"let it go, learn to grow"

So here I wait in hope of you

All my soul's longing through and through

Dayspring from on high be near

Day Star in my heart appear

~ Christy Nockels, The Advent Hymn

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Back at the beginning of November I was in Georgia visiting some of our dearest ones. During the trip my friend, Liz, and I had many conversations about how the Lord was teaching both of us about to let things go; to ask ourselves, "okay, what's most important here?" and to make the most out of the things that He does, and realize the freedom that is found when all the other stuff stops being the big stuff. Because it was 11 o'clock at night and because we are moms of 5 year olds we "cleverly" came up with the line, inspired by Elsa, "let it go, learn to grow." So this has become our mantra, and though it was inspired by exhausted mama syndrome, it has sparked a lot of heart thoughts in me.

On my drive home from Georgia that week I mulled over that little phrase and started praying, "Lord, help me let those things go.....the ones I know and the ones I don't quite yet." And oh! what a swift and thorough answer He has given to that prayer, in just a matter of weeks. He has unearthed so many places where my fingers have held way to tightly to things, and so many of these things are places in life have been things that have nothing whatsoever to do with what the most important things are. It's a humbling road, my friends, when you finally see how obsessive over the minutiae of life you can get.....BUT....(you know I'll always have the but)....has it ever been freeing!

And the part that I have loved, loved, loved about this is the timing of it. It's Christmas time, the beautiful season of advent. The hope of this season, the mystery of the babe becoming man, the resounding joy knowing that our Savior was born and He lives, all of this has been the weightiest part of this December for me, in a way that it hasn't ever been before. It's held more weight because He has helped me "let go" of the things that matter far less than Him.

He's reshaped my vision to focus on savoring the anticipation of His coming and with that all the extra stuff has fallen into place. It's not about me this year. That's the difference. It's not the controlling, selfish, "but I want our home to look THIS WAY" attitude. It's seeing this season for what it is, what's it's meant to be. And every piece of it, imperfect and not-pinterest-worthy though they made be, has been treasured this year.

The paths that our God takes us down start from the oddest places sometimes, don't they? I love that about Him. And I can't wait to look back on the memories of this Christmas because I think they are going to be some of my most favorite yet. 

christmas moments

Did you all have a wonderful Christmas Day? I do hope so. I hope it was a day full of moments that have now become treasured memories.

I've come to realize something as the last years have gone by, it's something J and I have talked about many times. It can be easy sometimes to slip into living for the next thing -- the next "big" occasion written down on our planners, those experiences and adventures that we think, "this fill in the blank is going to give us such incredible memories." And while that is completely true I think we can then often rush past the everyday experiences, the unexpected....or very expected......everday adventures that can fill up our memory box with some pretty incredible treasures themselves.

In realizing this I have dug my heels into the mindset that I want to treasure the everyday, the beautiful ordinary, the hard and hilarious, the trying and encouraging, the painful and wonderful. And this is a mindset I seek to carry with me into the holiday season. In the past I've entered some holidays with the highest expectations of how they were going to go -- all very magazine like, you know -- and when expectations weren't met I would often find myself pouting, as if I missed something. And, truly, I did miss something. I missed savoring the day as it unfolded. Realizing these things, letting go of expectations, has helped me to just live these days, to sit back and observe them, to grow in gratitude and say, "thanks, Lord, for all the pieces." 

And the moments of this Christmas Day were pretty perfect ones to savor: the smell of christmas morning coffee brewing. AK's little voice telling us "Merry Christmas" when she woke up. the leisurely-ness of the day. my hubby donning the santa hat. AK's expressions and exclamations as she opened her gifts and when she said, "I was always wanting one of dese!" when she opened her pink and purple "bacuum". face timing with our beautiful family throughout the day. seeing our nephews faces and having extra laughs at their cute Christmas stories. sitting across the table from my husband. staying in comfies all day long. beef bourguignon and crusty bread. knowing that our hope does not disappoint. heart chats and quiet thoughts. the faces of the two people I love most in the world. snuggling a contented Little into bed. finishing our day with blankets, madam secretary, and chocolate mousse. 

Simple moments. Quiet moments. Giggly moments. Emotional moments. Happy moments. So many grateful moments. Moments that won't ever leave my heart.