‘In the midst of the thicket,’ we’ve not necessarily lost our way. Let our friends reassure us.

These are the two take-aways for me from In gratitude to friends, Mags Blackie, most recent post. This message is particularly comforting to me just now. My interior life, this blog are being sorely challenged just now and for the foreseeable future, as life has seemed to intervene with priorities that can’t be set aside.

I’ll write about what’s going on at some point. But, as with Mags, I’m processing now. I’m having to try harder than usual, it seems, to keep God uppermost in my thoughts and prayers, to remember to practice His presence, to even take time to sit briefly and bask in the warmth of all the loving posts from all of you.

I miss you and our conversations and will be back as soon as I can to participate more fully in our community. Until then, I give thanks to God for each of you and the work you’re allowing God to accomplish through you. You’re a very special blessing to me.

Christmas Letters to my Lord-Part III

From family harmony to community connectedness. You have shown Yourself to me in amazing ways this Christmas. How can my meager ‘thank you’ be sufficient? How do I love You more and better? How can my faith possibly be enough?

Pope Benedict XVI wrote these reassuring words in Jesus of Nazarath, From the baptism in the Jordan to the transfiguration,

“Initial enthusiasm (for the Lord) is easy. Afterward, though, it is time to stand firm, even along the monotonous desert paths that we are called upon to traverse in this life – with the patience it takes to tread evenly, a patience in which the romanticism of the initial awakening subsides, so that only the deep, pure Yes of faith remains…

“If the fruit we are to bear is love, its prerequisite is this “remaining,” which is profoundly connected with the kind of faith that holds on to the Lord and does not let go.”

As my faith grows and finds strength in Your grace, I want to give more to others in order to honor You and Your faithfulness with me.

This, too, is Your gift to me this Christmas – learning again and again that in both giving and receiving Your blessings with a gracious and faith-filled ‘Yes,’ I will come to know You better.

Also read Christmas Letters To God-Part I, and Part II, in days to come, and Part IV.

Christmas Letters to My Lord – Part I

In this particularly disoriented, discombobulated fourth quarter of 2013, when members of my little family underwent various surgeries and water damage from an upstairs neighbor required we decamp our home for 10 weeks awaiting its repair and restoration, life has been lived in unfamiliar and changing circumstances. Unusual numbers of unfamiliar people and obligations and issues needed immediate tending – insurance adjustors, claims agents, contractors, workpeople – all required my attention in order that their good work could begin to put our Humpty Dumpty life back together again.

Testing can perfect and strengthen

It was not a bad experience…trying, stressful, disorienting, exhausting…but through it all I was offered repeated opportunities to show my love for You, to have it tested. Did I do okay, Father? Was my behavior worthy of Your love? Show me, Father, over the coming months how I could have loved you better.

Graciousness and neighborliness were mightily tested. These two qualities were ones I feared were gone for good after several recent years of a prolonged and deep sense of alienation with my community and with several family members. Only through Your grace has my optimism and joy been restored.

When I was called upon to forgive and to help our neighbor to forgive herself for the unintended mistake that led to our 10-week water-damage disruption, I found I was completely void of any resentment towards her. I genuinely appreciated her generous spirit in the wake of our shared challenges.

Thank You, Father, for this grace, for any good that comes through me, comes from You. And yet, there was certainly more I could have done. Guide me, Father, to better ways.

Patience and support of my husband’s passion for music and musical performance were also tested. He added to his already busy schedule (that includes a full-time job), several weeks of daily obligations in order to participate in the pit-orchestra for a community musical production.

I love that he is able to contribute to our community in this way. It is valued by many and valuable to his own sense of well-being. The icing for him was being able to perform with our son, who played lead guitar for the production. And I have been proud to be able to tell people of both their involvement.

Still, his schedule sometimes wore me out. Rehearsals were followed immediately by nine performances that ran up to the last Sunday before Christmas. With just hours, to go, we plunged directly into to multiple Christmas celebrations with various branches of our family. I know I could have been more gracious as I anticipated his absences and the time constraints they placed on our lives.

Blessedly, I found that all those times he was rehearsing or performing allowed me time to re-center, re-focus on You. We actually thrived in many ways, as a result, didn’t we, Father?

Help me to lean on You more, to trust You better, so that my patience and support of others may grow.

The days to come, read Christmas Letters To God-Part II, Part III, and Part IV.