Shhh… it’s Christmas

The other day at Walmart the cashier sighed and moaned and said she couldn’t wait for all this to be over.  “All this,” being the most wonderful time of the year, of course.  I guess she didn’t get much mistle-toeing or peace on earth and joy to the world and goodwill toward men.  I believed her, because it was loud and chaotic and worldly where she worked.  And it reminded me of that thing God has been whispering to me the past several months.

Simply this: “Shhhh.”

My interpretation expands it: Quiet the noise, the pressures, the expectations. Quiet your heart, your body, your home. Still your worries and stop striving. I bought you a room, eternal rest, and I paid it with my life. Enter in and don’t be shy.  Basically, “Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

I am all about God being exalted among the heathen and in the earth; it’s what I live for and would love to die for.  There is nothing else worth being about, in my opinion.  But the thing that has been pressed so deeply into my soul this season is the first part about being still.  Stillness first, knowing God, and then He does the rest.

The funny thing is, I could be wrestling the angel all night long or honing my weapons and yelling at the devil.  I want to declare war and go march around that courthouse and exalt God already!  But this is not how Jesus did it.  He slipped away to connect with His Father and there, every battle was won.

I have been praying, praying and praying about going to the Supreme Court and wrestling that giant of abortion.  You know that pregnancy insomnia and restlessness that is like nothing else, ever?  I thought I would use it for something good, and pray hard during those times.  God surprised me when He said one night, “You think you’re praying, but I see striving.  Be still.  I am exalted when you are still.”

It’s really so practical.  I think of it this way: Take a nap in the middle of the storm, and you will see miracles.  (Mark 4:38)  Love your family more than you love your rules, and there will be healing. (Mark 3:1-6)  Cherish the lonely places, and you will never be lonely. (Mark 1:35-17)

This Christmas, the first year I have even liked Christmas at all, I am celebrating peace on earth because I know there is peace in my heart and peace in my home. My striving is over, the pressures stop here, the bills have been paid. He managed it all.  This is a silent, holy night because the baby in a manger grew up and cried, “It is finished!”

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas with love from the Fouserts

 

Yeah mon

My wife screeched, “Stay on the left!” I quickly looked over my shoulder, the sun in my face, turned on the windshield wipers and merged carefully to the left almost giving the Jamaican taxi driver a kiss on the bumper.

Me and my Joy were already in the airplane when we found out that the Jamaicans drive on the left. Not only on the left, crazy on the left. Needless to say, the first driving days of our anniversary trip were challenging.IMG_1145

We had heard about a town called Ochos Rios, and even though it was not even close to our final destination I stopped there and went in to the town to look for a hotel.

“Sir? You need help, sir?” A college student looked at me, waving his fist in front of me, as if to say: if you bump my fist, you owe me money. Trying to be polite, I asked him how he was doing. He pointed at his uniform and said,  “Americans did this to me.  They put me in school and for that I am forever grateful.” He was determined to let me experience Jamaica in all its fullness and try to give me a little bag of marijuana. In the back of my mind I thought of Joy and how she had suggested to say yes to everything on this trip. I quickly said no, thank you.

His counter-offer was that we will smoke a joint together and have the best time of our life. “No, thank you.  My wife is waiting for me in the car so I quickly need to find a hotel.” When I said ‘wife,’ he pulled out some kind of bracelet and said, “Here. For your wife.” Another ‘no’ escaped from the mouth and I told him to find me a hotel. And so he did. We discovered that the Jamaican people aren’t as relaxed as one might think.

Our trip to Jamaica wIMG_1184as supposed to be an adventure. Since it was just the two of us, we thought we could rough it. When we had trouble finding a hotel room that cost less then 400$ we decided that we could sleep in our car instead. The car was parked in a gated hotel area and we felt safe and sound. Well.. there we were, it was 07.00 Pm, and we weren’t sure what to do so we reclined and played a game. What was that? A car parked right next to us and the gentleman started to frolic around his car, talking on his phone. We had tinted windows but somehow it still felt like we were doing something illegal and about to be busted. The man disappeared in the hotel and we could breathe again. And the more we breathed the hotter it got. We cracked open a window but it didn’t really help. So I sat up and said, “Well, that was fun. Let’s go find a hotel!”
We searched and searched for a hotel that was either not fully booked or then super expensive. By that time it was dark and making right hand turns onto the highway was challenging. Finally at the end of our ropes, we got a hotel room where we could choose not to go all-inclusive and their ceiling fans were amazing!
Not so tough, but lots of fun…. just what we needed.

This is what a Jamaican selfie looks like.

This is what a Jamaican selfie looks like.