Saturday, December 29, 2012

Exchanging Presents for Presence Christmas 2012

A week before Christmas I told Steve Demme (Math U See) via email that my family was not the kind of family that does devotion challenges. I asked for prayer for my family to become more like that. I know other homeschool families that have devotions and well, I only wish my husband would lead our guys like that.

 Rewind three weeks earlier...I got a letter in the mail out of the blue with 60.00 cash in it from an anonymous "angel." They had heard my Christmas tree had been destroyed and that I would not be getting another one. Had it had an appropriate container, this would not have happened but we never found the money to invest in a container that was sturdy. I had just been given an amazing tree the day before with a sturdy container! I used the money for gifts for our gift swap at our local homeschool Christmas party for each of my family members and some yarn to make scarves for a couple of gifts. We were both out of work and broke with three teen boys.
My son asked, "Are we going to have presents this year?" I didn't know what to say, but, "Well, a tree sorda promises that doesn't it?"  Boy, did I have a lesson and a bless'n comin'....

On Christmas day, I was alone as most of my family worked late into the evening. I was very sad but kept cleaning slowly and not very effectively. I think I was having my own Chrispity party. I have boys ages 12, 14 and 15 and we had NO GIFTS AT ALL this year. I just had the nativity scene under my tree. I was trying to be mature about it. People *say* that the real meaning of Christmas is love and family and being thankful BUT when you have three kids and nothing--well, that's walking the walk, ain't it?  I called a friend to wish her a Merry Christmas and *LIED to her when she asked me what I got for Christmas. They are wealthy and tend to recoil at the difference my life contrasts to theirs. I made up some gifts and it was tearing at my heart as I did it. I got VERY sad afterwards as I do not lie easily. I prayed but I felt no better. Finally it welled out of me as I hid my face into a cover and cried and boo-hooed. There were a lot of things I could cry about but I wasn't sure which of them was causing this involuntary outburst. I apologized to God that praying to Him made me feel no better, "I am sorry, I am just sad, God.....boohoooohoooo"

Straighten yourself up, Melanie, I said with my "big girl panties" on. You need to count your blessings and pull out of this junk...boohooohooo.

In my Chrispity party, I did say to God, "Well, you could have at least let it snow since we have no presents and I have never had a white Christmas."  Nothing worked to get me out of mully -grubbing despair until my husband called from town and said, "We are bringing company home to spend the night."  WHAT?! Oh no, I have to get up and clean. I acted irritated but I was excited. He went on to explain that it was strange sorda but this *male* acquaintance brought gifts for each of us. They were

godly books called "Grace for Each Moment", "199 Promises of God", "How to Detect Satan and Defeat him" and for my husband and I "Growing Together as a Couple"...a nice sentiment, but I thought--a lot of good that will do--they all hate reading and they wont even read their Bibles. Because it was a *male* friend, this made a difference. I started realizing this was a hint from God that it IS possible for this family to have devotions. I was quiet and kept this in my heart until the next morning when we discovered a double rainbow across my front yard. And guess what? It snowed!

After I reflected on all that happened over the holyday, I learned a valuable lesson. This is for the mature in Christ--I do not think just anyone can receive this. When you are weary in well doing and hate the way things are, there is something called the "sacrifice of praise." You do not feel like celebrating or praising God because all you can do is feel sorry for yourself because of the hidden idols in your heart. When you do not do what feels "natural" and pout and wallow in depression, but put on praise music and worship God because He is worthy whether you feel it or not, your mood will change just like magic. You will have joy running over the brim of your cup. You will have to call someone and love on them you will be filled with the Spirit. I truly think this is one of the keys to the Kingdom of God that is within us. So many blind people seek a doctor or a pill--we miss God when we do.