Crash-and-Burn Christmas

Leighton, my almost fifteen-month-old baby, was sick with the flu over Christmas.  But that’s not the crash and burn of my Christmas.  No, I suppose that is just life sometimes.

The crash and burn part was me.

I did not handle the stress of a sick baby, sleepless nights and altered holiday plans very well.  Actually I handled things badly.  Very.  Badly.

I’m not completely sure of this desire to blog tonight except if for no other reason to share how completely I blew it.  Snappy moments, accusations and yelling.  On Christmas morning.  Smell the smoke?  I blew it up, my friends.

A couple of my close friends know that about once a week I vow to stop writing.  I run hard into my imperfections and lets face it, sin, and lament how I could possibly keep writing to encourage others!  Kindly, I am reminded one way or another it’s about His grace…the encouragement to be found here is for real life people from a real life person.  That’s all I got, people.  Real life.

I am not free from my imperfections.  And truthfully I’m not quite free from the lie that I need to be perfect.  So, maybe I write about the way I mistreated my dear family this Christmas…how my stress totally topped out any willingness to just stop and pray in the middle of my internal chaos…to make sure in my own way that God gets all the sparkle from anything good on this blog.

Who am I to write?  To encourage you not to give up hope?  To remind you that God loves you all the time, no matter what?  To shine a light on all of His goodness?

I am a very real person who needs that same encouragement not to give up.  Who needs to hear and know that He loves me all the time, no matter what.  To see the light of His goodness in the middle of a dark day.  I promised myself when I started writing on MixedMotives that I would be “real.”  I promised God deep within I would do my best to be genuine and encouraging.  Somehow, someway, someone is going to be encouraged to know they are not the only one who blew it this Christmas.  They might realize they are not alone.  And maybe that miserable voice of self-recrimination will quiet down.

I’ve asked for forgiveness from my family since Christmas day.  Sadly, it took me a little while but after a good night’s sleep and a blog post waiting in my own inbox one morning I realized what a mess I’d made.  I took inventory, looked over the debris and began the humbling work of making things right.  Still, my heart is heavy.  Sick.

Today my sweet friend gave me a coffee mug.  It has on it a beautiful picture of a cross and a poem I wrote not long ago called “Reduce Me” inscribed on it.  Tears stung  my eyes.  Not only for her thoughtfulness, but also the amazing timing.

Tonight as I held my new treasure I read the words of this poem I had written.

I caught a glimpse of my crash-and-burn Christmas in the hands of a God who gives beauty for ashes.  Who stands with me, so patiently, as I self-destruct some days…who takes the hot mess of my heart and blows softly against my angst…who finds beautiful ways to remind me of who He is, who I am and what it’s all about.

Sometimes in the very words I’ve written.

Reduce me, reduce me
Till there’s only You
Lopsided and tilted
Love comes into view
I know what I’m like
Oh the glory in my fall
Is that You take me, remake me
In spite of it all


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