“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
There is always a choice. He gives me a choice. This verse doesn’t say “I will” or “I did” or “I’m going to”… the verse says I can and so that means only if I choose to do it. I can if I will.
I can be fake or I can be real. I can pretend to be super Christian or I can be someone who admits that I am just trying to find my way and haven’t figured it all out, yet. I can pretend to be in perfect spiritual condition or I can be the one who still sometimes has nightmares and lets them control me even when the terrorist is not alive any longer. I can lie or I can be honest. I can be the one who pretends to have all of the answers or I can be the one who is still searching and waiting for a lot of the answers.
What is the truth?
Truth of the matter is that I want to be real and I would like to be super Christian but am not and I am also still haunted by those nightmares sometimes. I had one last night for the first time in a long time. I won’t lie, the holidays have been a little hard but they have been easier than last year. I am having trouble forgiving some who have hurt me. Truth of the matter is that they have been extended the same undeserved grace that was and is always extended to me.
I don’t have it memorized but I know my Bible pretty much from the beginning to the end. I have been reading it. I have been praying. I have been reading my Al Anon literature. I have been trying to fill my mind with good things and avoid the bad influences.
Truth of the matter is that I have been trying to just avoid all things that bring on any memories that could cause me pain. I have been hoping to slide through Christmas as if it is any other day.
But there has still been that glow that is in my heart that was not apparent to me last year. HOPE. Even now sometimes only an ember but still there.
Mr. Joe and I were talking early in the week before Christmas and he asked me something. We were already planning on going to my sister’s on Christmas morning and having Christmas brunch with them. Well, he asked me, all of a sudden, “So, when are you planning on making your cornbread stuffing?” A question that I was not expecting to come from his mouth.
You see, he is from the East Coast and he is accustomed to oyster stuffing, so I was assuming that he did not really care whether I made my stuffing or not. I answered him, “Oh, I wasn’t planning on making any this year, because you had your oyster stuffing at Thanksgiving and I don’t have to have the cornbread stuffing, myself.” His mouth dropped open slightly and he looked at me, “But…you always make cornbread stuffing”. Then he says, “But I like it!”
Hmmm! I had never thought about that aspect of it. This has been a year that has brought on a lot changes for us. When the kids were at home, I cooked turkey, cornbread dressing and all the fixin’s every year at least once and sometimes twice a year. Now that they are gone and it seems everyone has gone their separate ways, I just wasn’t feeling like doing all the traditions.
Reluctantly, I said, “What if I just do a small chicken and a small baking dish of dressing?” “That would be great!” he exclaimed. So, there it was…The Commitment. The Commitment that I had not really wanted to make.
Where does “I will” start?
I had to do it now.
I started making my grocery list and thinking of what I would need to make to go with it. A vegetable, bread, another starchy veggie….etc. etc. All of sudden I started thinking about another Christmas treat I’ve made for the past 25 years, Sand Tarts and another, Fresh Apple Cake, and then the chocolate chip cookies that I don’t even need a recipe for anymore because I’ve made them so many times. So, needless to say, not sure if it is good or bad, I am cooking and sending Mr. Joe to the store for more groceries early this Sunday morning because I have thought of some more things to make and all of a sudden I am actually looking forward to making them and enjoying them. I am now making an abundance of some of the things because I want to and will share some with the neighbors, especially my 95 year old neighbors and their caregiver who live next door. And now, all of a sudden, I talked to my sister and she, her family and their dogs are coming to my humble little home for Christmas instead of us going to their’s.
Mr. Joe and I are going to make sugar cookies today for the first time (together) and decorate them together. This will be a first for both of us so the beginning of a new tradition? Who knows? God does, doesn’t he?
I can because I am willing…
Now tears come to my eyes and I feel that gentle brush of His Holy Spirit. Life does go on doesn’t it? And peace does come. Another verse comes to mind…
“All things work together for good for those who love God and are the called according to His purpose” Romans 8:28 (the version in my head)
Not sure what this means because there is still the thing that is trying to pull me down but I am feeling motivated and getting a little excited by just going through the motions. One step in front of the other. Hope is what makes me do this.
“And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13
Faith and hope walking hand in hand in my heart, motivated by love. His Love.
Readers, I wrote this post a few days before Christmas. I hope your Christmas was as joyous as mine was.
Love to all,