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Christmas

Trusting Completely

February 3, 2017

By: Danielle Kingsley

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. May it be to me as you have said.” – Luke 1:34-39 (NIV)

Mary must have been stunned by such a breath-taking appearance that delivered such an unbelievable message to someone so unsuspecting. Take a moment and think about a time that literally took your breath away, and multiply that by a thousand! I am not sure my response would have been that of Mary’s. Her trust in God was so evident in her words. I know, if I was in Mary’s place I would have stumbled over every single sentence, made some sort of awkward facial expression, followed by a million, long-winded questions, then I would have Gabriel go and explain this whole situation to my parents and fiancé. Then, alone in my room, it would all be followed by a whole Why Me God moment with all the waterworks. It wouldn’t have been one of my proudest moments.

Trusting in God completely, like she did, likely cost Mary her reputation and more. She was young, unmarried and pregnant – and not only was she pregnant, but she was telling people she was carrying the Savior of the world in her womb. How could it be? Her life, as she knew it, would never be the same. Her future was unknown. Yet, she trusted fully in God and sang His praises:

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.” – Luke 1:46-49

Mary was told she was to be the mother of the King, but she did not know what came next. She rested in knowledge that her life was safe in the hands of the Lord- because she knew that nothing was impossible with God.

Growing up, I was always the last person to volunteer to take part in The Trust Fall Game. Whether it was in Sunday school or Girl Scouts, I had no desire to demonstrate my trust in that manner nor in front of a group of people. I would watch as my friends would start to fall backwards into the arms of others, but then eventually chicken out and not fully submerge into the fall. I sometimes still catch myself doing the very same thing to God. Do you? Trusting is hard. Trusting is a a daily journey of surrender. It is realizing we are not in control. Trust is where we simply place our lives in the hands of the One who is not only in control- but also knows what is best for us.

Having faith in God means we trust Him in the joy and in the sorrow. It means we trust Him in the little details and with our big dreams. Having faith in God means we trust in Him in everything because we know He is always working for our good. We can trust in our God because He is trustworthy. May it all be as He has said.

Is there something you need to trust God with in this season?

Maybe it’s a financial struggle.

Nothing is impossible with God.

Maybe it’s a broken relationship.

Nothing is impossible with God.

Maybe it’s your singleness.

Nothing is impossible with God.

Maybe it’s your job.

Nothing is impossible with God.

Lord, we know that You are a God of miracles. May our trust have no limits. May we have faith in You in every season for we know You are always working for our good. No matter the circumstance, and no matter the outcome – You are good. May it be as You have said. Amen.

 

Photo Cred: Jenn Richardson

 

Danielle Kingsley, a Southern California native, served as a missionary and worship leader for ten years at a growing church planted by her family in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2007, Danielle moved to Nashville, Tennessee where she was provided the opportunity to be the original vocalist to record the now popular worship song, Your Great Name. In 2013, she released her first EP Falling, that generated two #1 singles on International Christian radio.

Since the recent loss of her father to a brief battle with cancer, Danielle has been sharing her story about finding hope through loss and the peace that is found in Jesus at a variety of conferences across the United States. She is writing her first children’s book and devotional, and is currently on tour with Secret Keeper Girls. Check out her blog at www.DanielleKingsley.com. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook & Twitter @DKingsleyMusic

Short Poem, Timeless Celebration

December 12, 2016

By: Juliandra Durkin

 

What a wonder, what a sight

The Son of God was born tonight

And to a woman so young and poor

Her name, sweet Mary,

Remembered forevermore.

 

Chosen before time to carry a King

He who came so selflessly

A life that started in a barn

Animals and shepherds

Witnessed the Savior’s first sounds.

 

Who would have known,

Who could have guessed,

That the Most High,

Just a child, would come like this?

Hail the Son, the Prince of Peace

Hail the Son of Righteousness

Hark, dear angels, come and see

Look in the manger at our newborn King.

 

He came tonight from His throne above

To live like us, to show His love

Reach out your hand and embrace Him now

For the King, this Babe is forever around.

 

Photo Cred: Steve Halama

Juliandra Durkin is the manager for Wonderfully Made’s blog Know Your Value. She also writes at Written Jewels, a personal blog with stories and reflections on life. Besides writing, she spends her free time exercising or out in nature. Give her a beach or a mountain; sunrise or sunset, she loves it all, especially walking her dogs in the woods! A graduate of Westmont College, Juliandra was able to attend three study abroad programs exploring Spain, parts of the Middle East, and Mexico. These experiences gave her a heart for culture and travel and she hopes to get more stamps in the passport soon!

What About Mary?

December 19, 2015

By: Juliandra Durkin

Every little girl who goes to church at Christmastime wishes she could be Mary. Age 9, 10, 11… Girls want to be Mary in the Christmas plays they watch and stories they hear. Mary, an innocent girl, chosen and well favored by God, to carry the baby Jesus, the Savior and Messiah. An angel visited her and she said, “Yes.” She went on an adventure with her new husband and even got to ride a donkey! We know the end of the story, and to us, to the little girls she is honored and venerated.

But what about the big girls? Do the big girls look at Mary and wish to be her, a chosen, favored girl tasked with an enormous responsibility and life change?

To be honest, I haven’t until recently. I wanted to be well favored and chosen for sure, but when it actually comes to living my life for God, as His servant and tasked with hard things, I cower. I ignore Him. I whine and complain. I make excuses for not stepping up in certain situations. And then to top it all off, I cry at night because my life is not what I dreamed it would be.

To be sure, in my heart, I’m God’s servant and loyal follower. I’ll volunteer and give my time and I’ll work wherever and do whatever for Him because I love Him.

But do I really with my actions? It seems I put up a fight when His plans and my plans do not align.

Mary was a teenager when she got engaged to Joseph. Perhaps, like other young girls throughout the generations, she dreamed of marrying this man of her dreams. Perhaps when he looked at her from across the street her stomach flip-flopped a little. Perhaps she pictured giggling with her friends and putting on beautiful attire on her wedding day. Perhaps she imagined their lives together, the children they might have, what they might name their kids…

Then, Gabriel, an angel of the Lord, came to Mary and told her that she was chosen. She stood out and God wanted her to be the carrier of His Child, whose name is already picked out. At this annunciation, she asked just one question, “how is this possible as I am a virgin?” The angel told her that all things are possible to God, “the power of the Most High will overshadow you,” (Luke 1: 35). And she responded, “may it be done to me according to your word” (Luke 1:38).

REALLY?! That’s it? No other questions? No complaints? No worries (at least not expressed in the biblical document we read today)? No “let me think about it, you’re asking me a huge thing, and I’ll get back to you”? No selfishness over this rather ginormous wrench in her plans starting out her life with her new husband? Perhaps if I were there, I would have said to her, “Girl! Hold on a second, THIS IS YOUR LIFE!” …Or is it?

I’ve done all of that and more as I’ve felt God pushing me to walk into daunting situations. And nothing so life-changing as having a baby!

I picture Mary at Christmas with my little girl eyes, walking across a church stage with Joseph, or sitting serenely in a nativity scene. With that little girl perspective, I wish I was so good and honored that God would choose me to do something big for Him! Then, with dubious “grown up” eyes, I wonder have I ever been that brave and trusting of God in painful, hard experiences? When He’s asked me to do courageous things, have I ever responded simply, “may it be as You have said” without questioning, balking, or looking back?

Mary was brave and honored, and not just through her experience of carrying the Son of God, but in her whole demeanor and total acceptance of His plan and of this “wrench” in her life. She loved Him more than her own dreams, reputation, and fiancé.

She recognized that His plan, Gabriel, the virgin birth were not a wrench in her plans, but exactly where she was supposed to be, at His time doing His will.

This was His plan; her life was not her own.

I see it even more in the song she sang to her sister-in-law, whom she visited soon after finding out about Jesus.

“My soul exalts the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bond slave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name…” (Luke 1: 46-49).

Mary, at such a young age, knew that her whole reason for being was her God and her soon to be Son, Jesus.

Friends, you might not have an angel sit with you to deliver a message from God, but I encourage you to think like Mary this Christmas. If God asks you to do difficult things and join in on His plan with action, think about saying “yes” openly as Mary did. Be them hard or sweet, His plans are always good.

Photo Cred: Joecy Mijares

 

about-the-authorJuliandra Durkin is the manager for Wonderfully Made’s blog Know Your Value. She also writes at Written Jewels, a personal blog with stories and reflections on life. Besides writing, she spends her free time exercising or out in nature. Give her a beach or a mountain; sunrise or sunset, she loves it all, especially walking her dogs in the woods! A graduate of Westmont College, Juliandra was able to attend three study abroad programs exploring Spain, parts of the Middle East, and Mexico. These experiences gave her a heart for culture and travel and she hopes to get more stamps in the passport soon!

12 Days of Christmas

December 13, 2015

By: Juliandra Durkin

It’s Advent Season! Do any of you know what advent means? The definition of advent is “the arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.”

Advent is a time to celebrate, reflect, and anticipate the birth of Jesus. There was no grand arrival for the Baby born in a barn, as his parents weren’t able to find a room to stay in on their travels.

There was nothing spectacular about the shepherds who came to see Him.

I imagine the cave-like atmosphere full of farm animals smelled foul.

The Baby’s arrival was humbling and raw, but still beautiful for His parents and the few people who were honored with the privilege to witness his first days on earth.

And it is beautiful for us today too! How special is it that in this day and age we get to remember and rejoice for His coming? There are many ways to observe Advent Season and we gathered ideas to celebrate where you are at with your friends and family, all in anticipation of One Baby’s birth.

It’s not too late to jump in with love and excitement in preparation for the fast approaching December 25 with our Wonderfully Made advent calendar!

December 12 Make a Christmas carol playlist.

December 13– Offer to babysit your younger siblings so your parents can relax during the holidays.

December 14– Fill a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child and send it to Samaritans Purse.

December 15 Bake cookies and deliver them to an elderly person’s home or a neighbor.

December 16Call a friend who you haven’t seen in a while and decorate gingerbread houses.

December 17Connect with a local church with a prison ministry and write Christmas letters for the men and women in prison.

December 18Set up a nativity scene.

December 19Visit Santa at the mall for a fun Christmas photo!

December 20Find someone from another culture and ask how he or she celebrates Christmas.

December 21Help a younger sibling wrap presents, or offer to help your Mom and Dad around the house as holiday time is busy, busy!

December 22Watch your favorite Christmas movie.

December 23Read the Christmas story in the Bible.

December 24Attend a Christmas Eve service.

However you choose to celebrate Christmas this season, whether you do any of the activities listed above, or you come up with your own ideas, remember Him.

 

about-the-authorJuliandra Durkin is the manager for Wonderfully Made’s blog Know Your Value. She also writes at Written Jewels, a personal blog with stories and reflections on life. Besides writing, she spends her free time exercising or out in nature. Give her a beach or a mountain; sunrise or sunset, she loves it all, especially walking her dogs in the woods! A graduate of Westmont College, Juliandra was able to attend three study abroad programs exploring Spain, parts of the Middle East, and Mexico. These experiences gave her a heart for culture and travel and she hopes to get more stamps in the passport soon!