I once had a friend whom I would call every year on one specific day to say one specific thing.
"The cups changed today."
She knew what that meant. Don't you just love a girlfriend who knows you so well that you don't have to explain every little thing? Who just gets it? I love that about a friend and a razor sharp quick wit as well. Two of my favorite things in a girlfriend.
We would laugh and listen to one another and then she would say something along the lines of "Now don't do this to yourself again this year! "
The "cup changing" that I am referring to is the day every year that Starbucks changes their cups from white to red. It's one of the many changes that mark the start of the season. And it happened this week.
On Tuesday in fact.
It puts a pep in my step and a panic in my heart all at the same time. The store displays change. The music changes. The weather cools. Wardrobes change. Everything. It's coming. And nothing is going to stop it.
And I love Christmas. I love this time of year. I love the softness in hearts and the gift of forgiveness people will offer this time of year. I love the fragrance. The sights. The sounds. I love picking out and wrapping gifts. I love Christmas Eve and Christmas morning with my children. My husband and I just sit and watch with our coffee and experience every, single thing through their eyes.
It is pure wonderment.
Most of all I love to celebrate Him.
And in all of the celebrating of Him and all of the merriment and all of the sentimental pieces of the season. There is a place in my heart that longs for what I've never had outside of that with my own children. There is a place in my heart that longs so deeply for Christmas with family. And not just any family but family who loves like Him and who loves us like He loves us. Family who loves unconditionally. Who gives. Loves. Forgives. Sows. Pours. Prays. And loves to decorate, cook, bake and trim the tree too if you must know.
I want a Holy Spirit filled Martha Stewart Christmas.
Every. Single. Year.
And every year when those cups change I am reminded that it is coming and again, for the umpteenth year, it's not going to happen. I can trust Him for it, and have in big ways in years past. Some years there has been a glimmer of hope and some big trying on our parts that just end in complete and total disaster.
And I vow to never, ever try again.
But then the cups change.
And my heart quickens. And my thoughts race. And I "what if" myself to death.
What if they will love us this year?
What if they want a relationship with their children and grandchildren?
What if they have allowed God to do heart surgery?
Maybe things are different. Maybe they will be different.
And I sip from my new red cup a holiday latte while four very small and very precious children hang on my coat tail and one adorable twenty year old chats to me over the cell phone and one very sweet, bouncing baby stirs inside my womb that ......
He has already given it to me.
And He has given me the opportunity to give it to them.
I can wish away the season every time I see a Mother and Daughter shopping together. Every time I see them having a Christmas lunch together. I can allow my heart "to go there" and magnify the fact that my children do not have grandparents every time a grandmother approaches me and asks all about my children- and Heaven knows, I am like a magnet to grandmothers. I love them.
I can allow that lump to stay in my throat every time I hear about friends' parents coming to stay with their children so that they can "get away" and have a little vacation as husband and wife for the hundreth time when my husband and I can't imagine getting away or having a break for even 3 or 4 hours- much less a trip of any sort. I'm pretty sure it's been 6 or 7 years .....I've lost count.
I can allow bitterness and resentment to overtake me when I see rows of family members and grandparents filling the seats at the opening night of The Nutcracker this year and my sweet Bella Grace tip toes onto the stage for the first time ever to be cheered on by her parents alone.
I can ask God to "guard my heart" again this year when I listen to friends go on and on about the incredible gifts and generosity poured out at Christmas by their parents.
I can allow my heart to go there.
I can allow the enemy to magnify my circumstances......
Or I can focus on the fact that we can be that kind of amazing parental love and support to our own children, now and in the years to come. These precious ones who fill our hearts with so much love and joy.
So this year, I have decided that I am not going to long for what has never been and I'm not going to mourn that we will spend another Thanksgiving and Christmas alone with our children.
That is big for me. I want the fairytale extended family.
I am chosing to just be thankful that we have each other and we have the five (almost six) babies and I am going to turn the music up a little louder, put more lights on the tree than ever before, cut the ribbon a little longer, bake even more cookies, forgive on another level, love more deeply, read more stories, wrap gifts even more beautifully, take even more pictures, send even more holiday cards and rock my precious babies even longer while I praise the One who has given me the desire of my heart that goes beyond what happens inside my heart every year when the cups change at Starbucks.