Merry Christmas?

Although Christmas is my favorite time of year, Christmas is not “merry” for many.

The holiday season can become a catalyst that accentuates grief, sparks depression and brings about a range of emotions, some of which we would rather not face. Not everyone has a legacy of Christmas memories that leave them feeling warm and cozy.

This Christmas will be one for many who are struggling with loss, and a great number of them may be relieved when the holidays are over.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

Some people may very well need to tend their wounds instead of catering to the expectations of other people.

Insisting those who are hurting be joyful is unrealistic. We can’t always understand someone’s pain, but we can certainly respect it.

By faith, I am trusting God that much joy and laughter awaits us this Christmas.

 One reason we celebrate the birth of Christ is the promise of a new life that doesn’t suffer the ills and pains of this earthly world. Those who trust Him have a promise of something better for eternity.

Through faith, we win the mental battle that allows us to see the light that eventually breaks after every storm. Jesus is the Light of the world elevating us above despair and defeat. If you are feeling overcome, look to the Light!

Call on Him.

If you are hurting this Christmas season, my prayer is that you receive His peace on earth and goodwill from men!

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and our God and Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting consolation and good hope by grace, comfort your hearts and establish you in every good word and work.
2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 NKJV

Beauty for Ashes…

Isaiah 61 is probably one of the most comforting chapters in the Bible. The very first verse begins with good news preaching “good tidings to the poor,” speaks to “heal the broken-hearted,” and proclaims “liberty to the captives.”

Most of us need “comfort” at one time or another. We suffer wounds along our way. We lose people and mourn. Things we hold dear can be reduced to nothing.

Fear, doubt, and even daily life can sometimes pull us under yet thankfully we don’t have to stay under or bound by any of our losses. Isaiah teaches us not to wallow in our sorrows but instead be willing to exchange what we have for what our God is willing to give us.




I recall learning how the ashes caused by forest fires fertilize the ground to allow new growth. The “fires” in our lives have this same potential. How amazing that the remnants of what was can become the foundation for what can be.

If you are wounded, don’t give up. Instead, give yourself over to God. He can take you and your remnants and produce something new!

Isaiah preached of what was to come, our God is available to us now.

A Healer.

A Redeemer.

Receiving God’s beauty requires that we give up what we have, even that which is painfully familiar, so that we may receive His promises.

 What are you holding on to?

“To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified,”
Isaiah 61:3 NKJV



When I drove to my hometown in January, I had no idea of what lay ahead. What I thought would be a day trip, a weekend at most, would evolve into something completely different.

My mother and I spoke of the azaleas blooming all over. Lavender and hot pink azaleas were ablaze in her yard. Spring often comes early to Tallahassee, even still, January was way too soon.

 Our “trials” would teach me perseverance. My faith was indeed tested. I was blessed with prayers and understanding from family and friends in my “hometown” as well as “back home” outside of Atlanta.

Mommy’s initial surgery went well. Then, doctors would find the need to do another. She was out of one hospital and into another to transition to rehab.

Or, so we thought.

We talked and laughed.  We caught up with each other, watched television all while she would prod me, “Don’t you need to go home?”

I assured her there was no place I would rather be. I was blessed to be at her side, listening to doctors, giving my advice and whatever I could do for the woman who hadn’t been hospitalized since giving birth to me!

I would eventually put up her Christmas tree as it began to look oddly strange on Groundhog Day. I tidied up. I purchased a microwave for the kitchen that had gone forty-five years without one.

 Mommy was a good patient, exceeding expectations and many prayers were answered.  She pushed through surgeries, pain and discomfort. Only a few times did she ever complain, and prodded by docs to do even that.

Six weeks to the day of that emergency appendectomy I kissed her and said, “You’re going to be just fine.”

Those were the last words I would say to her before they put her under. I didn’t think too much of it. Just another hurdle to overcome like so many before.

I would later cry among those pink azaleas, uncontrollably and not sure why. Mommy’s condition hadn’t changed, but maybe God was changing me. After everything she had gone through, it was the first time I really contemplated that she might not return home.

Family and friends prayed for healing.

I often wonder now what she prayed.

Each week spent in the hospital meant the road to recovery became longer and longer. Mommy told me she did not want to suffer any lengthy illness. Or become a burden. She knew all too well what it entailed to be a caregiver. She had done it herself for years.

But, the woman who loved me faithfully and selflessly could never become a burden to me. Couldn’t she see how much I loved her?

Or maybe, just maybe, Mommy loved me more.

In the end, I was correct when I told her “she would be just fine.”

Those pink azaleas gave way to white.

 On the third of March, God called her home. And I suspect after seven weeks of poking and prodding, she was ready to go.

“Home” isn’t the same anymore.

The yellow house on the corner is just another house without her in it. When I think of home, my mind now looks toward a place of peace and joy unlike any other. One without pain. No doctors. No tears.

See you when I get home…

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die; Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 NKJV

Open Your Eyes!

So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”
Mark 10:51 NKJV

I was standing in faith for God’s provision but couldn’t see how He would solve a particular problem. If  there was to be a solution, God would have to provide it.

During this time, a piece of mail sat on my kitchen counter. God finally drew me to it because I have a huge stack sitting there. I half heartedly opened it and in the envelope was my answer.

Often what we need and prayed for is right before us if only we would see what God has done!

Our blessings can’t bless us if we don’t “see” them. To see them, we must open our eyes and minds. Our assumptions cloud our vision!

We must train ourselves to see God’s presence and provision in the midst of our trials!   DSC_0321 (2)

My “answer” looked like junk mail! How many times do we overlook answers to our problems simply because they don’t appear the way we expect them to?

God often directs people to us, but we can easily look past them because they don’t look or act the way we do. Wisdom, friendship, understanding, and comfort we lose because we are blind to what is really there.

I read an interesting statement recently. “We are so busy trying to work up to God that we fail to see He has already reached down to us.” ***  

The posturing, rituals, and habits we propose to worship Him sometime get in the way of truly communing with God.  When we look for God all around us, we can abide with Him right where we are.

Open your eyes and open your mind to something different. Different people. Different places. Different possibilities.

You just may find the blessing you’ve been searching for has been in front of you all along.

Open your eyes and see…


***If you are the author of these words I can not get out of my mind please let me know so I can link back to your original post!