Today, I’m so excited to welcome Stephanie Little to True and Faithful. Stephanie is a friend with a beautifully kind heart and an authentic walk with God. She’s an amazing Bible teacher, speaker and women’s ministry leader. She and her husband, Dan, have six children and make their home in Missouri. You can find a picture of Stephanie and Dan below the post, along with more information and links to her ministry page. Thank you, Stephanie!
“Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings
of great joy which will be to all people…” Luke 2:10
One year at Christmas, after decorating and redecorating my tree, I was complaining about my lack of creativity when my husband walked by and said something that stuck. He said, “Why are you doing that? It’s not like Good Housekeeping is stopping by.”
Hmmm…Let’s just say, I was not happy with him at that moment; and what did he know about Good Housekeeping anyway? But, later that night, I thought about the reality of what he said.
Why was I doing what I was doing at Christmas time? Why was I pushing so hard to have the perfect tree, the perfect gifts and to make the perfect memories? Where did all the pressure come from?
I realized my children were not putting pressure on me to cram one more Christmas activity into our schedule. My husband certainly wasn’t pushing me to make sure our home looked like a magazine layout. And, honestly, no matter how much the gifts are loved on Christmas morning, it’s very likely that they’ll end up in the giveaway before the next Christmas rolls around.
The pressure to have Christmas perfection was coming from no one but me. And that pressure was robbing everyone of joy at Christmas. It was time to make changes.
I’ve always been intentional about keeping Christ in Christmas; and every year I spend focused time with our children studying the birth accounts of Jesus from Matthew, Luke and this year in Isaiah. Yet, God prompted me to go deeper, to focus my whole heart on His purpose.
He’s been dealing with me about the idea of perfection and its effect on my thoughts, words and actions. Turning the eyes of my heart from the “perfection” of my efforts to the perfection of His, God showed me there is only One Perfect Gift – Jesus, only one perfect tree — the cross of Calvary, and only one perfect Christmas memory — His life given for my eternity.
This year, I let the children “help” with decorating the tree…and left their ornaments where they put them (for the most part.) I opened up our schedule to allow time to “just be” together as a family. And, we started the new tradition of the “Joy Tree”. We made a paper tree by tracing the hands of our little ones, layering them together in the shape of a tree and we hung it on the wall in our kitchen. Each day, on a paper ornament, we write down one thing (or person) that brings us joy that day.
As our tree fills up, I’m praying we’ll focus on the joy God gives us each day, instead of some elusive Hallmark Christmas memory moment. So far, this Christmas season is turning out to be “just perfect.”
Stephanie is a child of God, wife of Dan and mom of six “Little” blessings. She loves her crazy life filled with homeschooling and serving on her church staff as Women’s Ministry Director. Her passion is God’s Word and sharing it with others. She and her family live in a little house in the big woods of Missouri. You can connect with her on Facebook and through www.jesusisenough.org. You can find Stephanie’s Bible studies and weekly podcasts under the Sermons tab.