Wouldn’t that ruin Christmas?

Postcard for the family to Christmas Felix Schürmeyer | Fotografie | PicturePS98 via Compfight

This post was first published on Dec 19, 2010. I’m re-publishing it after some editing.

 

It’s not even a week to Christmas. I’ve been thinking about the meaning of Christmas A LOT. I used to think that from the whole year, Christmas was one holiday that had to be perfect. I mean, there’s all this glitz and glamour, an array of colours attached to Christmas, nice smells from pine trees to apple cider and Gluehwein to delicious baking, and my favourite songs ever are Christmas songs.

Growing up we did not celebrate the Advent season as we do now. Christmas was a very short affair. There were no Advent calendars to help us with the countdown to Dec 24, and for the first 14 years of my life Christmas was an illegal holiday celebrated “underground” in the former Soviet Union. Read more

Monday’s Prayer

My Prayer for this Christmas Season

Light Sharon Drummond via Compfight

 

Father God,

You showed Your love for me by sending Your one and only Son, Jesus Christ. You fulfilled prophecies, and You kept Your promise. You always keep Your promises. How could I ever doubt that?

I got distracted and drifted off course during this season. Forgive me!

I don’t ever want to forget the sacrifice You paid for saving me. Oh how I thank You!

Looking toward this Christmas I have mixed feelings. I don’t want to mess up. I’m praying for patience, for much love and understanding towards every person that crosses my path whether it’s at my job, while shopping, and especially while driving…

I pray for harmony when family gathers. I pray to speak only words that build up, and not words that tear down.

And this Christmas season I pray for a grateful heart.

Eucharisteo!

  1. to be grateful, feel thankful
  2. give thanks

May I always remember the good things You have done in my life, and specifically this past year. You have showered me with blessings beyond anything I could have thought or imagined!

I do give thanks! Eucharisteo!

Thank You for being there when it got difficult and hard. Thank You for supplying strength and providing peace! In particular I thank You, Father God, for HOPE!

Christmas: Jesus Christ – the source of all hope!

I do give thanks! Eucharisteo!

In Jesus’ redeeming name I pray,

Amen and Amen

 

 

Monday’s Prayer

A Prayer for Healing

 

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Father God,

You are good! You love me, and that is such a comfort to me!

You look out for me and You provide for me. Thank You!

But God, I’ve got to be honest with You about my health struggles.

Today I ask You to heal me. Heal my body, please!

It’s hard to understand what’s happening in my body, why and how one disease connects with another. Conflicting diagnosis and treatments mess with my body and my head. Who do I listen to? Where do I get help?

Where does my help come from? “My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth!” (Psalm 121:2)

And so I come to You, the all-knowing God. You created me. You created my body, every organ, limb, bone, nerve and muscle, all of it is known to You. You know how my body is supposed to function, and you know why it’s not. So, please, would heal it?

I know the story about Adam and Eve. They disobeyed You, and sin entered the world. “Nature fell out of whack, and the human body fell out of balance… Sin opened the door, and sickness walked in. ‘Sin came into the world because of what one man did, and with sin came death. This is why everyone must die – because everyone sinned (Romans 5:12)'”*

But You did have a solution. You sent Your Son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins and for our sicknesses. Now both, sin and sickness, are “cured by the same Redeemer.”*

Father God, You bought my body with a high price (1 Corinthians 6:20). I confess to You, God, that I have not always honored You with my body. I have not always fed my body healthy and nourishing food, I have not always kept my body in shape. Forgive me, please!

I know You have not “ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. You have not turned Your back on them, but have listened to their cries for help.” Psalm 22:24

I know You hear my cries, too. I just don’t understand why You choose not to answer them. “My God, my God, why have You abandoned me? Why are you so far away when I groan for help? Every day I call to you, my God, but you do not answer. Every night you hear my voice, but I find no relief.” Psalm 22:1-2

I don’t understand You, but I choose to trust You. I choose to believe You. I don’t ever want to forget the good things You’ve done for me. I want to remember how You answered my prayers in the past. I hold on to Your promises.

I acknowledge to You, my God, that You are sovereign in all Your decisions. And so I trust You.

I pray for the strength and courage to battle doubts and fear. I pray for Your peace to invade my whole body, mind and soul.

Father God, You are good! You love me!

I pray all these things in the name of Jesus, the only Redeemer and Savior and the true Healer! Amen

 

 

*Max Lucado in “Before Amen” (chapter 5 – Heal Me)

Monday’s Prayer

Another Christmas day comes to an end.Creative Commons License Jamie In Bytown via Compfight

If I’m honest, I do love Mondays. Like a new morning, Monday signals a new beginning for me. A new chance. New possibilities.

Today also starts the countdown to Christmas! It makes this Monday doubly special.

So what do I pray for today?

Father God,

You are good! You are loving and faithful! I praise You and bless Your name!

“I will proclaim the name of the LORD; how glorious is our God!

He is the Rock; his deeds are perfect.

Everything he does is just and fair.

He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is!”*

God, I look to You on this Monday morning.

I look to You for help every step of the way.

I look to You for Your grace & mercy when I mess up.

I look to You for strength to get up and keep on going.

I look to You for protection for my family during this busy season of the year.

God, You are my Rock, my refuge where I can hide in times of storm.

Thank you for being present, thank you for always being near!

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen

 

*Deuteronomy 32:3-4

 

 

Does Your Past Matter for Your Future?

This post is part of Tracie Miles’ Your Life Still Counts blog tour and I am excited to be a part of spreading this powerful message that God can use all things to His glory and turn our past into our purpose. I’m just one of many awesome bloggers participating in this tour, so if you want to join in on the blog tour, CLICK HERE  for all the info!

YLSC cover page

This book gripped me from page one to the end. The further I read the more I highlighted and marked down.

It’s an encouraging story of God’s love and redemption and His perfect plan for Tracie’s life. The book also includes 20 stories of women who experienced God’s powerful healing and restoration from a past that God now uses for His glory.

Tracie writes, “We can’t change the past but we can allow God’s truths to change our hearts, and in turn, change our future by embracing God’s promise that He will never waste our pain.”

I often wondered what it would be like to have no past. No memories of things gone wrong, or mistakes made. No memories of the hurt others inflicted on me.

I know I can’t dwell on that too much because it’s not realistic. My past has some ugly components in it, and I can’t erase them. They will always be there – part of my past.

However, my past does not have to control my present or my future. That’s where God comes in with His redeeming love: He offers hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). He creates beauty out of ashes (Isaiah 61).

My past has shaped me into the person I am today. It hasn’t been an easy road to travel, but I can say without a shadow of a doubt: My God is faithful! He was there all along, every step of the way. He saw the pain of a failed marriage. He saw my meltdowns when the burden of raising three small children seemed too heavy to carry. He saw the tears, heard the cries, knew every thought that was whirling in my spaghetti-like brain.

It’s not been easy to come to a place of gratitude for all the hard stuff in my past. Today I see how God uses every bit of my past in the ministry to women in my local church.

Only God could redeem something so ugly and create something beautiful.

Allow me to encourage you today: Do not grant bitterness and anger control over the rest of your life. Go to our Heavenly Father and allow Him to heal your wounds, tend to your pain and strengthen and prepare you for a future He has planned for you.

“Blessed is the man/woman who keeps on going when times are hard. After he/she has come through them, he/she will receive a crown. The crown is life itself. God has promised it to those who love Him.” James 1:12 NIrV

 

 

 

to my mother on her 80th birthday

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My favorite photo from my childhood.

Liebe Mutti – dearest Mom,

you truly are one of a kind. As I’ve been thinking about this milestone in your life there have been a number of things that make you unique.

You are a single child. That was uncommon for your generation. It also made it uncommon for us children not to have any uncles and aunts on your side of the family. Speaking of uncle and aunts, since dad only had two brothers, but had a relationship with only one of them, we grew up knowing one uncle! Having six cousins was rare in our circles.

You had your first child at 30. You wished for a big family. Six and a half years later you had your big family with five children. You shared many times how hard it was raising the five of us, but we grew up as best friends.

You were an accountant. Thanks to your dad and his accounting skills and the courses you were able to take, you had a successful career. You went back to work after your first, and second, and third child. If I remember correctly, maternity leave was six weeks long, and you would take the bus or tram to come home during lunch to nurse your babies. I remember you coming home with files under your arm that needed your attention after the kids were in bed. Computers or cell phones or remote access were light years away (it seemed), yet you were into multi-tasking and 24/7 availability even then.

You got your driver’s license. The independent woman that you are, you couldn’t wait for that piece of paper so you could go and drive and do things your way. You worked hard and overcame many obstacles to get that license. Not many women in our church had their driver’s license. Stories of your driving are legendary!

You took your first English language classes in your late 50s. 20+ years later you still work at learning more words, more sentences. Even if you can’t pronounce a word, you will always know how to spell it! Listening to you communicate with your grandchildren-in-law is precious. You also encouraged dad to learn the language. I’ll never forget the day he said Grace at the lunch table in English.

If you had a late start to language classes, you did not want to be left behind when it came to computers or cell phones. You got your own first computer some 10-15 years ago. You learned to navigate email, favorite news sites, handle online and international banking. Now you watch or listen to sermons online, and in Russian of all languages! When grandchildren started to leave for extended mission assignments in Europe, you asked to have your very own Facebook account so you could stay in touch and keep up with what was happening in their lives.

All these things made you unique for your generation. I’m sure it wasn’t easy to be different all these years, but you managed to pull it off and defy countless odds.

You are a very resilient woman that will overcome! I didn’t always understand you or support you. And there were years we didn’t always see eye to eye. But there are a few lessons that will stay with me forever:

– Prayer changes everything! You believed in it so strongly, you wouldn’t allow us to leave the house if we hadn’t prayed. When pressed for time I wanted to leave to catch the train, you insisted I go back to my room, kneel down at my bed and pray. Today I wish I hadn’t been annoyed at you so many times. Today I see the value of it.

– You read to us from a devotional every morning. Sometimes you had to read the same devotional 3, 4 or 5 times, just because of how early/late we would come to the breakfast table. But we would not get away with it. You insisted we listened to your reading while having breakfast.

– Your love for singing and music! You passed it on to all five of us. We might have developed our own taste in music, but the foundations for it were laid by you!

Liebe Mutti, the lists could go on and on. After all, 80 years is a long time, and your life is a colorful one!

Thank you, mother dearest!

i celebrate you today for who you are, for who you have become! I thank God for you! I love you!

Hab dich ganz doll lieb, liebe Mutti! Wünsche Dir einen gesegneten Geburtstag und alles, alles Gute! Möge der Herr Dir Kraft geben für jeden Tag und Dich reich segnen im kommenden Lebensjahr!

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My parents.

 

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She’s always a good sport at trying something new!

 

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Her first great-grandson.

“Fire & Ice”

Persecution. Not a popular word; however, it’s a reality in countries like Iraq and Sudan. Raised up in the Mennonite Brethren church tradition, artist Faye Hall knows the denomination is no stranger to persecution. One story in particular inspires Hall and others to “love your enemies, pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44 NLT).

Winnipeg Artist Faye Hall next to her painting "Fire & Ice"
Winnipeg Artist Faye Hall next to her painting “Fire & Ice”

Read full story here.