Give the gift of Peace, Love, and Joy

While we are preparing for a fun and eventful Thanksgiving and Christmas, let’s not forget those who may have a difficult time this season. Many are dealing with the recent loss of a loved one, a broken marriage, children who have gone astray, illnesses, or just unhappy with their life. Although television portrays a season of joy and laughter, it is still the time of the year when suicide rate increases. Many people tend to feel lonely and get lost in the holiday hype. The world celebrates around them leaving them to deal with their pain alone. A simple telephone call, a card, or a ‘thinking of you’ gift can make a difference in someone’s life. Pray and ask the Lord to reveal those in your life and around you who may need special attention this season. We are so blessed to have peace, love, and joy in our life, so let’s share it with someone else!

Most Improved Player

My sons’ first football season is over - thank you, Jesus! Both boys were asked to play on all-star teams, yet Mom and Dad said, “No!” I love sports, yet enough is enough. Both boys excelled at the game and one even received The Most Improved Defensive Player Award for his team. While on our way home from the last game, I evaluated the season and smiled at how resistant I was to the everyday practices and making myself available for ministry to mothers on the practice field.

I communicated with many mothers, yet there was one I couldn’t seem to connect with. I doubt we had one conversation the whole season, yet during the last practice, she came up to me and asked what church I attended and for directions. We introduced ourselves and I asked if she was saved. She quickly said she was; yet her family has been out of fellowship. It’s ironic I felt no connection was made with her, yet she watched me the whole season! God always comes in a direction we don’t expect- His ways and thoughts are not ours. As we continued sharing and talking about our mutual friend, Jesus, I felt an overwhelming joy in my heart and privately praised God with gratitude for using me to reach this mother. The entire football season was worth this one family being reconnected back into the family of God. Touchdown!

Actions really do speak louder than words and I am always under observation – inside and outside of my home. Sinners are looking for a reason to believe in Jesus, believers are looking for a reason to continue believing, and my children need to see consistency in my walk and my talk. Football season has taken me to another level in my witness. I received an award also - Most Improved Player (on the battlefield for the Lord). This award is just preparation for my next assignment - my husband recently brought home two basketball applications. Time to find my position on the courts!

Holiday Hype Progress

I'm not finished with Step II (organize) yet! I've been baking alot lately, the boys finally had their championship games for the end of football season, and we've had out of town company, so I haven't THOUGHT about going through the boxes in the garage yet. Okay, it's two weeks before Thanksgiving, so let's get through Thanksgiving first and then concentrate on Christmas decor. Whew! I feel relieved already and I still have plenty of time to go through my steps. I was well on my way to Stress Street just thinking of those boxes! They will be there when I get there. One thing at a time!

Holiday Hype Prayer

Dear God,

Please help me to keep my focus on you this holiday season. I'm asking you to control my thoughts and actions and allow me to bring you glory through everything I do - my planning, cooking, decorating, and family gatherings. Please allow me to be the light you want me to be - the light of the world. Lead me and guide me as I begin my steps to make this a joyous occasion and remain stress free! In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

Holiday Hype Step II - Organize

I was at a friend's home recently and she showed me all the Christmas containers and boxes she had in her garage. There were a total of 20. Yes, I counted because I couldn't believe it! None of them were labeled and I begin to cringe at the thought of going through my few unlabeled boxes to see just what I had. I never remember from one Christmas to the next what I have and opening boxes is...just like Christmas!! My next step is to organize all my holiday decorations (Thanksgiving and Christmas), and label any boxes that aren't labeled and throw out any broken or unwanted items. Are you already organized? That's GREAT!! I will be NEXT year (smile). Knowing exactly what I have will prevent me from spending money as the stores are already directing my attention to beautiful trees and decorations. I won't fall for it this year. I'll have to be disciplined enough to separate my wants from my needs. Seeing all the beautiful, colorful decorations puts us in the spirit to spend! It's a trap!! I'll go shopping in my own boxes and get excited about what I already have, then maybe I'll purchase a few items in my own time - not impulse. This step should be completed within the next couple of weeks - AUUGH!! It's either now or later and later means STRESS! Stay tuned for Step III, which is a lot of fun!

Holiday Hype Step I - PRAY

Let’s get this party started! It’s November and time to prepare for the holiday hype! Get on the train and buckle up because we’re going full speed ahead! Actually, this train can go as fast or as slow as we want it to – we own the speed control. My plan is to have a simple, yet momentous holiday season. For some reason right before each holiday, my plans change and simplicity turns into complexity, which invites stress. Not this year! I know I won’t be able to stick to my plans without the help of the Lord, so my first step is to PRAY. I’ll be praying to keep my focus on what the true meaning of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year’s celebration is. I’ll pray to be disciplined enough to stick to my plans, and also praying that this season will be full of memories my family will enjoy and remember for years to come. Having total dependence on God to lead, guide, and direct me every step of the way is the key. I’m excited and I feel secure knowing I will keep my peace of mind and remain stress free. I’ve never actually prayed for God’s help before the holidays, so I’m already off to a great start. This will be a blessed holiday season full of fun, memories, and especially giving God glory!