Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Prince Caspian: “I’ve spent too long looking at what was taken away, rather than what was GIVEN.”

This is what we do, isn't it? Dwell on the things we have lost, the pains we have endured, what we don't have. This Prince Caspian quote is from the Chronicles of Narnia movie, "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader". The only line that truly stuck with me from the movie (it was a great movie, by the way). In a lot of ways, the quote says it all.

At every crossroads we have a choice. Just as there are two sides to every coin, there are different ways we can look at things in this life. It's our perspective and I think it has everything to do with how we handle things. The dictionary defines PERSPECTIVE as "a view or vista; an outlook; subjective evaluation or point of view".

It's easy to get bogged down and overwhelmed by it all. Do you spend your time looking at what was taken away? Is the glass half-empty for you? Are you a victim of your circumstances?

We all suffer from this way of thinking one time or another. Sometimes I think it's easier to see the bad. You hardly have to look for it. And some of us our predisposed to be pessimistic. We are grumblers, complainers, and selfish. But we don't have to be. It is a choice and it's all yours. You are in control of how you look at things. You decide if the cloud has a silver lining or not.

May we all have eyes to see the big picture, the gifts given, the blessings received. Because one perspective leads us to the pit (despair) and the other one leads us to life (hope).

What is your perspective?

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." (GENESIS 50:20)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Twas Two Days Before Christmas...

I just finished reading "Choosing to SEE" by Mary Beth Chapman. She is the wife of contemporary Christian singer, Steven Curtis Chapman. In 2008, their five year old daughter was hit and killed by a car in the driveway of their home. The driver of the car was their son, Will. It's an incredible story of loss. I thankfully can only imagine the pain and devastation they have been forced to experience. But the story was also riddled with God moments, which can only be noticed when you are choosing to see them.

After a sermon series at church going through the book of Esther, it would be hard to support a theory on coincidences. As a Christian I believe there are no coincidences. God has a plan and there is a reason that everything happens. Sometimes, maybe most of the time, only God knows the reasons why. There's no coincidence you are here, reading my blog (thank you!). It's all part of God's plan.

Mary Beth Chapman's book would have been a sad, hopeless autobiography if they didn't believe in Jesus. Their daughter, Maria, believed in God and committed herself to Him (to the extent a five year old can do that). With great assurance, after her death, they knew where Maria was. She was in heaven and they would all be reunited with her one day. This gives them hope and peace at a devastating time.

It's fitting to read this story at Christmas time. One day left of school and excitement is in the air. And I'm okay with the fact that our Christmas time is spent giving and receiving gifts and spending time with family. But only in light of the fact that Christmas is a special time of year because of WHY we celebrate it. Although the festivities are fun and making precious memories priceless, Christmas is more then just the birth of Christ. It's also a reminder of WHY Jesus was born and that points us towards Easter. God gave us Jesus as a baby, which was part of His perfect plan. But He knew that Jesus was the Savior of His people and that He was going to die. His death on the cross was a gift of forgiveness and of eternal life.

Wishing my blog friends a wonderful Christmas full of JOY, PEACE, and LOVE! Spend some quality time with the people you love. Embrace the joy of giving gifts with a cheerful heart. May the peace of Christ and the hope his birth brings draw you closer to Him in the coming year.

Merry Christmas!

Your friend, Christy

Sunday, December 12, 2010

All The Pretty Things

Christmas is my favorite time of year. All the lights, the tree, decorations, cookie baking, being with family, Christmas carols, and if we're lucky, snow! I love the way we celebrate the birth of Christ, remembering God's perfect gift to us. I do enjoy coming up with thoughtful gifts for friends and family and seeing their joy in opening something special from me. Can't possibly compete with how God must have felt sending His son out of His love for us.

Every year I try to not get caught up in it all; the Christmas advertising, the big, BIG sales, the best gift, my checking account balance depleting. The holiday stress can turn you into a humbug. So because we're friends, I wanted to share with you my new favorite song. It's by Tenth Avenue North (I know I've been posting a lot from them lately, but they are just so good). It's called "All the Pretty Things" and it reminds me of how easily I can get sucked into the things that don't matter.

Speaking of Christmas gifts, this album would be a great one for someone you love!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Shame on Me

I don't know how to deal with shame. It's not something we talk about a lot with others because well, we feel uncomfortable about it. For years I've been trying to deal with this deep seeded, subconscious yuck. This feeling that paralyzes me. And it's easy to not deal with it by not talking about it. But I know I'm not alone. I know we all deal with shame in our lives. Because shame is a consequence of sin. And we're all sinners after all.

Webster defines shame as "the painful feeling of having done or experienced something dishonorable, improper, foolish; disgrace; a cause for regret, disappointment." We may feel shame when we let someone down. Or when we've made a bad choice, especially if there are big consequences. If you don't let it go, shame can hold on to you for a long, long time. It can be devastating. It can keep you from growing, the way God intended for you.

Why is it so hard to let it go? I don't know the answer to that one. In fact, I'm not all together sure how you get rid of shame, particularly if it's hiding deep inside. But I want to offer hope. I was kindly reminded of God's truth in a way I had never thought of before. It's not that I had never heard it, but I had sort of glossed over it. Never really taking it to heart.

I know that Jesus died on the cross for our sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). He became a living sacrifice, our atonement for sin. But there's more to it. Not only did he die for our sins, but he took away the shame that goes with it. More times then I can count I have sung about how Jesus took away our sin and shame. That awful, regret-filled, guilty, shameful feeling is covered by the blood of Jesus.

So maybe that's the road to healing shame. Remembering that shame is something I can give to God. That Jesus died to remove that from me. And holding on to it, well, that's just another one of my sins. It doesn't matter why I feel the shame. But the fact that I am still chained to it, that it still has such a powerful grip on me is wrong.

I just thought I would share. Because I know there are others crippled by that shame. And God offers hope for us, through Christ Jesus.

My chains are gone. I've been set free.
My God, my Savior has ransomed me.
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace.

("Amazing Grace/My Chains Are Gone" by Chris Tomlin)
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