“Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
Have you ever dropped the ball on a friendship? A friend asks to spend time with you, but you forget to return their email. Their texts go unanswered. Soon they stop reaching out to you, and then it feels almost embarrassing to reach out to them…
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
Think it through
Many of Jesus’s followers had a hard time recognizing him after the resurrection. Isn’t that weird?
Mary thought he was a gardener. The two disciples walking to Emmaus were kept from recognizing him until after he broke the bread. The seven disciples on the fishing boat didn’t know it was Him, even with his familiar request to throw their nets to the other side of the boat.
They couldn’t see that their Savior, Jesus, was right there with them!
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.
“And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!