My Time to Do What I Can

I had only discovered Sara AKA Gitzen Girl’s blog in the past year and was absolutely stunned when she passed away recently. She always wrote with such joy and life, even while dealing with a very restrictive and complicated health issue.

Since she’s been gone, her sister, Laura posts things on her blog sometimes.

Tonight she posted, Thanks for saying “yes,” Sara!.

Here’s just a bit of it:

“You gotta just try to do every thing you can, when it’s your time to do it.”

I was watching Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, who is from a small Iowa town not far from me, receive the esteemed Medal of Honor for bravery shown in active duty. Sal had told President Obama that he was just doing his job, and following advice he had gotten when he first became a soldier.

During his first tour of duty in Afghanistan, his Team Leader said to him:

“You gotta just try to do everything you can, when it’s your time to do it.”

It struck me as the most profoundly simple statement. And while I’m sure it is essential advice for a battlefield, it also occurred to me it’s advice that works in every circumstance for every person trying to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.

She goes on to talk about how Mary & Joseph just did what they had to do when Jesus was born. They had no idea what all would lie ahead for him. They were humble people just doing the best they could at the time. But God used them, and He can use each of us too!

Sara was so wise and encouraging. She ended with a challenge to all of us.

But this year, I’m wondering how I can be more like Mary and Joseph. How I can do everything I can… now… when it’s my time to do it.

Will you take that challenge with me? Will you look beyond the celebrations and the wrappings and the carols we hum as we busy about our lives – and pay close attention to the little details in the lives of those around you?

Because you never know when it may be your time to do everything you can.

It reminds me of the saying, “Whereever you are, be all there.” Sara’s entry was an encouragement to me and I hope it will be to you as well.

Merry Christmas, Friends!


Our Greatest Need

If our greatest need
had been information,
God would have sent us an educator,

If our greatest need
had been technology,
God would have sent us a scientist.

If our greatest need
had been money,
God would have sent us an economist.

If our greatest need
had been pleasure,
God would have sent us an entertainer.

But our greatest need
was forgiveness,
So God sent us a Savior.

–Author unknown

As Christmas is approaching, I’m digging back through my archives to rerun some of my most popular Christmas posts through the years. I originally posted this one December 2007.

A Christmas Acronym

As Christmas is approaching, I’m digging back through my archives to rerun some of my most popular Christmas posts through the years. I originally posted this one in December 2005 after someone posted it to the TOS Homeschool Leaders yahoo group.

original source unknown

Christ: The person Who alone gives any day eternal significance: CHRIST OUR LORD.  Jesus, His very name means “The Lord is our Salvation” and whose title “Christ” points to His role as the redeemer of humankind.
History: The birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are not myths or fantasy but are historical realities.  That God became man in Jesus Christ is an actual testable historical event.
Rejoice: An appropriate response in recognition of what Christ has done.  Favorite Christmas hymns show that rejoicing has always been an integral part of Christmas.
Incarnation: That glorious event in which God became man.  Christ is not only eternal God, but at a time in history He became man as well.
St. Nicholas: The fourth century bishop of Myra, a Christian whose story exemplifies Christian Faithfulness.  He was known for his kindness to children in need and for his commitment to Christ through persecution and martyrdom.
Tradition: The customs and stories associated with Christmas.  For example the Christmas tree symbolizes that Jesus brings us eternal life (the evergreen) and is the light of the world (the lights or candles).
Magi: The wise men directed by God to find and worship Christ.  All should bow before Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of lords.
Advent: A word referring to Christ’s coming.  Christ came once in Bethlehem as a baby Who grew to manhood, died for our sins, and rose on the third day.  Then the second coming that Christians eagerly await – The Blessed Hope!
Salvation: Made possible by the coming of Christ.  We are all sinners, separated from God, with absolutely no way to reach God except through His Son, With the coming of Christmas comes recognition that because He came, He died, and because He died and lives again, we also may live!

You’re not the only one.

Car wreck 11.11.11

Sometimes life throws you a curveball.

Lots of my friends went out Black Friday shopping. Some for the thrill of shopping and having an adventure with friends and family. Others because they wanted to save big money on a certain item.

I stayed home. I don’t have my gift list made yet and no matter how big the sale is, I don’t have any extra money set aside for purchases right now.

You’re not the only one.

Today is Cyber Monday and again lots of people are shopping and saving money on the perfect gift for people they love. Shopping online is much more my style and my inbox is full of great offers, but as I skimmed them, I started to feel frustrated because I can’t start shopping yet. So I started just deleting all of them. I’m not going to beat myself up about not having money set aside for Christmas right now. Don’t beat yourself up either. Delete those emails.

You’re not alone.

Christmas is a wonderful time to reflect on the greatest gift we were even given through the birth of Jesus Christ, but sometimes it’s hard to keep the focus on that when stores, commercials, and emails keep reminding us of how many shopping days are left until Christmas and how wonderful their sales are.

Christmas isn’t an easy time of year for everyone.

Sometimes the materialism of this world can make you feel poor, really poor.

You’re not the only one.

Sometimes the idealized Christmas family gatherings can make people wonder why things are so hard in their own family. They grieve for what they don’t have and struggle with what to do with what they do have. They know they can never please some people. They’re tired of being hurt.

You’re not the only one.

Some people battle depression, pain, and fatigue, or other illnesses that people can’t see or understand. The stress of the holidays can make those things worse. People may call you selfish for trying to protect yourself from making things worse.

You’re not the only one.

Personally, I think back to how Mary & Joseph couldn’t even find a room at the inn. They were turned away when Mary was surely uncomfortable and nervous about delivering a baby. They knew He was going to be the Messiah, but others thought they were crazy. They did the best they could and our sweet Jesus came into the world very humbly.

Feeling humbled by your circumstances?

You’re not the only one.

I like what Paul had to say in Phillipians 4. A lot of us have probably memorized various verses from that chapter: the one about how he’s learned how to be content whether he was in want or had plenty, or about how he could do all things through Christ who strengthened him. I like those too.

But here’s a little more to the story, with those verses in context.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through Him who gives me strength. Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Phillipians 4:12-14

Notice how Paul says, “Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.” The same Paul who said that he could do all things through Christ who gave him strength and the same Paul who said he could be content in any situation, was thankful for others who shared in his troubles and encouraged him. We all need people to share in our troubles and encourage us.

You’re not the only one.

People in the Bible didn’t mince words. They didn’t fake being okay when they weren’t. They didn’t try to act like being spiritual somehow protected them from life’s troubles. And they didn’t keep things all bottled up inside because they were worried how their struggles would reflect poorly on their walk with Christ. They knew that Christ walked a difficult road and that difficulties come along when you are truly walking with Him. No one is exempt from troubles in this life, not even during the holidays.

I know it can be hard to find people who love you unconditionally and will encourage you instead of judging you or trying to “fix” you

You’re not the only one.

I just want to encourage you to keep trying. Sometimes the people you want to be there for you the most simply aren’t capable of being what you need. It stinks, I know, but we live in a fallen world.

You’re not the only one.

Just keep looking for God’s grace amidst it all. He created you and loves you exactly the imperfect way that you are. He is truly the One who will never leave you nor forsake you. You don’t have to earn his approval or love. His grace is a free gift – one that none of us deserve (not even the holier-than-thou ones), but you simply have to embrace it.

I know it’s hard to understand. A lot of God’s ways don’t make sense in our world. But I know what that grace means to me, and I hope you do too.

Need help finding peace in the midst of the Christmas chaos?

You’re not the only one.

I’d love to hear how you take care of yourself throughout the holidays. Do you just give yourself permission NOT to send Christmas cards? Do you focus on charities? Do you let everyone know ahead of time that you’ll be staying home for the holidays? Do you have some type of Christmas tradition that you deliberately put on the calendar so that it happens? What do you do? I’d really like to know.

Send me an email or share in the comments box.

One day

Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience shared this link to jumping tandem: White Bread.

It’s not really about white bread. It’s about the choices we make every day. Thinking about how easy it is to brush aside ideas as being silly, but then wondering if one day you’ll look back and wish you would have done it.

Check it out:

He took my hand and tried to make me stand still, and then he started to laugh. I looked at him sideways, there in front of the bread. “Here’s what I’m thinking,” he said. “If I don’t dance with you, one day I’m going to say to myself, ‘If only I’d danced with her that night.'” Now I was laughing, too. “But if I do dance with you, one day I’ll be crying about how much fun I had dancing with you in the grocery store.”

No regrets, friends. Don’t miss those chances to do something silly that will keep you both laughing years from now.