Loose Ends * Comfort & Joy Edition

Hey, my friends, can you believe it's December?

One of the best things about blogging is you can write what you want, whenever you want!  There's no time clock to punch, no blog police to monitor your every move.

And for those of us who love the Lord, we play to an audience of One.

So, I'm quite content to combine a November / December e-zine for you as 2019 ricochets to a close, so grateful to share bits and pieces that I hope will let you know I'm thinking of you even though I've pretty much been MIA online ... and trusting that amidst all the words and images there'll be something that will offer you a fresh dose of needed encouragement or give you cause for pause.

This month I'm thinking about the comfort and joy that generously pour from God's heart to ours right in the middle of our bittersweet.

Bittersweet.  That word perfectly describes where so many of us find ourselves right about now.  Severe losses, rocky transitions, serious financial concerns, scary medical diagnoses, and those irritating relationship challenges that seem to rise to the fore during the holidays ... well, it's not at all uncommon to wonder how in heaven's name we're going to make it 'til January.

I want you to know that you're not alone, friend.

Yes, that pain and sorrow we might be navigating can be a bitter pill indeed ... and if we're not careful, the deepest recesses of our being can be slowy mired with the poison of bitterness.

But the sweet's still there.

In the midst of the sorrow, joy has the miraculous ability to reign supreme.  Our own peals of laughter often come five minutes after buckets of tears, leaving us feeling like we're losing it for sure.  But this, the piercing pain and the sheer delight of being alive co-mingle quite well, much to our surprise.

Thank God, the Spirit and the fruit of His indwelling aren't going anywhere, no matter what's swirling around us.  All that bounteous love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control continue to flow in us and through us as we continually turn to Him and beg for a refilling, a refueling, a healing touch {Galatians 5:22 - 23}.

The Trinity is so very delighted to oblige, to lift us up, to carry us through.  We're living one day at a time.  We're leaning hard into Him, aren't we.

And that, my friend, is a very good thing for that's where our hope lies.

His name is Jesus.  

And it's His very own Advent season we're walking through, just as we are.  We come 'broken to be mended,' we come 'wounded to be healed' {Cottrell}.  What a wonderful Savior!  He's the One we are yearning for ... most especially in the bittersweet.





Last month we chatted about how satisfying and helpful it is to layer our decorating efforts so that our homes morph rather effortlessly from one season into the next without a whole lot of time and trauma and drama.  I never did get around to writing the follow-up post on carrying that concept over to our sometimes overwhelming Christmas shopping excursions for gifts and food.  

But the invitation to layer our labors works, people!  Don't kill yourself trying to do one major, frantic, blow-out shopping expedition!

Stocking up, slowly but surely, an easy flow, a gentle rhythm will get all the goodies you require into your house.  You'll choose gifts that are meaningful.  You'll be able to select the food you crave on sale.  Your exhaustion level will go down.  Your back will thank you.  And your checkbook will, too.

Read all about the key to taking care of holiday business without making yourself crazy right here.

'I've seen dreams that move the mountains
Hope that doesn't ever end
Even when the sky is falling
I've seen miracles just happen
Silent prayers get answered
Broken hearts become brand new
That's what faith can do'
- Kutlass -

In the midst of all that's pulling at you right now, I hope you'll take the time to reflect on the miracles that are all around you just begging to be noticed.  It might surprise you how many silent prayers have been answered, the broken hearts that have been mended, how attentive and busy God has been in the lives of those we love.

Many of us are like Mary who 'treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart' {Luke 2:19}.  We tenderly cradle some sort of a powerful victory story or two that are not ours to tell.

But God knows.  May abiding gratitude and endless praise be our by-words.  And may that be a lovely sufficiency as we wend our way through this Advent season.

Comfort & Joy ~



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