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Open the Stable Door

This is a guest post by my mother, Sharon Kelley.  She shared the following as a Mentor Moment for the young mothers of her church.  When I read it, I cried.  It’s just too good to leave on her hard drive… so I’m sharing it with you.  May you open the stable door this Christmas.  —Shannon

 

So how are the Christmas preparations going for you so far? Are the presents bought? Are they wrapped up with a sparkly bow? Are the cookies baked? Is the tree up? Is the house decorated inside and out? Are the Christmas cards in the mailbox, including a bright and happy family letter? Is your blood pressure rising just thinking about all you have yet to do?

In my own life, my little family of three children has grown to three children, three in-law children, and nine grandchildren. That’s a lot of shopping and attending at least nine Christmas school programs, band concerts, piano recitals and a Tae Kwon Do black belt testing thrown in the mix. Bill and I also have responsibilities to help care for Bill’s 91 year old mom and my 98 year old Dad. Wowsa. It’s a lot in December.

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Where is Your Baby Jesus?

“And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

Luke 2:12

 

During the Christmas season when my little Oliver was one year old, I was constantly hunting for the Baby Jesus.

Oliver loved our Fisher Price Nativity—but not the whole set. He ignored the sweet donkey and the sheep. He looked right past Joseph and Mary and the Innkeepers. He went straight for the Baby Jesus.

As the season progressed, I found the figurine in more and more unusual places. In front of the fridge, then behind a chair. On a shelf, or shoved under the couch, or thrown over the baby gate.

I began to worry that Oliver might hide the Baby Jesus somewhere I couldn’t find him. Christmas was coming, and the set would be missing its most important piece! I constantly asked Oliver, “Where’s your Baby Jesus?”

I needn’t have worried, because I found him every time.

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What Not to Do When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you…

-Isaiah 43:2

 

I took a hard look at my bad reactions to overwhelming circumstances when my friend Rachel Wojo gave me a copy of her new book, One More Step.

Rachel and I have similar ministry messages in a lot of ways. In One More Step, she takes the reader on journey through the different feelings we face in the midst of struggle and gives solid, faith-based ideas for how to handle those feelings. In my favorite chapter, Rachel talks about weeding out negative thoughts much like I talk about clearing out spiritual clutter! In another chapter, she had wonderful suggestions about steps to take and things to avoid when life becomes overwhelming.

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Will You Seek Jesus?

Read it! John 1

“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.”

So they went and saw where he was staying and stayed the day with him.

(vs39)

Think it through

Sometimes I think the Gospel of John is hard to read.

When people first come to know Christ, Christian leaders often recommend that they start their Bible reading with the book of John. And I think, Why? John is hard.

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More Jesus at Christmas!

Christmastime can give any mom spiritual clutter. 

All of the extra holiday to-dos and events—and the feeling of panic that hits us when we realize it’s already December [fill in the date]—can push the Christmas joy right out of our hearts.  We hate to admit it, but even wonderful Christian moms like us need to be intentional about keeping our hearts centered on Christ at Christmas!

So this December, clear out some of that spiritual clutter.  Plan and prepare ahead as much as possible.  Skip “traditions” you don’t even like.  Simplify where you can and just do less…but, I also want to challenge you to do more in order to keep the joy of our Savior front and center in your heart.

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Reduce Your Anxiety with Jesus

When you get right down to it, clearing out spiritual clutter is all about reducing anxiety.  The Lord tells us to “seek peace and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14).  That’s why I began this ministry in the first place!

God took my four-year battle with a clinical anxiety disorder and used it for His glory.  Without that experience I never would have written a book or started a public speaking ministry, even though it’s not directly what I talk or write about.

Well, until now.  So many women who have read the Organizing You books or have heard me speak share their anxiety struggles with me—from their everyday worries to clinical anxiety to panic attacks.  In order to help, I’d like to share with you a few specific ways that I’ve learned to seek peace in my anxious moments.

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Will Heaven be…Boring? (Hint: the answer is no!)

Read it! Revelation 22

And they will see his face, and his name will be written on their foreheads.

And there will be no night there—no need for lamps or sun—

for the Lord God will shine on them.

And they will reign forever and ever.

(vs 4&5)

Think it through

I’m excited about Heaven—like, really excited. Sometimes I can’t wait to be with Jesus and see what it’s like there.

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Wanting More and More and More…

Read it! Psalm 42

As the deer longs for streams of water,

So I long for You, O God.

(vs 1)

Think it through

The scrapbook I purchased had a “nature” theme (for those of you who are wondering, it’s a K&Company Smash I purchased at Michaels, my veeeeerrrrry favorite store). What sold me on that particular book was that one of the pages had a deer on it. Perfect for Psalm 42:1—and I’d already decided that I definitely wanted to include that verse!

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Why a Scripture Scrapbook Series (What’s in it for you)

Read it! Deuteronomy 6

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.

Impress them on your children. Talk about them

when you sit at home and when you walk along the road,

when you lie down and when you get up.

(vs6&7)

Think it through

I’m a Pinterest lover.

Though I have some “Organizing” boards on Pinterest, only a few of my boards are ministry-specific. It’s a personal account and my boards reflect my heart. I try to pin only the things I think I’d actually do or things that bring me joy… things that inspire me, and that I hope will inspire others.

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Acting Weird—On Purpose

Read it! Ruth 3

“I will do whatever you say,” Ruth answered.

So she went down to the threshing floor and did everything her mother-in-law told her to do.

(vs5&6)

Think it through

So Ruth snuck onto the threshing floor, uncovered the feet of a sleeping man she barely knew, and laid down to sleep next to those same feet.

How weird is this?

As a foreigner, Ruth probably found these Jewish customs just a strange as we do. What do you suppose she thought about as she lay there on the floor, waiting to be redeemed? It doesn’t sound like she fell asleep. (I wouldn’t have been able to sleep a wink.)

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