I love Peter's experience of walking on the roaring sea with Jesus. But the thing is, Peter's story is often misunderstood. Do you have a step you need to take?
Listen to this message I gave at a women's retreat to gain the fresh perspective you need to see Jesus in a new way! My FREE gift to you!
It was a two-page note written every year by my teenage hand. The folded pieces of paper were cleverly wedged in-between the small shoe-box of Christmas decorations I had collected. As the boxes of ornaments, lights and glitter were brought down carefully from the attic each year, my little treasure would be located and delivered to my bedroom. I would shut the door, crank-up the Snowed-In Hanson Christmas CD (this is a judgment-free zone, right?) on my stereo as my room decorating commenced.
Up went the huge 4-inch Christmas tree with the knot of oversized Christmas lights swallowing the tiny branches. It held one ornament; a globe with a Christmas tree on one side and a cross on the other. My parents had given it to me somewhere in the whirl of my crazy teenage years. It hung on two branches as a reminder of true hope. I had acquired a small plastic manger scene that took-up my dresser top area. I also had a few Christmas tea cup collectible sets given to me by my small group leader. Although I had never had a fancy cup of tea in my life, I loved these sets and displayed them proudly by my little Christmas tree (looking back now, Charlie Brown had it better!).
As exciting as it was to decorate my room, my favorite part of finding my little box each year was mostly due to the words I had tucked in-between the decorations.
Each year after Christmas had ended, I took the time to reflect on what my teenage eyes were seeing and yes, even recording what my roller-coaster heart was feeling. I wrote these letters to myself, sharing some of the biggest moments of Christmas that year – even recording gifts received and given. But my note soon turned to pointing my eyes and heart to my hopes for the next year.
I made goals.
I wrote down dreams.
I would just lay my life plan right out in ink and note paper.
Each year, as teenage life rushed onward, I would honestly forget most of what I had written. That’s what made finding my words each year so interesting! As I remembered Christmas past, I would catch a glimpse of the girl that was through the eyes of the woman-to-be that is today. I’ve always had a hyper-sensitivity to the reality of time. I wanted to make the most of every minute. I wanted to do, see, experience, go and live. I wanted to be anywhere but home. So, my note was filled with adventures taken, experiences held, achievements, disappointments and heartbreak. Each year I really looked forward to reading this letter and then throwing it away so that nobody else could read it. Looking back now, I really wish I had kept a few of these treasures!
This tradition stopped, however, the year my mom found my note. As a teenager, words that are meant for privacy should be handled delicately. My mom did not realize what she found and misunderstood the meaning. So, the notes stopped. But I still recorded a note in my private journal that I would specially mark for reading the next year. It wasn’t quite the same after that. But, I was getting older too.
Today, as I’m a mom myself, we have taken this tradition and made it a part of our family Christmas blanket, which I wrote about last week. However, I still create little notes for my personal journal. Of course, much of what God uses to speak to me about Christmas seems to come through my kids now. Eventually, they may write notes and see how God uses their hopes, dreams and goals throughout the year.
I believe keeping our eyes focused on Christ allows us to fold-up our Christmas memories and goals for the next year as we move forward into the future. This does not mean that we live aimlessly, but that we continually seek God’s direction with every step we take. We walk confidently knowing that He holds all of our hopes and dreams securely. We can rest in what God is doing instead of trying to pave the road ourselves.
Bethany, your present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for you a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So Bethany, don’t look at the troubles you can see now; rather, fix your gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things you see now will soon be gone, but the things you cannot see will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 NLT)
So Bethany, praise Me for the glorious grace I have poured out on you who belong to My dear Son. I Am so rich in kindness and grace that I purchased your freedom with the blood of My Son and forgave your sins. I have showered My kindness on you, along with all wisdom and understanding. (Ephesians 1:6-8 NLT)
Bethany, pray that your heart will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope I have given to you – because I called you Bethany—you are part of My holy people and you are My rich and glorious inheritance. Also pray Bethany that you will understand the incredible greatness of My power for you who believe Me. This is the same mighty power that raised My Son Christ from the dead and seated Him in the place of honor at My right hand in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 1:18-20 NLT
3 reasons you may consider beginning this note of remembrance tradition:
As you enter the process of taking down the decorations this Christmas, you may consider slipping a note inside of the box before taping it shut for another year. Trust God with your heart. See where He guides you in the New Year.
Dare to do more than just survive, step out and thrive!
Have you ever purposefully written a letter to yourself? I’d love to learn about your experience!
Hello and welcome to Step Out And Thrive Ministries! My name is Bethany Boring and I am proud to be called a child of God before any other title or role. I am a wife to Steve and a mom to 3 amazing boys. I enjoy writing for this Step Out And Thrive community and walking with you as we venture through the ups and downs of life together. I am an ICF trained Certified Professional Christian Life Coach (Christian Coach Institute Graduate), Motivational and Inspirational Speaker, mentor, Certified Human Behavioral Consultant (DISC Personality) and an author. As always - dare to do more than just survive, step out and thrive!
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