I am entering the Christmas season, with a weary and worn spirit. I have stepped into the advent similarly in years past, depleted and empty of anything worthy of celebration… but ironically so desperately in need of a Savior. The timing seems wrong, but perhaps so right, as I long to linger in His Light that was introduced to us long ago in a Manger. Maybe being stripped of strength will lead me to once again surrender to the One who gives it. Perhaps being vulnerable to life’s tiring terrain will once again guide me to His Timeless Truth.
It seems there is always a reason for the season, yes?
I was given a gift a few weeks ago, by my dear friend Stacy Voss… her beautiful book titled “Savoring Christmas”.
In the madness and mess of my life right now, I find this positively on purpose.
Thank you God.
Amidst the crisis and emotional turmoil, the never-ending conflicts and sickness, I was able to anxiously follow up on my ankle pain with a surgeon to remove the dislodged broken bone that is wreaking all kinds of pissed off pain.
Surgery set for December 16th.
In two weeks, I will come out of surgery with in a cast or brace for 6-8 weeks with no driving or weight on my ankle.
A bit tough to take.
But necessary. Oh so necessary, as my ankle screams at me for relief.
So the timing couldn’t be more awful and perfect all at once.
Back to the book…
I had hours of waiting at the Doctor’s office…and during some painful tormenting nights, I spent more time in silent solace tending to my heart with Stacy’s insight, wisdom, and sweet encouragement to truly soak in the significance of the season. Her day-to-day devotion is exactly what I need, especially for this year. Perhaps? For every year.
Sweet friends, you simply must go order her book now. It’s such a simple effortless read – yet a profound book of truths and stories and reflections that will open your heart to truly basking in the simplicity of the season’s gifts- Peace. Hope. Grace. Joy. Giving. Love. Stacy has the ability to take you through a perspective that filters the stress of the outside world we tend to allow in, and leads you through days of intentional faith. Designed to invite you to take steps toward experiencing the Christmas Season with clarity, while seeing Christ’s birth and God’s mission anew.
This has been my refuge…my source of strength and surrender during this time. Stacy has opened my twisted and tight heart to take in the Spirit’s Light in a way I never imagined. So many of her messages speak to me in immeasurable ways.
I simply must share a few with you:
“God with us. I want to challenge you this season to experience God’s presence in a way you never have previously. December usually is a month in which we run from one Christmas party to the next, got to umpteen different stores, send cards, wrap presents, and find ourselves beat and exhausted. In the midst of our celebrations, it can also be a time of increased loneliness, depression or disappointment. Where we might ask, Is God in the middle of that?
Please. Just look. Emmanuel, God with us, looked very different that first Christmas than many expected. While hopes of a king coming in power to victoriously save the people from oppression, kept most looking for jewels and crowns. The true Messiah humbly lay in a smelly feeding trough. And while we look for relief from our pain, suffering or loneliness, Emmanuel may appear very differently to us this year. Perhaps it will be through the prompting to buy dinner for a stranger, or sacrifice something that affects you deeply for the benefit of another. Perhaps, Emmanuel will come to you through the provision of a friend, meal, or touch.
In this world of relativism, one truth still remains.
God is with us.”
This particular chapter touched me so deeply, especially during the season I seem to be in. Even the title alone seemed to beam it’s light directly to my heart. I wonder if any of you need this too?
“It Isn’t Supposed to Be This Way”
“How many times have you told yourself “It isn’t supposed to be this way?” Maybe it was when you were about to have a mental breakdown in the store as you scrambled to buy one of the few toys left on the shelf. Perhaps you thought it after snapping at your kids, knowing the real problem was your sheer exhaustion from attending too many Christmas parties. So often we overschedule in December and feel frantic, but what about the times we’re lonely due to loss of a loved one or from being apart from family.
“It Isn’t Supposed to Be This Way,” we silently scream when we hear our own grown kids won’t be coming home, making our reality that much harder as we couple it with unmet expectations.
My guess is this sentiment has been expressed since the first Christmas.
Think of Joseph knocking on doors, crying out for anyone who would assist him. “Please, sir. My wife…yes I know everything is full, but the baby is on its way. It’s not just any baby, either.”
Can you fathom Joseph’s emotions? He was the head of the house, longing to provide and protect as God has built into every man, and yet he watched as his wife writhe in pain without even a soft place to lie down. God, surely you don’t want your son to be born like this!
Did Mary have her, “It Isn’t Supposed to Be This Way” moments too? Her childhood dreams of being a mom never looked like this. Maybe she always pictured her own mother there for the birth of her firstborn, yet there she was, in a musky stable, giving birth to the most high.
A prince. In a place built for animals.
The Messiah, as a helpless baby.
It isn’t supposed to be this way.
Or is it?
Today is the only day that I ask that you make sure you read the accompanying questions, for in them you will find the answer to the statement so many of us have muttered.
“The LORD almighty has sworn, ‘ surely, as I have planned, so it will be, as I have proposed, so it will happen.’” Isaiah 14:24
You will be blessed, reading through this precious devotional this season. Order it now, so you cannot waste another day fretting and fraying through this frantic time of year. Buy this one gift for yourself, and allow it to nourish your spirit, guide your mind and open your heart to a more purposeful Christmas.
Go here to buy Stacy’s “Savoring Christmas”. Go here to meet Stacy through her beautiful blog.
Lets not allow this cherished season be wasted on what nots… life is full of them. Allow God to minister to your heart through Stacy’s gift and soak in the significance of God’s greatest gift to you.
Stacy Voss says
Oh, friend, I’m touched in a way I can’t begin to describe for so, so many reasons. Thank you for your sweet and beautiful words, but more than that, thank you for being willing to review my book, for from that decision, you quickly went from stranger to kindred. That is truly what I am most grateful for. Thank you. Truly.
Stacy, you have quickly become my precious friend and source of light. Don’t you love how God does that? I am abundantly blessed by having you in my life, and I can’t think of a greater gift this season than that of our friendship!! God BLESS YOU my dear trusted beloved new friend. May His peace be with US. <3
Hi Chris! I really connected to “it wasn’t supposed to be this way”. How often I have said that this year, and yet the challenges are still there to face. Yes, the Holy Family didn’t have it very easy did they?
I’m so glad this book has helped you and coaxed you from your pain for a little while. I’ll add you to my prayer list, and keep you in mind on the 16th. I know all will be well. Who knows, maybe this will lead you to a place of peace? You can’t get out anyway, might as well sit and enjoy the lack of crazy.
Blessings to you always,
That chapter spoke to my heart so deeply too!! Oh Ceil, I do pray for that peace during what lies ahead with letting go of pretty much everything I normally do to keep this house running and my heart full. It will be so very difficult… but I know God is in it and I know He will provide and allow me those moments of deep prayer and purpose during this time. Praying for an open heart to take it in and pour it out!
Surgery! Stay strong, friend. You’re in my thoughts.
Thanks SO much sweet friend!!! <3
Janine Huldie says
Sounds like a wonderful book to keep the faith alive. And I still got you and your family in my prayers and now adding your surgery to this list. Thinking of you still and hugs always!! 🙂
Your precious prayers mean the WORLD to me Janine!! Thank you sweet love. SO very much!
another jennifer says
This sounds like the perfect book for you right now, Chris. How enlightening. Always on my mind, my friend. Love you!
It was and is the perfect book Jen! I will surely be re-reading it when I’m ‘down’ and out. <3
I know that the timing isn’t great and not being able to bear weight on your ankle or drive will be rough but the relief from the pain will ultimately be worth it. I feel sure that you will have people surrounding you and helping you the way you are always helping others – if I lived closer I would be your chauffeur!!!
AW!! Thanks so much for your encouraging words Kim!! I am blessed with a beautiful band of helpers and people that are always willing to serve… I find comfort in knowing that! It truly helps this anxious heart!
Jennifer | The Deliberate Mom says
I’m so sorry to hear you’re struggling right now Chris. I’ll be praying for peace to flood you and for a your healing to be quick.
This sounds like such a beautiful book. We all need to slow and savor the savior, don’t we?
As I read your post, I couldn’t help but be struck by the part of Grace and Hope. You see Chris, almost four years after I had my first daughter and just three months after having my second daughter, I returned to Christ’s loving arms. My daughters’ names… Grace and Hope. It’s like God knew I would return to Him and he placed these names on the hearts of two non-Christians. Yet now their the names are a daily reminder of His goodness and faithfulness.
Bless you my friend. I’m praying for you.
OH Jennifer!! How I do love your story and His amazing ways of bringing us to Him!! My heart just soars thinking of how He blessed you through the naes of your precious children… carrying on His Purpose and Light. Ah… so so beautiful!!!
Life is sometimes, somehow On Purpose.
You will be forced to rest. This surgery will insist on something which you have been incredibly, unrelentingly resistant to, for a long, long time.
And it will all happen so much easier if you find a way to embrace it. I know it’s going to be an absolute pain in the ass, in so many ways, but this rest…might just be a gift.
People will rally around you, Kitty, for how could they not?
This Christmas, you will cry and writhe with discomfort (probably. I assume here, because it’s how I’d react, and you are nothing if not a bloody-minded GET THINGS DONE-er) and your spirit will tear itself in two as you sit and are humbled – literally taken off your feet – and deluged with grace.
Stick out your hands, sister, and drink your fill of it, if you can.
Do you know how much I love you? How much your words bless me? They do. YOU do. Thank you for this… I will surely be re-reading your encouragement and wisdom a few more times this season!! And ‘trying’ to adhere to it. <3
Tape it to your computer, Kitty, my lovely 😉
Heather @ My Overflowing Cup says
Thank you so much for sharing this book with us. I’m heading over now to check out her blog.
Brooke Lynn says
Hi Heather, I jumped over to your blog and love it! I am signing up. I love your pure heart after God’s own and your joy that is only complete in Christ Jesus! You touch many with your words as Christ works through you! Never doubt your calling, keep writing and being all God has made you to be! With much love, Brooke Lynn…… http://www.BrookeLynnBooks.com
Stacy is a gem and a treasure of wisdom and faith, Heather! You will be blessed by her heart and her words!! SO glad you stopped by!
Janelle@The Peaceful Haven says
Oh what a LOVELY post! So true…praying for a quick recovery and for you to be pain free soon!
Thanks so much for your prayers Janelle!! I truly appreciate them!! <3
Lisa @ The Meaning of Me says
Clearly, I am so far behind on reading you that I am unaware of the surgery! Yikes! But yay, right? I mean, it will help you feel better.
I need to catch up. Or, maybe wiser (and no offense meant), just mark your blog as “read” for the moment and forge ahead from here. It’s been a crazy few weeks.
You are in my prayers as you head for this surgery!
Thanks for the book recommendation. I can’t say I’m feeling quite the same as you talk about here, but this is a whole new life for me this Christmas and there are so many swirling thoughts, emotions, concerns…I should probably pick it up.
Oh honey! I will be praying for peace to soak right through you during this season! The book is a beautiful read and so precious are Stacy’s sweet savorings of Christmas, that you will simply be touched and gifted by reading them. <3
It sounds like the most perfect book for me. I’ve been feeling the need to savor Christmas for the last two years or so.
And I bow to you because I freak out if any of the four of us has so much as a cold.
You’re very strong and wonderful, you know.
And you YOU are a blessing to me more than you know, dear friend. This book will seriously help you savor Christmas… it’s such a beautiful read!
I’ve been thinking about you and sending prayers up for your beautiful family. I just put your surgery date in my calendar so I could throw in some heavier prayers that day ;). I know the recovery will be difficult but just keep dreaming of the possibility of being pain-free! This book looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing it!
Brooke Lynn says
Dear Cadace, I must say that your blog is a-d-o-r-a-b-l-e! It truly shows the creativity inside you bursting forth! You are gifted in many ways and talented in your work. You words matter much and you hold a readers attention because your words are anointed and powerful. I have no doubt you have come through so much in life to make you the strong woman you are! Just know you are highly favored and greatly blessed. Most of all, keep on keeping on and God is far from finished with you yet! I see you leading many women’s bible studies in LARGE group settings! I signed up for your blog and I love it!! With much love, Brooke Lynn…… Author of “Raised by Strangers”……http://www.brookelynnbooks.com/
The book is absolutely a GIFT. I really encourage you to buy it- you would LOVE it Candace!!! And thank you friend, for your heart and your prayers. I am SO grateful we have connected!! XOXO
My Inner Chick says
He “MAKES ME” lie down in green pastures.
no, he doesn’t ask…he just MAKES.
thinking of you, dear & saying a prayer this very moment.
xxxxxx kiss. hugs. love.
He’s about to make MAKE me lie down for 8 weeks! Literally… there is reason and purpose in it somewhere. This I do know. I trust Him. We must! XOXO