Your Heart This Season

I wanted to open up this post today just as an opportunity for discussion and to hear from you about what your heart is feeling in the midst of  this holiday season. In an ideal world, this season would simply be full of joy, and anticipation, and pure worship of Jesus. I know however that with this time of year, along with those deep joys and powerful opportunities for worship, other strong emotions often arise.

I know many of you moms may be desiring to treasure the holidays but may be fighting the Christmas rush. I don’t just mean in the sense of shopping, but in the sense of life, in the sense of trying to hold on to tradition in the midst of everything else, in the sense of ministry, and so much more.  It can be so easy for this season of joy to become a season of stress. This time may also bring with it loneliness for many. Many of you live overseas and far away from family and may be mourning the loss of time with loved ones and the loss of beloved traditions. Many of you in the US may live in different states than your extended families and may not be able to be together to celebrate. It may bring about sadness as you are in the midst of what should be a season of joy yet are in the midst of a hardship or trial or loss in your life. If you are experiencing any of these struggles this season, I hope first of all that you experience Jesus as your hope, peace, joy and savior, and also that you know that you are not alone in these feelings!

Whatever you are experiencing in your heart at this time, it would be so wonderful to have an opportunity to share together with one another as you feel comfortable! Please take a moment to share in the comments as well as to pray for one another. Praise God with those who are experiencing a season of joy and happiness, and please hold up in prayer those who are facing various hardships or trials. I look forward to praying for you!

(Post by: Ashley)


11 Responses to “Your Heart This Season”

  1. 1 Ashley L. December 15, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    This season for me has been such a mix of things! I feel like God has blessed us in some amazing ways as we seek Him. Our daughter even prayed to receive Christ about a week ago! I have enjoyed trying to make the season more meaningful for our family and especially to help our kids know Christ better through how we honor Him.

    I don’t know if it is living in a place where there is constant gray skies and only 5 hours of sunlight a day or what, but I have also felt more homesick this year than in the past. I miss my family and the traditions that we share with them and am sad that our kids can’t be there to celebrate with their grandparents and aunt and uncles who love them so much. It has definitely made me more grateful for my family as I feel tangibly how much they mean to me, but it is impossible to make those sad feelings go away since pretty much the only thing that would solve it completely would be being able to be with them. We hope and pray that God will allow us to spend Christmas at “home” next year though. In the meantime I am praising God for the blessings that He has given us, am thanking Him and trying to make use of the ways that we do have to keep in touch, and am taking Matthew 10:29-30 to heart.

    Life is also busy and I am trying to remain sane in the midst. For me it hasn’t reached the craziness that I know the holiday season has the potential become without restraint, but it has meant saying no to things that I would have loved to have done.

    I am praising God this season and am praying that He helps our family keep Jesus at the center of all things.

  2. 2 Shilo December 15, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    Ashley, you have such a dear heart, reaching out like this today. One of my favorite verses is, “He who refreshes others will himself be refreshed”. I pray God will give you that today!
    Because I am under “forced” rest, this Christmas season has been pretty relaxing. I am hoping to do some baking soon, if I don’t get to do that, I will be disappointed but otherwise, I don’t have a lot of expectations about how things will go since I just take one day at a time.
    I have a lot of thankfulness in my heart this season for a greater view of Christ through my eye crisis. Going through something like that is hard, but you know Him more deeply than you dreamed and that creates a thankfulness and…a longing, I guess. It’s a really good place to be and I pray that I will pursue Him more passionately as a result.
    This is very disjointed but…that’s me these days! 🙂 Hugs!
    P.S. Awesome news about your daughter!

  3. 3 montyandmarie December 15, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    What a great post. It can be so easy to feel as if we SHOULD be feeling a certain way during the holidays when in reality we aren’t for whatever reason. Thank you for the reminder to examine my heart in this area and bring any disappointments, hopes, and feelings to the cross. 🙂

    [And, we miss you and your fam so much!]


  4. 4 Ana December 16, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    I am also feeling a bit homesick – Ministry work has been put on hold until January and most of our friends and neighbors are traveling… At the same time I think God is trying to bless us, and I am willing to take this opportunity of spending Christmas with my husband and daughter and making some memories and traditions of our own.

    As I prepare emotionally and spiritually for this Season of celebrating Christ I cannot help thinking of my roots and my family and even though some times it brings tears to my eyes, I feel blessed to just remember all the things that God has brought us through this year, it has been the most challenging time of our lives and yet our heart is content.

    I pray that all the missionaries who will be away from home might find comfort in Christ alone, and that He’d bless you with renewed vision and strength for the coming year.

    Blessing and big hugs♥

  5. 5 Addie December 17, 2009 at 3:47 am

    This year has been more difficult because I feel like the holidays really snuck up on me and I’m just biding time until our son is born in late January, which is what I’ve been looking forward to for the last year. It’s been hard having my heart in Christmas as we continue traditions with our girls as it’s been a difficult discipline season with them. It’s actually caused me to make things more simple and not feel the pressure to do all the fancy crafts, cookies and events with friends and just focus on teaching my kids the true story of Christmas, and in turn ponder the true meaning of Christmas as well. I would be lying if I said it has been easy, it’s easier to focus on our son arriving rather than THE SON.

  6. 6 Jen December 17, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    It has been great to read this post. I feel the constant tension this year in “doing it right”. Though I’ve never had the “baking cookies” tradition before, I’ve been feeling the pressure to bake them because others do it. Which, I’d hope to have more of a heart to bake cookies to love others with. So, I haven’t baked cookies yet and pray for the right heart in creating traditions that point to Jesus and love others well.

    I have enjoyed starting a nightly advent reading this year – and it has made me feel “the coming” excitement of Jesus’ birth more this year.

    And.. we’re praising Jesus for our beautiful niece’s prayer! Yah!

  7. 7 Phyllis December 19, 2009 at 6:57 am

    Thank you for asking this! And to those who shared already!

    Honestly, I just feel kind of numb these days. I’ve been going through the motions for my children, but that’s all. In the past, the holiday feelings have sometimes come later, once I’ve started preparing, doing. (Having trouble expressing myself in English here. Sorry.) This year, I keep wondering if there will be anything for MY heart?

  8. 8 Kylene Bak December 21, 2009 at 9:12 am

    I am so thankful for your honest stories here my sisters in Christ. This being our daughters first Christmas is making it a bit harder than the past years to be away from my family.
    But since I have celebrated Christmas now a few years away from my family and all of our Christmas traditions. It has also helped me to focus more on the true reason why we celebrate this time of year. The birth of our Savior Jesus Christ humbly coming to this dark world as the light of the world to save us. So although my heart is struggling this year it is so comforting that the truth of Christmas never changes and that warms my heart. It is this thought that helped me dry my tears the other day. We were picking up a friend from the airport who is visiting for Christmas. While we were waiting for him to come through the arrival gate there were some grandparents waiting there as well. When their daughter arrived with her two kids running up to them with hugs my eyes starting welling with tears. I was not expecting those tears. But then one of the young women i mentored who was with us reminded me that it is a blessing I have the kind of family that is worth missing. And for that I am truly thankful. My prayers are with you all during this time of great celebration but also small tears.

  9. 9 Jungle Mom December 21, 2009 at 7:13 pm

    I just had a hysterectomy last week which has thrown me into instant hormonal chaos, that along with not having 3 of my older children with us, or my grand children, has left me a bit blue. I have a 15 yr old daughter here that needs a good Christmas so I would covet everyone’s prayers that we will be blessed and joyful this season.

  10. 10 Debbie December 25, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    typing my story to you – kitty on lap, apron on (you will see why that was significant!) you are here in my heart…

    Little Girl and Big Little Girl at the Manger

    (As experienced by me yesterday, continued this morning, and I want to share it with you as my present from Jesus, which I pass on to you…)

    It was the Christmas season, and amidst the lights on the tree, the carols playing, King Jesus took little girl to the manger. She shyly approached the manger, holding tight to His hand. She squeezed – He squeezed back (their sign that all was o.k., and was going to stay that way.)


    She whispered to Him: “Is that little baby really You, Lord?”

    “Yes. It’s hard to believe, isn’t it?”

    “I can’t picture you as a little baby, Lord…did You cry?”

    He smiled. “Probably”

    Little girl looked around the stable…the shepherds…a few straggling children, warming themselves from the cold outside… “Do they all know that baby is really You, Lord?”

    “They know as much as they can understand in the moment.”

    “Did Your Mommy and Daddy – did they know?”

    He smiled. “Kind of”

    She looked at the baby. “Does the baby know, Lord?” She giggled. “Does the baby know he’s You? That he’s the King?”

    He laughed. “All babies think they’re the King!”

    She was thinking hard. “Well, Lord…if he’s You – and the Real King – should I kneel to him? I really only want to kneel to You, Lord.”

    “You can if you’d like – but don’t forget the baby is just the form I took to save you, little one…”

    “I hear the angels singing outside, Lord.”

    “Yes, I hear them too, little one.”

    “They’re really, really happy, aren’t they?”

    “Yes. They are really really happy”

    “Is he happy, Lord?” She pointed to the baby.

    Jesus laughed. “I suppose he’s about as happy as a normal baby is”

    “Lord… did You want to come be a baby? Because You really can’t do anything when You’re a baby Lord…”

    “Yes. I wanted to come.”

    The little girl was quiet. Taken in by it all…the inside so quiet, the outside singing…

    “Are the angels singing because they’re happy You became a baby Lord? Why would they be happy about that?”

    She was fascinated by the baby’s hands so very little. She looked at Jesus’ hands, spread His hand out to look more closely. “How did You fit your hands in those baby hands, Lord?

    He laughed. O, how she loved that laugh. It just – it simply warmed you from the tips of your toes to the top of your head, and settled in your heart.

    “Does he have those too, Lord? Those holes in Your hands?

    “No, little one…not yet.”

    There was a lot to think about in this place…

    “Lord – can we stay here for a little bit? I like just watching and thinking, and being here. I like the music the angels are singing. It makes me so happy and still inside.”

    “I’m glad. And yes, we can stay here for a little while.”

    And they were happy just sitting there, together…

    And then Big Little Girl was there: “Lord, I would stay here as well, but I was thinking that it might be nice if Little Girl and I just cleaned up this place a bit. I think the baby and parents would be more comfortable then. She just had a baby, and I know how I felt after having a baby. Even if we just worked at making her a few diapers – wouldn’t that be a blessing for the mother and father?”

    The little girl suddenly felt a little bit guilty for just sitting there doing nothing. She hadn’t even thought of ways to be helpful.

    The Lord said,” I think they’re comfortable right now, Debbie. Why don’t you sit with us for a bit?”

    “Lord, I would love to, but it seems that right now there is quite a bit that needs to be done. People are going to be coming, and it seems it would be wise to give them something to eat. I know it wasn’t an accident You came to this particular place – You came for the poor – well, the poor are going to be here when the word gets out, and don’t You want us to be hospitable and feed them? Maybe even give them something to take home – just a little box of things they need – soap, a toothbrush maybe, maybe a little present?” (and she mumbled under her breath, at least that’s how I’ve always heard it should be done)

    And Little girl was confused because the stable did look messy, now that she noticed it, and she couldn’t hear the angels singing while Big Little Girl was talking, and she felt bad she wasn’t even thinking about the poor…

    “Debbie, the poor will be with you always. Come here, I’d like to talk with you for a bit.”

    Debbie stopped straightening the stack of straw and sat down. Little girl squeezed Jesus’ hand for the signal (He always squeezed her hand to reassure her everything was o.k.)

    He squeezed back, and smiled at her, a twinkle in His eye. Big girl sat down, glaring at her.

    There was a knot in Big Girl’s throat as she felt that familiar frustration rise in her. “Lord. I would love more than anything – more than anything – to sit and listen to the angels sing. And maybe if we could work together we could get things ready and then relax. And it’s not as if I’m doing any of this for myself. I’m trying to make Mary and Joseph comfortable – I’m thinking of others – all those who have nothing, and

    He took her face in His hands. “Big little girl-“

    “And that’s another thing, Lord – I hate it when You call me that! I would love to be little like HER (little girl felt the heat and tried to get littler) but I’m NOT little anymore, I’m BIG – and You’ve made me big – and big means responsible and planning and thinking ahead and using my time wisely and caring for the poor and needy and being hospitable, and then there’s the whole Proverbs 31 thing and “

    He was smiling as He stopped her, His hand on her lips.

    “Am I big, Debbie?”

    Little girl laughed. Jesus asking if He was big, when He was the biggest of ANYONE!

    Big girl rolled her eyes. “Of course You are big, Lord. And why are You making fun of me? You know, maybe You shouldn’t give all those directives in Your Book if You didn’t want me to take them seriously. And Lord, would You ask the angels to stop their “Hallelujahs” for just a few minutes because I’m getting a headache and…” the lump in her throat was too big except to say those familiar four little words: “And…I’ve …HAD…it.”

    He held her then, rocking her as if she was the baby! As she rocked, the storm passed in her…

    And she thought

    Jesus Was Big – and responsible – and hospitable – and cared for the poor way more

    than she ever could or did

    Jesus picked THIS time…this place…this way…

    There would be plenty of time to care for the poor – Jesus Himself said there would

    always be poor…

    She looked at His arm wrapped around her…picked up His hand…so big, so strong…she examined wonderingly, His fingers, and realized how much she missed these times of just sitting with Him, just. being.

    She turned His hand over, tracing her fingers over those palms of His, those palms which said more about His care than any of all the continual things that were always trying to crowd out That Truth…

    And she, for the first true time this whole Christmas season, forgot about all the baking and planning and presents for the neighbors and ..and…and…



    “This is a nice place, isn’t it?”




    “Can we stay here for a while and just listen to the angels sing about You?”

    “Oh, yes, My little one, yes, and yes, and yes.”

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  1. 1 Joy to the World! « Missionary Moms Trackback on December 21, 2009 at 3:16 pm

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