Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cold and snow and sadness at the Season

I will take some pictures of our winter wonderland again but for now... it is really, really cold outside.  You know it has been cold when you have to use Heet to get into your car in the morning.  I had to go into town early this morning and while the roads were not terrible (which means you could actually use your brakes once in awhile), one had to be very careful.

There is a section of the narrow county road that goes into Town, which is surrounded completely by trees.  While knowing there will be ice on the road there more often than not, driving through it is much like finding oneself in Narnia before Aslan is on the move... danger mixed with sparkle. I half expect to see Mr. Tumnus hiding behind one of the trees.  :)

I was rewarded on my way home with a flock of cardinals all keeping themselves as warm as possible in my neighbor's bushes at the end of our gravel lane.  Beautiful!  I would have taken a picture but did I mention how cold it is outside... like sub-zero cold?

This Advent season has been quiet for the most part, except for a few stressful moments brought about by garage doors damaged by snowstorms, cars that do not work properly, and cranky people.  Nothing one cannot handle by taking a deep breath once in awhile and sending up a short prayer... help!

I have been watching some Holiday cooking shows, reading a few books (which I will write about soon), and keeping my mind on the true Reason for this season.  It has been a good chance to practice what I preach... Edith's quote... "If you expect perfection or nothing, you will always end up with nothing".

I love having Christmas decorations which bring such joy and at times... nostalgia... and which cost me no money.  I have learned the importance of creating a beautiful Christmas environment that I love, even if no one else sees it but my family.  Curling up to read with a Christmas tree in the corner and a cat curled up on one's lap... now that is lovely no matter one's income.

I know we are not alone in our very tight finances as we depend on food pantries for much of our food (stocking up our own pantry when we have the ability) and where there were once five or six other families waiting in line, there is now a crowd.  Where there was a crowd, people are not even getting into line. Pantries are also giving out much, much less than they used to... a true sign of the times.

I find myself praying for those around me for I know I have learned how to have a wonderfully beautiful Christmas season even when money is nonexistent and there is no chance of shopping for gifts.  That has been my life for awhile now, since it was apparent my husband could no longer hold down a full time job.

But for those who are walking down this road for the first time, especially those who do not know The One Who Created Us... Whose very Birth we celebrate at this time of year... it can be a desperately difficult season... one to just "get through".

There have been times when I have asked God, "Why?".  When we did everything one was suppose to do to be financially stable... education, tithing, budgeting wisely, etc.  Why have you allowed such suffering through the years brought about by my husband's illness and later mine?

One day many years ago when we lived in Michigan and I qualified for help (I do not now, unfortunately, except for free insulin from the drug companies), I was sitting at a table with many, many young women who were there to receive government health assistance (I was there as a Type 1 diabetic who needed medical help just to stay alive).

Most of the other women were single mothers in their late teens and twenties.  I remember His Voice speaking within me and I knew... just as He entered our world to save us... He wanted me in their world to be Salt and Light and offer encouragement and as much wisdom as I could.

Since that time about eight or nine years ago, I no longer feel better than another or have the attitude of "why me?" or even look down at one who is obviously high or "wasted".  Instead I pray for them and when possible (which isn't always possible), try to share Him and encouragement.

If He sent us to Africa or Asia to spread His Word, we would call it being a missionary.  Instead He allows us to walk in the shoes of another, perhaps a path we never expected, a path of illness or poverty or in a neighborhood or a city or any circumstance which causes us to feel outside of our comfort zone... and we realize it is our Mission Field.  We are to be His Salt and His Light in the midst of darkness.

At no time does it become more apparent then at Christmas.

So one learns to appreciate even the smallest of gifts and thank Him for what we HAVE (good books, a few candles, hot coffee and tea, a warm coat, wonderful movies and music of the Season)... and trust Him that we are walking His Path.  To complain about our circumstances may just be to stomp our feet and be upset at our very own mission field.

Which makes about as much sense as living in the Midwest and complaining about snow and cold.  We stay close to the Giver of Wisdom to know we are doing all He asks the best we can and then depend on Him for the rest.

My prayer for anyone who is sad and struggling this time of year is to open His Word, listen to Christmas music with good theology (as so much of it does, especially the old stuff), and find Peace.

Picture: Feathered Friends;


Jan Hatchett said...

This is a wonderful post! Thank you for sharing your convictions about this time of year. We all need reminded sometimes that God has a perfect plan for us--even if we don't always understand (or enjoy) what that is. Blessings to you and yours this Christmas season!

Vee said...

Brenda, you have such a compassionate heart. It is a tough season to be faced with so many concerns as so many are. We can do what we can do and prayer is tops on the list. Thank you for sharing your thoughts today and for the most excellent advice.

Scrappy quilter said...

Your words always touch the heart Brenda. We all need to be praying for those in need and when we can, help them. That's also where the church needs to really come along side those hurting and without. I see it in our church all the time and I love it. Hugs

Kel said...

Thank you Brenda....
Again, you have encouraged me so. This was very timely for me. It was is we spoke on the phone, I told you how I was feeling today, and this was your response. lol
Praising The Lord!

Kelly Lynn in TX

Kel said...

P.S. Praying your days are filled with tremendous blessings.


John'aLee said...

I 'needed' to read your post today. Thanks for being so honest and for blessing us with your thoughts. It put a new prospective on how to look at 'where' any of us currently are at. "...the harvest fields are great...and laborers few..."
Sending a prayer your way today!

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

Thank you again, Brenda. You are always inspiring, and I am sure your blog is part of your mission too.(As I am confident that you know already!) Thank you for that Edith quote which I first heard from you and now find myself thinking of nearly every day!

My husband's family were truly impoverished in post WWII Hungary - plus being persecuted for a number of reasons, not the least of which was their Catholicism. But Paul always felt (and he was the youngest of ten and his family left Hungary when he was 11) that their is a material poverty which can be terribly tough, but that spiritual and cultural poverty is much worse. Indeed, one can be very rich and have that sort of poverty and be miserable always.

What you have lifts you far above being poor, no matter what your income. You have wisdom and insight, and you are sharing this with many others. Thank you, and have a blessed Christmas season, and a grace-filled New Year!

Fixing My Thoughts said...

Brenda, what you say so beautifully in your post should impact us all. Often the only way to pass through for any of us is the old "One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus" method. Sometimes one hour at a time! I am thankful for you, Brenda. Your light really shines bright. Bess

Musical Maggie said...

Wonderful post!!!

I too look at my life and those it has put me in contact with as a mission filed.

I am in a wheelchair now and have been for about 8 years. This has put me in contact with a whole different world than what I once knew. I praise the Lord for the many ways that He has used my pain and disabilities to be a light for him in these circumstances.

Alva Lee said...

I have read your blog for sometime--I'm a lurker! I identify with so many things you say and you've blessed my life. The post today again helps me keep my perspective on "life." i wish I could be there to share my pantry, to give you some coffee my daughter brought back from Guatemala, to hug you. I'm not there physically, but I hope you feel my touch and my prayers and God's arms around you.

Remembrances said...

Thank you for the wonderful post! We, too, struggle, but find the blessings in life to be so much greater than the trials. We have a sign over the front doors of the church that you see as you exit. It says "You are now entering the mission field!" Sometimes it is difficult to count it all joy as we fall into diverse temptations as James exhorts us to, but if we keep our eyes on the Lord, it is so much easier to get through these trials and tribulations.

Brenda Leyland said...

Funny thing... I just posted something on my Advent page about choosing music that uplifts rather than that sad stuff.

And you say listen something that fits too!

Wishing you joy.....

Anonymous said...

Good advice and well written, Brenda!! Much to be said for listening to good music!! Good reminder...I need to be listening to the MESSIAH. What a gifted piece of music!!

May all our paths draw us to HIM, our Creator, Redeemer and Friend!!
Blessings, Elizabeth

Pokey said...

Thank you.
I've never been to your blog before, John'aLee sent me, and I'm so very glad I've come. God used your words to bless my walk today. Thank you, from one missionary friend to another on His path.
Proverbs 3:5 & 6 :-}pokey

Mrs.Rabe said...


How true it is that we are on a mission field where we are!

Over the last 6 years, as our son has chosen to walk apart from the Lord, we have been brought into contact with many young people that we never would have, had he been walking with the Lord.

The Lord has given me a compassion for them, understanding that so many have never even known what real love we have his girlfriend and their daughter (our first grandchild) living with us - he lives with my parents. Daily we have the chance to live out before her our lives, which are different than anything she has ever known, though we are imperfect...

I find that I am so grateful for what I have in relationship to the Lord and in my family, because of knowing these other young people.

Thanks for your sweet post.

horse loving lineman's wife said...

Thank you so much for your lovely post. It really touched me today! Hugs and prayers from me.

Susan said...

I love the wisdom that comes through in your posts - thank you for sharing with us. I am counting my blessings this Christmas -- and always.

May the Lord provide you with everything you need, Brenda. God bless.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this, I really needed to hear this as I've been so frustrated with our youngest sons health issues, which isn't like me at all. I know that I must just trust in God to provide in all things.

Blessings to you
shelley p
from over the pond.