The real stuff…

As I sat down this evening, reflecting over this truly marvelous Christmas Day – a day of many memories for the Conrad family to cherish – I was excited and prepared to share about the many marvelous gifts that God poured forth in our home today… yet I believe He has another plan. Has that ever happened to you before? With the right heart, great intentions, and all the where-with-all to carry out a plan you have for the week, the day, the moment… and… God gently nudges you to pause…pivot left (a little somthin, somthin for all you former band geeks 🙂

I believe He wants me to share (big surprise, I know), the not-so-pretty-stuff. If you’ll bear with me, I want to step back one more day, the day before Christmas. Chalk it up to Christmas excitement (i.e. hyper-activity), a bit of frustration on my end due to this stubborn sore throat of mine, and/or staying up a little later these fun vacation days -bottom line – our son found himself sent to this room for yet again, exacerbating his sisters! His heart was bent on sheer mean-ness, consequences appeared irrelevant to him at the moment, and thoughts of anyone other than himself were the farthest thing from his mind. His directives included spending some alone time, just working it out with Jesus.

While we both cooled off :), some thoughts came to my mind. I’ve come to recognize certain thoughts as those given to me by Him, just as with any best friend, one simply learns to know the others’ thoughts. What I was simply astounded with was my response of, “of course!” Astounded for two reasons, one – the Lord answered my prayer before I could even formulate a thought – I needed wisdom and guidance. Two – I didn’t really have an answer or have it all figured out, I simply just needed to share. Share a situation that had just happened to me the day before.

You see, for no real good or apparent reason, I was simply sour. My thoughts were sour, which spilled into my heart (attitude), and if I wasn’t careful (guarded), my words and tone would go there too. I recognized this gnawing, didn’t like it, but also didn’t really feel like doing anything about it. All the reasons in my mind justified my thoughts and actions, therefore, I definitely had a right to feel sour. Yet in the end, do these thoughts ever lead to a good place? Ever experience this mind battle? Well, God’s grace simply poured forth that day because I was able to guard my tongue, avoiding the ugly spillage about to pour forth, but my heart was about the furthest thing from any fruit of the spirit, I can tell you that. Sometime that afternoon, I simply chose to pause, and ask for help. I needed a new perspective. Sounds simple, but yet again, who said it needs to be complicated?

I am no hero by any stretch, but let me tell you, I recognized that my own strength wasn’t gonna get-er-done. I was feeling attacked and I needed to call for help.

Psalm 66:19
but God has surely listened and heard my voice in prayer.

All I can tell you is that He heard, and He answered. Not long after by blatantly honest confession, this… ugliness lifted. It simply wasn’t there anymore. It was like I was free to simply be… pleasant again. Very weird, very amazing. Truly emphasizes the strongholds that we slip into so easily. All this to say, I had a chance to simply share my heart with my son. To encourage Him in striving to do what is right and what is best. To praise Him for all the amazing qualities that make him Austin, and to show him that even Mommy struggles with the same sinful, selfish heart. Oh the privilege of allowing faith to be a real and daily walk, to admit my shortcomings, and to encourage him to continue in helping one another build up our faith. After reading another Karen Kingbury novel, I feel compelled to state a verse that shows up frequently in her character’s lives,

John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Some of my other favorites:
1 John 4:4
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

1 John 5:5
Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

Thank you Jesus for giving me your eyes to see. In striving to know you more, you bless me with encouraging words from my husband today, refuting the very ugly thoughts that seem so real just the other day. You are good, you are real, you are true.

Thank you for sharing life with me today. Merry Christmas to you! May you find continued peace and joy in the new coming year!

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