Top 10 Christmas Gifts For Him

Alright, ladies! Here is my top 10 list for man gifts in 2016. If you are anything like me, the idea of not getting something awesome that my guy will love, is cringe worthy. Whether you are in a new relationship and just can’t seem to think of anything or you have been with your man for years and just want to do something different, this list is for you.

All of the items listed are tried & true, and connected to affiliate links by Amazon.  Some of these are the exact items I’ve bought for Dan, while others are similar. I had him sit down and order the list from great (10) to best (1). He’s loved them all, and although he is a sweetheart, I know whether he’s thrilled about something or not!

Top 10 Christmas Gift Ideas for Him

#10 Great Sheets

This might seem out of left field for guys, but hear me out. Sleep is important for everyone, and having a great set of sheets really is exquisite. Maybe your man is already a sheets snob. In that case, gift – nailed. If he’s not, open his eyes to the wonders of sleeping on a cloud. He’ll thank you, and bonus, you get to use them, too!

#9 Camelbak Water Bottle

I’ve raved about this water bottle before. It’s awwwwwesome. Dan, his son, and I, take ours everywhere. And when one gets lost, it’s agony until we can get a new one. These water bottles are the best because of the bite valve and straw. It’s easy to suck down gulps of water, and the valve actually holds water until your next sip. This prevents gulping down unnecessary air. The whole family drinks so much more water having one of these with us everywhere. If you don’t have one either, get one! They are an amazing price for the value.

#8 Lunch Box

Bringing lunch to work saves money and provides an outlet for your leftovers. This lunch box is easy to clean, stays cold, and doubles as a small beer cooler for game events. We also use it for packing snacks when we take day trips. It’s been a year and it still looks brand new.

#7 New Wallet 

Wallets make great gifts since these are always getting worn out from being overstuffed. Try going for a slimmer wallet if he wants to stop hoarding around lots of cards.

#6 Slippers

Believe me. They love them, and if they can get away with it, they WILL wear them to the store or to get gas. Dan loves his so much, he falls asleep in bed before he takes them off.

#5 Yeti Colster

This thing is so worth the money. In fact, after my father found out I was getting this for Dan, he requested one, too! They work wonderfully at keeping beers cold longer, and bonus, they just look awesome!

#4 Tools

I haven’t actually needed to get Dan these because he’s had plenty, but it’s an essential item to list for guys that don’t. A tool kit is so important and so practical! It doesn’t have to be a crazy, magical kit with everything under the sun in it (although, if you find one for a good price…). Just something that can be kept in the trunk for emergencies or for when YOU need to hang a painting. If he has a basic toolkit already, try to get an idea from him (stealth like, of course) of what the next item would be in building a tool empire.

#3 New Shirts & Hoodies

Dan hates shopping. But he’s got to be clothed. In my experience, there are plenty of other things your man would rather do than wandering around picking out the most flattering shirts for himself. Having shirts just appear that are stylish, a great color, and feel amazing is a blessing. Old Navy Long-Sleeved Thermals are Dan’s favorites and he’s actually asked me to get doubles of each for when one is in the wash.

#2 Grill…anything

Check out your man’s grill stuff. Does he have the basics? Are they over used? Brushes, spatulas, tongs? One of the best things Dan got for his birthday was actually from my parents. A big box of grilling meats. Steaks, chicken, bratwurst, etc. We froze it all and thaw whatever he wants, whenever he wants to grill. You have a wide range of ways to go when it comes to grilling. It really is an art for some guys.

#1 Tickets!

Tickets to any sporting event that he loves, will score you big points. Get two and if you don’t want to go (but if he wants you to go, you should, they are so much fun and it’s really an honor to be picked to tag along with him) let him know he can bring a friend. This gift is fool-proof. Even if the seats are up high, he’ll still be thrilled to see his team live.

If by the end of this list you still feel unsure of what to get him, go the gift card route. Sometimes a gift card can feel impersonal, but I want you to take a moment and step inside a man’s mind. Your woman spent her money wisely by purchasing you something that can be used whenever on whatever? Win! Dan’s top 3 gift card locations are Home Depot/Lowes, Gander Mountain/Bass Pro, or Best Buy.

Happy Holidays, everyone!
Sam

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Delicious & Simple Date Night Fondue

It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s yummy. If you’ve never made your own fondue, don’t be afraid of it! Some of the best date nights are when you and your man do something out of the ordinary and walk each other through it.Date Night Fondue

Recently, I posted a plea to my fellow couples to stop looking at date night as a luxury, buckle down, and devote some one on one time with your man. I feel that it is only fair, now, to share some easy to get ready ideas. Especially if your date night needs to be in that tiny chunk of time that is after the babies go to bed but before you crash in bed.

So here it is! The simplest and tastiest, date night treat. OM NOM NOM.

(The following may contain affiliate links.)

The best part of chocolate fondue is that the prep really doesn’t take long. My advice is to pick a movie, set up your ingredients (maybe on the coffee table), and work together. Before you start, decide how you will melt your chocolate. If you have a fondue pot you’re all set! If not, no worries, but you will need a small pot and a metal bowl like this.

Ingredients:                                                                        

Lindt Chocolate Truffles, Milk or Dark chocolate  5 oz

Your choice of a liqueur (We had Bailey’s on hand which was delicious, but Chambord and Kahlua are great too!)

For the Dippers:

You can totally just raid your fridge, if you like! It’s amazing how many things go awesome with chocolate…

Strawberries

Bananas

Marshmallows

Graham Crackers

Pineapple

Brownie Bites

Be adventurous!

Directions:

Begin by chopping up all your dippers into roughly 1 inch pieces. Dan and I like to eat in the living room on date night, so we put our cutting boards right on the coffee table. We also use an extension cord with our fondue pot so we can start melting the chocolate right next to us. Yes, we date night hard at our house.

If you don’t have a fondue pot, you can quickly and easily melt your chocolate on the stove and then bring it back to the table. Float a metal dish over a pot of hot water and slowly stir your truffles until they are completely melted, delicious, and runny. I definitely recommend putting a fondue pot on your Christmas list, though! They are so much fun and great for family and friend gatherings.

The best part about using Lindt chocolate is that it really does melt like a dream and you don’t have to add anything else to it. Just your liqueur, of course. I would start with a teaspoon of liqueur and then add more as you like.

And now, you’re all set! You can use forks, fondue sticks, skewers, or your hands! Enjoy!

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No More Excuses, Plan a Date Night

No more excuses, plan a date night.You’re done. You’ve used every excuse in the book about why you can’t plan a date night for you and your man. I promise I’ve been there, too. Who will take the kids, how can we afford it, and I need to clean – …something.

So do I.          Let’s leave it.

On the surface, date night may seem like a luxury. An exquisite night out with your man? Who wouldn’t want that? It sounds wonderful, but also expensive. Granted, there are definitely luxury date nights that only celebrities could afford each month. But that is not what I’m writing about, today. I mean the good old fashioned, you + me and the front porch rocker, date night. It’s so important!

We, as couples, have to stop looking at date night as a luxury. The date night is one of the only times that you and your love learn to stay in sync with one another. No cell phones, no laptops, no distractions. Just you, him, eye contact, and discussion.

Sometimes, our relationships can get trampled by the fast-paced world we live in. We start to lose touch with one another. God is our foundation and family is our life, but our relationship is a back bone. Without it being solid, things start to break down. Let go of the guilt, grab a pen and a paper, and let’s get to work. Planning is key!

Who will take the kids?  Once I stopped looking at date night as a luxury and started seeing it as a necessity to survival, I began to feel less guilty about having one on one time with Dan. I also loosened up on the idea of letting our little one go to my parents. They were ecstatic, of course. Heaven bless them.  If Grandma and Grandpa don’t live down the road, and your family is not in the position to spend $100 on a babysitter (Yowsa), I recommend you plan your date night to be at home and after bedtime (and YES the babies need to have a bedtime).

How will we afford it? If you DID spend all your money on a babysitter, pack a meal and drive somewhere. If you want to go out to dinner, split a meal. Restaurants over size their meal portions like CRAZY. Bonus: Sharing a meal is romantic and spares you the overeating guilt when you get home. You’ll feel lighter and sexier the rest of the night! There are also a ton of ideas on Pinterest for date nights in (cards, cocktails, fondue). What do you have on hand? Get creative. You can find some brilliant ideas posted to my Pinterest board The Dependable Date Night.

We’re fighting. First off, I’m so sorry and I wish I could give you a squeeze. Fights are no fun and have the potential to make date night awkward. But I promise you, it’s even more important! This could be an entire post on its own and I will not give it justice in this tiny paragraph. In short, swallow the fire and set down the weapons for the evening. Commit to each other as a couple to take a time out and focus on the positive.

     ——————————————-

Excuses out of the way? Pick some ideas for the next couple of months and mix it up! Dan gets to set up date night one Friday, and then I get the next one.  One week we might go out and then the next time we stay in!

How often should we plan date nights? That’s something that you, as a couple, should decide. What works for you? I would recommend at least once a month. Our magic number is every other Friday. Circle it on the calendar for multiple months out. Lots of circles, star it, maybe add some hearts…

And don’t forget: Keep the cell phones and laptops out of the way! Milk these next couple of hours for all their worth.

So. Did you plan it? Did you do it? I want to hear all about it!!

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Why Should I Pray? Can We Change God’s Mind?

Why Should I Pray?Dearest sister,

I wish we were sitting together right now and I could hold your hands as we pray for God to guide this discussion and lead us to a place of peace and understanding. If there is one question I hear more than ever about my relationship with God, it’s why do I bother praying? I can hear the argument still.

You just said God is in control. You just said He’s got it all figured out. You just said He knows better than I do. So, why should I pray?

I’ll admit that sometimes examining faith on the surface can seem contradictory. Without God’s Word I would be completely lost. How can a God that is perfect, smarter than we could ever measure, and completely unshakable, do what WE ask for? It doesn’t make any sense…. Or does it?

If you have your bible turn to Exodus 33. I also encourage you to get a bible if don’t have one! Mine has become a sanctuary. If you’re looking for a bible, this is my absolute favorite for bible study. Now, just a heads up about what is going on here: Moses and the  Israelites are making their way to the Promised Land, but not without sounding like a bunch of overtired children (no offense, Israel, I sound just like you a majority of the time). Go ahead and dive in!

The beauty in this passage is that God said he was going to do one thing (not send His presence with Israel) but through Moses’s pleading and genuine prayer, God acted differently (agreed to go with them). Did Moses change God’s mind? Not exactly. God is unchangeable. He knows what we need, though, and He knows how to go about providing for us.

God created a moment for Moses to be vulnerable with Him, to bow down and humble himself before his creator. He created a moment for Moses to ENGAGE with him. To be a part of God’s work.

When we bow before God and pray from a genuine place, He moves. God never designed us to be robots that follow him without question or thought. He could have, but he didn’t. Why? Because he loves you, dearest. He loves us more than we could ever imagine. He wanted to talk to us, to hold us, to listen to us in our pain, and hear our call for Him. And all of these things benefit us, too! They make us stronger and more concrete in our faith.

Have you been holding out? Take some time right now and lay it all out for him. Engage, talk, ask, and believe without wavering. I’ll be praying for you tonight, sister.

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How to Banish the Silent Treatment

How to Banish the Silent TreatmentIt happened. Our first “fight” happened. It was two years ago that it happened, of course, but I still clearly remember these words seeping over me after the “fight” occurred.

Before I dig in: I was given the opportunity to learn how to banish the silent treatment because my (dear & handsome) man refused to keep a lid on his patience and love for me. So if you, too, are a dear & handsome man reading this, remember that choosing to embrace love and warmth with your woman, during a moment like the one I’m about to explain, is absolutely key for us to banish that silent treatment cycle!

Back to the “fight”-

Dan immediately asked (kindly, I should add), “What’s wrong? What happened? Why are you upset?”  And this was the crazy part, I didn’t completely know. What did just happen? I was still overflowing with the details. I knew I was upset. I knew he definitely did something wrong. But I couldn’t exactly tell you the how’s and why’s of the situation.

Tears started to well up. Dan had absolutely no idea what he had done and I knew it. I was experiencing a mix of feelings. I wanted to solve it. I wanted to make it disappear. I wanted to say something other than “I’m fine”, but I also didn’t want to look like an idiot and tell him I didn’t know why I was so upset. And I needed to tell him something. Quick! At the time, I’m fine, felt like the only answer!

“I’m fine.”

Ughhhhh I just became THAT girl. I never wanted to be THAT girl: the one who shuts down and says I’m fine when clearly she’s not. But honestly, I didn’t know what to say. I felt blank and unarmed for the right and level-headed words.

When our loved ones do something that hurts or angers us, the next few minutes can contain a rush of emotions to the head. Why did he do that? What a jerk? Is he kidding?! Then, with all the pressure from the situation, we might feel left with two options: Spit word-vomit and repeat all of our angry or sad thoughts or… enter silent treatment mode. Maybe we could just wait for him to figure out what he did.

Word to the wise: you’ll be waiting awhile. The secret is using option #3.

I looked at his pleading face and said, as warmly as I could muster, and as honestly as I could imagine,

“I am sad, but I just need a minute to figure out exactly what it was that upset me and, uh, kind-of organize my words… Is that okay?”

Dan looked surprised, curious, and amazed all at the same time.

“Yea, absolutely.”

Immediately I started to process what had happened and what it was that pricked my heart. In the meantime, Dan remained calm, now knowing that I was not trying to give him the silent treatment, just organizing myself.

Side note: My honest approach completely bewildered Dan. My desire to focus only on the action that caused my emotion and not the emotion itself, softened his heart.

A few moments later I had worked it out in my mind: the cause, the response, and the effect. And this is exactly how I explained it (and yes I did cry as I did, and that’s okay!).

When we were in the store and I said I would just grab a drink from somewhere else, it was because I didn’t want soda. I felt that you spoke to me like a child in front of the cashier and that embarrassed me.”

Dan looked horrified at his actions and misunderstanding. “Wow, I’m such a jerk. I totally didn’t understand. I can’t believe I did that to you. I’m so, so sorry. Please forgive me.”

Side note: Dan really did feel terrible for how he acted. He showed an appreciation for how I responded to him by being very careful to NEVER speak that way to me again. Around and around we go.

This is just a tiny example of how

asking to take a minute to think,

responding in honesty with the cause, the response, and the effect,

and listening (both on his part and mine)

can work to banish the silent treatment. On the surface, it looks like a small conflict we had that day, but it could have easily been blown out of proportion. Then our day would have been ruined. Instead, both of us were pleasantly surprised at how good we felt after.

Dan still looks back at that day and says he was amazed to have met someone that could help him learn how to work as a team, even in the difficult times. It’s okay if in those first few minutes after a clash you don’t know what to say or why you feel so upset! Just ask for a minute. Your honesty will be inspiring. You can do it, I believe in you!

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3 Things You Never Thought Could Affect Your Relationship

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Alright my friends, I’ve pulled together some surprising information about what may be unknowingly affecting us and our loves.  If you are interested in learning more about any of these, shoot me a message! I’m a big fan of evidence, and I would be happy to send you the research and studies!

Water:

Say what?! Water can affect our relationships? Yes! Well, hydration can! The brain is a giant network of neurons that do their best work in a well-lubricated environment. When we do not provide a hydrated atmosphere for our lovely brains to operate in, we are more likely to experience headaches and impaired thinking! Impaired thinking = less than awesome decisions. Maybe we feel less patient, more irritable, or we are more distracted. Add children into the mix? Even more chaos to try to battle with a stale mind. I personally struggled with an anxious mind and didn’t start drinking enough water until I got this wonderful water bottle. I love it and take it with me EVERYWHERE. Drink up, sisters!

Chick Flicks:

I love me a good chick flick. Love ‘em. If you ever want to gab about You’ve Got Mail or While You Were Sleeping, I’m your girl. How could something that gives me such warm fuzzies affect my love life? Well, the issue psychologists are seeing with Hollywood love stories is the inaccuracy they portray about real life relationships. Girl meets boy, they fall in love, they may hit a rocky spot or two, but it works out quickly and life suddenly becomes perfect, now that they’ve found each other. We hopefully all understand that this is not real life.

In the real world, relationships are hard and require work and commitment. But it’s possible that the constant viewing of TV shows and movies that reflect this effortless love can impact how we think about our own relationships. We may not even realize it!  Suddenly your man isn’t as satisfying as the Matthew McConaughey on screen who works out with trainers, makes a fortune, and whispers every sweet word we are all aching to hear said to us. It’s a comparison game we play with just about everything else in Hollywood. Image, money, popularity, etc.

Hint: My favorite remedy for the lows and woes is some good old fashioned bible reading and the washing of my mind with Jesus. Keep an eye out for your mood after you see Bridget Jones!

Rituals & Traditions

Dread going to Sunday dinners, church, or that tacky Christmas party for the neighborhood each year? I have some encouraging news for you. Research reveals that keeping certain rituals or traditions in your family is actually healthy for the inner relationships! Rituals or traditions that are consistent provide stability for family members. We can always rely on those Thanksgiving get-togethers where our extended family stands way too close to us and serves way too much food.

These events open up opportunities for the family to communicate and remain close knit. This is incredibly important for families with children. Don’t have any traditions? Don’t despair! Rituals can be as simple as sitting down for dinner together and allowing everyone to participate in conversation and the cleanup (Except you, Momma, you get a free pass for cleanup). If you’ve got that ritual down, add some more traditions this year!

Here’s just a few examples:

pumpkin patches
apple picking
christmas light looking
singing carols
a beach trip

What about your family? I’d love to hear about your own rituals or traditions!

 

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3 Things Your Relationship Needs Today

 

jpeg-image-4c6745f92fea-1I get it. It’s hard enough these days to even catch a breath before it’s bedtime. When Dan’s son came to live with us full time, I found myself wanting to go to bed 5 minutes after his bedtime. Suddenly each day was bombarded with meal preparation, Lego playing, cleaning, and then cleaning some more. Did I mention cleaning? I felt myself becoming drained. My alone time with Dan needed to be a sanctuary, where I could feel rebooted. Quiet time with him was great, curling up on the couch for a movie, but I also knew we needed to keep our relationship in tip-top shape to remain a sanctuary and not an added exhaustion. And that my friends, means work.

Hold on, hold on, don’t panic that you need to be signing up for a relationship boot camp each week. By remembering these three key salves (something that soothes or relieves), your relationship will be pointed in the right direction, morning and night.

An Apology.

I’m not always amazing at apologizing right away, but I’ve definitely gotten better! I attribute this to practicing humbleness. Each night I take a few minutes to reflect on anything I’ve done that could have hurt Dan’s feelings (that’s right, men DO have them).

 Gosh, I really spoke to Dan like a child when I was frustrated earlier. I need him to know I’m sorry; I was having a moment.

 Usually these mistakes are really easy to catch because his facial expression will send a little prick to my heart. Or my own conscience will send me a red flag.

Wow, Sam. Way to be mean. My conscience doesn’t use a lot of words.

 An apology not only let’s your significant other know that you care about how they are treated, but it also alerts your brain that a particular behavior was disadvantageous for you. Do it.

An Encouragement.

 How often do you go through life feeling unappreciated? I think most people would agree that we are becoming a more and more thankless society. I get excited just when the Chick Fila people tell me it was their pleasure to help me. Or if a parent thanks me for something I did for their children (did I mention I’m a part-time preschool teacher?). Let me add that the excitement is from heartfelt words, not disingenuous ones.

Well guess what, our relationships NEED more encouragement, too. DAILY. Sometimes it’s a simple as a thank you.

Babe, thank you so much for getting the car warmed up for us. I’m cozy and you rock.

If this is difficult, practice! Add it to those few minutes you take before bed for apology checking. By doing this you are actually training your brain to look for these things daily! If you’re man fails to do this for you, take a deep breath and remember that you are a powerful woman and your actions have an effect. Give it some time and remember that GIVING encouragement brings positivity not just to him but to you as well!

A Prayer.

 Heaven help us! When I first met Dan, he was agnostic (he thought there might be something out there but he didn’t know what it was). This may sound ludacris to you (it does now to me, too) but I actually almost felt ashamed for praying for our relationship. Like God somehow would refuse to listen to me because Dan wasn’t a Christian. FALSE! Pray, pray, pray and pray some more. Goodness, pray until you are blue in the face. The Lord LOVES hearing your desire for Him to take up more space in your life. And when He moves, LOOK OUT! He moves big.

Hint: Although, I don’t believe there’s only one way to pray, I do think it’s important to pray for our own hearts and not JUST the hearts of our men. I constantly prayed for more patience, kindness, and softness in my heart and in my words.

If you make it through the whole day without a prayer (you already guessed it) PRACTICE! Add it to that before bed meditation. That’s what, 6 minutes a day? You can do it. I know you can. And your relationship will thank you later.

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Waiting on the Sunrise

img_1520First, let me confess to you that patience is not my best quality. I fail miserably at sitting tight and not trying to cut corners. It’s something I’m working on, though, because I understand the importance of letting God pave the way for us.

Now that I’ve given you a glimpse of where I’m at, I want to paint a picture for you.

It was late Christmas Eve. The whole world was going to bed in hopes that Santa would visit their homes that night. Emma was one of them. She rushed to slip on her fuzzy, warm pajamas and brush her teeth, so quickly that they were barely clean from the candy canes she and her brothers had earlier that evening. But she didn’t care. It was Christmas Eve! In just a few short hours Santa would be sliding down the chimney with presents for her and her family. Emma nestled herself between the blankets and received goodnight kisses from her mother. “Momma, its Christmas Eve, and tomorrow Santa will have visited us.”

“You are absolutely right, my angel.” As her mother closed the door with a smile, Emma breathed in deep. Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow. This night already seemed like it was just taking too long. No matter how she flipped and flopped she couldn’t get comfortable and her feet wouldn’t stop twitching from all the excitement. She wasn’t sure if it was seeing the gifts under the Christmas tree, or opening them, or having Momma and Daddy open her gifts to them, or just the beautiful feeling that every Christmas morning brought with it. Absolute joy, hope, and love. It all just felt so good. This had always been her favorite time of year. The yummy foods, the stories of her best friend baby Jesus, and bright Christmas lights covering everything just made it so magical. She cuddled up to Paddington bear, kissed him goodnight, and closed her eyes.

The next morning, Emma felt sun rays touch her cheek. “It came.” She whispered to Paddington. “Christmas came.”

I hope most of you can relate to a time when you had that kind of excitement. That complete assurance, that when the sunrise came something beautiful was about to happen.

Waiting, waiting, waiting.

Maybe you are waiting for something more than just Christmas morning. Maybe you’re waiting for something you desperately need, like healing or a new job. Maybe you are waiting for anything! Nothing bad is happening, but ain’t nothing good happening either, you just feel stuck. Maybe you are waiting for warm weather, to have a baby, meet Mr. Right, graduate high school, or perfect timing (you want to move forward but something is holding you back and you are waiting for that release). The list of things we have to wait on in this life could go on and on. Especially being a lady.

I took a couple weeks praying about which biblical woman the Lord would use to paint a picture for me. What does it look like to wait for a sun rise with joy. Someone who embodied Hebrews 10:22-23,

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full ASSURANCE of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the HOPE we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Immediately I jumped on Esther, who if you have never read about and you really struggle with waiting and be patient you should really hit her up. There wasn’t much time she didn’t spend waiting on someone or something. Then I thought about sweet Ruth and her time spent waiting and remaining obedient. All in hopes that the Lord would one day redeem her, heal her in her widowed state. But that’s not who he brought me to.

He brought me to Mary. Anyone who has had to wait nine months for a baby to come would probably agree with me that it’s a long time to have to wait to meet your son or daughter. I don’t know for sure but I would imagine that nine months probably feels like an eternity when you are growing the son of God in your belly. So, if you have your bible with you, I encourage you to open it to Luke 1:30-33, and 46-55.

Then the angel told her: Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Now listen: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end. Luke 1:30-33

Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior, because He has looked with favor on the humble condition of His slave. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed, because the Mighty One has done great things for me, and His name is holy. His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear Him. He has done a mighty deed with His arm; He has scattered the proud because of the thoughts of their hearts; He has toppled the mighty from their thrones and exalted the lowly. He has satisfied the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, mindful of His mercy, just as He spoke to our ancestors, to Abraham and his descendants forever. Luke 1:46-55

As most of us know during these 9 months Mary and Joseph were not just coasting to the finish line. While Mary is pregnant, she rode and I’m sure walked at times from Nazareth, their hometown in Galilee, to the house of David in Bethlehem, Judea, a 70 mile journey. Again I’ve never been pregnant but I have trouble imagining tying my shoes, not a 70 mile journey on a donkey. We know they didn’t have much money, there’s no record of family with them, and let’s not forget there is a very powerful King on the hunt for them. No stableness, no money, and a precious baby that the whole world is desperate for you to protect. Nine months.

What are we suppose to do in that chunk of time? It has to be more than just waking up every day, right?

I thought back over my life and tried to remember my responses to waiting as I grew up. When I was in elementary school my response to waiting for something was complaining- that one stuck actually, as my dear mother reminded me, I couldn’t keep secrets for anything because I just chose not to wait. If there was something I knew that you did not, I was going to let you know! As I got older distractions came about. Comfort eating and clothes and other material things. Boys. Anything to fill those gaps of time. To make it feel like it was going by quicker. Now that I’m an adult waiting on big things is sometimes met with meltdowns and more complaining and an occasional tantrum with the Lord. Why am I still waiting? What could possibly be taking so long?

Can I just tell you that Satan loves it when we have to wait for something. He thrives on it. It gives him time to confuse us, distract us. We wait for something big, and he whispers, good luck, you’ll be waiting forever. We wait for healing, and he whispers, He forgot about you. He forgot about you. Now at first we may feel super strong and say back Nu Uh! My God is good, he will come through for me. But then time starts rolling and nothing happens, and when Satan comes around again, he starts to lay seeds, and this time we start to take ownership of them. Did he forget about this? Does think I don’t deserve this? Does he even care? Suddenly it becomes so easy to doubt, to be negative and give up. It gets dark.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me.” You’re wrong! “Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day for darkness is as light to you.” Psalm 139:11-12

Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full ASSURANCE of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the HOPE we profess, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:22-23

After Mary heard what was going to happen to her she responded with, “Surely” Surely, surely. The Greek word for “surely” is “gar” and it’s literal translation is “indeed”. Indeed I will be called blessed because he has done great things for me. This word implies confirmation. It can be found 1,067 in the New Testament most often found as “for” In Romans 5:6, “For while we were still helpless, at the appointed moment, Christ died for the ungodly.” Surely, his timing was perfect.

There is no doubt, no wavering, no question, just complete assurance that what the Lord said to Mary would happen. Jesus would be hers, he would be holy, and he would save the world. She had 9 months to play the “What if” game and fear what would happen to this baby. So many things for her to panic over, have meltdowns over, give up and run. But that’s not what scripture records for us. It gives us a snapshot of a young girl who rejoiced with complete assurance, and in 9 months time would give birth to the savior of the world.

After Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, Elizabeth exclaims, “She who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled! Luke 1:45

She was radiant, infectious with the amount of joy and hope she had, and it was pouring over Elizabeth. How I would love to have those words spoken over me. Mary wasn’t any different than any other girl, she didn’t have super powers, or money, or even a husband yet! So why can’t we have the hope and she had faith she did. I would be happy to have that kind faith and assurance in what the Lord said he could do and NOT have to have a baby.

At this point I was telling God, “But, Lord! What if what we are waiting on doesn’t have a date on it?” Mary had an end in sight! That baby was not going to stay in her for longer than 9 months. Wouldn’t you think, though, that the God who created the entire world, and knew exactly what time the sun needed to come up, and exactly how long a baby needed to grow before coming into the world, would know exactly when to bring about what we need in our life, too?

What are you waiting on, hoping for? Do you trust him to deliver you, provide for you, love you, forgive you? Sister, he does not delay!

2 Peter 3:9 says: The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but He is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance.

Unwrap your bible this year. See what kind of promises he has in store for you. Let truth and the Holy Spirit wash over you and allow yourself to be excited that anything is possible with Him guiding us.

Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians  4:16-18

In the meantime?  Romans 12:12: Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

 Just like our little Emma, Mary allowed, that’s right, allowed herself to be so excited because she knew that in time a beautiful day would come. Her hopes and the whole world’s cries would be answered. There was nothing to doubt. Be patient on him, loved one, as he is with you. And in this time, rejoice, dance, kiss Paddington good night and smile! The sun will rise again. It always will.

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