Thanksgiving is tomorrow, Christmas will be here before we know it — folks holiday season is HERE! As we are in the midst of making plans, traveling, cooking, attending pageants and programs, expectations for what the season should be like can run at all-time highs, especially in regards toward family.
If you are looking for ways to maintain a Christ-like attitude at Christmas (and Thanksgiving), I’ve come across some helpful resources to fine tune your thinking in regards to the relationship in your lives, especially with the added pressures of the holidays surrounding us.
Whether your family is healing from trauma or making a transition, or if it’s the first holiday that (you can fill in the blank), or even if your family is in a healthy spot, we can all benefit by checking our relational toolbelt and lining up our expectations with the word of God.
This 10-day plan is perfect for the whole family to work through as you prepare your hearts for this season of gratitude. There are activities and discussion questions throughout the plan so download your copy here and get started TODAY!
I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30
In case you didn’t know (or couldn’t tell), I relish the chance for introspection (ISFJ to the MAX). God continually uses reflection as a tool for my growth and I don’t do it because it sounds relevant or sophisticated – I do it to survive.
So as I looked back on our sixth year of marriage, I struggled at first to pick out a theme or to sum it up and I hated that feeling! But then God reminded me of a few things. There have been specific areas in our lives and marriage this year that I have had more than a *few* ideas of how to move forward or make a change. In other words, I had my eye on making progress, a little forward motion. And it didn’t happen.
I felt like we SHOULD BE doing this. I felt like we SHOULD make this move. And each time, the door was not only shut in our face, but I’m pretty sure we heard the key turn in the lock as well.
The truth is, God didn’t desire for us to make a change. It wasn’t necessary. There wasn’t (and isn’t) anything wrong with where we were. In fact, we were right where we should be. If we look at how God spoke to his people in the Bible, yes, there were many times he called them to a specific action. Yet the stories that bounce off our instant-or-not-at-all hardened souls are the ones where God calls his people to pause and let him act. To take a beat.
Right where we should be. What a powerful, liberating phrase.
Certain “Should Bes” snatch joy right out of our lives, like a little kid (or dog) swiping a cookie from the counter. What “Should Bes” haunt you?
You should be married already.
You should be promoted already.
You should be a parent already.
You should be graduated already.
You should HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER already.
You should be THERE (wherever there is) already.
Whatever “it” is, I encourage you to give it up to the Lord and dare to believe that you are actually where you need to be right now. Don’t get me wrong, I love setting goals and tackling them. And sin needs to be dealt with. But maybe it’s time to rest in the grace of Jesus. Maybe it’s time to turn down that internal voice that screams BE MORE DO MORE GIVE MORE LIVE MORE GO MORE MORE MORE.
Yes, we are going to grow, learn, and change. Kurtis is not the exact same person as when we first got married. Neither am I. Next year will feature a slightly different version of us as well. However, right here in this moment, is right where we should be. It is enough. We are enough.
How can we make this claim? It is because of Christ. This year, the phrase “Christ is enough” has quietly challenged me on the stage of my mind month after month. Is it more than a cliche? Do I actually, truly, deeply believe this? Do I understand what I have to give up in my mind for this to be true? Because at the end of the day, Christ really does have to be enough.
Did you read that?
Christ HAS to be enough.
Yes, there are big, big things we are longing for, hoping for, praying for. We have dreams and goals. But our sixth year of marriage has been about letting them rest in an open palm, not squeezing out through clenched hands.
Because Christ is enough, and we are right where we should be.
So we relax our grip, and remind ourselves to take a breath. Even if we have to remind ourselves hourly.
So this anniversary weekend, I’m going to enjoy time away with my hubby, eating lots of tacos, and getting that extra hour of sleep! Because that is enough.
I love you more than Chick-fil-a, Kurtis. Happy Anniversary.
Are you familiar with the black hole of the internet? You know the one where you start out looking for one photo for one blog post and spend 45 minutes sorting photos from your senior trip 10 years ago?
Or the one where you need to add one item to your shopping list and end up searching for a pair of shoes through six different sites, one of which might have been on the dark web? OK, not the dark web, just a really sketchy sales site.
Or perhaps it started off with your friend or spouse showing you one funny video of marshmallow farmers (it’s a thing) and ended up two hours later arguing over the coldest/hottest places on earth. The coldest place is in Russia, like we’re shocked by that. The point is, it’s very easy to start off in one place online and then quickly be swept to far off lands.
(BTW, the above scenarios may or may not have happened IRL.)
Marriage is kind of like that, you know? You start off in one place (the altar) and in a short amount of time, you find yourself swept off to unknown places.
In fact, I feel a Tolkien quote coming on…
It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door. You step onto the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.
– The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkein
Stepping into the Road
I just lost some of you there with a LOTR quote (Ugh LOTR! So long! So complicated! What’s the big deal over the ring?!?) but I’m also betting I just made some new friends too (Ah LOTR! I feel second breakfast is in order) But like Bilbo says to Frodo, when you step into the road on your wedding day, you definitely don’t know where it will take you.
Your wedding day is *finally* here, the family is in town, the caterer arrives, candles are lit and there you both are, at the altar. And while it may feel like you’ve spent your whole life preparing for this moment, the truth is, untold adventures are waiting as you step down from the stage, and walk hand in hand with your new spouse.
We are only five years in and our road has already taken us some places we never expected, like it does for every couple. What unexpected places has your marriage taken you to?
Unemployment? Relocation? Opening a new business? Adoption? Infertility? New church? Deaths in the family? What has that looked like as you’ve learned to face your adventures together?
Keeping Your Feet
Marriage is indeed a dangerous business, dangerous in the sense of what’s at stake. You’ve made a covenant before God and friends and family to love honor and cherish one another. You are no longer two people pursuing self, but one flesh pursuing the heart of God. If you don’t keep your feet, you can be swept apart instead of facing the tide of adventures together.
This is one of my favorite pictures from our wedding, because it reminds me that we no matter what, we face our adventures together. Everyone else had walked down to the reception and we lingered at the sanctuary entrance. Just the two of us, a team, joined together.
There is truly no one else I’d rather have by my side than Kurtis. Even when (when not if) we face challenge after challenge, even when we have those *imaginary* discussions that cause communication problems, even when we are both moody as heck, I will gladly step out the door every day into the road, because even though I don’t know where it will take me, I know who is by my side: Kurtis. (Well, Kurtis and Jesus)
Happy 5th Anniversary, Kurtis.
Feel like crawling down the dark hole of the internet RIGHT NOW? Then browse through four more years worth of marriage posts!