Angels Come in Assorted Packages

I was sitting in a dark house- alone- no desire to switch on the lights even on my tiny tree. I was shell-shocked with worry and fear. It was a few days before Christmas 2009. My granddaughter was in the Intensive Care Unit at Primary Children’s Hospital. She had just come into the world one month before her due date and was smaller than the size of my son’s hand. She was on oxygen and struggling with other serious health complications as well. Also, shortly after she arrived, it was confirmed that this little bundle from Heaven had Down’s Syndrome.

Because my arm was in a cast, I was not allowed to go into her room and hold her. Though her dedicated parents were there morning, noon, and night and this tiny little girl did not need me to be in there with her- standing outside her room looking in at her tiny struggling body through thick glass and not being able to get closer was one of the most frustrating experiences of my life.

It was in this frustrated, helpless and terrified state I found myself on this winter’s night. The doorbell rang. I did not answer the door, but sat quietly in the darkness, hoping whoever it was would go away quickly. Suddenly, I heard a harmonious trickle come from my porch through the door, a soothing sweet-sounding, “Silent Night.” I opened the door. There stood a lovely group of carolers- one family- some pre-teen some grown, two of them former fourth grade students of mine. They had gone out of their way- left the warmth of their home on this chilly December night to get in their car and drive over to my home to sing at my front door. They were making the most beautiful “joyful noise unto the Lord” I had ever heard. As they sang carol after carol, I felt the hurt of my heart crumble in a envelope of “safe”. I felt a “comfort” and a “peace” that transcended fear and seared my soul. I was reminded from “where my hope comes from”. Tears soaked my hardened face softening the lines there with the sounds of their kindness.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. I Corinthians 1:3,4

It is hard to describe what that night meant to me. I get teary every time I think of it. What is even more amazing to me is the loving commitment this family has made to bring this gift. Not just that year when their melodious voices delivered such solace, but every year since…for ten years, this special singing family has shown up on my porch at Christmas and made me cry with their heavenly harmony. They have come in freezing weather. They have come sick. One year dead-tired from an all day drive from Arizona without rest, they appeared at my door. They had not even gone home to unpack. Just came. Some years the entire family comes and sometimes (because one or more are out of town) there are just a few, but they have always come. As their family has grown added son-in-laws and daughter-in-laws (one couple-two wonderful former fourth grade students- best friends then- married now) they all come- piling in several cars to be there and minister in song. Over the years talented young singers have been born into this compassionate choir. As I gaze upon the future generations of this kind family singing their little hearts out on my front porch, I am touched, blessed. I am forever grateful to the Lord for sending this family to me on a cold and lonely December night and their commitment to use music as an instrument of encouragement ever since. Thank you, Lord

Addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, Ephesians 5:19

By the way, today is my granddaughter’s tenth birthday. She is a healthy happy strong little powerhouse princess. She learned to be strong from her powerhouse parents who nurture her and daily teach her how beautiful and amazing she is. And she is. …”fearfully and wonderfully made”. She is a blessing of joy and happiness to our family. We are so grateful for this angel in our lives. Happy Birthday, sweet girl. Thank you, Lord.

You are beautiful for you are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14

Dear Readers, Never underestimate the gentle nudge by that “still small voice” to reach out. It could bring the comfort at the perfect time to someone who needs it desperately. So thankful for each one of you. Prayers for a wonderful Christmas and a blessed 2020. In His Amazing Love, Kristy

The Reason

During my adolescence and early adulthood, (for a variety of reasons) I was not a huge fan of Christmas. Then at the age of 25, a stranger told me about the love of Jesus and the new life I could have by trusting and believing in Him. All of a sudden, the story became real, the music made sense, and Christmas touched me in a powerful way it never had before. The hope, the joy, the peace, the promise.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.Luke 2:11-14

At Christmas time, I display two mini-candle holders given to me as a gift. I have put them out for over 30 years. They lived with me in a log cabin where we could not decorate with Christmas lights or twinkling tree. We did not have electricity. These little candles provided some sparkle to our holiday. They also traveled with me to various cities where I resided after my mountain life, including San Diego, and several cities in Salt Lake and Utah counties. Each year wherever they sit during the Christmas season they speak silently of a grown-used-to cliche. Jesus is the reason for the season, Nevertheless, a true reminder. The reason… for this season… for Christmas… is Jesus.

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Wishing you all a very merry Christmas filled with His joy and Peace! Much Love, Kristy

The Magical Choice!

         Despite my advanced years, I had never been to Disney World, Disneyland, or anything Disney. As I waited in line for an hour and 15 minutes (supposedly one of their slow days) to go on my first ride, I grumbled. “I do not like waiting in lines for an hour to do something for 5 minutes.  No wonder I have never been here. “ Finally, we were boarded, strapped in and ready to go.  The lights dimmed. The seat tilted. My feet dangled and my heart raced.  I am suddenly soaring over the tops of Mt. Kilimanjaro.  I actually lift my long legs so I don’t crash into the snowy peaks. I smell elephants far below me in the African Savannah. What? I am misted by a whale and watch polar bears frolic in the Antarctic.  It is amazing! “Let’s do it again.”  I grab hold of my husband’s arm like a 6-year-old version of myself.  It was magic!

The astonishing phenomena of Disney World was that it brought out the little girl in me. Not the girl I had once been, but the child I had always wanted to be-free, safe, and happy- joyously lapping up the incredible sensations around me.  I disappeared into the tastes, smells, sights, and sounds of different lands in Epcot Center.  At Magic Kingdom, I was engulfed into a spectacular and spooky world of the underground where pirates dwell. I had an incredible and touching view of the many children of the world while in a a small boat singing, “It’s a Small World.” I could hear the passengers all around me speaking in foreign languages and I smiled thinking of the truth of this classic song. I danced in the streets with hundreds of others when a Christian band appeared on stage in the middle of a street singing, “How Great is Our God” and “What a Beautiful Name”. Entrancing glory! Finally, as the sun went down and we rounded a corner to glimpse the iconic and magical sight of the Cinderella castle lit up with blue and purple crystals, I cried a little. At that moment for me, Disney World truly became “the happiest place on Earth.”

         But…I could have hated it- navigating the long lines, trying to literally move among the strollers and bodies, listening to tired children over- sugared and over- excited screaming their frustrations to parents who had reached their tolerance levels as well, paying high prices, and invoking the sheer patience it takes to get something to eat amidst the hungry crowds.  I could have hated it, but there was something so breathtaking about the beauty and joy that had been so painstakingly created around me that left me anticipating another opportunity to visit this amazing place again.

      When I got home, I wondered about the choice that I faced in Disney World- the choice to love an experience rather than hate it, to look at the good vs. the hassle of things, to make a conscious effort to focus on the positive rather than the negative. It reminded me of a prayer I said for many years when I was teaching . As I walked through the doors of the school (often, but not every day), I would pray, “Lord, please give me unconditional love for each and every child in my care. Help me to see the good in them”. Often, this became spiritual magic- not immediately turning a troubled child into a happy angel, but changing this teacher’s heart to a more loving one with every student. I am thankful for each time the Lord answered this prayer- sometimes in miraculous ways.

It works in other areas of my life as well, but it is definitely a choice. There have been periods of my life when all I could see was what was wrong with my job, my husband, everyone the Lord had placed in front of me, including me. In fact, choosing to see the good in me was often the hardest choice. The result of this kind of “see the bad” thinking was a kind of misery and I am not a person who likes to be miserable!

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable,- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Philippians 4:8 NIV.

When I choose to apply God’s formula to how I look at people and situations, it is like waving a wand over the unhappiness in my soul and transforming it into a place of peace and joy. It is an action I have to choose and many times I forget or fail or refuse to make the choice. However, if I “see the good” over and over again, I have observed a remarkable disappearing act.  The frustrations, hurts, worries, irritations, and day to day grumble-worthy events simply grow smaller or evaporate. The people I come in contact with each day mystically become shinier. Magically, many of my long-held resentments or fears can actually (Poof ) be gone. 

         I am not stating that to “see the good” is easy. I am not trying to suggest that it is a simple fix to real problems. I am not encouraging being blind to the harmful. Believe me, I know the pitfalls of that! I could not wander aimlessly through the cobble streets of Disney World with my eyes focused only on the beauty above me.  I needed to check my feet often for the possible dangers of small children to trip over or strollers to land in. I had to be aware of what was happening and protect myself from concrete dangers.  It is the same in real life.  Looking for the good, does not mean excusing or ignoring the bad.  It only means evaluating with a different eye, thinking about what is praiseworthy- looking for the good as a deliberate daily practice that can help when challenged with tough times. Also, when it comes to me, I can create a habit of acknowledging those characteristics that make up the good side of me. In addition, I can choose to believe the many wonderful things God says about me. See “Who God Says I Am-Study” for more on this.

         At one point during our visit to Disney World an impromptu concert took place on the stage of Cinderella’s castle.  Anna and Elsa, in full princess splendor, were singing the classic, “Let It Go” from the movie, Frozen. As people crowded in around us to watch the show, stepping on toes, and blocking the view, I decided to make the magical choice of looking around for the good.

Next to me, a small girl was perched on the shoulders of her 6 foot something father.  It looked high from her perspective, but she seemed secure as the man had both arms firmly attached to her legs.  It was the look on her face that transfixed me.  She was entranced- her eyes completely focused on the princesses. Her grin was ecstasy and her eyes were glistening.  She was enthralled with the moment. I poked my husband and pointed for him to glance at the little girl’s face.  We smiled at each other. The joy found there is a taste of the joy Jesus wants for us now and when we see Him again someday. Now that is magic!

You make known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand. Psalm 16:11 NIV

Thank you for joining me. I appreciate your patience as I take intermissions from my original story. Next week’s “chapter” will be a hard one for me to write and share. Your sweet support makes it easier. Please hang in there. I promise the story (even with its many twists and turns) is an encouraging tale of God’s grace and mercy. Thank you. Scroll down to the mini-companion study for more on “seeing the good”.

The Magical Choice- Study

Seeing the positive in a situation or person does not magically erase the problems or issues that exist, but often it can change our heart towards what we are looking at. Creating a daily habit of “seeing the good” is a prescription describe in the Bible as one secret to living a victorious life. There are many verses to support this advice. However, whether we look at the people or circumstance in our life in a positive light or negative light is a choice.

Please fill in the blanks concerning this well-known verse about thinking (which, of course, is where we really start to see things) and what to focus our thoughts upon.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is _______________, whatever is __________________________, whatever is ________________________, whatever is _________________________, whatever is ____________________, whatever is ______________________________—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. – Philippians 4:8

I realize in today’s culture, this is difficult goal, but worthy of effort and time. The Apostle Paul, also, gave us some advice about how to not just go along with the way the world sees. He writes:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2

How can making the choice to trust in the Lord to renew your mind can help you not to think as the world thinks? ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

One way to be transformed is to study His Word, so good job taking a moment to share in His Word here today. Please read I Thessalonians 5:16. Fill in the blanks. Apostle Paul states: ____________________ always. _____________________ continually. Give _______________________________ in _____________ circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. NIV

Again, this is a lofty edict, but I believe an argument could be made that Paul wanted us to aspire to create the habit of thinking in a way that honors His will; that is to rejoice, pray, and be thankful. Yes, I often fall short of doing this always, continually and in all circumstance, but the more I practice these “seeing the good” endeavors, the easier it becomes to apply them even during times of duress.

To me, the apostle Paul is a great example of someone who made a daily decision to look at his situation from a more “see the good” perspective. He wrote this gem from a prison cell. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. Philippians 4:11 KJV

It is a choice- a magical choice to see with eyes that do not only look at what is wrong with the world, each other, our circumstances, or ourselves, but to put our mind’s eye in another direction. If you are a Christian believer, what does the following scripture mean to you personally today?

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. – Colossians 3:1-2

In what areas of your life could you apply the idea of seeing the good today? What people in your life could use a magic dose of you choosing to look at the better side of them? Could you take a minute and list the things that are praiseworthy about the unique person that you are in God’s eyes? What can you stop and thank the Lord for right now?

Psalm 19:14 says: Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer. KJV
This is my prayer.

Lord, thank you for this chance for me to partner with others as we grow in Your Word. Please help us to not be conformed to this world. Please help us to renew our mind- to set our minds on the things above. Thank you for each person who reads this today. Please bless them, Lord, I pray. In Jesus name, Amen.