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?
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A few weeks ago, I shared with you 3 Needs You Need In Order To Walk On Water and they are:
As we enter the Christmas season, I wanted to share in a much more personal level.
How we can have these three needs met purposefully during the craziness this month tends to bring? It’s time to get practical. Let’s cut into the “how-to” instead of beating around the bush (aint nobody got time for that right now!).
But I need to warn you. It won’t all be pretty and wrapped-up in a bow, but it will be practical ways God has led our family to walk Christmas out differently. Introducing the “Stones of Remembrance” Christmas series. Each post will present a practical way that we have seen God work through our lives through physical items of events that we participate in as a family. They help us remember Who God is and who we are. In seeing these items and traditions in our house it really helps me remember that I am never alone.
It was 2008 and the beginning of a cold Christmas in Illinois. My husband and I were about to experience our baby boy’s first Christmas. Although we were excited, finances were incredibly tight due to travel costs to voyage up and down the Eastern side of the United States to see both sides of the family for the holiday. So we decided to get a little adventurous on our gifts to one another that year. After all, our baby boy was set with his Tickle Me Elmo (my first major mommy fail – he was scared to death of this thing!).
I honestly can’t remember how we found the free rummage sale. I remember it was a Saturday morning and we entered the crowded gymnasium with the hopes of finding something useful for one another. Everything was donated and (you guessed it) completely free. I found my way into the men’s clothes and found the most amazing sweater that would fit my skinny husband (unfortunately, I don’t have that gene). He found me a jacket that fit me perfectly (miracles do happen!). We were having fun and completely satisfied, until we went to leave…
Out of the corner of his eye, my husband spotted a tiny tree with a wound-up electric cord. As we came closer, I noticed it had two huge eyes and an opened mouth. Of course, everything inside of me beckoned to turn the tree on. We searched high and low for an electric outlet. I still remember holding my breath before plugging it into the wall whispering, “Please don’t catch on fire!” As the prongs entered the socket, we stepped back to see this little tree singing and swaying to Christmas music that we both found incredibly annoying and humorous at the same time.
How hard I laughed…
How incredibly carefree I felt…
and the warmth of joy in that moment.
In a crowd of hundreds of people, I felt like the luckiest kid in the candy store – not because of what I had found, but what it caused me to see.
I knew the joy I was feeling had nothing to do with our circumstances or human effort. It was a completely free gift from God in the form of a funny-looking tree with enormous green eyes. Yes, our God loves us like that and it’s awesome! Don’t miss it.
That tree helped me through a Christmas where I was a first-time mom and completely in-between jobs (but at that point I had no clue what was next…yet). I remember one evening after my baby boy had drifted off to sleep, coming downstairs to see that tree, unplugged and still. I smiled. This Christmas was filled with so much uncertainty, yet God brought joy through a tiny, little tree.
God made Himself known.
God revealed that He was with us and saw my uncertainty.
God showed me that our family was not walking this road alone.
More than anything, God used this tree to show me that He can and will meet all of our needs.
Today, our boys are ages 4, 7 and 9. We started decorating Thanksgiving night. The big Christmas tree was up and decorated. We found the ornaments, shattered a few and even left room at the bottom just in case our little puppies get a little too curious with our tree. We found the stockings and the 3 manger scenes (more about that later). We found the slew of Christmas books and even my emoji Christmas t-shirt (don’t ask!).
But my middle kiddo realized we were missing the “singing tree.”
We searched for a good 30 minutes and with no success my heart honestly began to sink.
It’s a stupid little annoying singing Christmas tree. I shouldn’t be this upset…but here I am.
I had cleaned a part of our garage in January and donated many bags to Goodwill and friends who needed our piles of junk…I mean, treasures of course. Silently I wondered if I had accidentally donated the bag with our precious singing friend. Even though my husband was tired, I think he realized deep down how much our family loved this particular tree and so he kept up the search. Sure enough the bag was found in another section of our piled garage.
Christmas can now officially commence!
But that’s what Stones of Remembrance do for us. Just like Moses placed stones of remembrance on the other side of the Red Sea after the Israelites crossed on dry ground (see Exodus 14:1-32), we can purposely set apart items that help us see God at work in our lives, especially at Christmas. Our kids know the story behind the “singing tree” and they love it retold. Every year I see them gathered around this tree, it makes my heart full as I flashback to the first moment we met over 9 years ago.
God, You make me smile!
I keep reminding my boys that we have no clue how old this tree is and that it may be nearing the end of its life. Yet, I have a feeling we will still have a place for it in our house. Even without it singing a note, it will continue to sing in our hearts.
Do you have any “Stones of Remembrance” in your home this Christmas? Please share in the comments below!
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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Christmas Stones of Remembrance #5: The Note That Always Comes Back Sweeter
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