Tuesday, January 7, 2014

On Discouragement. And Santa Claus.

I don't know why I blog-interrupt myself unless it's that sometimes I open the floodgates, and it feels so good to release what hurts that I don't want to stop.

Several people have had things to say about my word for the year, and I should say first of all: if you're kind enough to care that you may have hurt me on facebook or in the blogosphere, it probably wasn't you.

And it wasn't just one person, anyway, or regarding one topic. I could compile a list of all the posts I allowed to disrupt my inner peace last year, and guaranteed: your mouth would hang plumb open.

It's my problem. I have an anger problem. I have a getting-over-it problem.

I've been trying so hard to pray and work it out, and it's probably even more complicated than I realize or can articulate, but I'll tell you right now: I'm incredibly apt to judge a judger. So sad. So sinful.

Also, I think what we say and how we say it matters. I'll never utter or write a word for which I won't take personal responsibility, and I'm not going to lie: I think everyone should operate that way.

And then there's this: unless I've sought your advice, or unless you're one of my trusted advisors (and you'll know if you are!), I would prefer that you not tell me what to do. Tell me what you do, by all means. Tell me a story, your story, any story. But don't tell me what my story should be.

So. Santa Claus. I read this post before Christmas, and I'm not going to link to it or name the blogger, but she was writing against the whole Santa Claus thing, and it was even more than that. It was a call to action: a "mothers stand with me" type thing.

And you know, my own pastor's against the Santa Claus thing, and it doesn't bother me. He doesn't make me feel pressured to do things differently. He doesn't make me feel judged. Upon reading this blogger's post, on the other hand, I felt more discouraged than I've felt in a long time.

I wanted to put my head down and cry. Am I feeling convicted? I asked myself.

And no.

My children know that Christmas is Jesus's birthday. Charleigh played with our nativity set all season; in fact, I think "Joe" lost another body part. We participated in the Bethlehem Walk. At our church, the girls blew out candles on a birthday cake for Jesus, and we attended Christmas Eve service. And--as he does every year--my daddy read the Christmas story to us straight from his Bible.

Our Santa Claus works in a copy shop just down the street. We visit him throughout the year, and he passes the girls little cards that say: "Santa caught me being good." My children were the only ones in the copy shop when we visited in December; Santa changed into his fancy clothes just for them. He held them and loved on them for the longest time. It was beautiful. I flat-out refuse to believe our Santa has stolen anything from anyone...including Jesus.

And you know something else? True conviction of the Lord never makes me want to give up or quit. True conviction of the Lord never makes me cuss under my breath. True conviction of the Lord never makes me want to punch out a sister.

Now, let me be careful and clear here: it's not my place to judge my sister's heart or intentions in writing that post. I'm not bold enough to say that post wasn't of the Lord or that He didn't intend those words for someone else. I will even grant that He may change my heart over the Santa Claus thing down the road. God doesn't change us all at once, you know; if He did, our heads would pop off.

All I'm saying is: I allowed that blogger's words to discourage me during this season of my life and that--especially since it wasn't the first or only time I've felt discouraged by them, recently--I don't intend to return to her blog.


Jesus's Birthday Cake

Christmas Eve Service

Yes, there's an elephant in there. There was also a tin man, at one point, and a police officer.


  1. "if He did, our heads would pop off." Oh my how true! love that line.

  2. Brandee, we should have a conversation, I mean it, I have been going thru this for years. And, I think the Lord is FINALLY healing my head and my heart by not changing anybody else. I have had issues with or the feeling of what a failure I was in serving Jesus. I have been reading a book that my friend gave to me knowing how I struggle and the Lord has done a work in me since then. It's called 'Accidental Pharisee'. For the first time in years, I feel like I don't have to crawl underneath a rock.

    Oh and by the way, I am with you on the Santa subject. Santa did not come from a bad place or an evil spirit, it came out of a story of a man who was helping the poor. I think even Jesus probably smiles when it comes to Santa. I promise you He doesn't feel inferior over him. He knows we celebrate HIS BIRTHDAY and praise Him for who He is. The picture of your kiddoes with Santa is gorgeous, You should blow that up and have it as a decoration for Christmas for the rest of your life. WOW! (You have a great looking Santa~heehee!)

  3. What beautiful pic's of your sweet children!

    Yes, I'm all for people boldly sharing their perspectives on biblical truth or their personal convictions. I'm much less enthusiastic when they start trying to force me to adopt their perspective, or speaking as though I'm somehow less of a Christian if I don't completely embrace their viewpoint.

    And then...I have to take a hard look in the mirror. I KNOW I've been guilty of the same thing, in the past...of assuming my perspective on a given truth is the only right perspective. I HOPE I've outgrown that...and that my growth is reflected in my writing style...that my posts spill over with grace rather than condemnation.

    BUT I also know how easily I can come across more abrupt than I intend...especially when I'm taking a firm stand on what God has shown me.

    Not easy...continually praying for His grace to cover me in all aspects of life...

    Blessings to you and yours, Brandee!

  4. first, i think you have one of the coolest santa claus i have seen...so genuine looking...

    this is our last year of santa, my youngest figured it out...or at least fessed up to figuring it out...i figure to each their own...its not my place to cram the jolly guy down their throat or tell them they can not...

    i do what i do...i will tell a story but people have to figure it out on their own...its the same with the gospel...i cant make them accept it and if i cram too hard they will never and i will become a reason they never know jesus...or misconstrue the message...

    so lets put feet to your goal...i think that would be awesome!!! smiles.

    1. I like what Brian had to say here. We have the same goal.........tell a story and the rest is up to what they do with it.

      BTW....my 7 year old, my baby figured it out too! I said something about Santa and he said, "from what I hear Santa has long hair and wears heals" with a big ole smirk on his face. No words from me, just a smile.

  5. I already commented on this post once, but when it popped up in my e-mail, this morning, I realized something else.

    I realized just how much being part of a blended family has helped me learn to be more gracious and flexible...to focus less on minor details and more on thankfulness for God's goodness.

    As a child, my parents had strong personal convictions against the whole Santa Clause thing. At the time, I was the only kid I knew for whom Santa Cluase was not a part of the Christmas celebration, and I was fine with that. I was proud I knew the truth and that my parents stood firm on their convictions.

    As an adult raising my own children, we did the Santa Clause traditions, but I was always clear with them that Santa Clause was just a game. Based laregly on how I was raised, I had strong convictions about making sure my children understood that Santa is a myth and that Jesus is real.

    Now, I'm part of a blended family, in which my step-children have been raised, not based on my personal convictions, but rather based on my wife's personal convictions and traditions. And, on this particualr item, our personal convictions differ.

    So, I've had to learn to recognize this as a minor item, not worth making a major issue over. I've had to learn to respect my wife's and step-children's traditions, even though they differ from my personal traditions and convictions.

    And you know what? That's been a healthy thing for me to learn. My life is too blessed to stress over such minor things!

    1. I appreciate all of the comments on this post. In reference to this one, Joe, I know I'm loosey goosey in so many ways. Really. And it doesn't bother me what other people do or don't until I feel judged or looked down upon for doing things differently...or when I feel pressured to change. I'm sensitive to the Holy Spirit, and when I say that I'm not implying that everything I do or don't is how I will or won't down the road. Perhaps I'm yet to fall under conviction for Santa or halloween or...I don't know...any number of things. But posts like the one I referenced stir up an angry/defensive/rebellious spirit in me. I think horrible thoughts like: "Who are you to tell me what to do?" and "If this is the best you can come up with in terms of things I need to change, you're not looking very hard."