This is a photo of my four young children and I, eating at a truck stop because our Suburban overheated repeatedly during our trip to visit family after Christmas. I was so far beyond rock bottom at this point, that I actually started to laugh after Christopher snapped this. We’ve since gotten the car fixed, but I cannot say the same about my heart. Dramatic? Maybe. But I’m not gonna lie. This was a hard year. I’m glad to see it behind me.
And listen, I want to be okay with that. I feel like this is sort of a taboo idea in Christian culture, and I want to talk about it. We can be women of valor, daughters of the King, eternal optimist go-getters and do-gooders… and we can still hurt. We can birth babies and advance in career and ministry, and we can still leave the party a bit frustrated. I believe God isn’t scared of that. I believe that’s the beauty of the gospel. It meets us where we are. It walks alongside us. Christ in me, even in the hard places. 2013 gave me some beautiful moments, a new home, and a little lady who stole my heart. There was some serious growth. I’ve got a sweet highlight reel, most of which involves me falling harder in love with my family than ever before. But I’m also leaving the party a bit frustrated, and a bit hurt.
I used to fear the fights, and now I embrace the family time. I used to dislike sweets, and now I shove sugar cookies in my face. I used to snub my nose at cheesy traditions, and now I create my own. I used to cringe at the scents, and now I fill my house with cinnamon pine cones. I used to avoid red and green, and now I love plaid. With gold. I used to refuse the tunes until after Thanksgiving, and now… I still refuse the tunes until after Thanksgiving. But then it’s fair game, 24/7. Over the years, the Scrooge in me has softened up. I recently wrote this in an Instagram post, but it feels right here, too…
It’s easy to get caught up in the prep work, but I’m trying to slow it down. This is like a wedding. I don’t want to be about the day, the presents, the food, and the emotional let-down. I want to to be about the anticipation, the excitement, and the joy. All season long.
I’ve spoken often of learning to live in the moment, but there is so much importance to be found in anticipation. The expectation of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us… that is what Christmas is about. The anticipation that Mary felt, after that visit from an angel. The anticipation that Joseph felt, as his wife labored and he searched for a place late that night. The anticipation that the shepherds and wisemen felt, as they relentlessly searched for that baby. The gospels are absolutely dripping with anticipation.
Maybe I speak for myself alone, but I feel like grown-ups aren’t really great at this. We’ve made an art of a cool composure, and it’s a shame. The breath that catches, the butterflies that flutter, the goosebumps that crawl. We still have a few days before the 25th. Anticipation, y’all. Let’s get it back.
We’ve recently become a bit more familiar with sinful nature as the twins learn the word no. Honor’s husky version might take the cake on the single most endearing thing any of my children has ever done or said. In addition to their stubborn language, the sisters have also hit a bump in their developing relationship. They’re no longer oblivious to each other! It provides us with much entertainment as they struggle to (not) share food, personal space, family members’ laps, and toys…