Did She Know?

Guest Post by Mrs. Bridget Kirby

Mary, Did you Know?

As a Christian since the age of 7, I have been blessed to experience many Christmases knowing the story of Jesus and how he came to this earth to be my Savior. I have done the “Hanging of the Green” and participated in candlelight services and Christmas pageants. And I have believed. But, it wasn’t until the Christmas of my 30th year on this earth that I truly and irrevocably understood the true “reason for the season.”

It was a Christmas like none I’d ever before experienced. As a new mom, I had a cranky 9-month old baby, crying like he did nearly every minute of every day. What I now know was severe inner ear issues were–at the time–evidence of my failing as a mom. As he dug into all of my christmas decorations with his food-sticky hands and shoved glitter-covered decorations into his mouth, I fought to put the tree up and adorn it with ornaments. I was frazzled, hair in a knot on top of my head, picking up and putting down a crying child, fighting the urge to cry. I wanted this Christmas to be the best of all for my son, but I couldn’t get it all done. What kind of mother couldn’t even get her Christmas tree up for her baby? I had seen all the fabulous Facebook pictures of fabulous moms and their fabulous Christmas decorations in their fabulous matching Christmas outfits. Surely, I wasn’t cut out for motherhood. It was hard. Too hard. The postpartum depression consumed me to the point I almost couldn’t breath. I couldn’t do this. I wasn’t strong enough.

And that’s when it happened.

Hanging another glass ornament (Don’t worry…I’ve learned my lesson and long since abandoned the glass ornaments!), the background Christmas music filtered through my anxiety-ridden thoughts. “Mary, Did You Know?,” a song I was hearing for what must have been the millionth time, and yet it felt like the first time. I remember staring into the lighted tree as the words began to pour over me and tears began to fall.

And I began to understand.

Mary, did you know that your baby boy would one day walk on water?

Mary, did you know that your baby boy would save our sons and daughters?

Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?

This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know that your baby boy will give sight to a blind man?

Mary, did you know that your baby boy will calm the storm with his hand?

Did you know that your baby boy has walked where angels trod?

When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God.

I turned my gaze to my messy baby, crawled over to him, and cried as I scooped him into my lap. And in that moment, my heart was Mary’s heart. For the first time, I truly understood the love and faith in her heart. And the fear she must have felt. She had been given the greatest gift and greatest responsibility of any person in this world–she would give birth to and raise the Messiah, the Savior. She would deliver a child who would deliver nations through his sacrifice——an earthly mother carrying the Son of God. God had entrusted her with his greatest gift. In Luke 2:19, after the shepherds went far and wide to spread the word of God’s promise made truth in the birth of Christ, we are given a small glimpse of Mary as a new mother. God’s Word tells us, “Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” In another version of the same verse, it says, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Mary pondered what it would mean to be a mother to Christ. She treasured it. And I imagine she worried like any mother would. She knew she would struggle. And that she would fail. Often. And yet, even with knowing how many hard days were coming and what sacrifices she would have to make, even in times when she wondered about her adequacy as a parent and as a human, she had faith that her Father’s promises would carry her through. Because she had the unconditional love of the Father. A Father who “so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

As I sat clinging to my 9-month old, sticky-fingered baby in front of the Christmas tree that day, I saw the truth of Christmas. It wasn’t in the beautifully-decorated tree or the cute outfits or even in the candlelight services at church; it was in the heart of a mother. Like Mary, even with knowing how hard motherhood would be, how many sacrifices that would need to be made, how many tough days there were on the horizon, I had never known a love like I felt for my baby boy. The same love Mary had felt for her baby boy. But even more than the love of the mother, was the love of our Father who sent his Son to save us all.

https://youtu.be/ifCWN5pJGIE

Hope in the Hurting

There is hope in the hurting.

There is.

Im not trying to spit out a cliche. It’s not just a frivolous quote slapped on a coffee mug in a cute font.

It’s the truth.

It’s truth backed up by the Bible. Backed up by a God that sent His only son to die for me – a shameful sinner. Backed up by a God that knows what hurt is.

The holidays are often filled with hurt, and without God in your midst the lingering emptiness and pain has the potential to strangle you.

If you’re hurting this holiday season, please know that there really is hope.

You have to search for it.

You have to pray for it.

And while you’re looking for that hope, I urge you to serve somewhere.

Because in the midst of serving, you may just find the hope that you’ve been searching for.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted

and saves the crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18

Struggle Bus

Let’s be real for a minute.

We are all struggling – somehow, someway.

It doesn’t matter where you are in life. What age or what stage – the struggle will always be real.

I think about the women in the Bible and can’t imagine the daily battles they struggled with. From Sarah to Tamar to Rahab to Mary – they were women just like us. Women that messed up. Woman that cried out to God. Woman that made a difference. Woman that God believed in.

God’s bigger than our struggles, y’all.

He wants to walk through them with us.

He wants us to battle well.

He wants us to shine for Him.

So whatever you are struggling with today just remember this – you have a God that’s with you each step of the way.

And your God wins.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

May We Be

May we be an instrument of Christ.

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.” Romans 12:9-10 NLT

We are living in a world that is anything but peace. I grew up being told “hate the sin but love the sinner”. I struggled with that. I still do.

I believe as Christians in this world we are hungry for peace. This scripture is a reminder of what brings us peace, and how we should act to promote the peace that we desire. It reminds me that I am also the sinner, but Christ forgives and loves me.

If you’re like me and want to see peace overcome this world, first learn to forgive. Demonstrate the love of Christ so that others can experience His love and forgiveness. Hate what is evil, love what is good. At least make an effort to live at peace with everyone.

Many things that our heart desires, a relationship with Christ delivers. As we approach the ending of 2020, may we be an instrument of peace. If we are called to serve others, may we serve them well. If our gift is to encourage, may we be encouraging. If we smile by giving, may we give generously.

Be the good. Be the instrument in the world that gives a glimpse of Jesus. Although it takes much time and discipline, offer your life back to God. Allow him to steer you through this world. Nothing should compete with the Father.

Lastly, this world is full of evil. We see it each day. In Romans 12 Paul shares with us a reminder to not allow the evil of this world to conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. Amen.

Draw Near

Guest Post by Miss Harley Perkins

In Luke 15 starting at verse 11, Jesus tells a parable of the lost son who decided to receive his inheritance early and go spend it on wild living to soon lose it all. When he came to his senses, he realized the only place he could find comfort and care would be in his father’s house.

The wave of emotions that came flooding in were doubt, worry, and shame for the son, much like the feelings we face when we become distant with God. But the thing we need to remember no matter the things we’ve done or the trials we’re facing, the Lord is running to us with his arms wide open filled with love and compassion.

Luke 15:20 says, “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.”

Jesus isn’t waiting for you to have it all together. He’s just waiting for you to turn to him and say, “I need you.” In the presence of Jesus, you are loved more than you can imagine and you don’t have to have your life spit shined and polished.

The father ran to his son after he had been living with the pigs. He didn’t care what he smelled like, looked like, or the fact he had wasted his entire inheritance with foolish choices. All he cared about was his son was home.

Run home to Jesus. Run into his arms and let Him love you and fill you with joy and peace to conquer anything the world throws at you. He doesn’t care what your life looks like or what your past may hold. Draw near to him and he will come running to you.

Do Better

I have a dear friend that always says, “God doesn’t like ugly.”

While I wholeheartedly agree because sin is ugly, I also have to believe that it deeply hurts God when He sees His children roaming around just being plumb – well – ugly.

The other day I went to the post office to mail Maggie’s hair off that she is donating. In true Daisy fashion I had built this moment up in my mind to be one of remembrance and nostalgia. It was going to be a feel good moment for sure.

But.

While I was standing in line two grown ladies threw what I could only describe as a toddler temper tantrum because they had to wait in line. It made me sad for the lady working behind the counter, and it made me sad for the ladies throwing the fit.

Something Frank and I repeat on the weekly to our children is “Do Better”. It’s a family term of endearment that’s kind of a joke but kind of not.

In that moment – a few days before Thanksgiving – I had this thought: Man, we all need to do better.

So that’s my challenge for myself and for you this holiday season. Y’all, it’s 2020. We already know things are gonna be crazy. Let’s get that in our minds now. Let’s know we will have to wait. Traffic is gonna be congested. Packages will be lost.

But let’s do better. Let’s be kinder. Let’s be Jesus for the ones that need to catch a glimpse of hope this holiday season.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

Hope

There’s a big difference between the world’s definition of hope and what the Bible teaches us that hope truly is.

I found the following explanation yesterday while researching the difference:

The world’s hope is essentially a wish: its strength is the strength of the person’s desire. But in the Bible hope is the confident expectation of what God has promised, and its strength is in His faithfulness.

Is our hope self-reliant or solely reliant on God? That’s where the discrepancy is between the two.

Are you confidently expecting God to deliver what He has promised, or are you tirelessly spinning your own wheel fueled by human desires?

Don’t let your hope be merely a wish – a puff on a dandelion on a summer’s evening in June – one that flits away with the wind. Let your hope be steadfast, strong, and one that sticks.

Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

New Mercies

Guest Post by Mrs. Jessica Konzen

His Mercies Are New Every Morning.

Webster’s dictionary defines mercy as “a compassionate or forbearance that is shown especially to the offender” or “a blessing as a divine act of compassion.”

“His mercies are new every morning” is a reasonably trendy scripture written on your favorite coffee mug or pallet sign from Hobby Lobby. The scriptural context needs explanation with the meaning all but dulled from the over usage and lack of theology. The book itself, Lamentations, means grief or deep sorrow.

The Prophet Jeremiah, also known as the “weeping prophet,” coined that famous phrase in time of great suffering. Much like today, the suffering seems unbearable. We are still amid a full-fledged pandemic with unspeakable amounts of fear. Racism is now an ever-present discussion; families are being ravaged and torn apart by unalignment and misguided principles; addiction and destructive behaviors are at an all-time high, and the church seems anything but unified.

The Prophet Jeremiah had proclaimed God’s message for many years, and the people of Jerusalem had turned a deaf ear; sound familiar? In these dark times, we feel swallowed up by the pain, and what’s even worse is if we cry out to God, we hear no reply.

Jeremiah compared that darkness to the tasting of the bitter herbs at the Passover feast or drinking bitter gall. Myrrh mixed with wine was used as anesthesia to deaden the pain, but when Jeremiah “drank,” itworsened his pain. Bitterness and brokenness mixed together. This is where the Prophet of Jeremiah felt the goodness of God was gone.

Do you feel that way? You indulge in one more drink when you know it causes more pain. Your child leaves rebellious and stiff-lipped—you’re at the point of divorce with no way out. You cry out, wondering where God has gone. But you see, Christ did not say that this life would be easy. He did not say follow me, and all will line up perfectly like that Instagram influencer you follow.

But right at the last cry of desperation, the Prophet Jeremiah had a turning point. The realization of God’s mercy, compassion, and faithfulness generated hope in Jeremiah’s soul, and his contemplation of trouble became a confession of faith. Today can be your turning point. Today can be the day you stop looking at your problems, the world’s problems, and focus on the promises of God. This is how hope is generated and how faith is activated!

Unbelief causes us to look at God through our circumstances, which creates hopelessness, but faith enables us to look at our circumstances through God’s reality and truth, which gives us hope. I hope that the promises of yesterday will be fulfilled in the joys of tomorrow. This is my prayer for you. That when all seems lost, broken, or bitter, you can cry out to an almighty God, sing of His praises, and be filled with His hope! And just as the Prophet Jeremiah cried out, I will cry out too that “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness!!” Lamentations 3:22-23.

Raise your Hallelujah

Guest Post by Mrs. Sarah Guedry

There are so many things I can’t control.

If I were in charge I would wave my magic wand and make so many things “right.”  But our all-knowing father sees things differently.  Maybe there is a purpose for the suffering beyond what I can see – I have to trust Him in that.  I have every reason to trust HIm.

Maybe part of His purpose is for me to seek comfort in His presence and in it alone.

Last night I was speaking with some 10year old girls about how we spend our time.   “What do you think about the most?”  “Your clothes?  Your hair? Your friends? What someone said?”  Do those thoughts bring you joy? Or discontentment?

I, of course, was completely convicted and so thankful for the opportunity to learn beside them.  God wants us to set our minds on things above.  Not because He doesn’t care about all of our problems and concerns… but because He does care deeply about them all.  He knows that we can face them if we fill our minds with truth.  

The truth is – God wins.

The truth is He- is all-powerful, all-knowing.  

The truth is He loves us deeply – enough to die for us.  A love greater than we can understand.

Why am I spending my time in worry? – it eats me up like a disease.  When I spend my time being thankful – worshiping my King, He lifts me up.  He fills my heart with joy.

Sister, don’t let anything you are facing today steal your Hallelujah.  

Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Luke 12:22

Because We Can

That mean girl mentality needs to be squashed.

And mommas – it starts with us.

What do our daughters hear us say about other women – even in the privacy of our own home? What type of words are we using? They understand them.

Be careful, momma.

When another woman walks into the room what vibe do we give off? Our daughter feels it.

Texting another woman about another woman across the room – our daughters see that, and they absolutely “get” it.

When we are on the phone with our best friend what words are we using? They hear them.

And that social media mean girl is a whole other type of monster.

What are we typing? What are we reposting? They see it. They read it.

We are their first role model. That’s a lot of pressure, and it should be.

Let’s strive to be better for them.

Let’s break out of the mold for them.

Let’s celebrate others for them.

Let’s love with our whole hearts – for them.

Let’s raise up a generation of young women that encourage and empower other young women because we can. Because they can.

“The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint, and whoever has understanding is even-tempered.” Proverbs 17:27