I am trying to slow my thoughts and desires this Christmas season and focus on Christ and His Grace. Grace! Man, oh man, do I need grace. This week has been full of internal struggles and outward "failures" as I strive to be "perfect" as I mother and love my children, keep my house, and live with and love my husband. I know I should live in God's grace and surrender my will and words and desires to Him. But really, most days I think, "How?" I need a button, like my computer, that I can push to restart when everything is frozen or not-responding in my heart.

 I have turned my life into things I should be doing and the joy has shrunk down. I should be cleaning, I should be nicer, I shouldn't be frustrated when the 3 year old acts like he's 3. I shouldn't bicker with my 5 year old "teenager." I should desire to cook healthy meals for my family. I should meet my husbands' needs better. I should read Ezekiel - and finish the Bible by the end of the year, I should read more books/Bible and watch less TV. I should watch my 3 year old at all times instead of sleeping in because he terrorizes the house and puts himself in danger. I should love on my friends and pray for the needs of others. I should..... my list that I created only gets longer! But here's the deal, I created it! God does not mandate those things from me and I need to give up on becoming who I think I need to be and do what God requires of me:

He has told you, O man, what is good: and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" Micah 6:8

Now, maybe that verse does not encompass everything God wants of us. But Christ has paid the cost and we are not required any payment! We should LOVE GOD and LOVE OTHERS. Much of how we should live is summed up in the sermon on the mount, Matthew 5-7. So, I'm done with this "pity party of my failures" and I will go forward in Christ's grace! I am a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) He has called me to live for His glory, right now, in all I do! "Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him." 1 Cor. 7:17

So I am using the season of Advent to restart. I am going to pray and seek God. I want to fill my life with His Word and give thanks for all His grace and mercy. How can I change if I don't fill my life with His goodness and rid it of my sin and selfishness (easier said than done in the past but I am trusting in Jesus to carry it out this time.)

We are using two books this year to guide our Advent celebration; along with a few printable ornaments from The greatest Christmas site:

I could go on and on about advent. We don't have an advent wreath yet, but we do have 4 candles that we'll light each Sunday (no, they aren't the pink and purple colors.) We set our tree up, we will read the story at bedtime while the kids color the ornaments that correspond to the Jesse Tree and we'll hang them on our Christmas tree with the other ornaments.

I really want this season, and my life, to be focused on Jesus and who He is. Praying that my family will reflect His love to each other and to our community.

Time to restart! Pray with me, and for me, that we can be a community of believers known for our trust and dependence of God and our abundant out-pouring of His Grace! 

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