life | in the midst of the mess.

Last night I was feeling rather defeated by Christmas. My excitement for shopping quickly turned into stress, even though I had given myself a pep talk the entire morning, and had been repeating JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON in my head all day long, sometimes in between profanities, but nonetheless I was trying my hardest to be the jolliest version of myself.

Then my expectations for how the day was going to go veered sharply to the left, and I was the furthest thing from jolly. And then my mind started to run wild, and before you knew it I had convinced myself that nothing was going how I had expected this Christmas.

I’ve baked a total of zero cookies.

My presents aren’t wrapped.

I have no Christmas jammies.

I printed Christmas cards and still haven’t sent them out.

I forgot to buy gifts for the dogs.

I have yet to turn on Elvis’ Christmas album.

The only Christmas-y thing I’ve done is take my daughter and her friends ice skating on the coldest night we’ve had all month. I spent longer trying to untie their skates with numb fingers than they did actually skating.

I haven’t gone to see Santa once. Oh the shame.

Christmas at our house is doomed. I have Mom-failed so hard.

So 12 stores later, a few “accidental” shoulder bumps through crowded stores, and forced Merry Christmas’ through gritted teeth, I took all my baggage home—literally and figuratively.

I retreated to my room, and fought back tears as Satan filled my mind with lies about how this day should have gone, and how Christmas is supposed to look, and how I’m not good enough—because if I was, Elvis would be playing in the background and I’d be wearing snow flake pjs with eggnog in a moose glass, and my husband wouldn’t be wondering why I just bit his head off.

The thing about Satan is he attack’s when we are most vulnerable—after a bad day, after a stressful shopping trip, when things don’t go as expected. It’s in these moments we have to fight hard not to fall into his trap.

We have to believe that Gods truth about us will always win over Satan’s lies.

When my daughter stuck her head in my room with hands over her eyes and said “Mom are you wrapping presents?” I kicked myself because I should have been, but said “nope, it’s all clear.” And she said “good, I wanted to hang out with you!”

So I patted the bed, and she laid down next to me, and we talked, and we giggled, and I confided in her about my not so fun day, and she said,

well, if we didn’t have the bad days, we wouldn’t appreciate the good days.

And I kissed her oh so sweet and brilliant head, and knew that this was what Christmas was about.

It’s about each other. Loving and laughing, and sometimes crying with the people we love.

It’s setting aside our to do list, so we can do life with our loved ones. Not a perfect life, but real life—with all the mess and missed expectations.

It’s loving like Jesus. Forgiving, and letting go. Giving grace and mercy to our husband, our kids, and the cashier at Target.

It’s believing the truth about who we are. You are a good wife, You are a good mom. You are good enough. Your Christmas is good enough—because most importantly you know Jesus. And you know he doesn’t care if you bake cookies, or wear Christmas jammies, or buy the best present, or wrap your presents like a two year old.

He knows that you love with your whole heart the people he’s put in your life, and shopping and gift giving may not be your love language, but laughter is.

So when He looks down and sees you and your daughter belly laughing at 8pm, He knows that this Christmas will be the jolliest of all, not because it’s perfect, but because you chose to believe Gods truth in the midst of the mess.

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