Welcome to the 12 Pearls of Christmas blog series!
Merry Christmas from Pearl Girls™! We hope you enjoy these Christmas “Pearls of Wisdom” from the authors who were so kind to donate their time and talents! If you miss a few posts, you’ll be able go back through and read them on this blog throughout the next few days.
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by Sharron Cosby
Christmas. The mere mention of the word sends thoughts and memories skittering like a box of spilled ornaments. Some roll toward sweet remembrances of times shared with family. Others bounce to the let’s-not-go-there corner of our minds.
I recall Christmas 2009. The one I wanted to cancel. My only son is an addict, and this was his worst year ever. I had convinced myself it would be his last, assuming he would be in prison or dead by the next Christmas. I told my daughters we would exchange gifts and have our usual holiday dinner, but no tree or decorations. I couldn’t dredge up the emotional energy to plaster contrived cheer around the house.
I’m usually the decorator, gift purchaser, food preparer, and mess cleaner-upper. Executing the necessary holiday tasks takes time and effort. Worrying about my son had left me drained of the required get-up-and-go. I couldn’t do it. Thank goodness for online shopping; at least there would be presents to hand out.
My pastor’s message four days before Christmas cut straight through my Scrooge-like attitude. His sermon points were: The holidays are too much trouble, count your blessings, and forgive someone.
Considering Christmas too much trouble reflects a selfish attitude, according to my pastor. What if Jesus had thought that way? My icy heart began to thaw.
The second point, count your blessings, stopped me dead in my tracks. Count blessings with a broken heart? I considered my husband’s love and my two daughters who have stood by their brother. I smiled as I pictured the faces of my four grandsons and the joy they brought our family. Yes, I had many blessings to number.
The third was the hardest: forgiveness. Forgive my son for the pain and suffering he had caused? “God, you can’t be serious,” I protested. “We’ve spent thousands of dollars on him, he’s broken our hearts, and he’s in worse shape than ever before.”
“Forgive him,” the Spirit whispered.
Tears slid down my face as I chose to forgive my son. No strings attached.
After church I headed home with a changed attitude. When my husband left for work, I retrieved the ornaments, dragged the Christmas tree from the garage, and set it up, my gift to the family. Decorating our tree with the children’s handmade ornaments is always a joint project, but that day I worked alone. I held the clothespin reindeers, popsicle stick picture frames, and monogramed angels and remembered the good times.
With tear-filled eyes, I watched as amazement etched the faces of my daughters when they came to our home Christmas morning and saw the decorated tree. “Mom! You put up the tree after all,” they said.
The biggest surprise of the day came when our daughter’s boyfriend knelt in front of her and asked, “Will you marry me?”
The discouragement of addiction was replaced with the joy of new beginnings, which is, after all, the message of the Christ Child.
Sharron Cosby has been married to Dan for thirty-nine years, is Mom to three adult children and “Mimi” to five grandchildren. Her family was rocked by her son’s drug addiction for fifteen years until he laid it down on February 18, 2010. She uses her life experiences to offer hope and encouragement to families caught in the chaos of addiction. Sharron is available to speak to groups on addiction related topics. Sharron recently published her first book, Praying for Your Addicted Loved One: 90 in 90, a ninety day devotional for families in recovery or those wanting to be. Receive weekly encouragement at her blog, www.efamilyrecovery.com, and Twitter @sharroncosby or contact her at moc.liamg@ybsocnorrahs.
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Each Sunday I post my own amateur nature picture with a thought or two about God’s love for you.
I love this one, and to give credit, my mom was the photographer on this one, but the subjects are mine.
I think they give a good visual on 2012.
It’s tempting to take the hurt and feelings of last year and keep hurling them at someone else.
After all, hurt people hurt people, right?
It doesn’t have to be in 2013.
Put the snowballs of hurts, anger, and unforgiveness down.
Let Christ deal with it.
And have a Happy New Year!
October 1. Anyone else picking their jaw off the floor?
Given I take Saturdays to share a confession it’s perfect timing that this is October 1. If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you know I do a lot of reading, especially in areas that grow me in my Christian faith. I might not agree with everything or even understand it, but I love reading. I can’t tell you the number of times I read earlier this year that Fall 2011 would be a time of change.
Moving kind of change. Relationships transitioning. So much shifting in lives that what was up will now be down. That kind of change.
But first, we must choose to wrap up our loose ends. Loose the grudge. Stick to the wellness plan you’ve been half-hearted about. Commit to a budget that brings you closer to debt free. Forgive. Confess. Love. Have grace.
Easy to write, hard to do, I know. I have two wrap it up issues I know I have to deal with. One had me so angry that when I saw the person from afar I stuck my tongue out. I’m 41. Yep, I went there. Obviously I have some work to do . Another issue had me so upset I just sobbed in my car praying where they weren’t even words, just sad hiccups only God could understand.
Whether those promptings from readings are accurate for Fall or not, it’s a good thing for us to wrap things up. Don’t let what holds us back fester. Life is too short and I’ve seen people turn their wounds into toxicity to the point they physically became ill. Not good.
I’ll be honest, I am seeing things changing and fast. Governments. Leaders. Moves. Promotions. Long-time sins suddenly exposed. Reconciliations after years of praying happening overnight. I’m not saying any changes we might encounter will be easy. I do believe dealing with our issues no matter the future, is worth it.
Will you trust Him with your issues even if the fire is licking at your feet?
I’ll be there, too. I’ll be the middle-aged woman relying on God’s divine power so I can stop sticking my tongue out.
Reminder: Thursday is the kick-off for my book study, Captivating. It’s a 6 week study starting Thursday at 9pm EST. All you need is the book by John and Stasi Eldredge (if you absolutely can’t still come, but it helps) and then join me here.
It’s Word-Full Wednesday! It’s that “Battery re-charge” for your week where God’s word is glorified. Go ahead, join us. Take an image and a verse from the Bible, post on your blog, and link your post URL to the Internet Cafe.
Not only is it WFW…it’s our 15th anniversary.
August 31, 1996
What makes this anniversary and this picture so special is that the lovely lady to my right in this picture is going to be a bride herself. There are so many things I want her to know. As beautiful as the wedding might be, it is the marriage that matters. Every hour, every day. It is work. It is the best and can feel like the worst. It is a choice between oneness and isolation every single day. It isn’t about changing them, it’s about asking God to change you.
If you are married, you know I could go on and on.
But I have every day as a blogger to share those things. Let’s bring the best marriage instruction book of them all to this post.
1 Corinthians 13:13, The Message
13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
Our 15 years featured these seasons: infertility, high-risk pregnancy, real estate transactions, birth, depression, surgeries, parent sickness, parent death, sibling life changes, miscarriage, job changes, major move, near death of child, church changes, financial struggles, financial blessings, friendship transitions, ministry additions/subtractions, travel for work, fun, and family.
On a computer screen they don’t seem too hard. In reality, they threatened, at times, to crush our spirits and destroy our marriage.
What gets us through?
Trust steadily in God
At this moment our marriage is still on a solid rock. We’re closer than ever. But… we are shells of who we were 15 years ago. We have been not around the fire, we have been through it (and will again). We are better for all these things. But the Bible knows what it is talking about.
Cling to His word today.
And love extravagantly.
Quite a blog title, isn’t it? Head’s up, if you love the show Smallville and didn’t see the finale, I’m sharing tidbits from the episode.
This blog post started writing itself a few minutes into the two hour Smallville series finale Friday night. If you’ve read any of my writing over the years you know I’m a superhero fan. My husband is a Trekkie, I have friends who found revelation in the show Lost, others moved by Lord of the Rings. Well I’m the one that God can download His wisdom to me through a superhero movie (He showed me the power of unforgiveness through Spiderman 3) or a TV show.
What did He show me?
The Father-—So much of the Smallville finale centered around the father theme. Clark Kent lost his adoptive father a few years back and felt the best way to move forward was to forget the past. He chose to push away the relationship he had with his father. In addition, his adoptive father, Jor-El, was hard to figure out so Clark shut him out. During the finale Clark remembers Jonathan Kent and realizes he pushed both fathers away. He expresses sorrow to his adoptive father and confesses it’s too late to foster a relationship with his biological father. Jonathan Kent gives great perspective into what is so true about us in real life (yes, I get superheroes aren’t real).
You can’t outrun your true Father. No matter how many times we mess up, rebel, ignore and neglect, one step towards our Heavenly Father and He is there. In the show Jor-El forgave and accepted his son immediately. No matter what your circumstances are with your Earthly father know that your Heavenly Father’s love knows no bounds. Turn to Him today!
The Son—This gives me chills every time I think about it. The second half of the finale focused on a planet of sorts hurdling to Earth. I’m not strong in translating Sci Fi but really what was happening was darkness and evil were trying to invade Earth and destroy. The people of Earth needed someone to literally stand in the gap between Earth and evil to save them. Yes, in the episode that was Superman, embracing his destiny and saving the world. In reality, evil is already here and has been since Adam and Eve sinned in the garden. We can’t avoid it, we are all sinners impacted by evil. Our finale has tragic results without the One standing in the gap on our behalf, separating us from evil. Not Superman, Jesus. He literally laid down His perfect life to stand in the gap between our lives and destinies. He is the only way we’re saved. Want to know more? Click here.
The Holy Spirit—This aspect of the Trinity, all God and yet distinct (think of it like water: steam and ice are still water, just as God is also the Son and Holy Spirit) is the most understood. This is where I needed a book like The Shack because it helped me understand the Holy Spirit better. The Holy Spirit is your teacher and guide. He (not it) is your encourager and heart check. When you get that nudge about doing something good or realizing you’re real close to doing something bad it isn’t that cartoon devil and angel. It’s the Holy Spirit. In Smallville Clark had the fortress of solitude to escape and communicate with his Father. Many of his teachings came from Jor El bringing about bright light and exposing crystals containing training for Clark to see or experience. When I yield to the Holy Spirit that’s light for me because I’m learning and walking in His will. He is not to be feared but to be sought.
A personal relationship with the Trinity—-In all my writings and trying to teach others about knowing Christ in a personal way and that doing so is the best decision to make ( life changing, although not easy) it was a Sunday School student who nailed it. She told the class that she used to tell people she knew Justin Bieber, but she truly didn’t. If he walked by he would have no clue who she was even though she was aware of him. She really didn’t know him in a personal, direct way. Having a relationship with Christ gives you VIP access if you will to His Father and the Holy Spirit. There is a mutual relationship between you and God. He KNOWS you and you truly have a relationship with Him. I love that.
In the finale the most touching scene for me was the wedding aisle. Lois Lane is a lot of things, sassy, independent, a passionate reporter but she’s also insecure. She’s had a lot of rejection in her life and she has to surrender her entire life to the unknown by marrying Clark. She knows she has baggage, maybe too much for Clark to want to commit to. Will he show?
Lois starts down the aisle, her own father not there. She looks ahead for Clark. He is not there. You can feel her heart break.
And then, comes an extended hand that takes hers. Clark knows her. He knows she really wanted someone to walk down the aisle with her. He was there. He didn’t fail, he didn’t run. He met her need.
That’s what God wants you to know. Like Jor El, He loves you enough to not just hand you your destiny but learn it. Like Lois He wants you to realize in every circumstance He is there holding your hand, especially when you can’t see Him. He knows you better than you know yourself. You are His bride, His all.
Smallville is over and it was a well written action packed, emotional finale.
But it is nothing compared to heaven or the journey God has for you right now through personally knowing Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.
If this knowing Christ is new to you and you’re not sure what to do and the link confuses you, feel free to e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be thrilled to help in any way I can.