The Whole House Craft and Cookie Day

The Whole House Craft and Cookie Day! It’s today! We are making cookies and doing some Christmas 🎄 crafts! It will be loud and crazy. Lots of kids and moms and sugar! Do you do a Christmas Craft Day?

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Maybe you’re reading this and thinking, yeah, right? I couldn’t do this! My kids would whine, fight and that would be the end of it.

Can I tell you something? You’re probably right. Your kids may whine. Some of them may not want to do every craft or cookie. Things might go wrong. It won’t be perfect.  Do it anyway.

WHAT?! Yes, do it anyway! Forming a habit of celebration means things won’t be exactly the way you picture them. It will be worth it in the long run. Every time you practice the habit of celebration, you build a memory. Every time you build a memory with your child, you are reinforcing connection.

I have had some cookie days gone wrong, so I speak from experience. I’m preaching to the Guire here. I have four boys who liked to make cookie mounds and messes on cookie days. This totally messed with perfectionist Mama until I changed my attitude. And it was hard to change my attitude. I wanted perfectly decorated cookies like you see on the Instagram accounts and Pinterest.

One year, I drove to my daughter’s house in another state and left my cookie dough at home. Everyone thought I would have tons of cookie dough, so no one else made any.  Daughter Audrey ran out to get some. We used store bought that year (perfectionist me loses again). And…we had a blast!

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When we remember the goal and purpose of the habit of celebration, it makes it easier to practice it. When we expect the celebration to be perfect, we are less likely to practice the habit.

The goal of celebration is time spend together, celebrating people, not things. The purpose of celebration is connection. We connect with our children, family and friends. We when participate in celebration with a light, joyful attitude, the connection grows. When we expect perfect circumstances and perfectly behaved children, we will be disappointed and our attitudes will sour (been there, done that).

Let’s build some memories this year! Plan a cookie and craft day. Don’t stress about it looking like Pinterest Perfect Posts. Make it real and fun. Practice the habit of celebration and build some memories!

The Family Tree of Jesus Gives us Hope

“Family gives you context and origin. It gives you understanding and the family tree of Christ always gives you hope.”– Ann Voskamp

The family tree of Christ notes four women who felt like outsiders, has beens or never beens. Jesus claims the wounded and worn out as His own.

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You and I, adoptive parents, our lineage, like Mary’s is full of God infused bloodlines of grace, of overcoming behind closed doors when children feel all of the above. He purposed the family tree on your wall with branches askew albeit to others, but not to Him.

* * *

He knew the choice would be for life, not abortion, not death. He knew the neglect and destruction in the child’s birth home would lead him to your door and through a multiple set of court dates made him part of your forever family. He was present when the young women wrestled with the choice of abortion or adoption and He cheers for life. The Father is an adopter. The Father to the fatherless is His name.

* * *

If you think your family has unique roots, part oak, part maple, part hickory, then look at Mary’s roots- “the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot- yes, a new branch bearing fruit from the old root.” (Isaiah 11:1)

Both the Amorites and Moabites were descendants of Lot. The Moabites descended from Moab, the son of Lot, born of an incestuous relationship with his eldest daughter (Gen. 19:37). The Ammonites were descended from Lot’s incestuous relationship with his youngest daughter, her son, Ben-ammi.  Both of these religions sacrificed infants. Tamar posed as a harlot and slept with her Father-in-law in order to conceive.

“How long will you waver and hesitate [to return], O you backsliding daughter? For the Lord has created a new thing in the land {of Israel} a female shall compass (woo, win and protect) a man.”

– Jeremiah 31:22

These women were from pagan cultures, ones that didn’t value children. They were harlots, pagans, outsiders. Children from hard places are like these women, broken, discarded, forced to bear incestuous relationships or prostitution. Our kids from these hard places feel shame beyond what some of us (not all) can comprehend. They feel worthless. But they are not worthless. They feel discarded. Rejected. Living on the outskirts of hope.

“Behold, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a Son and they shall call his name Emmanuel- which translated means God with us.”

-Matthew 1:23

We adoptive parents, when entrenched in the day to day with our child’s behaviors, survival mode ruling, we may wonder if your children’s births were prophesied, if they were planned for, if all the past shame neglect and abuse can bring forth a new shoot, new life from the stump of pain and decay.

Mary, the teen mother of God with and angel’s message in her belt, moved forward into history and bore the son of God. She pondered the messages, signs and wonders in her heart.

* * *

We adoptive parents do the same. We first ponder the message of adoption. Like Mary, we may first receive the message with fear, but then we follow with obedience.

* * *

BRAVO, YOU! Then follows the minutes, days and years of living out the calling. It’s hard work and that’s a gross understatement. Just as Mary must have trembled, doubted and wondered how she could raise the child of the living God, the Son of God, we adoptive parents do the shame.(I’m confused here I mean the same, most of the time. Some of us feel ashamed of our reactions, our feelings towards the child. Some days we want to throw up our hands and say, “I can’t do this. Why did you pick me?”

I understand. I am right there with you, sister, brother. Some days are overwhelmingly difficult. But, know this. You are handpicked, just as chosen as Mary. You are just as called, just as loved, just as special as those women named in the genealogy of Jesus. Take a minute. Let that sink in. I know that’s a tough word to believe, we have have been taught that some are more sanctified, some more holy.

* * *

Your job, your calling is in agreement with the design of His own will.

* * *

In Him, we also were made [God’s] heritage (portion) and we obtained an inheritance for we have been foreordained (chosen and appointed beforehand) in accordance with His purpose. Who works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will.

– Ephesians 1:11

Mary, highly favored, chosen to bear the son of God had to be obedient. None of us parents are raising Jesus, Son of God, Savior of the world, but each of our children are seeds of potential purpose.

“ But Mary was keeping within herself all these things they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.”

-Luke 2:20

Mary watched and listened to those things being said about and to Jesus. She pondered them in her heart. We adoptive parents may have listened to a litany of things said about our children, heart wrenching stories of abuse, neglect and incest. We must ponder them in our hearts, be aware of triggers and potential meltdown situations. Remember, there can be hope and healing. Their futures are not determined by what has been done to them. Like those four names in the bloodline, the lineage of Christ, their lives can be significant despite their pasts. They are significant. Jesus said, “Suffer little children to come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes of those who are bound.” -Isaiah 61:1

We act like Jesus, we carry his anointing when we proclaim liberty to the captives, the children from hard places. We minister to the afflicted, to bind up and heal the broken hearted. We have a divine calling, a holy calling.

*From 25 Days of Thriving Through Christmas An Advent Devotional for Adoptive and Foster Parents
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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, not because of Hallmark movies 🎥! Those are wonderful! What’s even more wonderful? Celebration of God coming to earth in human form! Why? So, He can relate to our suffering. He felt what we feel. He put himself in painful situations so He could say, “I know! Me too!” He didn’t come dressed in fine robes or with a crown on His head, He came as a helpless babe. So, whatever you are going through this season, He understands. You don’t have to have it all together. You don’t have to. Just come as you are.

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It’s funny, many of us resist believing in God. Period. Then when He shows Himself clearly to us, through a friend or circumstance, we think we need have it altogether to come to Him. Not true. Jesus, son God, Word made flesh, had nothing together when He came to join us on earth in human form. He was a naked, helpless babe. We can go to Him in the same way. I don’t mean physically run around naked (unless you are a toddler), but spiritually naked. Naked in the sense that we say,

“Hey, Jesus, I need clothed in your righteousness. I don’t have any of my own. I just lost it on my kids!”

Or, “Dear Jesus, I need your presence because I am alone and scared. I don’t know how to find true friends.”

Or, “Jesus, everyone thinks I can do everything for everyone, but I can’t. I feel like a bag of skin, trying to bear everyone’s burdens. Can you help me.”

It is when we come to Jesus in our naked weakness that He can heal us and use us to helps others. Come right now. Don’t wait. If God can come to earth as a naked babe, surely we can come to Him in our weakness, He will accept our spiritual nakedness and clothe us in righteousness.

25 Days of Thriving Through Christmas An Advent Devotional for Adoptive and Foster Families – Coming soon!

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If you have adopted or foster children, this is for you.

If you have a special needs child, this is for you.

If even thinking about the busy Christmas season coming in a few months makes you break out into hives, this is for you.

If you’re thinking about skipping the festivities altogether because it’s just too much, this is for you.

 If you want your children to enjoy the Christmas season and learn the true meaning of Christmas, this is for you.

if you’re craving a silent night, full of peace and goodwill towards your kids, this is for you.

Our adopted kids first Christmas at home was magical and overwhelming all at the same time. Music. Family. Church Events. Caroling. We just didn’t know where and when the triggers would show up and send them into meltdown.

Welcome to your twenty-five day countdown and survival guide. Raising children from hard places is challenging. Surviving the holidays with a smile on your face while parenting is even more challenging, that’s why I wrote this handy little Advent book. Don’t stress. It’s not a huge to-do, not more than a paragraph or two each day. Easy peasy and encouraging. So, take a minute each morning and read. This year, let’s not just survive the Christmas season, let’s thrive!

Every year  the calendar flips to December and we parents hit the ground with skis on and head down the slope to things to do and places to be before that magic goal day on the calendar, December 25th. We want to focus on the real meaning of Christmas, the birth of the Savior. We may have a depth of understanding of the season that our children do not see. They deal in the tangible of what they can see until the spiritual foundation is raised. Some of us are parenting hurt children who have come from hard places and have no foundation of celebration. Christmas activities may seem strange or act as triggers for their past. This thriving  tip devotional is full of practical suggestions to help with some of the anxiety of season and make it more joyful for children and parents alike.

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25 Days of Thriving Through Christmas, An Advent Devotional for Adoptive and Foster Parents is designed to read during the month of December with four chapters, one for each week and daily short devotionals with practical tips of how to thrive through the holidays with kids from hard places. After each tip is a Biblical application for Mom and Dad. This book is your guide to thriving through the Christmas holiday!

Thriving Through Christmas 25 Day Countdown Day 23

Welcome to your twenty-five day countdown and thriving guide. If you have been following this series, scroll down past the picture for today’s tip! Make sure you click the follow via email button on the right to receive your “25 Days of Thriving through Christmas” in your inbox each day! Raising children from hard places is challenging. Surviving the holidays with a smile on your face while parenting is even more challenging, that’s why the Positive Adoption Team has put together this handy little series. Don’t stress. It’s not a huge to-do, not more than a paragraph or two each day. Easy peasy and encouraging. So, take a minute each morning, open your inbox and read. This year, let’s not just survive the Christmas season, let’s thrive!

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Tip 23- It had better not be perfect!

Every year when the kids and I were putting up the Christmas tree, my Spock-like tendencies came out. Every candle had to be perfectly spaced. The ribbons had to be equal distance apart.  All the lights had to be white and homemade ornaments had to go on the back side of the tree. I wish I could go back and time and change those practices. I cannot. But, you can learn from my mistakes. Part of my habit was personality. Part perfectionism. I wanted the tree to be perfect. I’m not sure who the tree was being perfect for. It wasn’t for the kids. They would rather have popcorn and homemade ornaments. Colored lights. They wanted colored lights.

The problem with perfect? It doesn’t help children. It leaves them wanting. It makes them feel as if they don’t measure up. The last thing a child from a hard place needs is the expectation of perfectionism. They are wrapped in control that leaves them in manipulation mode. To add perfectionism to that ballgame spells disaster. Instead we need flexibility. Fun. Willingness to bend. Willingness to bend down and see where they are and join them.

Biblical Application:

“In the Christian story God descends to reascend. He comes down from heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity; down further still, if embryologists are right, to recapitulate in the womb ancient and pre-human phases of life; down to the very roots and seabed of the Nature He has created. But He goes down to come up again and bring the whole ruined world up with Him.”- C.S. Lewis

Kids who have come from traumatic beginnings or kids who have just had a hard day need us to descend to their depths in order to help them reascend into joy. This is the Christ-like Christmas act. This is not perfect. It is messy. It is not self serving. It is bowing down to serve. It is paper chains strung across the living room. It is flour all over the floor when baking. It is globs of shapeless cookies with mountains of icing. It is sloppily wrapped gifts with half a yard of tape around them. It is falling asleep on the floor under the Christmas tree with a child who pops out of bed like a batch of popcorn. It is joy in imperfection. Bend down to bring those in your world up with you.

Thriving Through Christmas 25 Day Countdown Day 22

Welcome to your twenty-five day countdown and thriving guide.If you have been following this series, scroll down past the picture for today’s tip! Make sure you click the follow via email button on the right to receive your “25 Days of Thriving through Christmas” in your inbox each day! Raising children from hard places is challenging. Surviving the holidays with a smile on your face while parenting is even more challenging, that’s why the Positive Adoption Team has put together this handy little series. Don’t stress. It’s not a huge to-do, not more than a paragraph or two each day. Easy peasy and encouraging. So, take a minute each morning, open your inbox and read. This year, let’s not just survive the Christmas season, let’s thrive!

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Tip 22-

Watch the dead time.

“When is everyone coming?” is a question I hear often before Christmas or “what are we going to do today?” While I have a list a mile long of what I need to do (not all Christmas related because life goes on). My answer is usually stilted or short, “We are not going anywhere today!” or “I have a bunch of stuff to do!” My doing sometimes creates dead time for children. Dead time has no purpose.

Waiting. Remember the waiting? Yes, it seems to be more intense the closer it is to Christmas. Kids are on break. There are long hours for them and much preparation for us Moms. Family coming to town means we need to clean, shop and plan. We Moms sneak away to wrap presents. And for kids this is sometimes dead time. It can create havoc. It creates whiny kids wondering what is coming next and if it is EVER going to happen.

Christmas doesn’t have to be condensed to one day and if it is, it can be a let down. All that dead time for this? All that waiting for this? Dad’s too tired on Christmas Eve to play. Mom is ready for a nap after Christmas dinner?

It’s tough, I know. Grownups are tired. Kids are wired.

Try to fill the dead time with short activities during the day. Give the kids some Christmas jobs.

  • wrapping a present or two
  • helping with baking
  • cleaning
  • get the board games out before company comes and play a few warm-up rounds
  • have them run errands with you and TALK and LISTEN
  • purchase a few easy meals that are a special treat and have the kids help make them
  • help them make home made gifts

Turn the dead time into life skill time. Before long the children will be adults. Prepare them by training them in participation now!

Biblical Application:

Let Your mercy and loving-kindness, O Lord, be upon us, in proportion to our waiting and hoping for You.- Psalm 33:22

We parents know who and what we are waiting for. The kids may only have an inkling. If we parents spend our Christmas season fretting about material things (guilty) then the Lord’s mercy and loving-kindness will be less evident to us. I don’t mean that God’s mercy and loving-kindness goes away, it’s just that we can’t see it if we are not looking for it!  We see His mercy and loving-kindness when we wait and hope for it and in turn our children will see a glimpse of it in us!

Thriving Through Christmas 25 Day Countdown Day 21

Welcome to your twenty-five day countdown and thriving guide.If you have been following this series, scroll down past the picture for today’s tip! Make sure you click the follow via email button on the right to receive your “25 Days of Thriving through Christmas” in your inbox each day! Raising children from hard places is challenging. Surviving the holidays with a smile on your face while parenting is even more challenging, that’s why the Positive Adoption Team has put together this handy little series. Don’t stress. It’s not a huge to-do, not more than a paragraph or two each day. Easy peasy and encouraging. So, take a minute each morning, open your inbox and read. This year, let’s not just survive the Christmas season, let’s thrive!

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Tip 21-

Christmas has needs.

I paced back and forth at the front of the house where large windows looked out over the front yard and the mailbox. The mailbox- what had been a symbol of Christmas cards and good news had become my worst enemy. I dreaded the mailman coming bringing bills and more bills, and yet I watched, waited, worried. When the mail truck pulled up to my box, I hid behind the curtains, afraid he would see me and hand deliver bills that said, “FINAL NOTICE”. I imagined him shaking his head in pity me as he saw the stack of bills.

I’ve lived there, deep in the pit of need where my prayers were only about my lack. Mortgage payments. Groceries. Presents. How do you have a silent night when your mind is full of the need? Of worry? Of the reality of the barrenness of now? I’m not going to tell you how to shop smarter or spend less (there are plenty of great blogs and books about that). The truth is you cannot shop smarter with nothing. It is not a great deal if you have nothing.

Almost eight years ago, we moved to our current home and still owned a home in another city.It sat on the market for a year and a half. We paid two mortgages for that length of time. A few years before that we lost our family owned business. We ate through our savings, our kids college funds and put the rest of our money into a house that the downturn in the market swallowed up. We went from being middle class to on the edge of homeless.

I don’t share this info often because I don’t enjoy pity parties anymore. I’m not inviting you to one. I do, however enjoy empathy parties with a healthy dose of encouragement. That is what this post is for. Encouragement. I have talked to many, adoptive families over the years and all of them have something in common- after the adoption comes the Job syndrome. Sometimes it’s years down the road. Sometimes, just months or days. It can come in different packages, loss of heath for parent or child, loss of finances, behavior issues, trouble attaching,_________(fill in the blank). The Job syndrome is a whole book in itself, I’ll keep it brief your sake, you get the picture, right?

Christmas has needs. It needs us to step outside of our every day stress and receive it. That is difficult to do when we are full of worry and the weight of the world on our shoulders. So, how do we except the gift of Christmas when we cannot buy our children the gifts we want to? Or buy the groceries we need to make the traditional dinner? How do we meet Christ in the morning when we are so weighed down and depressed we cannot get out of bed? How do we celebrate when our children from hard places have had every trigger activated and are out of control?

Biblical Application:

  1. Accept your now.

You may not be where you want to be financially or physically, just remember a healthy part of getting on the right path is enjoying something in your now that you can remember later. Play games with your kids. Cut out paper snowflakes. Sing Christmas carols. Make gifts.  Watch for points of connection and behaviors you want to encourage. Mention them aloud to your children. Before you know it, you will have a pocket full of wonderful memories. The kids won’t remember the lean years as much as they remember the celebration.

  1. Prepare for your future now.

I’m not talking about getting a financial plan. Those are great, but the bottom can fall out of those too. Ask me. I know. I’m talking about your heart. If you believe your child will always struggle or always make things a struggle then it will become reality. Instead, look for pinpricks of light and believe that God is doing a great work in the child that He put in your care. Instead of thinking that your Christmases will always be full of lack and need, focus on the blessings you have. Thank the Father for them. Often. Keep a list or a thankful tree (it doesn’t have to be November to do this). This is heart preparation for the future blessings. It makes things well with your soul.

  1. Rest in HIM.

I can’t say this often enough. I do say it often because the Lord leads me to verses often that hi-light REST. His rest is not the same as ours. It’s not vegging in front of the TV ignoring the  issues, it’s digging deep into His word. It’s dialoguing with Him. Tell Him your concerns. Don’t just make requests. When you do, trust Him to supply. He will. The Christmas that was the most lean for us financially, friends of mine gave me gifts for my children that were perfect for them. We didn’t spend lots of money. We didn’t have it. We did celebrate. I bet if you asked my kids if they remember a ‘bad’ Christmas, they would say “NO!”. The great thing about the need of Christmas is –

“You don’t have to make Christmas…..You can rest in Christ…..You can breathe easy in Christ.”- Ann Voskamp

Christmas needs us to rest in Christ.

Thriving Through Christmas 25 Day Countdown Day 20

Welcome to your twenty-five day countdown and thriving guide.If you have been following this series, scroll down past the picture for today’s tip! Make sure you click the follow via email button on the right to receive your “25 Days of Thriving through Christmas” in your inbox each day! Raising children from hard places is challenging. Surviving the holidays with a smile on your face while parenting is even more challenging, that’s why the Positive Adoption Team has put together this handy little series. Don’t stress. It’s not a huge to-do, not more than a paragraph or two each day. Easy peasy and encouraging. So, take a minute each morning, open your inbox and read. This year, let’s not just survive the Christmas season, let’s thrive!

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Tip 20- Don’t expect your children to understand the true meaning of Christmas.

Daughter Ania and I hopped into the car after an evening of Christmas shopping at Ikea. Sirri decided to send us in circles before putting on the the interstate and gave us a three hour drive time for our one and a half hour trip. Was that her idea of a joke? Half an hour down the road we hit snow and bumper to bumper traffic. Huge rigs pulled on the side of the road to avoid the slip and slide routine going on with cars. We snailed our way along singing Christmas songs with Pentatonix (we do the sound effects in the background perfectly) and laughing til tears streamed down our cheeks. Oh… Christmas. We arrived home safe and sound two and a half hours later, tired and happy. How did you know Sirri?

Or better yet, did Mary know?(Mom joke) Really, what does this have to do with kids knowing the meaning of Christmas? Lots. You see, we sometimes over spiritualize Christmas. Do you hear me serious sister?  As Moms, we are constantly reminding ourselves of the true meaning of Christmas and in a parallel universe, checking off a to do list like a maniac:

  • WRAP PRESENTS -CHECK
  • ORDER LAST MINUTE FROM AMAZON BEFORE TOO LATE -CHECK
  • MAKE PIE
  • RUN OUT FOR STOCKING STUFFERS- CHECK
  • CLEAN- CHECK

And when our children ask for time, tire from activities, walk around in sugar comas and meltdown, we Moms despair of our kids ever understanding the true meaning of Christmas.  When the kids play with the plastic nativity scene and have Mary duke it out with Joseph of the Wisemen, we may wonder if they will ever ‘get it’.

BUT- AND THIS IS A BIG BUT…..

Do we get it?

If we do and we live consistently, acting on that belief, then they WILL get it. It won’t be a shopping trip to IKEA and driving home in snow. It will be Christmas.

Biblical Application:

Christmas isn’t a day, well…..it is, a day we Christians picked to celebrate the birth of our Savior. I won’t get into all the theology, but if you want to know more about it, read a great series here. Christmas is a belief that God came to earth as a human babe. He left his throne and God-form to set up His kingdom on earth, not for a day- for eternity.

When we live in accordance with that kingdom-

But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides.-Matthew 6:33

When we live with this in mind and action, knowing He works out everything in agreement with the counsel and design of His [own] will.

God sent His son to checkmate satan, to turn the tide in the game, to take us from the course and fashion of this world, take control back from the prince of the power of the air and establish His kingdom in our hearts and on the earth.

Kids aren’t going to respect Christmas because we put up a tree or purchased the perfect presents. They aren’t going to act like angelic beings because we celebrate some man made traditions. However, they are going to watch us. If our actions are consistent with our beliefs, they will get it.

Just don’t expect them to float around singing the Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus unless you are!

Your children will get it, if you live it. It is a process. It takes time. You weren’t born with wisdom and understanding. Neither are they. We understand it part. They understand in bits. Wait for it.

 

Thriving Through Christmas 25 Day Countdown Day 19

Welcome to your twenty-five day countdown and thriving guide.If you have been following this series, scroll down past the picture for today’s tip! Make sure you click the follow via email button on the right to receive your “25 Days of Thriving through Christmas” in your inbox each day! Raising children from hard places is challenging. Surviving the holidays with a smile on your face while parenting is even more challenging, that’s why the Positive Adoption Team has put together this handy little series. Don’t stress. It’s not a huge to-do, not more than a paragraph or two each day. Easy peasy and encouraging. So, take a minute each morning, open your inbox and read. This year, let’s not just survive the Christmas season, let’s thrive!

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Tip 19-

Don’t expect the Christmas season to be free of hardships.

A dear friend of mine died  last year around this time. I won’t make this post about it. The grief is fresh and private and yet I rejoice that she no longer suffers. None of us knows the day or the hour when hardships or struggles will strike.

At this time last year, I was running around with a heart monitor strapped to my chest and wires trailing out of my yoga pants, thanks to some heart issues. My eldest son, Damian,  fell and broke his elbow at work so we traipsed from doctor to specialist trying to get a good picture of what was going on inside his arm. I got home and jumped into son Hunter’s car to be whisked to the cardiologists and rip off the monitor before they locked the doors. (Wonder what the reading looked like that last hour.) Not what I planned to be doing during the countdown to Christmas.

The truth is- life happens during the Christmas season. We cannot put sickness on hold or plan not to have any tragedies. Struggles are not scheduled on your calendar app.

Our children from hard places know the drill. Hardships have already happened to them. They can get stuck in the expectation of devastation. It is our job to allow them to grieve, but not stay stuck in the pit. Tough job. Not impossible. When we have this mindset that Christ gave us that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord and those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28) and remember this is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it. Give thanks. Not for the circumstance, but in the midst of it.

Biblical Application

Luke 2:1-7

2 In those days it occurred that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole[a]Roman empire should be registered.

2 This was the first enrollment, and it was made when Quirinius was governor of Syria.

3 And all the people were going to be registered, each to his own city or town.

4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the town of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,

5 To be enrolled with Mary, his espoused ([b]married) wife, who was about to become a mother.(A)

6 And while they were there, the time came for her delivery,

7 And she gave birth to her Son, her Firstborn; and she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room or place for them in the inn.

The circumstances of the birth of our savior were probably not the Christmas that Mary and Joseph had envisioned. Fleeing to Egypt shortly after was probably not on their agenda either. Yet, they rejoiced. They celebrated. Mary pondered all of these things. There were gifts and songs sung by angels. There was great joy!

“Struggling and rejoicing are not two chronological steps, one following the other, but two concurrent movements, one fluid with the other.”- Ann Voskamp, The Greatest Gift

We parents must learn to rejoice and struggle at the same time for our children’s sake. We must teach them to cope and rejoice in the midst of circumstances. We can rejoice in one thing and grieve another at the same time. Nobody is asking us to ignore grief or pain. We don’t ask our children to either. We can rejoice in Christmas in the midst of pain. Hardships happen even at Christmas.