Giving Life This Christmas
Life moves in seasons. There is a season to rest, and a season to give. During the first deployment, it was a time for me to rest, but that didn't mean I didn't learn how to give.
As the tree went up this week, I reflected on last year’s Christmas. My husband was in Afghanistan and I was choosing to stay at home and not travel to see family. As difficult as the deployment was, I can’t help but look back and smile. The temptation to feel down, lonely, and withdrawn during the holidays was under the surface and it seemed as if there were people that expected me there. Life’s circumstances had a way of luring me towards fear and depression; I specifically remember locking my keys in the car during a snow storm and having a car wreck on the highway. Yet, I made a commitment to silence the tempting whispers and look for what God had in store for me.
Our life moves in seasons- not just seasons of deployment, but seasons in which God is trying to shape us. There are times life feels fast paced and you’re just holding on. There are times when it seems there is nothing to do at all, but wait. There are times of grieving loss, separation, or disappointment. And there are times when all you can do is take the next step and hope it’s the right one. The deployment happened to be a season of rest for me. Even when I wanted to serve, God seemed to stop me, or send accountability to slow me down. He meant for it to be a time to soak in His goodness, grace, and His love. It was a time for me to experience the power of service from others to the point it was overwhelming. After my car accident, help was only a call away, followed by dinner, a friend’s arms to hold me as I wept, and her husband to wrestle my children’s fears away from the day. When I locked my keys in the car, a stranger in the church managed to open the door and then invite me for Christmas dinner. Time after time, I was affirmed that one thing the church and the military community can be good at is making sure you are never alone.
Authors like Tammy Maltby and Shannon Eldredge remind us that women are lifegivers. We are built to bring life into the world whether it is through the physical birth of a child or nurturing a plant. But what I love about this concept is that it is not held strictly to the idea that we are meant to bare children. No, my friends, it is much bigger than that. We are created to bring life out of people. Have you met a woman who is a lifegiver? She is one whom you feel most at peace around, not intimidated. When you leave her presence, you feel alive, encouraged, inspired to do something great. That is a lifegiving woman.
Benjamin Zander is a famous orchestra conductor and speaker. At a recent TED conference, he spoke on his measure of success being not in financial gain, nor in being famous. No, his success would be found by whether or not the eyes looking back at him were shining. If not, he asks himself, “Who am I being that the pair of eyes looking at me are NOT shining?” It could be your neighbor, your children, your husband, the eyes that look back at you in the mirror. Are you a lifegiver? Wouldn’t it be amazing if we focused this Christmas on bringing life out of people?
Perhaps you are like I was during the deployment. Perhaps this is your season to rest. Maybe caring for you and your own is taking all you have. Perhaps you are fighting your own feelings of despair and loneliness due to deployment, the recent loss of a family member, or I dare say your soldier. My words to you dear sister are these: Take heart… your God is here, knows you are weary, and wants to bring life out of you. Jesus came that we might have an abundance of life. He is the ultimate life giver. He brings life out of the brokenhearted and restores your soul. There are people out there who are meant to be His hands and feet and be your lifegiver. You cannot become a lifegiver until you have been on the receiving end.
For those who are like me this year, feeling the weight of those in need and looking for a way to serve, I tell you: look at the eyes around you. Are they shining? Begin at home and bring life back into your family. Pay attention to the eyes you glance at and make it a point to speak life into a soul around you. You never know how God will use your gift of life to bring about strength and restoration to a weary soul.
Click here to see this article as seen in Wives In Bloom On-line Magazine