When Absence Becomes a Great Gift ~ Shelly Miller

This year I’ve made a new friend, Shelly Miller. I’ve been blessed by her writing — her warmth, her depth, her transparency. Shelly and her husband are waiting to be released to accept a ministry assignment in England. It’s been a long, hard wait, with all kinds of unexpected complications and delays. Yet in the midst of the disapointment and frustration, Shelly has found a gift…

When Absence Becomes A Great Gift Shelly Miller

When we received the disappointing news that our move to London was delayed until after Christmas, the first thing that came to my mind was the Habitat for Humanity truck pulling out of my driveway filled with boxes of Christmas decorations.

In the last days of summer, sweating through a t-shirt, I stood in the garage watching our family tree, the one we’d decorated for more than a decade, leave my house and drive through my neighborhood. Lying in the original box with layers of tape and dust from the attic, those fake pine branches carried a host of family memories away with them.

But in those brief reflective moments of nostalgia, hope for the future overshadowed any sadness.We assumed we’d soon be moving into our home in London sans a garage, attic or walk-in closet.

Now as we delve further into the season with my empty living room reality, the only way I can make peace with that sacrifice is to believe that every branch holds joy for someone else. Imagining a tree lit up, poised in the corner of a living room with borrowed hope from my family is how my heart rests with a casual decision I made months ago.

And perhaps this is a metaphor for what God teaches in waiting seasons. We long to celebrate the newness of birth, joy in preparation for the arrival of promise but realize how casual our conviction really is when sacrifice and suffering are required for the miracle.

Through a Christmas that looks bleak in comparison to others in years past, God reveals

A Prayer for Peace ~ Jennifer Kennedy Dean

A Prayer for Peace Jennifer Kennedy Dean

So far this December my to-do list has been overwhelming, keeping me a “human doing” rather than a “human being.” I haven’t felt a whole lot of the peace this season is supposed to bring  — or joy, for that matter. So this morning I’m taking some time to quiet my heart and “choose what is […]

The Season of Good Intentions ~ Jennifer Dukes Lee

The Season of Good Intentions Jennifer Dukes Lee

All this month, I’ve been inviting some special friends to share their favorite Christmas memories, traditions, or reflections to help us make this a December to Remember. A few weeks ago I had the privilege of attending The High Calling retreat at Laity Lodge in Texas. My roomie and dear friend Jennifer Dukes Lee and I […]

A Symbol of Love: A Christmas Tradition ~ Gayle Roper

Symbol of Love Christmas Gayle Roper

Do you have a special Christmas tradition that you share with your children or grandchildren? Are you looking to start a new one? Today in our December to Remember series, award-winning novelist and dear friend Gayle Roper shares how one of her favorite family traditions began… “I’m the smallest kid in my class,” ten-year-old Ashley wailed. “I’m […]

Coming Home For Christmas ~ Virelle Kidder

Coming Home For Christmas Virelle Kidder

In our family, we often talk about how people’s hearts seem more open to the gospel at Christmas than at any other time of year. It’s such a great opportunity to share with them the reason for the hope we have… Today’s guest in our “December to Remember” series, my sweet friend Virelle Kidder, shares […]

The Prayer Stocking ~ Saundra Dalton-Smith

The Prayer Stocking Saundra DaltonSmith

Today in our “December to Remember” series, one of my new friends, Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith shares a fabulous Christmas tradition her family has started — a tradition of giving. It began when Saundra found herself deeply moved by the request of one of her hospital patients… One morning as I left the house to go see patients […]

All That Glitters Isn’t Joy ~ Lynn D. Morrissey

All That Glitters Lynn Morrissey

Continuing today with our “December to Remember” series, my special guest is dear friend Lynn D. Morrissey, who shares with such honesty and transparency about a holiday season that was not turning out the way she wanted it to. She found herself really wrestling with her attitude… It was Christmastime. We had just moved into a sprawling ranch house […]

Get a Handle on the Holidays! ~ Lucinda Secrest McDowell

Get a Handle on the Holidays with Three Words: Focus, Fun, Faith | Guest Post by Lucinda Secrest McDowell

This month I’ve invited some of my favorite friends to help me make this a December to Remember! I’ve asked them to share some of their favorite Christmas stories, memories, reflections, even tips and suggestions for making this season —  when we celebrate the birth of Jesus — truly the most wonderful time of the […]

SARASOTA_Christin Ditchfield_NOV14_FBa

Date: November 29, 2014
Time: 06:00-08:00 p.m.
Event: Sarasota LifeWay Christian Store Meet & Greet
Venue: Sarasota Lifeway Christian Store
Location: Sarasota, FL
Public: Public
More Info: Click here for more information.

Recapture the Wonder with a Thankful Heart ~ Includes Free Printable

Recapture the Wonder with a Thankful Heart Free Printable

Because I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death – because I have suffered loss and grief and pain — I don’t ever forget how trite the words can sound. But I can’t let that keep me from speaking the Truth. Because even though I haven’t always been in a place where […]