What Love Isn’t

Now that it is December, holiday season is in full swing here!  The only thing missing is the snow.  But, it’s Michigan so if we just wait another second there will be plenty!

Having to spend lots of time with extended family is a challenge…well, not for me; my family is PERFECT.

But for many, it has its challenges.  The uncle who voted for Trump.  The grandma who voted for Clinton (both of them).  The cousin who never does the dishes and falls asleep watching the Lion’s game. Then, wakes up the minute you change the channel to watch the much more entertaining Packer’s game.  And, of course the brother-in-law who always stirs the pot enough to start a fight and then packs up his family and heads home…three states away.  As you can see, it can be quite the challenge!

Seriously, though have they never read the Bible.

I Corinthians 13.  That’s all I’m sayin’…

Remember.

Love is.

Patient.  Kind.  And, all those other things too!

So, I have been thinking about the “love chapter” a lot this week.  And, I will be the first to admit I am really, REALLY quick to remind the people around me what love is NOT.

When someone makes holiday plans and just expects me to drop everything and be there when they say without asking if it works for me.  Well, love isn’t bossy is it?

Or, if a person cuts me off in traffic, or in front of me at Starbucks.  Well, love isn’t that pushy is it?

And, when I see someone on a certain social media platform racing to condemn a person, place, or thing without a second thought, or pause, or listen.  Hmm, love is definitely not so quick judge; right?

uh. oh.

Yeah.

Big, giant, in my face…

UH-OH!

You see in my haste to point out what love is NOT I have most assuredly forgotten what love IS.  And, I have failed in living out the definition of this highly esteemed word that I seem insistent everyone ELSE is forgetting!

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends.

I am sure you recognize those words up there.  And, they are not mine.  They are His.  Those words need to stop me mid-thought, mid-post, mid-shout and bring me back into focus.  The love that I have been given far outweighs any of the love I could ever display. And, I know I will and have failed.  But, just because I fail doesn’t mean I stop trying or stop remembering.

I will choose happy this holiday season (in the midst of family chaos, shopping disasters, and in spite of social media),  because faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Two Weeks Too Late

It’s snowing!

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Everything that was gray, and gloomy, and dark is now white, and cheery, and bright.  I was SO wanting this snow for Christmas.  You know, the picture perfect holiday.

Snow covered trees, a fire in the fireplace, hot chocolate, sugar cookies, and of course twinkle lights.  Lots and lots of twinkle lights!  I am convinced that family around the tree, with Bing Crosby crooning in the background, feels better with snow on the ground.

However, the picture I dreamt about was a little more beautiful than the reality.

Instead, it was a gloomy, rainy, grayish brown  holiday.  It felt odd to play Christmas music.  The decorated cookies felt out of place, and even the fire seemed too warm because I could see the grass outside.  To be completely honest, I feel like this snow is really, really late!!!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely beautiful, but where was it two weeks ago?!!

Even though the snow was absent, in my opinion, this little Myers family had one of the best holidays on record!  We spent time together, spent time with family, and of course got to sleep in!  We really didn’t have any obligations so we were able to relax and enjoy each other along with our presents!  We even got to read a few books too 🙂

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I don’t want to admit it, but I am pretty sure that the lack of snow contributed to the awesomeness of our Christmas break.  Honestly, the absence of the white fluffy powder outside made me re-examine my expectations.

I was no longer striving to make everything Pinterest-picture perfect and traditional.  It was pretty clear that this year was going to be anything but traditional for us.  No snow, and a change in our Christmas-eve-at-the-in-laws tradition definitely shook up the norm!

We usually watch Christmas movies leading up to the holiday, no matter how late we have to stay up to accomplish it; we didn’t.  We usually set out cookies for Santa, even though we’ve kind of outgrown it; not this year (FYI: that one made my heart just a little sad).  We usually get Starbucks and drive around and look at lights; nope, everyone wanted to stay home that night.  And, it was okay…

I decided to just let stuff happen.  And, you know what?

It turned out to be perfect anyway! Maybe the key to choosing happy is not having any expectations?  Well, that sounds a little cynical, but….

Maybe living without expectations and in complete surrender to what is going around us make us depend more on each other.  In turn, maybe this forces to be completely pliable in the hands of our Creator, and more open to what He has wants us to be.

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As we start 2015,  I am going to do my best to let go of expectations.  The ones I place on myself, the ones I place on others, and the ones I place on my Creator.  I want to give my all to the One who holds my heart.  To find myself at home in His love.  Trusting completely that He will exceed any expectation I could dream up anyway.  Letting go of all that I think I am or should be,  so that I can be who He wants me to be.  Allowing Him to replace my fear with His freedom!

On, this very snowy and very white week in January, I will choose happy because even though I feel like it was two weeks too late, He makes everything beautiful in His own perfect time.

 

Stuck in the Middle

As I write this it is snowing.  On October 31st.  Before Thanksgiving.  And, for some reason all of Facebook is up in arms about this!  I am pretty sure it snows around this time almost every single year.  Of course, it is not the kind of snow that’s going to stick.  It’s the kind of snow that brings with it a reminder of what’s coming.  Almost like a not so gentle nudge from nature to be grateful for the limited number of 50 degree days we have left.  Yeah, they are about to be a thing of the past.  The next time we have them we will all be remarking about how WARM 50 degrees is……that’s Michigan!

Is it okay if I start decorating for Christmas tomorrow?  I know the day after Halloween is probably not ideal, but if the weather is going to skip right to Winter maybe I will too!  Actually, one of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving.  You know the overlooked holiday that is sandwiched between the ghosts and Santa Claus.  Why do we always overlook the pilgrims?  They seem to get forgotten.  I wonder why?

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I know why….they probably always did what was right.  The Pilgrims always said please and thank you.  I mean we have an entire holiday because they were thankful for corn and turkeys!  They probably always picked up after themselves and did the responsible thing.  Thanksgiving never tries to scare anyone like Halloween does.  It doesn’t blow anything up like the Fourth of July!  And it definitely doesn’t keep a list of who is naughty and nice like Christmas.  No wonder it gets overlooked; Thanksgiving is the middle child of American holidays!

I have a wonderful middle child.  She always has a clean room.  She is always looking out for her younger sister (and older brother for that matter).  She is my most responsible child.  Isabella is the best friend, student, and daughter anyone could ask for.  She always has been.  She slept through the night at 3 weeks of age.  She always ate like a champ, and was not at all picky; unlike the other two.  She always goes out of her way to make sure everyone feels included.  Her teachers always tell us how lucky they are to have her in class, and how lucky we are to have her in our family.  They are sooooo right!  She is incredible.

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I hate to admit it, but she does get overlooked.  We don’t mean to overlook her.  Sometimes, she is just so busy doing the right things and making the least amount of noise that we kind of take her for granted.

A couple of days ago, she was plugging through her day, finishing homework, getting ready for basketball, and NOT arguing about every. single. thing.  Of course, her brother and sister were doing the exact opposite (they get that from their father, by the way).  And, I saw her.  She was just sitting there being her cute, little, responsible, somewhat dramatic self but I saw her.

I saw how intentional she was.  I saw how she puts her heart into everything she does, and makes the best out of pretty much every situation.  I saw how she gives of herself every day without even being asked.  I was overwhelmed with how blessed I was to be the one who gets to be her mama.  I think she was surprised because I stopped what I was doing, hugged her, and told her how happy she made me.  I need to do this more often.

You know who never overlooks you?  Who always remembers your efforts and your choice to do the right thing?  The God who tells us not grow weary in the well-doing.  The One who sees you and the endless giving of yourself and says that you are the apple of His eye.  The Father, who sees you laying down your life for others; it may not be obvious to those around you but it is to Him.  He sees you.  He has you in His heart.  He holds you while the world moves on around you and you feel overlooked.  You have His heart the same way Isabella has mine.

This weekend, I am going to be happy even though it’s snowing, even though Thanksgiving is never given the attention it deserves, and even though it is getting colder and I am not going to get to run outside for much longer.  I am going to choose happy because there is no middle child in God’s family.