Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cleaning House for Christmas

I've been in my pre-Christmas funk the past few weeks and had some pretty serious conversations with the only one patient enough to listen to my ramblings and rants. That would be God. He knows that Christmas is hard for me because I feel guilty that my children have to spend their Christmas apart because of divorce and broken relationships. He knows that I wish we could be one big happy step family with everyone accepting each other, but we're not. He knows that I want my children to have fond memories of holidays spent together but there is too much animosity and unease between certain members in our house. He knows I wish my kid's dad and I could get along for their sake, but we don't. He all and I want him to fix these things.

As I pondered all this stuff, I realized that I really want a lot from God for Christmas. But what am I giving Him? He doesn't ask for much, just my love, trust and faith that He knows what he's doing and to let go and give Him control over it all. Have I done my part to make sure I'm giving everything I have to God no matter what my circumstances may be? Am I only focusing on what I don't have(yes) instead of what I do have(no)?

I think every now and then I have to stop and take an inventory of what's on my heart and put it all back into perspective. As I came to this realization, this song came on the radio. I love God's irony and how he likes to use unconventional ways of speaking to me.

Sure, my life isn't perfect and our family is a little more water and oil than peanut butter and jelly. But here's what I know for sure:

-God loves EVERYONE in this blended family of ours.
-My children know without a doubt that I love them unconditionally.
-Jon has been like a father to my daughter and loved her when she needed it most.
-God has always provided for and taken care of us.
-I have family and friends that are very precious and dear to me.
-Jon and I love each other and are committed to our marriage.
-God's plan is big and mysterious and I'm not always 'in the know', but that's how God works and He knows what He's doing.

Yep, it's time for a good house cleaning...just in time for Christmas.


helen said...

Annie, Merry Christmas. I hope for many good things for you and your family this Christmas. Especially peace.

Sherri said...

Annie, this song could be the theme song for my life right now !

I'm glad you're getting this all in perspective, that's half the battle right there.

I know it's cliche', but the ole' "BLOOM WHERE YOU'RE PLANTED" saying rings very true in my life...often.

Many times I feel as though I've been jerked out of familiar soil and planted in soil that is foreign to me. But my growth in the new soil relies on the very same factors as the familiar soil...sunlight, water and an occasional weed pullin'!

We just can't pull the weeds out once though, they keep coming back!
THAT'S the hard part. The continual struggle.

I'll leave you with something great my brother Dave, the giant shared with me once:

"Struggling is NOT a bad's a sign of life. Only when the struggle ceases, do we lose the battle."

Hang in there Annie K.

I love you my sista!

Beth said...

Hey, I posted this song on my blog not too long ago! It's pretty much been my theme song this year.

Isn't it crazy how fast we can lose perspective? Give that guilt or negativity an inch, and suddenly it's in control... Keep holding to the things you know are true and good from God!

Mare said...

I think this is a good example of the simple, beautiful truth that Beth shared yesterday.

There is nothing wrong with longing for what we were created for.
Relationships that are not broken.
Relationships that don't fail us and that we dont' fail.
Real love.

It's not wrong to long for these things. I'd be worried if you didn't.

I long for a family that is whole. I long for parents who love me and delight in me; who desire God's will for my life. I long to simply be comfortable in the room with my family. Does that make me ungrateful for all the goodness that God pours out onto my life? I sure hope not...

sherri said...

Mare, what a beautiful thought and Beth's as well.

This side of heaven, I think we will continually long for things we don't have, some will be God given desires, some will be our own desires, but just as your friends have said, they are desires common to all of us. They would only become selfish if they were entirely for YOUR benefit. Look closely at your desires, it involves ALL THOSE around you. And you're not being ungrateful, because you constantly acknowlege the gifts He has given to you.

And Mare, all I can say is that your family is BLESSED to have you- I'm sure they just can't express it, nor understand your calling.
I'm so proud of you and you're not even mine!
I feel like you're Mine, though.
I pray that somehow, God will make this relationship with your earthly family a more comfortable one.
You are now in MY FAMILY and everybody knows, I LOVE MY FAMILY!
You would be very comfortable in my home...won't you come and see me?!

Would you be interested in marrying one of my sons?
I have 3 to choose from!
I'd be a great mother-in-law! We'd have so much fun, and you could teach all of us from your adventures!
COme on...whatta' ya' say?

What a beautiful family God has made, putting all of us in each others lives!

I thankful for all of you.

Matt @ The Church of No People said...

Well I thought this post was literally about cleaning house for Christmas, which is something I'm very fond of, but then it turns out to be much deeper than that!

Annie K said...

Helen, you are awesome and I wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas filled with peace, hope and love.

Sherri, I think you are right about the weeds. We have to keep up on them or they can take over. It's just making sure we do that. Love you too!

Beth, I know it's easy for guilt to creep in, and I am learning to recognize it and just trying to put it in it's place. It's definitely not something from God... he's light.. not dark!

Mare, I think you are wise beyond your years and I feel that you probably long for what my children want also. I just have to make sure my motives for the things I want are pure and that I'm doing my part to be a peace keeper. Blended family dynamics are tough and it's a lot like learning to walk...lots of falling down between taking the steps. Oh...I think Sherri would be a great mom-in-law and her boys are pretty darn cute! ;)

Matt, no dissapointing here...I deep cleaned the house and then started on the heart(!).

Mare said...

They are pretty cute...and I would be the perfect choice if you want to continue another generation of small people. =)

wv: beful

Please don't make me feel bad for not eating that mountain of rice, I be ful!

katdish said...

I'm late again! I think we all have the Hallmark moment expectation of what Christmas should "feel like", which only puts pressure on everyone and sets us up for feeling disappointed. I'm just going to say ditto to what everyone else has said. We are wired to long for what we cannot experience here -- total, complete, unconditional love and acceptance. Coming from a divorced and dysfunctional family (my mom and sisters don's speak to my dad, my dad has been married 8 or 9 times) I truly grasp the concept of (as my friend Jake would put it) a "rocking awkward" Christmas season. I hope it's some comfort to know that you're not alone!

Oh, yeah, one more thing...

I was wondering how long it would be until Sherri would figure out what a great daughter-in-law Mare would be. If that doesn't pan out, I nominate Jake (Very Much Later). You could also continue a generation of small people. Plus, he's too old for my daughter...

Mare said...

Wait...who's Jake? And why very much later...does that mean he is young because I don't go for the younger ones...

sherri said...

Hey, katdish. BACK OFF! I saw her first!

katdish said...

Actually, Sherri. She came to my site first! I wooed her with my "Ode to the Neti Pot". Isn't that right Mare? Which totally cracked me up because here she is living in a third world country seeing things I probably couldn't even imagine, yet she horrified over my sweet little Neti Pot!

Sorry. I guess ya'll don't know each other. Jake lives in Idaho, I think is in his late 20's (or maybe he just turned 30) just graduated from college, works with the youth at his church, and has a refreshingly honest outlook on his Christian walk and on life in general. Also, he cracks me up. He's on my blog roll and has been around as long as Helen and Jamie. Maybe even longer.

Mare said...

It is was the exercises done after the Neti Pot that drew me in. I mean, are the exercises reallly necessary, and the woman's face...I just...I still can't let it all go.

But it's okay...there's enough Mare to go around!