Well, we made it through Christmas, and are now on the doorstep of the New Year. Our Christmas was not at ALL what we had planned – the week before we succumbed to the norovirus, one by one, every 48 hours, which took us to Christmas Eve, upon which The Man (whom we had thought escaped the plague as we’d been 3 days with no one sick) fell ill. We scrambled to cancel Christmas Day plans and pick up a make-shift, last minute Christmas dinner.
Throughout the ordeal I struggled – I got hit one of the hardest (it felt like morning sickness, where you throw up, but it doesn’t feel better after – sorry TMI!) and “got” the least amount of recovery time – meaning, by the next day I was up and at ’em. By the grace of God really, as I think he gives moms that gift of a faster recovery and ability to bounce back. It was a good thing too, because a couple of days later I was up most of the night with another sick child. God knew what he was doing.
Then, when we thought The Man was in the clear, and he fell ill, I remained strong, stoic, resolved, somewhat content. I had already prepared myself mentally and emotionally for the very real possibility that we would have to “cancel Christmas” – of course, when I think about it, that idea is really ridiculous. What is it we keep drilling into our heads and hearts that Christmas is really all about? Not the food, not the family, not the gifts or entertainment – it’s about the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
Until Boxing Day. Boxing Day it all came crashing down when daddy, who was still not feeling very good (and had the cold flu on top of the stomach flu) needed a nap, and my ugly heart was exposed for what it truly was – selfish, spoiled, sinful, and misguided. You’d better believe there was a tiny temper tantrum happening there because things didn’t go as planned, Christmas was different this year, and I only got 1 day to recover from being sick. 1 measly day!
There you have it, my friends. I’m no better than my children in maturity it would seem. But in all fairness, there’s only so much a momma can take. Throughout the nearly 2 weeks of sickness I shed many tears at the end of the day, then turned to the word and prayer for comfort and strength. I threw a couple of fits, crumpled in a heap on the floor, received much grace and forgiveness from my children and husband, and moved on.
The key is what I did with those emotions and thoughts. There wasn’t anything wrong in my feeling or experiencing them. Yes, my responses were not always mature or right. But they were made right in seeking strength where it would be found, from God’s Word, through prayer, seeking forgiveness and receiving grace.
Christmas wasn’t canceled. While it didn’t look like Christmases past, we experienced an amazing, quiet, unrushed time together as a family, focusing on the celebration of Christ’s birth and not all the activities, busyness, food and fun. We were forced into it, but after a little bit of foot stomping here and there, we relaxed into the rhythm, and truly enjoyed.
Now, as we prepare for the New Year, I’m thinking, praying, seeking – God, what would you have me do? What does this New Year mean for me? How would you have me seek more? Use my time better?
I love The Valley of Vision book of prayers and devotions, and this one really speaks volumes into the closing out of one season and the beginning of a new one, God knowing our steps and our plans, and where our focus should be. But it’s truly applicable to each and every single day that passes. So I pray this for me, for my family, for each of us as we end 2014 and dive headlong into 2015.
Length of days does not profit me
except the days are passed in Thy presence,
in Thy service, to Thy glory.
Give me a grace that precedes, follows, guides,
sustains, sanctifies, aids every hour,
that I may not be one moment apart from Thee,
but may rely on Thy Spirit
to supply every thought,
speak in every word,
direct every step,
prosper every work,
build up every mote of faith,
and give me a desire
to show forth Thy praise,
testify Thy love,
advance Thy kingdom.
I launch my bark on the unknown waters of this year,
with Thee, O Father as my harbor,
Thee, O Son, at my helm,
Thee O Holy Spirit, filling my sails.
Guide me to heaven with my loins girt,
my lamp burning,
my ear open to Thy calls,
my heart full of love,
my soul free.
Give me Thy grace to sanctify me,
Thy comforts to cheer,
Thy wisdom to teach,
Thy right hand to guide,
Thy counsel to instruct,
Thy law to judge,
Thy presence to stabilize.
May Thy fear by my awe,
Thy triumphs my joy.
You are loved, my friends! Happy New Year!