Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Home for Christmas

I loaded up my kids and made the 8 hour drive to my mom's house to bless her for Christmas. Not just with our presence, considering my grandmother passed in April. But with 10 helpful hands willing to help clean, move, organize, whatever was needed.

First, I had to push through the stuff that had accumulated in the few months since my niece and I had just cleaned, moved, and organized back in April. And though my husband had tried to warn me, and my sister had tried to advise me based on her own experience; I just knew I was different. I had a plan.

After my 7-year-old proclaimed that the room we were excavating to find some misplaced thing could be featured on TLC's "Buried Alive," I had no response. But I still had a plan. My son and I spent the day cleaning and organizing the kitchen, putting down shelf paper, and putting things in easy reach. We took an hour break to go eat, and when we returned, we discovered that in that short time, my mom had already started to cover the organized stuff with the clutter of the remaining stuff that we were still organizing. Surfaces and spaces that had just been cleaned, in just 60 minutes, looked like what it had before the hours we spent working on it.

And then came the teachable moment for me! I had come with my own agenda. But when you really want to bless someone, you find a way to meet them where they are and provide what they desire to receive, not what you plan to give. And I'm not talking in terms of money or material possessions. If you're going to bless someone, then do what they want to do, not what you think is best.

I spent the next two days making fruit cakes in the Christmas tradition of my grandmother, learning how to make caramel icing from scratch, and wrapping Christmas gifts for the senior citizens of our home church which we started doing when I was on the children's choir. We had a great time.

And in the end....that was the end goal. It wasn't about me. It was about her. I'm glad we came!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Pause for Perspective

Yesterday, I had an encounter with God's point of view. I had to make some hard financial decisions and return many Christmas gifts I had purchased a few days before. So I was having this ongoing discussion with God in my car about this situation.

While I was standing in line at one store waiting for the manager to do my return, another lady was also standing at the counter. She was there for a job interview. When the cashier inquired what position she was applying for, she said, "I'll take anything you have. I just lost my husband to leukemia and I need a job."

Right then and there, it broke my heart in two. While we both waited for the manager, I struck up a conversation with her. I asked how she was doing, and if she had any kids. She said she has 3 children, with the youngest just 5-years-old. The more she talked, the sadder I became.

She said that the kids were holding up under the circumstances, but a lot of that was due to them being occupied by school during the day. She added that nights are the hardest for them.

As I left the store, I concluded my earlier conversation with God. "OK Father, I see. It's all about perspective." I thought of those dear children, who probalby couldn't care less about getting toys or clothes or anything material for Christmas. But they probably would have given everything to have their Dad back this Christmas season.

So as you run around finishing up your shopping, take time to remember what Christmas should be about. The things that really matter. And please take time to pray for the Taylor Family.