I pray that you have had a glorious Thanksgiving and Christmas season! Wow...I can not believe we are at the end of another year so quickly. I also can not believe that it has been half the year since I last wrote to you all on my own platform! ( I have been been contributing to another wonderful website for much of the year. You can check those posts out HERE). I have been absolutely laser-focused on my family and have admittedly struggled to find the time to write. Coincidentally, in all of this time I have also been busy making a whole new little Bean!
Yes! Our family will be kicking off a new decade with a new little fellow coming to strengthen our family circle in but a few short weeks! We are so thankful for this precious gift of life, though I will say that making a human while taking care of five other little humans has been quite an adventure. I must also admit to being technologically challenged as one of my little Beans sat on our laptop (the only computer in our home) over the summer. Thus, breaking the screen and further diminishing my chances of actually posting anything...EVER AGAIN. Prayerfully we will be able to invest in a new laptop soon, but for now I am precariously hooked up to my TV using it as a monitor while I type away on my laptop (which is very awkward by the way).
Alas, I just could not let this year end without writing a post of encouragement to you all.....something that has been on my heart all throughout this holiday season. Through the busyness, the rush, the excitement and anticipation of it all...a word has continued to impress itself upon my heart and mind.
Translated from Hebrew, Emmanuel means "God With Us". It is likely that you are familiar with this name....one of many names of Jesus Christ. Over and over again, I was drawn to passages containing this particular name of Christ. I replayed Emmanuel songs over and over again. "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" happens to be one of my favorite Christmas hymns ever. I wondered why I was so taken with the name this year. Then I think it hit me. It was not so complex as I thought it was. In true form, I was over-analyzing what God was trying to tell me. My family has been plagued with sickness all season. The flu, recurrent upper respiratory infections, stomach bugs, etc. Thoughts on our finances, things that we needed for the household, an uncertain future as we add another little arrow to our quiver...all these things have swirled around my mind for months. Will we be able to give our kids a good little Christmas? Will we be able to impress upon them the true meaning of the holidays? Will we even survive the holidays? Oh the things that enter my mind now that I am a wife and mother.
God wanted to continue to remind me that HE WAS WITH ME. God was and is literally WITH ME! HE IS WITH YOU TOO! As I reflect on the happenings of family members, friends and others this holiday season; I can see how easy it is to get lost in the loneliness, the hard times, the demands of the season. So many people struggle during the holidays. Even I have had a few days of extreme difficulty...days of darkness. Days of exhaustion. Sleepless nights full of congested babes and pregnancy-related restlessness.
And yet... God was there. He is here with me now. He is with you now. He has never left your side. Those many thousands of years ago, that little babe was born to walk among us. He died on the cross for our sins, and rose again three days later. But He did not go away. He did not stay away from us. He is GOD WITH US FOREVERMORE!!!
Now friend, I meant to post this post closer to Christmas. I thought that this was the perfect Christmas message. But that totally didn't happen, and now I am thinking that that is okay. I think that this is a great message as we enter into a new year! This is a reminder to all of you Mamas out there that God will be walking you into this new year...hand in hand! Whatever hopes, dreams or plans that you have for this year...surrender them to God. Whatever uncertainties lie ahead for you and your families, know that GOD IS WITH YOU. The meaning of Emmanuel is in the present tense...God....With....Us. NOW. YESTERDAY. TODAY. FOREVER. ALWAYS!
Consider these scriptures:
"The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”
~Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV
"Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me."
Psalm 12:4 NKJV
These are merely a couple of the vast number of scriptures that reaffirm how close God truly is to each of us. He loves us so much. How could we think for one minute that we are alone in all that we do?! Maybe you clawed your way through the holidays. Or maybe you had a fantastic holiday season! Or maybe you were somewhere in between it all. You are now looking ahead to this new year starting in a day or so with excitement, hope, maybe some fear or even reluctance. I want you to know that Jesus Christ Emmanuel is not just the God of the season. He is Lord of All, and He always has you in His Mighty Hands! He walks with you, talks with you and calls you His very own. Walk confidently into this new year...encouraged and emboldened knowing that He Is With You. Emmanuel.