Tuesday, January 06, 2009

My Un Christmas Letter

I really love Christmas Cards...I love the photos. I am a photo person. I actually keep Christmas photos up all year on a bulletin board in our kitchen. I like to look at them. Most of the people I don't get to see except on really special occasion yet many of them are very special to me. Some of these are childhood friends, college friends, friends from Brian's childhood that I only know because of him and their annual card, family members, friends from previous ministries and a few here in Lincoln. I love the letters that come with the pictures too. Yet it seems sometimes my jealousy gets stirred up as I read them. Am I the only one this happens too? We get a glimpse into someones life..it seems "picture perfect." I have a friend whose husband took control of their Christmas Letter because he wanted it to not be so perfect...not just the victories but the honest struggles too. Their letter I always look forward to. Now I have no judgment on these cards because if I were to write one I would do the same thing...I do it all the time on this blog. So this is not about the letters this is about what goes on inside of me. I admit that I want a Christmas Card life...you know the one I am talking about...everyone is smiling, we are on a beach, a mountain, or maybe the snow is all around us and all we hope for our new year is to lose weight. The one where our kids are happy to be in our family, everyone is dressed cute, we all match, everyone loves each other. Yet this is not always the way my family is....as a matter of fact last year (Christmas 07) we couldn't even pull it together long long enough to snap the picture by the tree. Does this happen to anyone else?

So this morning while the towels were drying and the bacon was cooking in the oven and I had a quiet moment to journal some thoughts I remembered how thankful I am for my unChristmas Card life. I am thankful for my friends and family who accept my unperfect kids. They are often selfish, they judge others, they have lied, they have stolen, they have been too harsh, they have been a bully, they have been mean, they have causes pain instead of brought peace. They have repeated things they shouldn't have. They do not always use their manners. They have not learned the important lesson's of High School Musical (I II or III). You know that we're all in this together so stop looking out for just you! I realize that sometime in the future my kids may be the ones to tell your kids that their is no such thing as Santa or about what "sex" really is. Maybe they already have? They may drink beer, drive to fast, look at porn on your computer, or many other things I don't want to think about or type. My kids aren't perfect even though I would really love it if they were. I used to struggle a lot with this and feel like their flaws were some type of reflection on me. This is true to a strong degree but mostly they aren't perfect because they are sinful humans. God is at work in them but this is mostly between them not me. After all He is really the One who made them. I have had to learn to trust God with them and stop trying to control every little thing in their life.....

Back to my gratitude. So I am thankful for friends who will accept my children as they are. I am thankful for all the ones a long the way that have reminded me of where to let go and where to stand my ground. These conversations have happened in the hallways of church, on the phone, around a table, at Starbucks, on walks, in books I have read, in prayers together, .....So today I am thankful for the people in my life who know my life is no greeting card (and I know yours isn't either) but a life where God is at work redeeming all the broken parts. He is moving those of us who cherish Him through our journey's with mercy and grace. Thank God for the reminder that He gives us through our children of how deep and wide that mercy and grace can run. Thank God that we can understand that He wants more Good for us than we could ever want for ourselves because we fill this way about our own children. God knows us not the snapshot of a great moment but all the small insignificant moments and even the really ugly ones...He accepts us anyway. Help us God to be that way with each other.....more grace in Jesus name.

5 comments:

Stacy Peacock said...

Caleb and I were just talking about this the other night. How we are works in progress (I like to think of that Allan Jackson song). The one question that kept coming up was how do we let God work on us and make our mistakes without seeming like a hypocrite? I really like the fact that you are so honest I think that's how you get buy the hypocracy.

Vera Lu said...

A very small, simple, black and white sign was given to me for Christmas. The words on it seem to fit here....Jesus knows me, this I Love.
Thank you for your sharing your thoughts.

ANDREA said...

I love you Chantell! Everything you wrote is so true. Made me think of when we were in the store the other day and this lady told Lily how beautiful her black hair was and Lily stuck her tongue out at her. If we all showed our sin on the outside like our kids do we might be in trouble. I too am thankful for all those who accept us just as we are - human. And am thankful God's grace in the midst of it all!

Dan & Tammy said...

I think transparency is the key to keeping from seeming hypocritical.

Okay, so I like the image you paint and how we are not perfect and how we send perfect looking pictures. I was picturing our next Christmas picture being one of all the kids going crazy. :) Last year Anna was a blurry figure b/c she was running away every time the camera was snapped. :)

Love you my friend. I am thinking of you and praying for you...we talked about Romans 12:15 tonight and you came to mind. I am rejoicing and mourning with you.

amyjo said...

This is exactly why our Christmas letter was short and to the point this year. Kids ages, grades, interests. I don't ever want to send a message that we are more than we really are because we're NOT! Thanks for being NOT with us :-) Also, I want you to know that I keep track of how many months it has been for you and pray for you when the teens creep around every month...