Behold! Annabelle’s lamb!


“Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45

A year ago, I was in a completely different place. Spiritually, that is. See, December 2, 2013 was a bad night for it was the night I decorated the tree. And what should have been blissful proved to be stressful instead. However, that fateful night pointed me in a new direction. The right direction. For it was at that point, I decided to seek a true Christmas heart. And so for weeks, I paused at the Christmas story. I pondered it all… Joseph, Mary, the stable, the angels, the shepherds, the Christ child and more. So much more. The end result? I found a true Christmas heart. And then a miracle took place. For the day after Christmas, I discovered I was with child.

Mary had a little lamb…


And so here I am one year later. And the one thing I decided I would do, I haven’t. See, I  realized the importance of Christmas cards last year. Of the myriad things we do, how wonderful it is to the take the time to send forth His message. And so, at the end of last season, I bought beautiful cards. I fully intended to mail them out to loved ones this year. But here I am at December 19, and only one card has gone forth. And chances of the rest of them being mailed out are slim. For it’s 10:09 and my aunt is coming at 11:00. And then, my son is out of school for the holidays beginning at 12:30 today. So it appears I have run out of time.

And so, rather than pick up my completely cluttered house which is what I’d normally do when I know I have company coming, I choose to do this instead. It’s my Christmas card, and I send it to whosoever chooses to read these words…


The card says “Behold…” That means to perceive through sight or apprehension. It means to gaze upon… to observe. And in keeping with the way God speaks to me, He gave me a vivid picture of myself and Christ through my baby girl. See, she has this little lamb. And oh, she loves it so. She grabs it. She nuzzles it. She shoves it in her mouth. She turns to it. And most recently, I noticed she struggles with it. I was in another room and heard her grunting and exerting herself. When I looked in and gazed upon her, I observed that lamb had completely covered her face. She couldn’t see. And no matter how much she flailed about, the lamb stayed put. The covering remained.



Hark the herald angels sing…

Last year, it was a Christmas clock that inspired a lot of my musings… see, I paused so I could observe the words of the carols we sing. And today, it’s Hark the herald angels sing that falls on my ear. And that word hark… it means to pay close attention. To listen. And so, I do today…

See, a week or so back a wise woman spoke words of truth. She said, “A journey in the wrong direction for an extended stay.” And those words settled in my ear. And then they burrowed deep in my heart. And I realize… I’ve done exactly that. A year ago, I sought a Christmas heart. And I found it! Then, there was a promise of new life. And not only within my womb, but within me. Spiritually… new life. And after January, I was ready to move forward. But you know, I ended up going backward instead. I began to struggle with God yet one more time. But why? Why should I struggle?

See, it’s true. Mary had a little lamb and His fleece was white as snow. And just like Annabelle has a lamb, I realize Mary’s Lamb is mine. Annabelle has her lovey, and I have one, too. And through my walk, I grab onto Him. I nuzzle Him. I shove Him in my mouth by feasting on His word. I turn to Him. And most recently, I realized I struggle with Him. But it’s an old struggle. And it’s one I should have released a year ago.

But behold! God gave me a picture. See, Annabelle struggled with her lamb. But the thing is, it didn’t go anywhere. And that’s the same thing for me. No matter how much I struggle, the covering of the Lamb won’t budge. It covers me from head to toe. Annabelle tried to get that lamb off, but she couldn’t. And how comforting that it’s the same with me… My Lovey is going nowhere. Try as I might, the Lamb stays put.

And so, this Christmas, I exclaim… Behold! Annabelle’s lamb! For it’s a picture of our own Lamb. It’s the reason for Christmas. He came as a baby… the Lamb of God… for us. God and sinners reconciled. Born to give us second birth. Hark, for that’s what the angels sing…

And so today, this Christmas, we have a gift. We have that covering. See, the Lamb of God is spotless… fleece as white as snow. And because of Him, we can be, too. Cleansed… as white as snow. And so, I echo Peter’s words this morning… I say, not just my feet but my hands and my head as well! (John 13:9) I say, cover me, Lord! And He does. It’s His gift. To us. And not just as Christmas, but every day thereafter. And the miracle is… it stays put. His covering doesn’t budge. Even if we struggle…

…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,  but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

1 Peter 1:18-19

The Prodigal Daughter

10846156_10205084650657371_1107540708525779365_nAnd in those moments when it seems I have nothing, there’s always a light to lead me home. Lauren Eline, Facebook

I know what He wants for Christmas. I’ve discovered the perfect gift for the One who already gave perfection. And it’s so simple. It was something on Facebook that clued me in. See, He leaves breadcrumbs for His children all the time. Little drops of light to lead us to where He desires us to go. And that’s how I know what He wants for I followed His breadcrumbs. I’ve been leaping from one ray of light to the next and so now, I see. They’ve been leading me home. To my Father’s house. And that’s it. All He wants for Christmas is me, and all His children, to come home. That’s what He’s been trying to tell me. And isn’t this what every parent desires? To have their kids home for the holidays?

Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning. James 1:17

I am slow. So slow. Because it appears God has to show me something again and again before I get it (and again). Because we just went through something a year ago. It’s this fear thing. But His word is clear… perfect love casts out fear because fear involves punishment. And so, if I believe God loves me as His word says, should I fear? Should I expect punishment from God? And yet, I find myself going back there again and again. Just waiting for God to drop the ax. Like an errant child, I await my punishment. Most recently, the birth of my new baby set me down this path. It goes back to guilt I hold. I feel guilty for being discontent. And because I don’t think I fully appreciate what God has given, I agonize. Namely, over my children. Because if I can’t appreciate them as much as I should, then perhaps God will decide to just take them away. This irrational thought came to me a few years back…

For to the one who has, it will be given, and from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. Mark 4:25 

For a long time I thought that verse referred to things we have. Possessions. Like my kids. All that God has given. And it caused me to fear the worst. And isn’t that a crazy thought? Why should I think God wants to take away what He’s given. Why would the One who gave everything desire to take away? But thankfully, I finally realized what the writer is talking about for the passage of Scripture refers to using your light. And my life gives evidence as to how one can lose her light. See, I’m a worrier. And the more I worry, the dimmer the light becomes. And the more anxious I am, the more that light ebbs away. And when I fear, the light is nearly extinguished. Before I know it, I live in the shadow lands. I dwell in darkness because I can barely see the light. But then, I find a breadcrumb. There’s a beam of light and it beckons. Like the one I saw on Facebook last night.

The people who live in darkness
have seen a great light,
and for those living in the shadowland of death,
light has dawned. Matthew 4:16

This morning I realized I am just like the prodigal son I read about in Luke 15. He asked his father for his share of the estate and his father gave it. Me? I ask my Father for His love and He gives it. And like the son who went off and spent all his father gave him, I do the same. God assures me He loves me (again and again), but I squander away His precious words. For some reason, I remain insecure despite His very clear words to me. Oh, so clear. In fact, in early November God couldn’t have spoken more directly. He was personal and intimate. And He used someone who barely knows me to convey His message. It was quite remarkable. But rather than rest in those words, I remain the prodigal daughter. I still roam blindly in the dark.

But thankfully, I have the prodigal son to look to. Oh, how surprised he must have been for He lost everything. He had nothing and dwelled with the pigs he fed. He was starving.  But finally, he came to his senses. Finally. He thought he’d return to his father and confess. He decided he’d ask to be made a hired hand… he would work for his father in order to live. But when he came to his home country, his father saw him from afar and came running. Running with open arms to greet his lost son. Dad fell upon his neck and kissed him again and again. All his son could get out was, “I’m not worthy to be called your son.” He didn’t even get out the part about working before a robe and a ring and sandals were placed upon him. He was warmly welcomed into his father’s house with a great feast… music and dancing. His father was just so happy. For his lost son had been found. His son who was dead was now alive.

And then there’s me. The prodigal daughter. I’ve been living in the shadow land of death. That’s what fear will do to you. But God, my Father, my Daddy… He told me most clearly and tenderly in November that He loves me. He said He loves my children so much more than I ever could. And He chose me to raise them. He said to not fear His will. He said I’ve been distracted by the noise around me – noise from fears compounded onto fears – worries of a 1,000 what if’s. He said I should learn to quiet myself and focus on His voice… the voice of my Daddy. The God of all creation said that’s what He is to me… a Daddy. He said when I love my children, I am most like Him. When Annabelle and Levi cry for me, in pain or in joy, I should multiply that feeling by 1,000 and I’ll begin to see how He feels for me. This is what my Daddy said. Clearly. So then, why should I fear? Because the way I felt yesterday when I kissed my daughter a thousand times is exactly what He feels for me. When I exclaimed over her little smiling face, I love you, I love you, I love you, I am most like Him. So why do I squander away His precious words of assurance? And so today, I choose not to. It’s as if I have finally come to my senses. Finally. Because Daddy told me He loves me. And today, He tells me to come home for Christmas.

 Then Jesus spoke to them again: “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows Me will never walk in the darkness but will have the light of life.” John 8:12

He leaves breadcrumbs. Drops of light. On that first Christmas long ago, He sent His Son as a light to the world. And He’s the One who knows the way to our Father’s house. We can follow Him. And we don’t have to fear if we lose sight of our big Brother. For those times we lag behind, we have another light to follow. Because God also gave us His Spirit. Just as it hovered over the watery depths at the beginning of creation, it hovers over our fickle hearts. For those times we wander… when worry draws us down a darkened path or when anxiety leads us astray or when fear blinds our eyes… there is a flame. It’s a candle that never goes out and it sits in the window of our darkened soul. It beckons us home. And as we draw near and peer inside, we see the house is fully lit. Warm light draws us to open the door and when we do, Daddy throws His arms open wide. He pulls us close and kisses our face a thousand times. He says, I love you, I love you, I love you! He’s so happy because the daughter who was lost is now found. The daughter who was dead, who trod the valley of the shadow of death, is now alive. She finally made it. And when she does, He says welcome home…. that He’d been waiting for her.

This is what God, our Father of lights, wants for Christmas. And His call is not just for me. Because He wants all his sons and daughters of light to come home. He’s placed a candle in the windows of our soul. It’s there to light our way. We just need to look for it…

Jesus answered, “The light will be with you only a little longer. Walk while you have the light so that darkness doesn’t overtake you. The one who walks in darkness doesn’t know where he’s going. While you have the light, believe in the light so that you may become sons of light.”  John 12:35-36

Unto her…


For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given… Isaiah 9:6

“You have to decide… do you think God is a giver or a taker?” That was a question posed to thousands of women on September 15, 2012. And on that day, if I were to have answered honestly, I would have said taker. Despite all I had ever read about God, and all I had experienced of God, in the darkest recesses of my heart I believed the worst. I believed He was a taker. I just didn’t realize that’s what I believed.

And in truth, I continue to process that thought even now. Two and a half years later. That deep down irrational notion that God, who is the creator of all life, could be a taker of life. And that thinking brings me directly to the heart of Christmas today.

Yes, I’m brought to the inner chambers of God’s heart by the above verse I’ve heard at least a hundred times before. It’s a verse that adorns Christmas cards every year. But today, it’s new to me. Because I read it as if it’s written directly to me…

For unto me, a child is born.

Unto me, a son is given.

By God. The ultimate Christmas gift. And so today I see truth. I’ve been illuminated and find He’s a giver after all.

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. John 1:4-5

It’s December 4th and Christmas is a mere three weeks away. And for the first time I feel utterly unprepared. And furthermore, I feel uninspired. In fact, I feel downright cynical. I even told my husband this week… my heart is as black as night.

See, over packed stores turn my stomach and I find holiday ads to be revolting. Especially the one that shows a gadget you can attach to your sink called a sponge bath. A $40.00 contraption adorns shelves nationwide for the one who has everything under the sun.

This would be the ultimate gift, no? A device one can use to bathe their kitchen sponge. Translation… we have so much and everyone else has so much, new devices must be thought up. New gift ideas created yearly so that the uninspired shopper may be so inspired. Yes! This is what I can give. Surely my mother doesn’t have one of these! A sponge bath.

To me, well, a gift like that says I have no earthly clue what to give you so I just picked up this thing. And in truth, I’d rather give nothing at all. Like I said, I feel cynical. Nasty. And surely, I’ve insulted someone by this. To the one who likes the idea of a sponge bath (for it does kill bacteria), I really am sorry. I am. Me? I’m just feeling ugly.

And why should that be? It’s Christmas time. Why do I have the blues? And why do they call them the blues anyway? Because if you were to gauge by my feelings, I’d say they should be called the blacks. For that’s how I feel. As I said… my heart is black as night.

And so, I evaluate. Know what I come up with? Guilt. I am consumed with guilt because I have no earthly right to feel the way I do. Anyone will tell me I have it made for I have so much. I am truly blessed. In fact, I’m hesitant to write this because I’ve been taken down a notch or two at least once before. In addressing my darkness (I am a moody girl, it’s true), I have been exhorted by others.

Or reprimanded.

Oh, I’ve been chastened by the well-meaning soul. Basically, open your eyes. See what you have. Stop feeling sorry for yourself. And that’s why the ensuing guilt.

Oh, that God would help me to see truth. Oh that He would help me overcome the darkness. Because I know…

I know I have so very much.


And so today, I write. For despite today’s dark demeanor, I have to say this year has been one of the most wonderful yet. Because just about a year ago, I found out I was pregnant.

Unto me, a child was given.

She lived inside me for forty weeks until finally, she made her way into my arms. And God help me, despite this sweet, precious gift… I still get the blues. Or the blacks. And I know why.

It’s called loneliness.

It first presented when I had my son eight years ago. I became home-bound, isolated, and lonely. Depression descended like a shroud. And I find myself here again but this time, I have a daughter. Home-bound once more. Isolated and lonely. And those times, I’m most vulnerable. When I have too much alone time, it’s just not healthy.

And so in evaluation of today’s black mood, I wonder to myself… why write? For it’s Christmas. Why mention the darkness at all? And I choose to do so now because of One reason. I know the truth.

I know there is a Light.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every many who comes into the world. John 1:6-9

Sadly, if I were to pose the question I heard over two years ago, there would be someone else. If I asked do you think God is a giver or a taker, there would be another. Because I can’t be the only one who’s gone down that road of thinking.

So I write for her today. The isolated, lonely soul. My words are for the one who deep down believes God is a taker. Oh, she’s out there somewhere and she may not even realize she thinks that way. All she knows is she’s bitter. Or resentful. Or fearful. Or maybe just plain old melancholy.

No difference for it all fuels the guilt… I know.

So amidst the hustle and bustle of this season, I pray she pauses to ponder. Why? And if she does, maybe she’d discover what lie in the deepest, darkest chambers of her heart.

Oh if she’d just take just a moment to analyze her guilt and uncover the truth. That she’d come to realize the guilt is not from God. For He doesn’t give guilt.

Yeah… my hope this year, at Christmas time, is that the woman who needs to know the truth will know it. That fear and guilt is rooted in a lie. I pray she comprehends darkness does not have to be her truth any longer. For God is a giver of light. And life.

For He gave the ultimate Christmas gift over two thousand years ago when He gave His one and only Son.

May the woman who walks in darkness realize this most amazing truth…

For unto her, a child is born.

Unto her, a Son is given.

Unto her! God gave it all. May she grasp the gift that was given on her behalf and finally, finally, get it. No, God is not a taker, after all. He is a giver. And because He gives, she can, too.

Oh, may she get it. And may I get it, too. Finally. Because not only do I write for her, but I write for myself.

Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. Genesis 1:3-4

Yes, I’m hesitant to touch on darkness because I feel guilty. I know in my heart of hearts I shouldn’t feel black as night. Not now. Not ever. For God has given so much.

And my cynicism of the season in no way reflects the truth of the season. See, a sponge bath cannot convey in the least what lie at the heart of Christmas… or what lie at the center of God’s heart. In truth, there’s nothing I can buy off a shelf that compares to God’s gift.

Because Christmas is all about His gift. No present measures up to that. For unto us, a Son was given

And when the light of that truth sinks into a cold, dark heart, life is given. So instead of all the other pretty packages, maybe this year we can unwrap His gift. It’s the One wrapped in light.

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of darkness, a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2

This Christmas, may we overcome the darkness that sometimes pervades the season. May we push those blues (or blacks) right out the door. Oh, that we would overlook all the trappings and recover the heart of Christmas. May we all really get it. Finally.

For God is a giver.

He gives and gives. May that inspire us more than anything else this Christmas. And may that be the One reason we give.