Archive | December 2012

Prince of Peace

Last night as I was missing my kids and grand children, my heart broke for the families who have recently lost loved ones.  Although I was mainly thinking about the heartache resulting from the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy, the fire fighters who were killed last night and some local losses of life also came to mind.

In the midst of “Merry Christmas” celebrations, many are just trying to “survive” the day as squeals of joyous delight echo from memories, instead of from excited family gathered around ornamented trees.  Torn paper and unraveled ribbons have been replaced by torn hearts and unraveled lives as “loved ones” mourn and try to “make sense” of senseless acts of violence.

Although I kept trying to cheer myself up by convincing myself that I needed to just “get a grip” — after all—“It is Christmas Eve!”, no matter how much I urged myself to “feel happy” I couldn’t get beyond the pain and disappointments. 

I felt guilty for not being filled with Christmas joy. Why am I “Not OK—or am I?” Is it better to “make believe” I don’t hurt and belt out “deck the halls, or is it better to “be real” and duck into the shelter of the Most High? 

In the early A.M., I turned to Isaiah 9:6.  I was reminded that although Jesus didn’t come in the midst of the most enjoyable circumstances or surroundings—He did come!

Born in a stable instead of a palace, Mighty God came in the wrappings of humanity so He could enter the hearts of humanity. He came to live with us so we could live with Him forever. He came as the Prince of Peace to bring us hope and peace.  He came not only to bring us life, but to “live” life with us—in laughter and in sorrow—in sickness and in health.

So whether you need Jesus to celebrate with you in a dance, or rock you in His arms and grieve, the Prince of Peace is there for you— celebrating “you” as you celebrate Christmas!”

May you be blessed this Christmas,  Jeannie Boatright        

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6 NKJV).

John 14:27, “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

Matt. 11:28, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

Col. 1:20, “and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross…”

Be the Gift!

When the speaker at a Christmas luncheon I attended last week mentioned that she was fighting a “bah humbug” Christmas attitude this year I could relate.  Instead of celebrating with my kids I am caring for my parents. Although I planned on sending Christmas boxes to my Marine sons in Afghanistan and Okinawa, due to recent moves and mix ups I can’t send their goodies because they haven’t been able to send current addresses. I don’t have clue how to bless my Arizona daughter and my North Carolina daughter-in-law. And to top it all off, I accidentally sent my Maryland daughter’s family’s Christmas gift to my parents’ address. So much for my children’s and grandchildren’s Christmas!

As I sat there feeling like a “Holiday Mom” failure, I turned my attention to my family with whom I would be spending Christmas—my parents and my special needs sister. I had already bought a small gift for my sis, but what was I to get Mom and Dad? “Lord, I have no money, and even if I did, what would I give my parents for Christmas?

I sat there contemplating a solution, when the Lord spoke to my heart: “You are the gift.”  I thought to myself “Is that enough, Lord?” Then almost immediately, I heard the speaker confirm the word in my heart when she challenged us to “be the present” to others this Christmas.”

“But what does it mean to be a present?”

 Throughout the rest of the day, I examined my mindset and attitude as I thought about what it would mean to “be a gift.” And over the next few days the expression took on new meaning.

Being a gift” gave me a new outlook as I performed undesirable tasks and dealt with frustrating situations.

Being a gift” gave me joy as I repainted the old stain glass looking window decoration, and decorated the Christmas tree.

Being a gift” motivated me to “get to know” the people around me as I waited “forever”  in the customer service line. (It’s amazing how four strangers can part as friends after thirty minutes of sharing life!)

Being a gift” challenged me to love the “unlovable” and bless “my enemies.”   

But most importantly, “being a gift” made me more aware of the greatest Christmas gift ever given—a gift that was wrapped in swaddling clothes, laid in a manger, and later nailed to a cross—a gift that now resides in my heart and transforms my life so that I too can be a gift.  Yes, this Christmas I can be “a gift” because I have been blessed with “a gift,” who is also the giver of all gifts—My Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Lord, bless us to beImage presents as Your presence shines through us this Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

Off the Beaten Path

I pray everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I was abundantly blessed as I spent time with my family, especially my daughter Shanna from Arizona. 

I missed blogging the past few weeks because there has been so much going on. Although Mom is back home, she now has CHF, and is requiring a great deal of care.  So now here I am again in a season I never expected.  Within days, I went from changing diapers in Maryland to depends in Texas—from cleaning up toys to cleaning out closets—from waking up throughout the night with crying babies—to waking up throughout the night to administer care and meds to aging parents.

I know I am where I am supposed to be; I just don’t know how long I will be here.  I also know that I am daily learning to “die” more and “Do unto others” as God is continuing to grow my character—which is far more lacking than I realized.

A couple of months ago, when I was taking a walk in Maryland, the Lord told me to get off the path and head in a different direction. He then spoke to my heart that He was going to take me off the “beaten path”—so far off, I wouldn’t understand. As I walked on, I came up to a sign saying “bumps in road ahead.”  The Lord told me that I was going to be hitting some bumps. Before I completed my walk I was also led to pray in front of both yield and stop signs. As I lingered at each sign the Lord deposited promises and warnings into my Spirit, and when I returned to the house I knew I would be in Corpus Christi for the Holidays helping my parents.  I just had no idea what the season would look like—-I couldn’t have had an idea!

So now as I face the reality of nothing being as I expected, I have to keep in mind that everything is as God knew it would be.  As I hold Momma in my arms, I am still holding the promise of going to the nations in my heart. As I help Momma walk, I am learning to walk in a foreign land—the land of caring for aging parents, and my special needs sister.  As I am reorganizing the house, God is reorganizing my priorities. In the process I am asking Him to show me when to walk, to yield and to stop, and for the shocks (grace) to go over the bumps.

Once again, as my heart—and often my patience is being tested, I am being reminded that God is more concerned with our character than our calling. And that His loving faithfulness will sometimes take us off the beaten path—even into the wilderness for a season in order to accomplish a deeper work in our hearts, and cultivate the fruits of the Spirit in our lives. So while my flesh is crying out, “I can’t do this! And sometimes even “Get me out of here!” My spirit is crying out, “Jesus, make me more like you!”—-which means, as Pastor said on Sunday, “standing, stooping, stripping, and serving.”

Lord, help me to stand for you and humble myself. Continue to strip me from what hinders me and empty me of myself. Gird me with Your strength and Help me to serve with a willing heart.  Teach me to love by filling me with more of you!

“The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him” John 13:2-5 (NIV).