Kayla Wells: The Nativity & The Cross

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This season as we were decorating for Christmas, my five year old son asked me, “Mom, where is the CROSS?!?!” He was genuinely concerned that among the sparkly ornaments and bright lights, we had lost the nativity cross. Last year we lost Jesus for a while so, it isn’t a totally unfounded concern. We explained to him that there was no cross at the manger because the manger was where Jesus was born, not where he died.

Later that night as I was sitting in my festive house, cup of cocoa in hand, tree lights glittering beside me, the conversation came back and I wondered…

Did Mary in her birthing of the Christ wonder if her agony would be worth the pain? Did Joseph wonder what he had gotten himself into or if he had mistaken the angel? I can’t imagine life that year was easy for either of them. They had traveled for DAYS with only a donkey to ease their steps. I can’t imagine riding on a bumpy Donkey was all that comfy for Mary, in her state. It says nowhere that Mary would have an easy pregnancy or birth. The year leading up to Jesus’ birth was likely not an easy one or a fun one. I imagine Mary had her share of sideways glances at the well. I can see her sitting there as all her “used to be” friends gossiped and pointed as they walked by. Mary hadn’t ASKED for this, but here she was. I am sure it wasn’t easy Joseph facing a life with Mary already riddled with gossip and whispers. What must it have felt like to be traveling to Bethlehem for tax purposes at 8 or 9 months pregnant anyway? How frustrating. Then add in the heaviness that must have come from KNOWING ahead of time that her precious baby was destined to save the entire world. Rarely do great changes come without great sacrifice. Mary had to have known that as she birthed her son in a stranger’s stable, filled with dirt and hay after spending hours riding on a donkey. How disheartening it must have felt.

I will be honest with you all. I have struggled this Christmas to find joy. 2015 has been HARD. I have mailed more sympathy and condolence cards than I have congratulations cards. I have said goodbye to numerous friends and relatives. I have watched people I love deeply suffer in agony with loss. I have sat helplessly by, in waiting rooms and financial aid offices as friends go through trials, praying that God would meet their needs. Folks, 2015 has been rough and I am not sad to see it go.

However, after thinking about it, this is what my heart is crying to share with you: If Mary could “do life” with all that was against her for the simple reason that I needed a savior, then who am I to question the obstacles in 2015? Instead I choose to believe that after a time of great grief and misery will come a time of joy. It may not be in big bold letters. It may be in the silence. My silence.

Join with me friends, in seeking just what God would have us see of HIM in 2016. As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, we also seek the cross. May we be mindful that for Jesus, for Mary, for Joseph and the shepherds, before they knew what would happen in their futures, it was all about a cross.

 

 

Kayla

 

Kayla Wells is a member of Bigfork MOPS and former MOPS leader.  She is married to Dan and is a mom to three. You can find her at Mommy’s Soapbox.

 

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Marci Truckey: Rest Easy

I literally had two minutes to rest. That’s what the timer on the washer said, “2.” So, instead of going anywhere else, I just laid down. Right outside my upstairs laundry room, on the carpeted hallway floor, I laid down. I laid flat on my back, stared at the ceiling, and didn’t move. In my mind, it was the best decision. If I moved, there was a chance I would make a noise, and one of the three sleeping children would wake up. “Not worth the risk, I’m just going to rest here for two minutes,” I thought.

843D85B223Two minutes came and went. The washer whirred to a halt. I was focused on how good it felt to just be laying down, not doing anything, not making any decisions. I wasn’t helping my potty training, 22 month old in the bathroom. I wasn’t picking up the blocks on the living room floor. Again. I wasn’t endlessly rocking the 2 month old. No, they were ALL sleeping. It took me a few seconds to realize how silent it was in the house. . Instead of getting up and switching the load over, I found my body was paralyzed in that spot. All my aching back and tired mind would let me do is roll onto my side. So, again I just lay there, now staring at my daughter’s door. (Is that the faint smell of urine I smell?) I tried to enjoy those precious, silent moments, that I was positive were not going to last for long. Even though I had stopped, my brain was still moving,  “What if Brian [my other half] walked in right now? What would he think?” “I wonder if I know anyone who owns a carpet cleaner.” “I should just go to sleep right here, right now, because I can.”

Guys, momming is hard.

It doesn’t even matter that I have 5 kids right now. Even when I had 1, I struggled through parenting and balancing life. There is no guaranteed way to do this, where everyone comes out perfectly ok. I am not the perfect mom. I’m just glad I’m ok, most of the time, with the mom that I am. I often wonder, what was it like for Mary to raise the “Perfect Man”, “Mr. God in a Bod”, sweet little Baby Jesus? I mean, we all think our babies are perfect, but Mary’s was ACTUALLY perfect. What did that look like? Did Mary ever have to run down to the river because Jesus pooped in His cloth diaper, all the way up to his ears? Did He ever sneeze carrots all over Mary’s brand new tunic? Did Mary ever have to resort to counting to three because toddler Jesus was having “one of those days”? Did the Savior, Redeemer, Son of the Most High God, ever cause His mother to think, “How am I going to do this?! This is hard!” Even if He was the perfect baby, whatever that looks like, she was still human, just like you and me. Think of the pressure she must’ve felt.

As a God-fearing Christian, I am fully aware that God is always watching over me and my children. I count on it, in fact, when I’m praying for the kids playing on the stairs while I have to give my complete and total attention to the potty training, escape artist. Lord, help me. I am thankful that He is there. Even Mary, who was raising GOD’S son, who KNOWS that God will always be watching over His son, has a moment of panic that most of us are familiar with. She and Joseph realize Jesus isn’t where they thought he was. She’s quoted in the bible (Luke 2) as saying, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been terribly worried trying to find you.” I’m pretty sure I’ve said those exact words to my 12 year old who had wandered off at the mall. Has any mom, in the history of moms, ever had it easy? I’m pretty positive the answer is no.
Be encouraged today, mom friends, that you are not alone. Whether you have 2 kids or 10 kids, there is a beauty in the struggle that makes it all worth it. You are most certainly not alone611E343F6D in the struggle. The dirty laundry will always be there, the dishes will always need to be done, there will inevitably be fighting between one or
more family members at any given time, but the love is real. This is the kind of love that can only come from God. We are all in this together, and you’re doing just fine. Pray for your children and point them towards God, because while WE are not perfect, He is. Let Him fill in the gaps that you can’t fill. Be brave in your trust for the holy, perfect Father, for His love can conquer all problems and obstacles. Remember, God knew that you would be the perfect, hot mess, tired, sometimes cranky, almost always worried, over protective, but always loving mom for your kids. So, rest easy knowing that you’re probably not doing everything wrong, even if it feels that way sometimes. Rest easy, even if it’s only for a few minutes on the floor in front of the washer.

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Marci Truckey is a highly-caffeinated, stay at home mom and Volunteer Area Coordinator for Flathead Valley YoungLives (an outreach ministry
geared toward teen moms.) She has been a MOPS mom for 5 years now. Brian and Marci have 5 crazy kids, 2 dogs, 8 chickens and a rooster. They moved from the Midwest to the valley 3 years ago.