Creating Space for Wonder

I’m not really sure what it is that is making me SO PUMPED about Christmas, but I’m filled with anticipation and joy over the approaching holidays. I know that a lot of people would prefer to focus on one holiday at a time, but I think it is beautiful that the two biggest holidays of the year occur back to back. They perfectly compliment one another!

Merry Christmas from the Nevil Family!
Christmas last year (2014) in our home

Because Thanksgiving comes first, I find it to be a holiday that beats back the commercialization of Christmas.  There is still a gifts-centered, self-focused attitude that can creep in and steal your Christmas joy, especially the way that Black Friday follows Thanksgiving. But by spending time focusing and meditating and celebrating all that we have been given and are grateful for in Thanksgiving, and then by pausing with intentionality in the weeks leading up to Christmas, maybe we can rekindle a sense of wonder for this joyful season? Instead of isolating the two holidays, could we relish the way that they play off one another?

Thanksgiving is next week and my home is always an odd mixture of people I’m related to, whether by blood or by marriage, as well as the occasional smattering of more random guests. I love the traditions in our home of waking up and drinking lots of coffee with our house guests. I love the sounds of the Macy’s Day parade on the television. I love the idea of people coming over to simply be together. There are no gifts, there is no other point than to gather and to be with one another.

We catch up with local news from other States, we get on soap boxes and engage one another in conversations that may stretch us a bit-both in perspective and in patience, we listen to children running around sometimes complaining of being bored and everything points to this feast we are going to partake of all together. Unified in one place for the sake of celebrating, for the sake of gratefulness, for the sake of joy. Everyone is standing around waiting, waiting, waiting; The whole day is preparation for the feast! What a beautiful design. What a way to start the season of Advent. (Psst…Advent means coming!)

And then, have you seen this? Rei’s Opt Outside movement they are promoting? Instead of having some great black Friday deals, they are closing their stores and encouraging people to get outside into nature. I think they are on to something…

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…to come together, to celebrate with grateful hearts and then to sit quietly with it…

My friend Ashley recently reminded me of this beautiful Scripture from the Old Testament book Isaiah, “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.”

I’ve noticed that the years where my heart is lacking in awe and wonder for the season are often the busiest ones-they are the ones where I would have none of the quietness I so longed for. The years where everything cascaded down and I wasn’t ready-I didn’t have a plan for quietness, I didn’t rest in what had been given, what has been done and what is to come.

So this year, with Thanksgiving a week away, with Christmas a mere few weeks away, I’m reaching and planning to compliment each holiday. I’m planning time of thanksgiving and of quiet. I’m planning times of rest and of joyful work. Not that it would be perfect or that I would have such excellent control, but that I would be thoughtful about what is going on and what I’m responsible for. Before I fill my calendar with one party after another (which I really love to do), I’m reminding my heart to plan for space so that wonder can enter in. I’m praying for hope to fill my heart of what is coming…

 

Finding Myself

Becoming someone’s mother taught me something very fast: “know yourself”. A little bit of baby blues and major life change got me to “if you don’t know yourself than you’d better figure it out”. (Thank you Jesus for helping me get there.) Then once I figured it out, I had to learn how to stop apologizing for who I was; after all God created me this way! Next, I had to learn how to strengthen the areas of me that were already strong and to accept and ask God to help me in the areas of me that are still very weak. That brought me back full circle to “know yourself” with a little smattering of like yourself. Which in turn took me right back to not apologizing for who I am….I bet you get the picture.

This is my circle of motherhood. The place where I keep returning as everything around me changes.

I’m finding myself more grounded as I am reminded what I am good at and where my strengths lie. I’m also finding myself praying for grace as I face my weaknesses.

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So I want to dream a little dream out loud in this space that is my little blog. I’m not looking for world wide publication-I have not had that in mind. This is just a space for me to process out loud, celebrate what God does in the midst of tumult and stillness and to remember later and probably laugh at myself.

Because you see I’m fighting for space these days. I’m fighting for time. I have all these goals in my heart and longings in my soul for this life I’ve been given. Each one is like this lovely little video, my very own .gif in my head. Each one draws me in and pulls me forward; stretching my heart to reach for it.

I want so much to get back into the habit of writing. Even if every post sounds like the last one, even if it’s too wordy, even if nobody but me reads it! I want to snuggle my children close and celebrate and relish the things that bring me joy-like flowers and music and really great jokes.

It feels close-so very close. My last child is potty trained-potty trained people! I don’t carry a diaper bag-in fact, I turned it into my gym bag because it is still freaking cute. I don’t have baby wipes in my purse. And somehow, that’s getting me to dream. What will life look like with big kids?

I’m excited for this new journey. My head is full of ideas! My heart is full of prayers for my kids and for my husband and for myself. I find myself asking God, “what will you do with us now?”. I don’t think it is going to be anything with fireworks or wild adventure, and yet I’m anticipating quite a journey.

So cheers to finding myself, for rejoicing in all that God has done in the past and all that He might do ahead. May we be faithful and encourage others likewise.