What was Your Favorite Gift This Season?

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“God, my heart is steady. I will sing and praise You with all my being.” – Psalm 108:1

For me, my favorite gift of this season – of this year – was nothing tangible. (Although it is represented by a cute little necklace I found at the hospital gift shop where I work).

I’ve seen a post flying around Facebook asking people to describe their 2015 in one word. Well, I’m a writer… so it is difficult for me to even say “Hello” in one word. (And since Adelle and Lionel Ritchie both needed an entire sing to say “Hello”, I really don’t feel bad about that). So I will use two words to describe my 2015… and they also describe my favorite Christmas gift this year:  “Growth” and “Grounding”.

The word “growth” speaks for itself I’ve been stretched and challenged and changed this year like never before. And I needed to be stretched and challenged and changed!  I feel like I’ve lived most of my 40-something years sleepwalking through life and now I’m fully awake and loving it.

But the word “grounding” may need a little additional explanation. I’m not referring to the grounding of being sent to your room as a kid or getting the car taken away as a punishment.  Rather, I’m referring to the process of becoming grounded and centered in the peace of God in such a way that I am no longer pushed over by the strong winds of the messiness of life or situations. Rather, I now bring the strength and the peace of God into those situations.

Although some situations in my life look the same as they have for years, thanks to the faithful leading of my Amazing God and the people He’s surrounded me with to help me grow, I am facing everything with a strength and unwavering deep-down peace like I’ve never known before.  This is the first Christmas season in years that I have actually enjoyed rather than endured through a fog of depression. And that, my friends, is a beautiful gift!

Wishing you Peace that passes all understanding,

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When the Holidays Aren’t So Happy

During this time of year, I know it’s not all turkey and tinsel for everyone.   The stark contrast of the celebratory season to some of our painful realities is a lot to bear.  Some friends of mine going through a difficult season right now are asking, “How do I manage the {emotional,  mental, spititual} pain?”.

There are so many ways to manage pain…. Some are not so good – like numbing the pain with substances, food, activities, and so forth.  Other ways of managing pain are much healthier – like relaxation techniques, praying, talking things through with a counselor or a friend, and journaling.

But for me, personally, what helps the most is thankful worship to my amazing God.  So, as we enter in to this Thanksgiving season, let me share one of my favorites with you.  It is a song by Bethel Worship called “Come to Me“. I love the lyrics (I’ve emphasized some if my favorites below).  I especially like the conversational feel of this track.  It begins with God singing over us and then we sing back to Him in response.

Will singing this or songs like it make your pain instantly go completely away? Of course not.  But it will definitely shift your soul in the direction of healing.

Worship will help you cultivate a thankful spirit. And where there is thanksgiving,  hope is easier to embrace.

COME TO ME – LIVE
CCLI# 6147419

Written by Jenn Johnson

© 2013 Bethel Music Publishing. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.

VERSE 1

I am the Lord your God
I go before you now
I stand beside you
I’m all around you
Though you feel I’m far away
I am closer than your breath
I am with you, wherever you go

VERSE 2

I am the Lord your peace
No evil will conquer you
Steady now your heart and mind
Come into my rest
Oh let your faith arise
Lift up your weary head
I am with you, wherever you go

CHORUS 1

Come to Me, I’m all you need
Come to Me, I’m everything
Come to Me, I’m all you need
Come to Me, I’m everything

BRIDGE 1

I am your anchor
In the wind and the waves
I am your steadfast
So don’t be afraid
If your heart and flesh fail you
I’m your faithful strength
I am with you, wherever you go

BRIDGE 2

When the storm rages
I won’t be afraid
I have locked eyes
On You face to face
Your voice I will follow
Your eyes I will see
I’ll come a little closer
Come close to me

BRIDGE 3

You are my anchor
In the wind and the waves
You are my steadfast
I won’t be afraid
Even in the darkest night
I know You are there
So I press into You, Jesus
And lose all my doubt

BRIDGE 4

You are my anchor
In the wind and the waves
You are my steadfast
I won’t be afraid
If my heart and flesh fail me
You’re my faithful strength
You are with us
Wherever we go

CHORUS 2

We come to You
You’re all we need
We come to You
Our everything