You’re not going to get a Christmas card from me this year. I hope you’re OK with that. Because I am…finally.
If you happen to stumble across this post and see our cute little family picture and think “why, what a nice and put-together person that Humble Handmaid is!”, please allow me to admit that I was not a particularly nice person in the days and moments preceding the taking of this picture. I wanted a nice family photo for our Christmas card, and (goodness knows my husband knew it!) I was going to get that photo taken if it was the only thing I did on…you guessed it…Thanksgiving Day at my sweet grandparents’ house. I think I was probably something like a Southern Belle drill sergeant: nagging, pleading, controlling and ordering everyone around with a thick coat of sugar on top but some thinly-disguised don’t-mess-with-my-dreams-today Crazy Woman underneath. Ick.
Despite my heavy-handed family photo session, I am thankful even to this moment that it was still a really lovely day. I made a Cream Cheese Pound Cake that was quite scrumptious, and there was Spinach Madeleine (my favorite!) there too. Food usually makes me nicer. Lord, help me!
Back to those Christmas cards, though. I spent much of this fall trying to come to grips with the fact that some very silly, impossibly specific ideas in my head were not going to be realized. Among them was the dream that, by Christmas, we would be moved into a beautiful new house, and by the light of our Christmas tree and homemade Advent wreath (lighted daily in a peaceful family prayer service), the house quiet with three children under four sleeping peacefully, I would hand-address a gorgeous family Christmas card that would merrily inform all of our friends and family, “We are doing sooooo well after having our third baby, fixing up and selling our house, moving out-of-state, selling our business, and starting a brand-new job…all in the past seven months!”
Ah…silly me. The Christmas cards just didn’t happen, for a variety of reasons. And it wasn’t until my friend Katie sent me a blog post giving me permission to let go that I think I finally started to be OK with not sending them out.
I think it was when my friend Kate told me about the tunnel of parenthood (what encouragement!) and also got me to go on a marriage retreat that majorly blessed and healed my marriage, that I really let go of those Christmas cards and started letting God start give me a right heart about everything in my life right now.
If God has taught me one thing through my Christmas card struggles this year, it’s this: to surrender, to be patient, and to trust. He surely knows that every day I struggle a little with at least one of these three things in prayer. Surrendering to where I’m at, spiritually and materially. Being patient with myself, those around me, and especially with God in His perfect timing. Trusting in God’s good plan for me and in whatever ways and timing he chooses to reveal the next step in that plan.
I’m praying at this moment for each of you who reads this little post. Whether it’s through me sharing about my struggles and silliness, or through something or someone else, I am praying that God would send peace, grace, guidance and joy to you in whatever state or season of life you are in. God bless you, and Merry Christmas!