

He Can!

Gosh I remember struggling for was Old Testament 101 with Dr. Lee, my first semester in college. We were in the book of Exodus. Of course if you are familiar with Exodus you think of Moses and Pharaoh. Moses' story is always one that encourages and tells you to go and fight...nothing is too big with God on your side.

However, what I struggled with was Pharaoh. Why did God harden Pharaoh's heart? I was just stumped with it...for weeks. I could hardly get anything else out of the class for the next few weeks. I remember asking and discussing the issue with friends. Why would God intentionally harden someone's heart? No one gave me an answer that satisfied me at the time. I basically agreed with myself and spirit to drop it after a few weeks, to let it go. Trust in our God...I mean obviously now thousands of years later I see it all worked out. He had a plan and purpose...and it was accomplished and He received the glory and His people were saved!

I thought of this struggle just the other day and God spoke to me a whole new lesson...
If He can harden such a powerful man's heart and it affect thousands of people...then where is my faith that He can do just the opposite? That He can soften the heart of the lost people in my life. Their hearts may have been harden for years along with being shattered and broken...but He can soften them. Doubt in its more like an honest doubt that little me can do nothing to soften their heart. I'm not the Creator, All powerful, All knowing, Love, Master, Ultimate sacrifice...I'm just His daughter. He can soften!

Lord, I give these precious hearts to you. I want so much more for them! I want to see them captivated and overwhelmed with You! You alone can rescue! You alone can soften the nastiest callous heart!