Our Christmas and Gratitude in Pictures Even After All The Gifts Are Unwrapped

I’ve been weighted down heavy in a dense fog, maybe God passing by? And one I dare only hesitantly whisper friend, but she is certainly a beloved sister in Christ who shines brilliant–she taps out these words to me–
“Dark can sometimes be the holiest ground – God passing by. You tucked in the cleft of the Rock, there behind His hand. Quietly praying with you right now, beautiful Nacole…Remembering with you that He is always there. For this alone, we give thanks.”
I had written about community, a response to a beautiful plea–a plea that all women need healing–and it will come when we heal one another–that we can be these Jesus women, bending over with those who are broken, picking up these shards of our hearts, making a beautiful mosaic of grace. She had written those words. And they spoke so powerfully to my heart. 
How could she know? How could she know so intimately the pain my heart felt? It was like she was writing me. I felt exposed, open right to the howling wind. Did someone tell her? How could the words have been so exact, how could they have cut straight to the marrow of me, re-opened the wound that God meant to heal with this re-opening, this heart-surgery? 
And the healing did pour in. And she has been apart of that. I know God has much more work to do on me, but there has been one woman, an older, stronger woman who has soothed places in my soul with her grace and generosity, with her love of Jesus. 
Since that small note that was tapped out, another woman has sat across the table from me and told me her heart-wrenching story of how God saved her from addiction, how she lost her son, only to later adopt three precious children who were themselves lost to addiction, lost from parents who chose it over them. She tells me, and her face sings of God’s grace and how He saved her. She tells me how she is clothed now, not in shame, but in praise to God. 
She motions, as if pulling a cloak over her head. She shows me how for years she wore the shame, shame that Christ took away when He was nailed to the tree. I feel chills down my spine when she sits across from me, looks right in my eyes, testifies what Christ’s done for her. I marvel and I am in awe of His power. I am amazed that He is using a woman to heal me. I understand what she meant when she had tapped it out–God is nearer when it seems darkest. 
I had only told her in passing, in the ladies’ room, I’d risked my dignity for vulnerability and God-glory, and I’d let her in just a little on what’s been going on with me. It was because of that, she said, that she had to let me know–when I’d asked months before about her adoption story, and she had not known how to answer it–she knew this was God prompting her to testify, to not be silent. And testify she did. 
That small lunch encounter–across a tabletop–it changed me. 
So this Christmas, we’ve allowed His healing to come flooding in. And we wanted to be light for others–we didn’t want to just be recipients this Christmas–we wanted to give. So we found ways to do that. 

I found some bags for the ladies in my family here and I felt it was the perfect gift for a woman–one that frees another woman from the sex trade. What could be more perfect?

And the fog? It has still been there. Words have seemed elusive, energy waning, and hope somewhere on the distant horizon, but there have been these little glimmers of God’s graces, and they shine all around, and they make me stand up and praise Him, and they comfort my heart, and they let me know that I am not alone, that I am very very loved.

This Christmas season, our hearts are filled with love for one another, and when we have faltered, we pray He picks us up and strengthens us. We decorated together, did our Advent devotions early in the mornings, while eldest lit candles and children gathered warmly around, blankets piled high.


 We made Snowman soup, we rolled slight, baby-fine, pale blond hair in curlers, and we went to church and we attended a special Christmas worship celebration. I was so thankful for the worship–I have really missed that.

We found these beautiful gifts here at 3 Cords, for nieces, friends, and they made perfect stocking stuffers…

Our hearts were also filled this Christmas season for our neighbors, and where we have failed Christ, we pray He infiltrates our hearts. We baked up pumpkin bread and took it to our wonderful elderly widow neighbor, who has been a beautiful example of God’s love to us. God certainly exists, and He exists in the heart of Mrs. Olive. 

We went to the Grandparents and the kids had a lot of fun at their Grandparents’, of course. Little Lilly made me giddy with joy, the light shining so bright in her hair and her laughter brighter than any sun. 

I paid attention, really paid attention to my Granny’s hands as she cooked, watched her. Lorna twirled with her Uncle Rusty in the living room floor to Christmas music, and Isabella even danced atop her Daddy’s feet and gave him a little curtsy at the end. 

We also found some gifts here, that were just beautiful. This is a picture of just a few of the wonderful, hand-made items I found. I know they were made with such love and it comforted my heart to know my girls’ stockings would be filled with these gifts that would help save a starving child in Guatemala. 

We had Christmas devotion and Lilly watched her Daddy with big eyes as he read from the Bible. I hope she always grows up knowing God’s grace, and that she is cloaked in praise, she is showered in grace, and she does not wear shame, but robes of righteousness.

We are very blessed this Christmas. Feel free to leave a comment and share how you are blessed this Christmas. Love to you all!