Believe it or not, this month I am writing to you from a hospital bed. I’ve been put on mandatory bed rest until our fifth child makes his “ready or not, here I come!” arrival. Complications demand I be benched during my favorite time of the year. But God is good ALL the time. Never have I felt so loved by Him and His than I do this Christmas.

I have found God to be absolutely everywhere. On my ride to the hospital, I was serenaded by the music of Elvis Presley’s “Amazing Grace”, reminding me to “Put (my) hand in the hand of the man who stilled the waters, put (my) hand in the hand of the man who calmed the seas.” His loving compassion, lavish grace and constant camaraderie have comforted me with each twist and turn.

I have found Christmas miracles in the form of a praying army who have pledged to keep me, our baby boy and my husband and four little ones in their daily prayers:
“Precious Heavenly Father, I lift up Lori to You and ask for your hand of protection on her and her sweet baby. I pray that You will cause her body to relax and heal. Please keep “lil’ man” in her protective womb until Your perfect timing. Thank you for the gift of good doctors and hospitals and we pray that they will have compassion and wisdom as they care for Lori. Thank you for loving and caring for Lori and her baby so much and for taking care of them. I also pray for her family that they can have peace and joy as they help out their mom right now!”

As if that wasn’t enough, I’m reading Max Lucado’s Fearlesswhere I’m reminded regarding Jesus and storms:
“We expect Jesus to come in the form of peaceful hymns or Easter Sundays or quiet retreats. We expect to find Jesus in morning devotionals, church suppers and meditation. We never expect to see Him in a bear market, pink lip, law suit, foreclosure or war. We never expect to see Him in a storm. But it is in storms where He does His finest work, for it is in the storm that He has our keenest attention.”
AMEN, I TELL YOU, AMEN!

Then unexpected visitors from Mt. Olive , including Pastor Meyer, show up with goodies for me and words of courage wrapped in faith. My nurse shares with me her miracle story of a kidney transplant for her son that had our Lord’s signature all over it. My mother-in law steps in to take over my crazy life, my mother drops it all to come to the rescue from 2000 miles away and my husband finds a new admiration for all I do. Texts and emails blanket me in peace the way only God’s tender hands could. I feel cherished, not forsaken, and I’m living a life strong in faith, not dictated by fear. What a gift to unwrap! This isn’t how I dreamed it, but I’m astonished it could bring me this much sheer joy and jubilation.

I would never have imagined having Christmas in this precarious position. But you know what? My presents aren’t coming from a department store, a little blue box or some one day sale. They are coming from Him who so loves me that he has sent faithful brothers and sisters in Christ to my bedside to love on me like a daughter to the king. Never before have I slowed my life down enough to feel His constant comfort and healing and power. My prayer for you as you read this and for anyone who finds themselves in a less than ideal situation, is that you can access this fantastic adoration from our Father. His peace passes all understanding and his love for us could melt your mind…but instead let it melt your heart.

Pastor’s reoccurring theme this December has been “Christmas Gifts that Won’t Break.” We are those gifts to one another. I think we are his favorite action figures and dolls – in his eyes heroes and porcelain beauties. He uses us to His glory whether we are aware of it or not. He never said it was going to be easy, but He promised never to leave us. As I sit here feeling helpless over so much in my life at this most glorious time of the year, I know I am to “Be still and know I am God”Psalm 46:10 and “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” Jeremiah 29:11

This Christmas please keep your focus on the gifts that won’t break in your life. Praise God for His generosity to us through His love, faith and hope. His love being greatest of these is so clear to me now. Splurge a little this Christmas and slow it all down to allow it be clear to you, too.
Jesus is all the evidence we’ll ever need to know how real His love for us truly is.

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