Thursday, December 12, 2013

Deliverance at Christmas

When words don't come eloquently, they're just not expressed. Thoughts spin in my mind but never get recorded. So many times I think that I wrote a thank you or articulated my gratitude to someone only to realize it was only in my head. I play things out over and over again and then get distracted by the busyness of life. It's difficult to align my thoughts of appreciation with intentional words.

For some reason, when our thoughts are bothersome, there is no hesitation to find the perfect way to express those feelings. In our home, we haven't been able to plan well these past months. My husband's employer has dictated our calendar more than usual and it has swept us up into a dizzy of worry. Complaints are uttered easily to our family and friends, painting the picture that we are petitioning others to support a declaration that "life is not fair".  It's natural, I suppose, to grumble and whine when expectations aren't met and someone else seems to be calling the shots.

For weeks our minds have been mulling over what today would look like. My husband and I have worried and wondered and grown frustrated about what might be. When information came home a few weeks ago that our 8-year-old's school Christmas program was the same night as our 11-year-old's band concert, it wasn't only the logistics of the evening that set our minds spinning. Concern wasn't just over how we would get from one school to the other on time. We didn't even know if their dad would be in town for these important events.

Part of the problem is that we have been here before. We know what life is like when an employer takes control of your calendar and family life is threatened. How are we back here again? Why is God allowing a season to replay itself over again when He had saved us from it previously? Our eyes were on our problems and our fears. Despite the fact that God had delivered us in the past at just the perfect timing, we lacked faith and trust that He would do it once again.

Deliverance... bondage... grumbling and whining... sounds like a story similar to the Israelites.

A short time ago, we were informed that a January 1st deadline was pushed back a couple months. While that means the crazy is extended a little longer, it also means that the added stress during an already intense season of holiday happenings was greatly reduced. We have been worried and irritated and angry despite the fact that God tells us not to be. Yet He appears to have delivered us in His perfect timing once again.

Despite our rotten attitude and lack of gratitude... deliverance again.

God proves Himself faithful over and over again even though we are not. The Creator of the Universe has a BEST plan for our lives. We need to trust Him that He cares about the details.

Today, my girls have some important productions. Sure, "A Martians Christmas Musical" and a band concert aren't life altering moments... but to our girls, their dad's presence is. Their dad is home today and details seem to be taking care of themselves for the scheduling conflict between the schools. Why did we waste so many hours on worry?

I am overwhelmed with gratitude today. As my girls fill their schools with music and we take pictures and applaud, I want to remember. As I sit by my husband tonight, thankful that my girls don't have an absent father, I will choose to remember. Our Heavenly Father is not absent. He is present in every detail of our lives. That's what Christmas is all about. He left Heaven to become one of us so He can share in all of our burdens.

It's so easy to run from one obligation to the next... without a thought of God's goodness in that moment. I don't want to be so inundated with the busyness of the season that I am like one of the nine lepers. It may be natural to gripe and complain. Going from one event to the other without a thought to God's gifts might be normal but God tells me I am to be different; set apart.

In the midst of normal Christmastime activities, God wants to give us the extraordinary. We just need to keep our eyes on Him... not our problems. As we reminisce in the future over photographs from this season, it will be fun to discuss the special moments. More than that, however, it will be exciting to recount His promises and deliverance in our life. Through remembering, hopefully, our eyes will look to God instead of our problems in the future. Maybe then we will be delivered from our grumbling and worry.

Tonight, I'm being intentional to utter the words and thank God for His goodness.