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Finding Joy In Unexpected Simplicity.

Oh this morning I cry with my guest poster and beautiful friend Barbie. In so many ways I can relate. My heart is in a place of craving simple. I have found that with simplicity does come humility but also, contentment, peace, joy and most of all precious love and times with family. I love, love what Barbie says is her one true purpose: “To love Him simply, without distraction, that is my life’s one purpose.” Lord, let this be so for all of us at Christmas time and all year long.

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simpleMy family has always enjoyed a very modest Christmas.  Or so it seemed.  I have four children and every year I tell myself that they will only receive three gifts, of modest value, and a few dollar store prizes in their stocking.  But most years I go completely overboard.  Before I know it three gifts have turned into seven or eight, per child, and stockings are filled to overflowing.

Every year in the aftermath, I tell myself that I am going to simplify my gift giving the following year.  And every year, although I have good intentions, I manage to go overboard.

Until this year.  God has a way of reminding us of what we say, doesn’t He?

As a wife of an unemployed husband, we will not be celebrating Christmas as we’ve known it in past years.  We have a Christmas tree, one that was given to us as an unexpected gift by a precious friend I’ve never met in person.  There are just a few presents under the tree.  The stockings hang empty and have yet to be filled.  We will not be buying gifts for extended family or friends, and I did not stock up on baking supplies this year.

I will be honest and say that I’ve cried many tears over the last few months about what I cannot give to my children.  They have gone without so much over the last few years as we’ve struggled through my husband’s job loss.  And as friends have come with gifts, food and gas tanks full to assist, I have felt guilty accepting such an outpouring of love, because I have nothing to give to them in return.  I feel unworthy to receive such gifts, and have been completely humbled in the process.

I have the heart of a giver.  I want so badly to be able to give.  One thing this season of simplicity has taught me is that I already have so much to give to my family and to others.  It’s just not in the form of gifts.  This Christmas we will be drawing close together as a family and focusing on the greatest gift ever given.  And in that simple reality, we realize how truly blessed we are. And we will be thankful.

Thankful that we have shelter in a beautiful home to rent.

Thankful that I have a job to help sustain us through this hard season.

Thankful for friends and family who have brought gifts of food, gas and joy.

Thankful that my children are alive, happy and healthy.

Through a season of unexpected simplicity, we are learning to simplify our hearts and minds and focus our attention on what is truly important. To love Him simply, without distraction, that is my life’s one purpose.  I am thankful that in this season of Christmas that I have my eyes are fixed on the One who truly matters.  For He truly is the reason for the season.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”  (Luke 2:10-14)

Barbie is a wife and mother to four children. She works full time while juggling faith, family and ministry. She enjoys a good cup of coffee, reading, writing, painting and spending time with family and friends. Visit her blog, My Freshly Brewed Life, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

14 thoughts on “Finding Joy In Unexpected Simplicity.”

  1. Barbie, girl…God is using you in great big ways. I know this journey has been heartbreaking and crippling for you. Please please please know in your heart, your words are being heard and related with by so many people today. And you have such a gift for sharing your heart about this particular subject. Good is coming from your writing. Just the other day I was over at my UnEmployed Faith site and happened to notice how popular your guest post about what you’d learned from your husband’s unemployment was. You connected with so many people by sharing your heart there. I’m telling you, God is bringing beauty from your trial. Keep on keeping on and please keep sharing the heart of your journey because people need to know they aren’t alone. And they need to see what faith looks like. You show that in everything you write. ~ Rosann

    1. Oh Rosann, that is my one hope, that God would use this trial to bring good, not just to my family, but to so many who are struggling. Thank you for your encouragement and for keeping me motivated to share my story.

  2. Oh Barbie, You are truly blessed. I love this post. The simplicity of your “pure” Christmas is something I think many of us long for in Spirit, but are too afraid of in reality. You show us that we have no reason to fear. We still have the greatest gift. Thank you Barbie!

  3. Barbie,

    Thank you so much for your heartfelt honesty. Tears. I’ve lived through the job-loss Christmas heartache then the appreciation for the true reason for the season coming through. “To love Him simply, without distraction, that is my life’s one purpose. I am thankful that in this season of Christmas that I have my eyes are fixed on the One who truly matters. For He truly is the reason for the season.” Beautifully expressed! Hugs to you and Merry Christmas! MIKI

  4. I can absolutely relate, Barbie. Our family “does Christmas” in a much more simplified way nowadays than we have in the earlier years of our children’s lives because we made a choice to be more frugal.
    We focus now on our relationships, with God and with one another. That’s the way it should have been anyway, and I’m grateful for the Lord making it simple for us to make the shift due to our circumstances.
    Thanks for sharing, Barbie.
    Merry Christmas and Shalom to you all!

    Thankful For Jesus Being My Reason In Every Season,
    Donna Marie Johnson
    Your Social Networking Liaison

  5. barbie, i am with you in finding joy in simplicity. this year my heart is reminded even more than ever, with all the trials going on in our lives, that it is not about presents or parties or cookies or festivities. it is completely about Him coming to bring us everlasting life. all the lack or excess in this life is so temporal. it is all going to pass and all He has stored up for us will last forever. i cast all my hope into Him. we will have gifts – not extravagant, mostly homemade by me staying up late, but even these simple gifts are not what my heart is anchored in this year. i must taste of the life that He came to bring. bless you this year – i pray your heart is awakened in a way that it has never been before and that He gives you tastes of this never fading life. love you!

  6. Barbie, I grew up the child of loving, struggling parents. I was aware that some Christmases were very tight and it was hard on my parents. There were times amazing friends surprised us with gifts and food and we were so thankful. I don’t regret or resent those lean times at all. I’m thankful for my parents faith and other’s generosity. I learned a lot about grace and family and gratitude in those moments that I wouldn’t trade. I imagine your kids will feel the same way! Merry Christmas!

  7. Beck, that is the greatest gift that I could give to my children, that they would know the provision of God and about His grace through the hard seasons. Thank you for reading.

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