Friday, November 5, 2010

The Day The Cups Change

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.


Mary Ann said...

Since I LOVE Starbucks! I get what you are saying too! I found the change on Tuesday too and was soooo happy! Since we have made our holiday's about just us and our 5 children it has taken a lot of the stress off and it makes for a much more memoriable time! The kids enjoy it much more too! A start of a new family tradition!

Charity said...


Gabi said...

good for you! And I just have to say, love the "Holy Spirit filled Martha Stewart Christmas"!!!!! Isn't that what we all want??? :)

A Texas Gal said...

My sentiments are exactly what Cha Cha wrote. Love.
I love this post.

Maria said...

You are the sweetest Sibi!!! Thank you so much for this post. I'm sitting here imaging you in about 30 years, with your husband and tons of grandbabies, enjoying the holidays. It will be glorious.

sherry said...

yes, all of that. me too. we're there. inspiration on so many levels. you've shared *it* like i've never been able. thank you.
bless you!

Jerri Lynn @ Southern Sassyness said...

This post is exactly what I needed to read today. I am in an almost identical situation as you are. For so many years, I have been upset and bitter. I hurt for my children for all the missed moments that no grandparents have been there for them. It is especially hard during the holidays. I am still working on wrangling my emotions and finding that place in my spirit that says "it may never be and I will be ok about it!" I have a husband that I cherish and 3 fabulous, healthy children. I am blessed indeed!

AEOT said...

What a wonderful post. I am so blessed to have a wonderful mother who adores my son and me and her whole family with every inch of her being. I forget how special that is sometimes, so thank you for reminding me.

Also, there could not be better words than "a holy spirit filled Martha Stewart Christmas!"

Becca said...

Sweet Sibi,

For the record, let me just say that you and Mr. P&G are going to have the MOST spoiled, rotten, precious, never ever put down, sop 'em up with a biscuit grandbabies. You dear, get to be the one to break the cycle. You're changing the line of your family-and holidays will never be the same. I can just HEAR God saying "You just wait and see honey..." It's going to be glorious.

And for the record, a crazy story to make you roll your eyes. When my husband was getting ready for his cancer surgery, our NEWBORN son was in hiis swing fussing and my mother-in-law said "I would pick you up...but I know you're going to fuss anyways so I'll just leave you in there." I cried until I threw up.

BUT, but...His grace is enough...I know you know that. Hang in there. Love your heart!!!


Jennifer said...

Have a very Merry Christmas. thanks for your openness.
Jesus is a friend who sticks closer than a brother and a father to the fatherless. It is ok to be sad. we live thru our children and grandchildren. we are who we are bc of our circumstance.
As my daughter says...what is, is...hold your little ones close. one day you will make a great, grandmother too...
Sometimes i think what it would be like to have james dobson for a dad...maybe mine wouldnt have made so many mistakes. but none of us are prefect...i'm praying God will fill your emptiness with him and you will enjoy all the good things of Christ mas!
: ) Jennifer...aka Gigi(grandma)

Tamara said...

I'm there, too. We go away as a family every Thanksgiving to a new place, just because it's so hard seeing every driveway in our neighborhood overflowing with cars....except for ours. Yes, think of it as breaking the cycle. That's what I do and that's what gets me through. It's comforting to know that we are not alone! Thank you for sharing that, and I can't believe that I've never noticed the "changing of the cups" before!

The 5 Bickies said...

I love this post!
I do believe that you are changing the cycle for your family and I hope to believe the same thing for our family. I do hope that our children will desire the kind of relationship with us when they are adults as I desire from the grandparents in our lives.

I'm going to Starbucks next week for a red cup!

Anonymous said...

Oh Sibi~ so beautifully written~ I love it so much! I love your heart towards this holy spirit filled martha stewart Christmas! Love this post so much! Yes you put as many lights on the tree as it can hold and eat as many cookies as you want!

so nice to hear from you today!!!

Kathie Truitt said...

May I offer a suggestion? Or maybe you've tried this already....Is there an elderly couple at church who are lonely? Could you explain your circumstances and adope them? It may sound cheesy, but I bet they'd love it.
How about friends that aren't going away? We've done that in the past when our parents couldn't make it.

I'm sorry for your 'loss' because that is truly what it is. But I agree with Becca - you're going to be the BEST grandma in the entire world.

e.m. said...

Starbucks had some plain old white cups left but I asked for a red one from the bottom..I couldn't wait! You are right about the excitement in the cups!
It is very difficult to move away from what you "hope" could happen and grieve what will never be. But you are steering the ship now. You are calling the shots. You ARE creating this Normanrockwellian Holy Spirit filled Martha Stewart Christmas.
I too struggle with what could have been and sometimes hope that maybe there will still BE..something. But as you said we can only look forward and cherish our children and give them what we were deprived of and hope in someway that will fill our void. Thank you for such a touching post.

Tamara said...

I love the comments on here! They are inspiring, too...thank you all

Unknown said...

Glad to discover your blog!! It is a blessing, thank you for allowing the Lord to use your gifts to edify others!

lizziefitz said...

You knew The Answer before you asked. We will be "alone' for Christmas too but oh so together as an immediate family. I embrace it , I welcome it , I treasure this uncluttered moments with my darlings:) Wishing you a blessed and joyous holiday season!!!!

paige said...

hello my sweet martha stewart holy spirit christmas gorgeous friend.
i have missed you!!
i love that you share your heart. i think of the redemption that is taking place in your family through the love & joy YOU give your babies...all of 'em.
YOU are amazing. YOU are like mommy, mimi, grandmommy love all wrapped up together.
i know its not the same, but the lord has blessed YOu with the biggest heart. ever.
so you go bake your cookies & cut that ribbon longer & sip your latte from the red cup.
i love you friend

Renae Moore said...

I feel your hurt and desires but I know too that the Lord is holding you and your precious family in the palm of HIS hand and the others are so patient, enjoy every moment with your precious ones and in a few years your home will be bursting at the seams.
Love....sweet one. "our Lord is able to do exceedingly abundantly MORE than we could ever ask or think!"

Tiffany said...

OK~ WHEN I got to this part..."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.",
I just screamed "YES!!!" inside my spirit for you(&me too!). And continued to agree with everything you were saying...I do believe you & I are living parallel lives, unfortunately. HOWEVER, let's look at all He has blessed us with and remember that when our children are in our same position we WILL be the grandparents to those little ones and we WILL create that beautiful, family Thanksgiving & Christmas for them! :) I wish you a very BLESSED holiday season!

Love Being A Nonny said...

I love you Sibi and I pray we live in the same neighborhood in heaven!

Deborah said...

If you lived by me, I would be a grandmother "Nana" to your little ones. Can you really ever have to many grand babies. I think not. I'll be thinking of you and praying for you this Martha Stewart holy spirit filled holiday season.

Michele said...

Love this post and love you!!

Life Lived Fully said...

i am glad you decided to breathe life into these beautiful words of brokenness once again. your honesty and vulnerability are glitter flickering in darkness. breaks my heart and i have no finely wrapped up answers other than He is faithful. i do have family, but my heart goes down many paths when i see others with numerous children as fertiltiy issues have always been my struggle. no matter what it is it hurts but our pain is never wasted, or looked over.
i have not one doubt that God will use your darkest moments--even when the cups change and life goes back to humdrum and aching; I do believe Jesus will use these hard to breathe moments for all of us-- to strengthen us, to love us right through them.
your heart is as beautiful as your words. keep writing, keep being you. xoox