Friday, January 10, 2014

At the End of Christmas Break...

CJ sends you a Happy New Year wink!
Looks like she is in pain, I know, but she's not. Just takes a lot of work when you're three to pull off such facial coordination.

It's been a long time, hasn't it?

We took down Christmas this week. What a relief. That's a job that feels really overwhelming to me, especially since this year we really decked the halls.

Christmas break is almost over for us. It's been nearly a month.

I have to say that I was dreading the holidays for a lot of reasons.

Some of the dread was based on the way that past Christmas-seasons have gone, and some of the dread came from knowing my own weaknesses and weariness, feeling like I just couldn't do it - "it" being just about everything connected to Christmas traditions - events and visiting and special food and thoughtful worship, know, all the things that a person is either used to doing or hopes to have or thinks others are expecting.

I guess I had more expectations of myself and the season than I realized.

And I think my life-weariness factored more into the dread of the holidays than I realized, too. What I'm seeing is that in the Big Picture, our family has moved and is moving in a beautiful, healthy, healed direction, all Praise to Christ! But the truth is that daily life is still really tough in many ways. Really draining. Lots of opportunities to turn to the Lord in my weakness, and in those times when my knee-jerk desire is to just run away from the challenges.

{As an aside, I always wanted a large family. Always. And I still look around in grateful disbelief that God allowed me the sweetness of six pregnancies, births, and one miracle adoption. It gives me chills just to write it. But an irony I never considered is that of a woman who is an introvert to the core raising up 7 distinctly unique humans, each one of them at different developmental levels. This is one of the challenges I sometimes don't want to face. It's a strange balance to seek: relating with others while still recharging with some form of aloneness or quiet. Anyway, that was an aside.}

So, as I look back at our holidays, I see a theme:

God took care of me.

It felt good to be honest with Him about my dread and anxiety, my weakness and weariness.

Sometimes I saw Him remove challenges. Other times He gave me strength I did not expect, and showed me that I've learned much in a year's time under His training.

I recognized that I even put pressure of myself to have an extra-special experience with Jesus because it was Christmas time. Then it hit me: while my love for Him is far from constant and perfect, I love Him all year round. I love His sacrifice and goodness and friendship all year round. It felt good to know that simply continuing to love Him and thank Him was enough, at Christmas and any other time of year. No need to dig deep and conjure up some false excitement or emotion.

This made family and personal Advent celebrating more simple, real, and special for me.

Looking back, this month of Christmas break has been marked by relationship-building, connecting, strengthening bonds with others. It's been a full, rich, beautiful thing. And relationship building is dear to God's heart. What a satisfying season it's been, in that sense. Praise be to the God of all Grace.

There's a pretty big part of me that's tempted to doubt the path He's had me on for some time that involves a little suffering and some lessons to learn that I never, ever would've thought necessary or useful in life. But sometimes He gives me a glimpse of the bigger picture or just a quiet reassurance inside that yes, while it looks weird and includes some pretty unexpected turns and training, it is indeed all good, because of course, He's all good.
We documented our time with others pretty well. But these were a few of my favorite shots...

Baby H and his great-grandfather (BB's grandpa), regarding one another

 Baby H and his great-grandfather, loving on each other

 Baby H was very interested in what Granddad (BB's dad) was doing

 And apparently all the six-and-unders except for Baby H were interested at this point in what Granddad was doing...

1 comment:

  1. Awww yay ! Your back ! glad to see that Christmas was a special time for you this year ! Funny how we put such demands on ourselves at Christmas time! Then when its over one feels like they can breath again. Thanks for the lovely post always enjoy reading them! Hugs! ~Jamie