Four days before Christmas and all the Things To Do are getting checked off the list. Today, three class parties complete with treats for a total of 65 chocolate covered Oreos, (24 of which were Minions because my son has the CUTEST first grade class!) watching Home Alone (the original) pork chops for dinner and then our yearly Christmas Light Night where we drive around as a family and look at Christmas lights and drink Hot Chocolate. 
I’ll be honest, because, well, this is my blog and there’s really no point in me writing if I’m not going to be honest! I was slightly dreading this night. It’s been 8 Christmases. Eight times we’ve loaded up the car with our family – which at one time was only 3 – and took to the streets of Waxahachie, Texas. We’ve driven through the same neighborhoods for eight years. It’s easy to know where to go because we knew the area. We knew that the big beautiful houses across from Campuzano’s have a great display, but the one just north of there is really the best. Or the new neighborhood over off Farley usually has some impressive displays. Our own neighborhood grew every year and it was the one we always saved for last. Eight times we’ve ventured out. And eight times we’ve come home satisfied, usually with more than one Little out for the count. Tonight, I had no idea where we would go, or what we would see. I even suggested going to a Christmas Display area where you pay per car, even though my husband thinks it’s crazy to pay to see lights. But then, we would have had a plan. We would have known what to expect. It was comforting to me. 

It keeps coming back to this, over and over and over. I’m a planner. It’s the way God created me. I like to know the how and the when and the where. I enjoy being in charge of the little things, the details. I thrive on making sure every single part of a working thing is present. I’m also a mom. A mom of many small children. Planning is my LIFE. Without a plan, chaos almost instantly ensues in our household. God created me with these traits and in so many ways they’ve worked together to help further His Kingdom. 

But today, they were preventing me from seeing the beauty in the new, again. Against my every attempt, we set out this evening with no plan. I grabbed the Hot Chocolate and all the things we would need to go with that (notice the planning) and loaded the car. In the rush of getting the kiddos all buckled, I left my phone at home. Which I believe to be Gods plan all along- no distractions! 

We started driving and I was already getting nervous. Then my husband suggested we go look at the neighborhoods I had been running through on my training runs. We headed that way and the whole evening unfolded without a hitch. The kids assigned 1st, 2nd and 3rd place to each neighborhood we encountered. The Hot Chocolate ran out just as I was refilling the last cup. The Christmas Carols on Pandora were exactly what we needed to sing along with. And there was no need for the worry or the anxiousness that I had been entertaining. 

Several times I just sat and listened to those little voices as they discussed their favorite color of lights or how they liked the Charlie Brown display better than the snowman.  

Planning and order are all well and good, but the OVERWHELMING lesson that I am continuing to be taught – almost on a daily basis- is trust. Trust in the one who holds my every second. Trust that His plan is greater than any plan I could ever conceive. Trust that He desires more for me than I can dream. Trust that New, though it is hard for me, is good. In its own different way. 

My heart still hurt, it still longed for the simplicity of the familiar. I don’t know if or when that will ever end. But I know that one is not better. Familiar is never better simply because it’s comfortable. And New is not worse just because it’s difficult. If the only thing that holds you back is that you’ve never done it THIS way before, then it’s time to find a reason with true merit. Because God usually wants more for us than Familiar. His Plans are large and beautiful and so full of surprises, we might never attempt them if we knew what the future held. 

There’s a beauty in living in the now. There’s a peace in taking the next step that he lays out without seeing the rest of the journey. There’s trust built in the hard places that lays foundation for the greatness that will come. There’s strength and hope that grows in the process. 

Tonight, two of the four were sleeping when we arrived home. They were carried to their beds and neither one had a care in the world. Because they were held, they were protected. And if they can trust that their earthly, extremely fallible parents have got them taken care of…. I can trust that my God, he’s preparing things for me that I can’t see now. But soon- through my trusting and my obeying- I will see the fulfillment of those plans come to pass. 

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