I’m the worst when it comes to Christmas cards. As in, I don’t send them anymore, or I haven’t in the past 5 years. I’m guessing it’s because I just can’t get us organized with matching outfits in time to actually order and send cards before Christmas. Oh well. At least there’s Facebook.
I had to laugh at our family as we took Christmas pictures a few weeks ago. A sweet friend came over to take our annual photo by the Christmas tree, and while it started with matching outfits and smiles, it ended with lots of tears from our two-year old and a mother covered in sweat. Oh, but we tried!
Life is a lot like that, isn’t it?
We try hard to get it “just right”. We plan and prioritize. We organize the family, but somehow children don’t always get the memo to act “right” and our days become chaotic and less than “Merry and bright”.
I’ve struggled with this particular stress of life for several years now and then I aptly named it what it really is: “tension”. Life just has an unexplainable tension about it.
Some days are great. Things go mostly as planned and nothing earth shattering happens. My kids are fun and bring such joy and I truly love them. I love my husband and I’m blessed by the ministry that we share. But then, there are difficult days or sad days. They leave us wanting nothing more than that pretty Christmas card image with our children smiling and sitting like little ducks in a row,
but far more days are not like the image on that card.
Most of them look a little more like this:
Or like this, when little children are getting in trouble:
One of my big questions to the Lord has been, how do I deal with this “tension”? I mean, I honestly want to know. Sometimes, I’ve asked through tears. Other times it’s just full-on exasperation as I find a quiet moment in the bathroom.
I don’t feel like His answer has been earth-shattering, but rather, pretty simple: “Come to Me. Rest in Me.”
I need the Lord each day. In order to love well, forgive well, and care well, He simply has to be on the forefront of my heart and mind, transforming my depraved heart. Tension almost never feels good, unless you’re doing a work-out and you’re imagining the calories being burned. I like to think of coming to the Lord over and over as a type of muscle-building. He builds “muscles” in us that allow us to deal with the ordinary tensions, as well as the big ones that drop us to our knees.
His help however, doesn’t mean that the tension goes away. In fact, so often as I’ve prayed, I lift my head to find the tension still right there in front of me…or knocking on the bathroom door calling my name. Instead, He gives me perspective to deal with that tension or love for the person causing it. The tensions of my life bring me desperately to my Heavenly Father, who lovingly provides His presence when I need it most.
So, it’s true that life isn’t like the image on your Christmas card. I don’t think it was ever meant to be.