Families Helping Families

My divorce was final right as I rolled into the holiday season four years ago.  I remember wondering how I was going to pay all of my bills, let alone have gifts under the tree specifically from me to my son and how I would serve him any sort of traditional meal.  My entire family was in another state and it looked like that Christmas would be a true test of my inner joy of Christ.  Would I truly praise Him through the holidays despite my uncertain circumstances?  Would I be able to praise Him even if I was serving my son macaroni and cheese on Christmas?  I will admit that it was very difficult to find joy everyday considering I was still grieving for the breakup of my family unit, but God blessed me that Christmas more than I could have imagined.

I made a decision for joy despite any circumstance.  I truly believe that even if the plan for us that Christmas was indeed macaroni and cheese, that God would be glorified through Thanksgiving and through Christmas.  That year however was a true testament of how people help other people confirm the joy that we have in Christ.  Through invitations to gatherings, presents from relatives and a visit from a very close friend, my son and I had a great Christmas.  It wasn't because of anything I did or didn't do, but it was because that despite everything I chose, joy.

Here we are again in another holiday season.  Hard to believe that Christmas is right around the corner, but in that same thought I exclaim, "Christmas is right around the corner!" This time of year is my absolute favorite.  The joyous carols, lights and gatherings are all very dear things to my heart as an expression of the greatest gift ever given to us, Jesus.  A very large reason that I love this time of year is specifically because it is a time for GIVING.  A time to bless others with gifts out of love, gifts for happiness or even gifts that are tangible.

I have been very blessed to be a part of an initiative put on by Family Talk called, Families Helping Families.  During the Christmas season we ask for individuals who are hurting or in need of help this Christmas to write in with their story and what gift someone could give to them to help confirm their joy in Christ.  Not all submissions are able to be met with a donor, but all of them are prayed over extensively. Our prayers include that the individuals who write in will find joy even if our program could not help in the way they had hoped.  We place all of the stories anonymously on our website and as gracious donors step forward, we connect the two parties and rejoice in an answered prayer.

Will you join us this season?

If you are finding yourself in a situation where you could really use some help,  consider writing to us with your story and how someone could give your family a special blessing.

Or maybe you have been blessed this past year and you are in a position to help others this season. We pray earnestly for people like you who will step forward in faith and bless someone in need.

The stories we hear are truly amazing of how families are uniting to help one another.  God bless you and God bless your families!

For more information on Families Helping Families please visit http://www.drjamesdobson.org
*Families Helping Families is a December initiative.

Got Wind?

This morning God blessed me with a message from a friend here at Family Talk.  She asked the questions, "What do you do when you feel you have lost the wind in your sail?" and "What do you do when you feel there is too much wind?"  Those questions struck me to the core because lately it has been exactly those questions leading my days.  Some days I feel as if there is no wind moving me along and motivating me to do the next right thing whereas other days there is too much wind and I struggle to keep up.

So what do you do when you feel you have lost the wind in your sail and you just can't find a reason to keep on going?  Surely the feeling will not last and you will more than likely find yourself okay again...right?  Well for some, yes this is the case.  For some it may not go away that simply.  So what do I do?  Well, unfortunately I do not have a grand testimony of my fervent prayer life or that my instinct is to run to God.  Truthfully my instinct is to hide my head under the covers and try to forget that the feeling is even occurring. What keeps me going in those times?  I can undoubtedly say that my son keeps me going.  He gives me the motivation to get up and move along day-to-day.  Is that a healthy reason? I can't say for sure if it's healthy because I do believe God will use people as instruments for motivation, however I know that my son should not be my sole or even first reason.  It is in these times that I need to reconnect with the Lord even if every ounce of me wants to hide under my covers.  Playing praise music, reading the scriptures, and praying even if I just sit silent are the ways that I find a healthy recovery from these times of feeling like I can't take one more step.  In those times God helps me to refocus on my priorities and the true meaning of everything I am engaged in.

How about the times when you have too much wind in your sail?  As a single parent there are many hats that you wear.  For me, the busyness of my career as well as handling a full time school schedule and being the primary parent in my son's life has quite exhausted me by the end of my day.  Some days I can say that I literally never stopped once to even take a deep breath.  In these times I find that I do typically turn to God.  In those moments I am required to make a decision. Either I will let the situations take hold of me, or I will give them to God and do the best I can.  I find that when I turn them over to God and take a deep breath, He blesses me in confirming ways. Just this morning, I had to make that choice on my way into work.  Running late and taking a different route could be a deal breaker for a good start to my day.  I handed it over to the Lord and was blessed by the visions in my unplanned route and reminders of how big my God really is but yet, He cares for me and my situations.

How do you find the happy medium? Sometimes the size of the wind is in your control and it's a matter of downsizing the load you bear.  Most of the times however the power of the gusts in your sails have nothing to do with your decisions.  This is simply, life.  Learning how to cope in both situations and how to rise above them are key.

How do you adjust your sails when the winds change?