Monthly Archives: December 2016

A Look Back on 2016

I was kind of a rebel with my one little word choice for 2016: I actually picked a 2-word phrase.

Worth it

We had to make a lot of really big decisions this year, and being a person who isn’t by nature incredibly decisive, it was important to me to have a filter to run those decisions through.

Is it worth it?

Is the discomfort, uncertainty, and awkwardness going to lead to an end result that is worth it all?

We also deemed this year one of adventure. As a family, we wanted to try new things, make our own adventures, and have fun memories to hold onto.

The changes included things like

  • Selling our first home and moving closer to school
  • Family bike rides – this is our new favorite thing to do together
  • Daisy starting preschool
  • Tanner studying and testing to make the promotion list at work (He made the list! We are just waiting for the position to open up.)
  • An anniversary vacation to Colorado
  • New recipes and restaurants
  • Dash starting Mighty Mites football

We faced some serious bumps along the way, lost sleep, and even crashed and burned some days, but we all grew, too. We are learning what it means to work together as a family team, take risks, and say no to things that just aren’t worth it cost.

My heart is full at the end of this year. God has blessed us and sustained us, and I’m grateful for the memories and wisdom our family has gained by adventuring together.

Christmas is for the Broken

Christmas is for the broken.

christmas-is-for-the-broken

She was grieving and looking for something to fear rather than face the pain.

She sucked in her breath and let out a prayer that her broken heart wouldn’t scatter out of reach when she exhaled.

He held his own tears at bay and placed an arm of support around her broken heart.

He was consumed with paranoia so much that the truth seemed to mock him rather than free him.

His steady grin and shaking hands found a way to make peace with each other, all the while exhausting his body.

She leaned into the homesickness and remembered what was before.

She slowly started facing the fact that she was not solely responsible for fixing the brokenness of everyone around her.

She didn’t mean to break it. Neither did he, but eventually plastic can’t help but fracture.

The freshness of loss colliding with the memories of what used to be make for a broken Christmas.

But truly?

Those of us leaning into the reality of brokenness on Christmas have a fragile handle on something we might have failed to acknowledge in years past: Christmas is made for the broken.

It’s a reality that is often attempted to be glossed over with shiny wrapping and cute Christmas cookies.

A reality that we overlook as we break the seals and rip the bows on the gifts. In order to get to the treasure inside the package, we have to embrace ripping, tearing, and destroying of that festive cover someone spent hours getting “just so.”

The real brokenness that wove its way into Christmas this year made it a new kind of beautiful Рa glimmer of beauty that the humble souls living out the bizarre events of the first Christmas might have felt.

The confusion and pain of a new mom who wanted nothing more than to offer the most comfortable and clean place to snuggle her king-child after the agony of bringing him into the world.

The fear and frustration of a man who watched his wife birth a child far from home after his efforts to at least provide her with a clean place to stay were repeatedly rejected.

The confusion of some worn-out, forever-changed shepherds whose routine and filthy work was broken by a glimpse at what glory actually looks like.

They all got just enough perspective to push through the broken dreams, rejection, and disheveled surroundings to see that Hope was born in the midst of their broken, screwed-up world.

It’s only appropriate that the fanfare that comes in the weeks, days, and hours preparing for the most wonderful day of the most wonderful time of the year ends with a day where everything is left in disarray.

Christmas is a thing because of flawed, broken people. It’s a thing because grace is the only answer.

Christmas can be celebrated when we don’t feel much like celebrating because it’s not about us. When we try making it perfect or about ourselves, disappointment leads to anger
leads to bitterness
leads to ugly attempts to salvage a meaningless day.

While the facets of pain are difficult to endure, the True Meaning of Christmas came to redeem shattered dreams and imperfect realities.

And that is why I can say with a joy that grows deeper with each year that I live,

Merry Christmas!