My Anchor Holds

Me standing in front on an anchor at the US Coast Guard Air Station, Traverse City, MI, June 2018

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. –Hebrews 6:19 NIV

As I turn the calendar page to the last month of the year, I mentally review the 11 previous months. Months, for the most part, I wouldn’t want to live over.

They weren’t bad. But you know how I feel about that word. I prefer “good” or “not so good” or “challenging.”

2018 was certainly challenging as I navigated the tumultuous waters of change, both wanted and unwanted, changes I initiated and changes that were foisted upon me.

From losing my kitty Rascal at the beginning of January (I still miss my little buddy) to the joy of attending my son’s wedding in June to DH’s retirement in September to dealing with eye issues to trying to decide what to do about Christmas in an empty nest.

Changes, decisions, uncertainty, joy, sorrow, disappointment, discouragement, hope, and lots of prayer dotted the days of 2018.

Hope is what got me through. And prayer.

Hope was and is the anchor for my soul. Not hope that everything will turn out the way I want, but hope in a sovereign God who has everything under control. Who has a plan and purpose for me. Who knows where I am, even when I feel lost, and knows where I’m going. Who’s all-powerful – He can make anything happen. Who’s all-knowing – He knows me better than I know myself and knows the end from the beginning. A God who loves me, faults and all.

Hope is what steadies this ship in the storms of life and keeps me from drifting away from where I’m supposed to be. Hope is the anchor I drop so it can dig into the bottom rather than hold me down by a heavy weight.

But note: I must drop the anchor. It won’t drop itself. If I leave it on deck, it won’t do me any good when the winds and waves batter me and toss me about, getting me off course and threatening to destroy me.

The anchor drops down deep and digs into the bottom, giving me security in uncertain times.

Prayer, on the other hand, goes up, ascending to the throne of my Father, who’s waiting for me to release my plans and dreams to Him, and trust Him with all my heart and not depend on my limited understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

Once again, it is something I choose to do. I can try to figure it out on my own, but my perspective is limited, my understanding incomplete. I can try to do it all myself, my way, but I know where that’s gotten me before, and it wasn’t pretty.

I cried out to my Heavenly Father, and He was right there.  Indeed, as the old song goes, “He was there all the time, waiting patiently.”

I don’t have a whole lot to do to get ready for Christmas.

The house is already decorated, done in one day, thanks to my son, his new wife, and five grandchildren. The gifts are all bought, thanks to a day spent cyber-shopping. All I have to do is wait for UPS or FedEx to deliver them. Then I’ll wrap them.

The menu for our family Christmas dinner and gift exchange on the 15th and the corresponding grocery list are done. I’m not doing cards this year, except a few to hand out and a brief newsletter for a handful of friends and relatives. I do, however, have a few gifts I’m making.

So the next few weeks I’ll sit in my cozy chair by the fireplace and crochet. While my hands are busy with yarn and a crochet hook, my mind will mull over the past year, and my heart will rejoice because I know, whatever the future will bring, smooth sailing or turbulent seas, my anchor holds!

What are you needing hope for this Christmas season?

Cast your anchor in Him, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).

There is a time to weigh anchor and sail, and a time to drop anchor and stay put. You, Lord, are that anchor that is always with me, on board my ship or holding me fast in turbulent waters. Thank you. Amen.

Read and meditate on Psalms 46 and 139

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Savoring the Season

 

“My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” –Jesus, as quoted in Luke 10:41–42 NLT

“Are you ready for Christmas?” someone asked me this past week.

“Yes!” I answered.

She looked surprised and began to commend me, but I stopped her.

“I don’t have a single Christmas card written,” I confessed. “Most of the presents are waiting to be wrapped, and I’m still crocheting an afghan for my son. I should have it done by Christmas Eve. And I don’t have a single thing baked. But I’m ready for Christmas.”

She looked puzzled, so I explained.

“I’m not stressed this year because I’m savoring the unfolding of the season.”

This is, truly, “the most wonderful time of the year.” Anticipation fills the air. Kindness and compassion abound. Joy bubbles. Love spills over. Peace pervades the atmosphere. And I don’t want to miss it by letting the Martha in me overrule the Mary in me.

Over the years of exhausting myself so much that I couldn’t truly enjoy Christmas, I’ve learned a few things.

First, I’ve learned that I don’t have to do it all myself. I’ve learned to let others help.

My son, his girlfriend, and her parents will be with us Christmas Eve. I planned an easy menu that doesn’t require hours upon hours in the kitchen preparing food. Soup, sandwiches, veggies, and dessert. Simple. I’ll provide the soup and sandwiches, and David and Kristin will bring the veggie tray and dessert.

The focus, I’ve come to realize, is not on the food but on family. Time with them is precious and more important than a feast that leaves me wiped out after preparing.

I’ve learned to say “yes” when someone asks if they could do something. Set the table, put out the food trays, light the candles, fill the ice bucket. I know how good it makes me feel when I can help. Allowing my guests—even children—to lend a hand gives them a feeling of being accepted, valued, and needed. More than welcome. Not so much a guest as a cherished friend or a beloved family member. You can’t put a ribbon or a price tag on a gift like that.

Second, I’ve learned that I don’t have to do everything. I’ve learned to let some things on the to-do list go.

I’ve learned that everything doesn’t have to be perfect. I used to strive for a spotless, sparkling, picture-perfect house. I was worried how it would reflect on me if my home didn’t look like a scene from House Beautiful or Good Housekeeping. But I’ve learned that no one looks at the baseboards.

What’s more important than a perfect house or a feast fit for a king is the Spirit of the Babe born in Bethlehem that cold night so long ago filling my home with love, joy, and peace like the fragrance from a scented candle.

I don’t need things done to be ready for Christmas. My heart, mind, and spirit are already celebrating.

What about you—are you ready for Christmas?

As I light the third Advent candle, remind me, Father, that it isn’t so important that my home is ready but that my heart is. Amen.

© 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.