I had read this amazing blog post about how this sweet lady was sick of focusing on that mischievous little Elf on the Shelf (which I had never heard of till this year!). She wanted to place her focus on others too, so she started a plan she called "Light 'Em Up". I was instantly hooked and began talking with the kids to plan our own "Light 'Em Up" season. Please go to her blog and check it out here. . . I think that is the original post I read. It was just what I wanted. Something, anything to take the focus off of "me", what "I want", what am "I getting". And by "I", I meant the little ones. . . little did I know that I needed to get away from the "me" thinking too!
So, we printed out our Light 'Em Up planner, and made a plan. My biggest excitement would be writing on the driveways of our friends! I thought, how cool to let them know how loved they are, and remind them to think on Jesus this season. . . we didn't get to ONE! We did focus on Hubby the first week. It was kind of a funny disaster! He finished up his masters degree that first week of December (wooooohoooooo), so the kids and I thought we'd show him how proud we were of him. We planned to surprise him by writing on his car and sticking a ton of balloons in it. . . But, when we went to his celebratory lunch (with people from his internship) his car was no where to be found! We drove around the parking lot (with a bazillion other crazy drivers) for-EVER!!! I finally relented and texted him, saying, we're in the area can we stop by and meet your friends (he had wanted us to anyway, I think). We took the balloons in to him and thoroughly embarrassed him. :) The look on his surprised face was priceless (even though I had worked the night before, and only had about 2 hours sleep, I still remember it- a Christmas miracle). (BTW- he had ridden there with someone else, which is why we couldn't find his car!)
So, we still had the issue of the car writing that the kids were not going to let go. On the final day of his internship we drove over to the hospital he was at and looked for his car. You're not going to believe this. . . I couldn't find it!!! Again, relenting, I texted him saying we were in the neighborhood wanting to go out to lunch when you get done, want to park by your car, where is it? It was in the employee garage!!! Can you believe it? So, we left and went out to lunch. When we were done eating, I made him stay in the restaurant while we went outside to decorate his car! I never even took pictures, because I was so frustrated. We wrote things like, love you, Dad the grad, etc. It was fun after the frustration died down. I think he liked it. . .
After that, we went camping. Then, when we came back, I worked that crazy, crazy schedule (2 on, 1 off, 1 on, 1 off, 1 on). . . I call those the zombie days and nothing got done. Then, the next week, I worked 4 in a row. It was just an unusually weird month as far as my work schedule went. I was exhausted, never knew if I was coming or going, and sad. . . I really wanted to really focus on Jesus, on others, and on showing my kids the wonderful ways they can serve and be little lights. But, it was all I could do to stay awake and keep up with our regular duties. To say the least, I was disappointed, frustrated, and highly resentful of the fact that I had to work. Ugh...that's not quite the attitude I was going for this season!
Then Christmas came. As it has been many times before, it was quite a disappointment. Without incriminating anyone, let's just say that things are getting better, and that my broken heart is in the healing stage. Hopefully, this will be the last Christmas spent in tears. (Many of my childhood Christmases were spent this way- at a certain grandmother's house.) Then, as if it wasn't bad enough, I had to work Christmas night and the night after. . . So, I've spent the last several weeks trying desperately to adjust my attitude. I've been reminded of how thankful I am for grace. While I don't believe my outward behavior was terrible, my heart attitude has been one of selfishness. . . the very thing I started out to set right! While the season and my hopes were let down, I am infinitely grateful for my sweet Jesus who humbled Himself enough to become a baby, then a man, die on a cross, and love me in spite of my selfishness/self-centeredness. I am mindful of grace that covers resentment and selfishness, and so ever grateful for it. I am grateful for the gift of a job that I now really enjoy, a husband who loves me (also in spite of me) and and amazing family to share special moments with...even the moments chasing down Hubby's car!
I think we will try again, all year long, to be lights to the world. Sometimes I'm going to fail. Sometimes, though, God just might decide to shine through me!
Do all things without grumbling or questioning that you may become blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life. . .