December 13, 2013

Christmas Joy

That has been the title of the Winter recital program for Experience Arts School, which has a goal of training future dancers, singers, musicians and thespians to give God glory in their performance.  My girls take aerials there, which is dancing on a long silk fabric that you might see in the circus.  They love doing it and I see it as a way to make them strong physically and bringing beauty and daring into their lives.  One daughter has been disappointed to learn that she would not graduate to the next level as she had hoped to do in the Spring session.  After giving her some comfort, I tried to put it in perspective for her.  I asked her if she enjoyed it and she said that she did.  I asked her if she would enjoy it any less if she had to stay an extra semester at her current level and she said "no."  Then I asked her if she would rather get stronger and better prepared for the next level or flounder by being promoted too soon.  She didn't like the line of questioning at first, but later, admitted that she still enjoyed being in aerials.  And I saw joy in her performance the next day

This year, my goal was to focus on joy.  I haven't been very consistent.  This summer, I was missing my friend and her family, my kids were missing their friends and asking God why He would remove the one homeschool friend that I was content to have.  I started to take my toys and go home.  And then I was miserable because, truly, God is the best friend I could ever have.   He has given me a husband who is my earthly best friend.  He has given me four perfectly wonderful kids who bring me joy in so many unexpected and unconventional ways.  And He is my best friend ever.  He has given me a long distance family that is wonderful, including all the in-laws.  He gave me Jesus, His only Son. Am I being greedy for wanting  demanding more?  I let go and waited and tried to focus on having joy in what God gave me.  In the late summer and fall, I started seeing God answer my questions and bring new people in my life for His perfect purpose.  Joy is a choice, not a feeling, just like love, just like faith.  I can't say that I will always be happy, but I will try and find joy in God, even in unhappy situations.

Joy in running is falling short these days.  I am tired.  I haven't quite made it to being able to run a half marathon yet.  I had been trying to keep up with the "experienced runners running their first marathon", but in truth, I am not experienced.  My left hip started hurting.  I tried to make some changes.  Now my left hip, left foot and right knee hurts when I run distances.  I went to get a short PT evaluation and have exercises to do.  I am going to take a short break while I do the exercises every day and join the "couch potato to marathon runners" because I am a couch potato at heart.  I will continue to train because the Bible says that perseverance builds character and because the long runs are a time when the Holy Spirit speaks to me about my kids, my life and my walk with Him and how He is using this training for training in godliness.  And that is where my joy in running is found.

My preparations for Christmas are noticeably lacking this year except for trying to focus on Jesus.  We have the tree up and decorations out.  I haven't stepped foot in any store since before we left for Thanksgiving. We haven't watched a single Christmas movie or TV show.  Christmas cookies are non-existent.   But I am hoping to have friends over to help me make cookies and take some of them home with them.  And this is the Advent, or season of waiting, so most of my preparations might take place the last week of Christmas.  And God is blessing this Christmas season without any of my "preparation."

May God bless you and your family this Christmas season with His presence and fill you with His joy.

Tandemingtroll and family (who was photobombed by a precious and very cute nephew in their Thanskgiving family portrait)

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