The Ghost of Christmas yet to come
The tree is down and packed in the garage on the shelf, the college kid is back to his routine and the oldest two travel the south learning all kinds of practical ministry helps alongside good friends of ours.
We took the leaves out of the table and now only set five plates, which seems like so little now.
Happy New Year friends.
About Thanksgiving I got sick and couldn't shake it until just about Christmas day.
So this post has been on the back burner and has changed at least five times.
Christmas has come and gone and some jokesters have already told me how many days we are counting down until NEXT Christmas.
I'm thankful that one day at Teen camp, the Lord used a friend of mine to change what Christmas would look like for us this year.
After last year's sewing machine surprise that still doesn't work and pants weren't the right sizes, I was just about ready to make this the first ever "Gift Card Christmas."
I was ready for a big change.
This friend opened up the opportunity for all eight of us to stay in her little rental house in TN.
Far enough from Ohio to leave dishes, wrapping paper, bows and even the cat for a while.
So we made a plan and saved extra money that came in in an envelope in my junk drawer.
This Christmas we packed up the crew and made some memories as a family.
After a teen extravaganza, a ladies dinner, a Christmas concert/play, a Christmas Eve service AND Christmas Day service, it was a blast to just pack up and go.
Still battling what I thought was COVID again, I even went to the Doctor's to get "clearance" to leave for a week away.
I've made a new family rule that sits right next to all of the oldies and goodies, like, "No chanting. You get three times to say something. After that it's off limits."
The new rule is this: "Only good memories are to be revisited."
None of this, "Remember when I told you my arm was broken stuff and you didn't believe me?"
No, "I remember when you spanked me and it was really his fault," nonesense.
My house, my rules.
You siblings can get together for coffee somewhere and remember every.single.solitary parenting curfuffle.
But not in my house.
Or cute air bnb.
Or basically anywhere I am.
Us Moms are already feeling badly that the meat was too tough, you couldn't find your matching sock and that they forgot to take the dog to the groomers.
They feel horrible that your birth certificate has vanished, you are afraid to practice driving, your bank account only has 4 dollars in it and that you still have difficulty spelling.
There aren't enough words to describe all of the things Moms already know they are failing in or will fail in given the chance to do so.
Moms are planner ahead-ers.
Moms know you will fall on your keester if you lean your chair back one more time.
They know that those friends will not be good for you if you spent too much time with them.
That your shoes are going to fit perfectly in six months,
and that if you leave right now, you will be able to make it to the dry cleaners and get your suits back the same day so you can pack them for college.
Moms know that socks and sandals is never a good idea and that you will laugh when you look back at the time you begged them to cut your bangs.
Moms will never stop asking you to take more showers, eat less cereal, straighten up your desk and reminding you that you still have shoes on the stairs.
Moms buy chocolate oranges OFF OF AMAZON because they cannot find them in the stores for your stockings.
They send Amazon gifts to college even though your address is the WORST IN THE HISTORY OF EVER to type or write out or tell anyone ever.
Moms need cinnamon bread at Dollywood shows to remind them that they are gonna make it.
They need goodbye hugs and whispers that say, "Thank you for all that you did for me while I was home."
They need Christmas gifts of favorite pens and adorable pink mugs that say, "Best Mom Ever," -even though they will never believe it- but it makes them so happy anyways.
Being a Mom is a wonderful calling.
It's precious and hope-filled.
It's full of whatever you make "your thing," and the ability to shape and mould people who will rise up and call you hilarious.
But it's tough.
Bringing kids into the world is just about a difficult as getting them ready for it on their own.
It's making a mess, making birthday cakes and making apologies because you just don't see things their way.
It's the joy of letting them be exactly who God made them to be and periodically asking them if they need new underwear because you want them to have what they need.
You wonder if you said the right things and said them enough, while realizing that God will always be enough and will always say the right thing to them.
Being a Mom is smiling at a husband who is just as weary as you are when everyone goes to bed at night, and remembering that you chose him first.
A Mom has tears for the deep talks about purity, and laughs for the notes under the door asking you to not let their sister eat pretzels in bed.
She has hugs for her kids, for her kid's friends, for the neighbors and well, for the world I suppose.
When you tell her you are scared or worried or hopeful or indifferent she prays.
She prays exactly when you ask her to.
She prays for hard things, for small things, for weird to anyone else things, and for all things to work out.
For a Mom there is always something coming.
It could be lunch or dinner or a birthday or a church function.
A house payment, grocery shopping, a phone call or laundry that won't fold itself.
There's something yet to come.
There's always something yet to come.
And to whatever is peeking around the corner this Mom has Hebrews 12:1-2:
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God."
Whatever comes this Mom knows that Jesus is the author and finisher of it.
That He who gave us the very best Christmas gift- the gift of himself- is with us.
He's with us when the car breaks down, when a child doesn't understand salvation just yet, when another fears to trust Him with a decision, and when dinner doesn't go as planned.
Jesus isn't just the "Reason for the Season," He's the reason for getting out of bed and making oatmeal for hungry lazy kids.
He's the reason we live and move and have our being.
And if He is important to me,
If I give my whole life to please Him,
My kids will notice.
He's better than the best sewing machine and better yet,
He's the gift that is yet to come for us all.