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Girlfriends in God - Dec. 6, 2010

December 6, 2010 

On Our Way Home 

Mary Southerland 

Today's Truth 
Hebrews 13:14 (NLT) "For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come."                   

Friend to Friend 
It had been a wonderful evening with our daughter, Danna, and her sixteen-month-old son, Justus. We ate dinner at one of our favorite restaurants to celebrate Danna's graduation from school and the fact that we had all survived. Since our daughter is basically a party looking for a place to happen and really knows how to tell a story, we laughed until we cried as Danna described her encounter that day with a teacher who seemed to be preoccupied with blue cornbread. I am not kidding! Justus may not have understood what his mom was saying, but he joined in the family celebration with gusto - laughing and clapping his little hands. After a delicious meal, we climbed into the car and headed home.

When we pulled into our neighborhood, Justus began clapping and pointing … at something. We were clueless until we pulled into the driveway - and our sweet little man laughed and bounced with excitement in his car seat. Justus was glad to be home.

At that precise moment, a line from one of my favorite movies, Apollo 13, popped into my mind. "Houston, we have a problem" may very well be one of the greatest understatements of all time. The astronauts faced seemingly impossible odds of getting back to earth but refused to give up the fight until they splashed down in the waters of - home.

We all long for a safe place - home - when life brutally thrusts us into a world of fear and uncertainty. Shaky circumstances rattle our faith. Relief seems like a remote possibility and that light at the end of the tunnel really is the headlight of another trial headed our way. The hits just keep coming and we wonder if our world will ever be right again.

I have discovered a truth that surfaces in my heart every Christmas. We all come into this world with a sense of being lost. Tucked into the corner of our souls is a feeling of restlessness ... a longing for home, for something or someone eternal. That longing will never be satisfied outside of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He holds each today and every tomorrow in His hands. Nothing and no one but Jesus Christ can fill that "God-shaped" hole in our heart. 

I have come to cherish that desperate cry of my heart that drives me to my knees and into the arms of God, my Father. Each and every time I come to Him, He whispers, "It will be all right. You are not home - yet." 

No, this broken world is not my final home because I know God and He knows me. I have surrendered my life to Him and can face tomorrow because Jesus Christ lives. Yes, this world is just the beginning of the eternity for which I was created. I am just passing through, but while I am here, I have a God-sized job to do, an extraordinary mission to complete and a wonderful purpose to fulfill. So do you! It doesn't get any better than that, girlfriend.   

As you dive into your hectic holiday schedule, remember that one day, we will be home - with Him - but until then, let's celebrate here! Guard your hearts and mind by filling them with God's Word. Hold fast to the true meaning of Christmas and don't let go! Look for ways to share the message of the manger, embracing that longing for home as a sweet reminder that one day we will celebrate the birth of Jesus in Heaven. What a Christmas that will be! We are on our way home!

Let's Pray 
Father, I love You and am so thankful for the hope that life holds because I know You. I praise You and celebrate the truth that I am not alone, nor will I ever be. I will lack nothing because You are my Provider. I can sing in the midst of every storm because You are sufficient. I praise You and long for Home, but until then, help me to be all that You created me to be. 

In Jesus' name,


Now it's Your Turn 
Have you ever experienced loneliness or a sense of loss during or after the Christmas season? I encourage you to prepare for it beforehand. The best way to get ready for a difficult time is to stay ready for a difficult time.  In other words, now is the time to prepare your heart and mind for the holidays. 

Make time each day to be alone with God.

Pour out your dreams and desperation to Him.

Read Psalm 23 once a day.

Invest at least 15 minutes in solitude each day, allowing your soul to "catch up."

Make a list of the top five joy thieves in your life and make a plan to eliminate them.

Prayerfully choose five verses of Scripture about peace. Write these verses on a 3X5 card and carry it with you through the holidays, referring to it while you wait in line, while you are stuck in traffic, at every meal, etc. Consider making this idea a family project.

After the holidays are over, evaluate the difference this preparation made in your Christmas celebration. 

More from the Girlfriends

I love this time of year - mostly. I have to be careful that in the midst of the birthday celebration, I don't miss the birthday child - Jesus. Join me in a commitment to keep Him at the heart of this holiday season.

Mary's book, Escaping the Stress Trap, is based on Psalm 23 and will help you manage holiday stress. It is the perfect Christmas gift from you - to you!

Check out these two new resources now available in Mary's online store:

NEW E-Bible Study:  Take This Job and Love It!

NEW CD:  Divine Surprises

Join women from across the world in Mary's Online Bible Study, Light for the Journey. Don't miss her new study beginning today, The Secret of a Merry Christmas. If you enroll now, you will also have access to all of the 2010 studies. But hurry! This offer ends December 15. 

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