Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Christmas Devotional

"When times are difficult, we can make the choice to turn away from Him and struggle through our afflictions alone, or we can make the choice to turn TO Him, and to the Father's plan, finding that we will suffer "no manner of afflictions, save it were swallowed up in the JOY of Christ."  - Linda K Burton

The selling of this house has become quite the burden for me.  This whole real estate thing is not for the faint of heart...or the perfectionist of spirit...that's for sure.  To choose "homemaking" as your life's work and then to have 60+ random people walk through your home within a 90 day period, and for one reason or another decide it's not right for them, takes a toll on your confidence level.  According to our realtor, we may lack a "WOW factor."  Why does a house need a WOW factor?  Why does no one look for comfortable, clean, organized, or peaceful on the list of the things they have to have in a home?? 

Craig's travel schedule and his increased responsibility at work have become a burden for me, too.  He misses stuff that happens at home...just the trivial things which don't matter at the end of a week, but matter a whole lot in the hour when they happen.  Like the toilets that overflow only when he's out of town.  Like the baby lizard I discovered in the dining room right after a showing one afternoon.  Like the 5:50am and 6:45am Seminary runs I used to share with a companion, but now handle alone.  Like the car that seems constantly to need gas.  (Putting gas in a car is my least favorite thing to do.)  Like the weird noises the refrigerator makes at night.  And even more than all of those things he misses, I miss the debriefing of all of them that I would normally do with my husband, and now instead just ponder on my own at 3 or 4am.  

The three teenagers (ok...McKay's not quite a teenager, but I think 12ish is close enough) who live in my house with me can be a burden sometimes.  The girls are frustratingly unmotivated to engage in anything but Netflix and texting lately.  McKay adds another expensive wish to his Christmas list every day.  There are concerts and lessons and babysitting jobs and church activities that only I can drive people to since there are currently no other drivers in my house.  Someone forgets something every. single. day.  People are tired of the food they find here and would rather eat out every night.   And they are understandably frustrated and confused by the relocation to Birmingham that we talk about every day, but seem not to be moving toward with any urgency.  

There's more, but that's probably a long enough list for now...let's just say the load feels unbearably heavy sometimes.  

Last week I tried "struggling through my afflictions alone."  I disconnected from everyone outside my house.  I made minimal efforts to invite or listen for the Spirit.  I talked to as few people as possible, assuming they must be as sick of me and my afflictions as I currently am.  I created nothing.  I magnified nothing.  I illuminated nothing.  

And I made a miserable week even more miserable.  

But then unexpectedly, I felt compelled today to watch the Christmas Devotional I missed on Sunday night.  
"Jesus Christ is the LIGHT which shineth in darkness.  In every season of our lives, in all of the circumstances we may encounter, and in each challenge we may face, Jesus Christ is the LIGHT that dispels fear, provides assurance and direction, and engenders enduring PEACE and JOY."  - David A Bednar 
"During this Christmas season and throughout the coming year, I pray that we will remember the Generous One.  Our God.  Our Father.  Our Beloved Shepherd and Counselor, for He is the Gift Giver.  He is the Generous One.  When we, His children, plead for bread, He does not hand us a stone.  Rather He endows us with gifts so sublime and precious that they exceed our ability to fully comprehend and even imagine.  He gives us PEACE, JOY, ABUNDANCE, protection, provision, favor, HOPE, confidence, LOVE, salvation, eternal life.  He saves us from loneliness, emptiness, and unworthiness.  He opens our eyes and our ears.  He transforms darkness into LIGHT, grief to HOPE, and loneliness to LOVE.  May we this Christmas season remember our generous Heavenly Father and give profound heartfelt thanks to our almighty God who has given all of His children wings to fly."
Perspective is fleeting these days, and in an hour or two I might forget the truths I was overwhelmed by this afternoon, but for now, I'm going to let myself bask in them a little and provide the much needed HOPE and comfort I've been seeking. 

How grateful I am today for technology that allows us to catch the important things we miss, whether inadvertently or on purpose.  I'm grateful for inspired messages from the men and women who lead this church.  I'm grateful also for people who go to great lengths to check on me even when I try to make myself unreachable.  There are people in my life who have assigned themselves to be guardians of my happiness.  I love them and I am grateful everyday for their quiet presence in my life.  I'm grateful for the peace and comfort the scriptures bring.  And I'm immensely grateful for the power of prayer and the lifelines that come just when I'm at the end of my own little frayed rope.
"And it came to pass that the voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant ye have made unto me, and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage.  And I will also ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter, and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God do visit my people in their afflictions.And now it came to pass that the burdens which were laid upon Alma and his brethren were made light; yea, and the Lord did strengthen them that they could bear up their burdens with ease and they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord." - Mosiah 24:13-15


  1. Oh my sweet friend....
    How I wish we were neighbors!
    Not because your house is AMAZING.... But because I would love to be there for you in times like this, as I know you would be for me as well.
    Can you picture it...I'm so lazy, I'd just open the window and yell for you!
    Anyway, I'm glad your soul was touched and I'm here for you, friend. : )

    1. Oh, to be within yelling distance of you, sweet friend! :)

  2. A little over a year ago now we had to move and sell our house. The first people to walk through were the ones to buy it but sometimes that's not always the best thing. After low balling our house (our Real estate agent wasn't much help)they nitpicked EVERYTHING making us all upset that someone could judge something as big as our home. The whole reason we were moving was because of my fathers job; he moved to the new state without us (my mom, sister, and I) for a good 5 months or so living in a hotel. We wanted to finish out the school year so as he lived in the hotel hundreds of miles away we relied on face-time to talk.
    I can't imagine being a mom in this situation, but coming from a similar position I wish you the best of luck.
    Hugs from Hayley