december crushes.

Happy Wednesday friends! It’s crazy that December is almost over – whoa. Time to sneak in some December crushes for you, enjoy!

1 – The Podcast Series “When God Doesn’t Make Sense”

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I love listening to podcasts and this month, Pastor Craig Groeschel from Life.Church crushed it with these 3 messages. The teaser about the series says: “Life doesn’t always go the way we expected. You pray with faith, but God doesn’t do what you asked. You seek Him, but don’t feel His presence. You’re going through pain, but your cries for relief seem to go unanswered. What do you do When God Doesn’t Make Sense?” I highly recommend downloading the audio to your phone and giving them a listen! I was encouraged and comforted by so much of what He taught.

Link to the website: http://www.life.church/watch/when-god-doesnt-make-sense/ 

And for those who need a little bit more to gain your interest, here are some of the Key Points:

  • Just because God is silent doesn’t mean God is absent.
  • You don’t have to understand the plan to trust God’s purpose.
  • God’s delays are not necessarily God’s denials.
  • If God always met your expectations, He’d never have the opportunity to exceed them.
  • With God, a waiting season is never a wasted season.
  • The scene of your greatest disappointment may be the setting of your greatest miracle.
  • True prayer isn’t about getting our way but surrendering our will.
  • Prayer reminds us we are not in control and keeps us close to the one who is.
  • Prayer isn’t just asking but trusting.
  • God’s grace fills the gap between our pain and His promises.
  • Me: “This is what I need.” God: “No, I’m what you need.”

2 – My TTC Mug Exchange Box

IMG_5562 - CopyMy partner Katie sent me such an awesome TTC Mug Exchange box! It’s been a blast watching all the boxes being exchanged over the last few weeks and I may be a little biased, but this box couldn’t have been more perfect! Included was the CUTEST “hello darling” mug; a santa dog toy for Cali (that she is obsessed with), a doggie “latte” (treats, that again, she is obsessed with); a Winter Candy Apple candle, Christmas pens and Kleenex, a little journal, the dreamiest hand lotion + hand sanitizer, planner tabs and prayer verse cards. So cute! Thank you Katie for spoiling us! We adore you! (Cue your chance to say a little prayer for Katie and her hubby as they try to grow their family!)

3 – Christmas Parties

Can we just love on all the celebrations that happen in December? I feel like I have been eating bad for a month straight (January – new goals!) but it has been so worth the laughs, smiles and memories. Here are just a few pics from my favorite gatherings! Of course I managed to not grab pictures from actual Christmas Eve or Day (figures right!?) so just use your imagination. We are celebrating with my family this weekend so the celebrations are still going! Such a great way to make the season last.

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“Stuck” Christmas party

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Seeing my nieces Christmas recital

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Love this life group of mine!

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Dinner parties with my Knickitchies <3

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The In the Wait team Christmas coffee

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Making gingerbread houses with our nieces + Josh’s brother and SIL

4 – Reindeer Throw pillow

This reindeer pillow from Target totally made my month. Seeing the sparkly beads + bright colors on the couch made me smile every day and also, makes me never want to put it away. (Nothing says Happy Memorial Day like reindeer right??) Want a pillow of your own? It’s on clearance and won’t be around for long! Shop here: Target Multi Color Reindeer Pillow

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5 – Light of The World by Lauren Daigle  

This song was so refreshing to me this Christmas season. I won’t pretend like this has been a great month for me – it’s been a bit rough and my emotions have felt all over the place. So this song, wow. It refocuses my heart on why we celebrate this December. It refills my Hope tank just a little bit more. I pray it blesses you as much as it blessed me!

The world waits for a miracle
The heart longs for a little bit of hope
Oh come, Oh come Emmanuel

The child prays for peace on earth
And she’s calling out from a sea of hurt
Oh come, Oh come Emmanuel

And can you hear
The angels singing

Glory to the light of the world
Glory the light of the world is here

The drought breaks
With the tears of a mother
A babies cry is the sound
Of love come down
Come down, Emmanuel

He is the song for the suffering
He is messiah
The Prince of Peace has come
He has come, Emmanuel

Glory to the light of the world
Glory to the light of the world
Glory to the light of the world
Glory to the light of the world
For all who wait
For all who hunger
For all who’ve prayed
For all who wander
Behold your King
Behold Messiah
Emmanuel, Emmanuel

Glory to the light of the world
Glory to the light of the world
Glory to the light of the world
Behold your King
Behold Messiah
Emmanuel, Emmanuel

The world waits for a miracle
The heart longs for a little bit of hope
O come, O come Emmanuel

6 – Triple Tie for Sixth

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How cute is Cali’s specially made doggie shirt? Want one for your little human babe? Check out my friend’s Etsy shop over at: https://www.etsy.com/shop/mayberrybowtique

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This sign. All the tears and feels. And yes, it has now made it’s way into my home.

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Lastly, Louis Giglio’s Waiting Here For You: An Advent Journey Of Hope devotional. I know I shared a little bit about it in my Emmanuel post, but this devotional saved my spirit a lot this Christmas. It was hard to find and I would totally order it and set it aside for next Advent if I were you! (Or go through it in January because you are wild + crazy + can. Go you.)

Click here for the link to find out more and/or purchase

There you have it! December’s crushes according to me. But of course, we can’t end a Favorites post without some funnies! Enjoy!

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I’ll see you all in 2016! XOXO.

Emmanuel.

I wrote a blog post today and while editing, was surprised at how bitter I sounded. (It got erased.) It was cathartic to write but painful to read back. Because that’s not me. I am not bitter. Who stepped in and wrote these words?

I sounded sour. I was stewing over the fact that had our March miscarriage not happened, our baby would be 3 weeks old. I had just gotten off Facebook where I was reminded that I can’t take my kids to see Santa, strategically place an Elf on the Shelf every night, or cuddle with them while watching Christmas movies. I was weary about hearing about how wonderful grandchildren are and tired of listening to all the special moments “families” (read: parents with children) share in over the holidays. The whole post read “WARNING! THIS GIRL IS CRANKY.”

All of these emotions above are real. I am sure you have had them before too – sorrow, grief, anger, frustration, impatience, and bitterness. It’s hard when you don’t feel like anyone understands or tries to validate that it can be tough work to face into triggers every single day. Once a brave face goes up, everyone expects you to be fine. No relapses allowed. Let’s just talk about children.

Christmas time can be a struggle for those struggling with infertility, however, friends, let’s not live in that struggle. I know, this is hard. It’s hard for me to type this after a morning of feeling defeated and left out. But God is so faithful. He patiently reminded me that as believers, we aren’t defined by what we don’t have, we are defined by what we DO have and that’s Him.

I know you may not have expected to be spending Christmas this way (again). But we serve a good God, a God of miracles, a God who cares and sees every tear and a God who loves us so much that He sent His Son to earth for us. You see, Christmas is one of the most beautiful reminders that God can do and will do anything for His children. But so often I can forget that while waiting. I love what Louis Giglio says in Waiting Here for You:

But Jesus didn’t arrive without a wait. While you and I simply turn the page, moving effortlessly from the end of the Old Testament promises to the opening of Matthew’s Gospel, it wasn’t quite that easy. Four hundred years of silence spanned the gap between the final prophecies spoken in Malachi (the last Old Testament book) and the birth of Christ… Imagine the agony of waiting, the struggle to keep faith in the promises given long before.”

You see, God can work and move suddenly. Because after that long gap of silence, Matthew 1 came. “The wait was over. The silence was broken. Heaven unleashed thunderous applause. And in a messy manager, Jesus was born. God in human flesh! The Son of God had become the Son of Man. Emmanuel – God with us.”

We can cling to that Good News this Christmas season. God with us. We never have to fight our emotions and longings alone. He knows them well. Whatever battle you are facing today that’s making Christmas a little tough, whether it’s singleness, illness, infertility, finances, wayward family members, or _____, take comfort knowing that we have the presence of an Almighty, Holy, caring God standing with us.

I don’t know about you, but my heart needed to be reminded today that Christmas is much more than Santa coming or a Christmas card with a pregnancy announcement. Christmas celebrates something far more eternal than our earthly minds can process – it celebrates His faithfulness to fulfill what He promised. It reminds us that God has never abandoned His children and He won’t start now. Let’s not grieve this season as if we have no Hope. JESUS offers us REAL Hope born out of His great love for us.

Let’s savor the ability to make Christmas special just as we are. Let’s celebrate what we do have instead of mourning only over what we don’t. Let’s praise the One who gave His Son for us. To Him be the glory!

photography: Gina Ziedler

Truly, I have so much to be thankful for. I love this little family of mine more than words can say! Photo by: Gina Zeidler