Sunday, December 4, 2011

Never forsaken

"Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you." Joshua 1:5b

My husband and I both have had a tendency in the past to hoard 'things.' His stemmed from a lifetime of moving around. His father was an amazing man who dedicated his life to ministering to others. He was one of the most brilliant men I've ever known. His incredible gift for seeing things as they really were, and how to make them what they needed to be, covered every imaginable skill. Building things, repairing just about anything, and seeing deep spiritual solutions that others couldn't even comprehend, made him a sought after pastor for churches in crisis. He could walk into a board meeting with heated division and see what needed to be done. And he set about to make it happen. Once that had taken place, he was called to go somewhere else. My husband learned by experience that nothing remained the same. So his solution was to just keep everything in stacks, or as I affectionately refer to them, piles, because he didn't see the need to put away what was just going to be moved again. I can laugh about it now but it used to really drive me crazy!

My experience was just the opposite. My parents lived in the same house from the time I was 2 years old until I was in my 30s. Every year during the holidays we did the same thing. Thanksgiving at my maternal grandparent's house, Christmas eve at home, Christmas day at my dad's sister's house. All of these holidays were filled with aunts, uncles and cousins, the same ones every year. We attended the same church my entire life. I had the same neighbors for most of my life. I had the kind of stability as a child that most people can't even comprehend these days. But my life fell apart just before my 30th birthday. Divorce. Single parenthood. A date rape and pregnancy. More single parenthood. Then I met my wonderful husband, fell in love, got married and lived happily ever after! Well, at least mostly. lol

So why did I hang on to so much 'stuff' from my past? While my husband clung to things because they were fleeting, I clung to things because they had been what I saw as my stability. I wanted my children to see the 'stuff' they had as children, smell the holiday meals that were so familiar to me, sense the everyday commonness of the iron bed I slept in at Grandma's house, hear the mantel clock strike the hour in the main room of her house. I wanted little old ladies to hug my children on Sunday mornings and tell them they remembered when they just little and still in diapers. My sense of loss had been so frightening to me that I was afraid if I let go of the 'things' that I would have nothing to hold on to. My husband and I both, unintentionally and unknowingly, confused the lines between what is of value and what matters.

As we head into the season of Christmas, I challenge you to look for the things that really matter. As it has been said, no one will say on their death bed that they wish they had spent more time at work, or whatever it is that keeps you from participating in the activities that will make life-long memories for your family. Make time to snuggle with your spouse, read a book to your child or grand-child, make cookies for the senior adult in your neighborhood, sing Christmas carols, go look at some pretty lights. After all, Christmas really does only come once a year. You don't want January to get here and you realize you missed all the fun!

All the stuff will go away sooner or later. But God will never leave you or forsake you. Enjoy the beauty of the season. But most of all, steal away for a little while just to be alone with God, and be amazed at who He really is.


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