Thursday, December 23, 2010

Pictures of Christmas at Becca's

My sisters decorated - without any of my Christmas decorations from the past, which were apparently all left during the move. Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without! Thank you girls!


Life. They say follow your dreams, but - what are they? I realized this week that I often move from absolute confidence in God’s plan to complete confusion in a matter of seconds...

Some might say it’s Christmas, but my “Christmas feelings” really are unrelated. I remember Christmas as a 5 year old, receiving a Cabbage Patch doll and wondering who turned the lights on under the tree. I remember Christmas at the age of 12, upset because we moved, but oh, so happy, to make... well, attempt to make, a gingerbread house with my best friend. 4 times. I remember the first Christmas with my siblings and football tackle hugs to say thank you. I remember Christmas during my first year of teaching, when all I did was sleep. And I remember Christmas in Colombia, where I ran the entire gamut of emotions, from tears to joy. I don’t think “it feels like Christmas” means much.

Maybe it’s just that I have OH, so much to think about in everyday life! Most days are so full that I process nothing and remember much. What are these thoughts that fill my mind and leave me wandering? (yes, I know you think that should be wondering, but really, in my mind, I’m wandering).

The children. The little boy who used to not even try to read, laboring, laboring to take his reading test and ending in tears because it timed out on him. This same little boy bringing me a broken necklace with an angel locket. It wasn’t new, it wasn’t wrapped, but he wanted to give me a gift and it’s all he had. I’m wearing it now. The little girl who walked in the day after the Christmas program, explaining that she couldn’t have her agenda signed because her mom was in jail for drunk driving the night before. The other student who wrote to her daddy in her journal, begging him to come and visit. Or the little boy who asked for a bucket of popcorn in his letter to Santa. I’m so discouraged because I can do so little for them.

Not that my job isn’t a good place to be. How pleasant to sing Christmas carols at the Christmas program! How pleasant to be told thank you by most of the class for even such a small gift as a book! How pleasant to watch the gift exchange. It was supposed to be toys worth $5 or less, but most brought elaborate packages. One little boy brought a little gift, proportional, I know, to the family’s budget. I watched the boys pass their packages, dreading the inevitable moans and groans from the student who opened that one small car while the others explored their gifts. I forgot about the value of friendship. As Providence would have it, the boy who received the car was so excited about opening a gift from his friend that size and worth meant nothing. That’s reason to smile.

The value of friendship. Truly, sometimes I’m lonely. I miss my fellow-workers and former students. I miss my roommates. Mostly I miss my church, God’s precious family to me for 6 years. Yet, for everything there is a season; I know that this season is changing. In moving me to Santa Rosa, God’s given me a dream for which I’ve begged since in high school. Never has a community been so welcoming - loads of Christmas cards, invitations everywhere. Not since leaving my parents have I lived outside of town. In fact, I don’t want to leave my happy little home this week, not even for a short trip to the grocery store. I like to look out the windows and see nothing but grass on one side, a barn and corrals on the other. I like my rock walls and empty space. I like being the queen of my castle... with someone to call if something goes wrong. For what more could I ask?

This then, is God’s dream for me, now. How long will it last? My prayer is only that He refines me, that I come forth as gold, leaving my regrets for His dreams... And I’m so thankful that He has done the work to fit me to His plan: This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. (Heb. 10:16-17).

Somewhere between my heart and my hands/ Somewhere between my faith and my plans... Somewhere between contented peace and always wanting more/ Somewhere in the middle You’ll find me... With eyes wide open to the difference, the God we want and the God who is /But will we trade our dreams for His or are we caught in the middle? (Casting Crowns - Somewhere in the Middle)