Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Woman Whose Love Protects

It's Warm-Up Week for October's PURSE-onality Challenge: "A Holiday-Ready Heart"!  Here's a handy checklist to make sure you're all ready. (And if you're a blogger, grab the button on the right, let me know you've added it to your site, and I'll add you to my blogroll!)

This week's give-away is for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. (It's a Gregory Family tradition to have Daniel read this aloud to us every Christmas Eve...and for him to choke up at the end!)  3 names will be drawn -- enter via the Rafflecopter at the end of the blog post or click here to enter!

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In yesterday's vlog, I promised to tell you what "A Holiday-Ready Heart" means to me today. I've had some hazy ideas all along, but they sure crystalized today as I spent my early morning time in John 13 and then saw a powerful Facebook status update from Proverbs 31 Ministries!  

The FB Status Update

Today I'll be a woman who protects. Like a roof keeps out rain, I'll cover my loved ones with prayer and love to guard against the world's hurt and rejection. I'll speak the truths of Scripture to them and remind them of their identity in Christ. Yep, today I'll be a woman whose love protects.
(Proverbs 31 Ministries)

I love that last line: “I’ll be a woman whose love protects.”

John 13:34-35

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (NLT)

I love that last line: “everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

Fashion Magazine Covers and Me

When I was a teenager, a fashion magazine cover could change how I felt. From bad to worse. Sometimes, to way WAY worse. 

I’d stare at the exotic beauty whose flawless face graced the cover and simultaneously (a) loathe myself and (b) long to be her.

Holiday Magazine Covers and Me

Fashion magazine covers weren't the only kind that weilded power over me. As I got older, I responded much the same way to the frenzy of pre-holiday magazine covers. 

To me they’ve screamed, “You are beyond hopeless! You’re a loser wife and mom! You can’t serve hot foods hot and cold foods cold, let alone decorate a house for the holidays, entertain, buy gifts, travel, send cards, etc., etc. etc.!”  

They’ve also whispered, “If you just spend enough money, you can redeem yourself THIS year by doing EVERYTHING you see here. Just imagine -- finally you can put all your past mistakes behind you by doing everything RIGHT this year!”

And so I’d buy the magazines. 

The supplies. 

The ingredients. 

The invitations. 

And by Christmas Eve, I’d have another another pile of half-started projects, a splitting headache and bad mood to match, and (oh joy!) a sky-high credit card bill I didn’t know how to pay.

Going Under Cover for a Holiday-Ready Heart

I long to be "a woman who protects."

I want others to know that I am Jesus’ disciple.

But I can’t give what I don’t have.

I can only give what I do have.

And for too many years, all I’ve had is the dissatisfaction and self-hatred that comes from comparing myself to others' 

  • faces. 
  • bodies. 
  • home decorating. 
  • artsy-craftiness. 
  • kitchen wizardry. 
  • whitened Christmas card smiles. 

So this year, what “A Holiday-Ready Heart” means to me is the fullfillment of my 2012 verse: 

And I will give you a new heart, 
and I will put a new spirit in you. 
I will take out your stony, stubborn heart 
and give you a tender, responsive heart. 

(Ezekiel 36:26 NLT)
For me, “A Holiday-Ready Heart” means getting rid of the stony, stubborn heart that plays the “you’re-nothing-like-the-magazine-cover” comparison games which make me so miserable. That tells me to just cover up my feelings, paste on a smile, and Fake-It-‘til-I-Make-It. 
“A Holiday-Ready Heart” means receiving the new heart and new spirit Christ’s birth made possible. 
With a brand new tender responsive heart, I will have love to give. 
I will love others.
And I will be a woman whose love protects.
A woman whose love protects.
Now that sounds like “A Holiday-Ready Heart” to me!

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  1. I LOVE that book. I'm ready to simplify!

  2. A woman whose love protects! Amen & Amen!