Monday, December 17, 2012

the dual themed post and the Soli Deo Gloria Party

It's time to pull up your chair.  Do you know you have one here in this space we call Soli Deo Gloria?  You do.  It's reserved every week only for you.  This place would be different if you weren't here and we miss you when you are gone.  This is a place filled with women who seek to honor your words, you heart, your tears, and your laughter.  Scooch in close.  You won't want to miss a word.
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."  Martin Luther King, Jr. 
I had planned a fun Christmas post, but then after the Connecticut shootings happened, I wondered if that would be appropriate.  I decided to take Glenda's wise approach (for those of you who know her, isn't she just so wise??), thus including both.

Regarding the atrocity of the events on Friday, I don't think I've fully been able to process it. When bewilderment hits me, I have used it as a call to prayer -- to pray for the families, the communities, the nation, and the world.  I have not dwelt on trying to understand the un-understandable because that is futile.  What is not futile, however, is to be on my knees or in the grocery store, expressing groans that I cannot make coherent, but that God can.  

Running with my dog by our own neighborhood school today, I found myself being watchful.  The man behind the fence caused my heart to race in panic until I saw his own dog bounding back towards him, ball in his mouth.  I questioned the woman on her cell phone by the cafeteria entrance, wondering if sinister plans lurked in her mind.  I start questioning God -- what do I do with this suspicion, this fear, this unknown world where tragedy strikes at any time or place?  I pound the pavement, my dog pulling me this way and that after every squirrel or bird or stroller, and He whispers to me:


I pass the school again, intentionally this time, not to keep watch, but to ask God to keep watch.  I ask Him to place His angels around the school, guarding every door and every window.  I pray for safety.  I pray for His presence.  I pray that every person in that school would know His love.  And then I ask Him to extend my prayers toward every school in our country, every teacher, every student, every staff member, every custodian, every lunch lady, and every volunteer.

I pray because I trust.  I pray because I know that I am little and He is big.  I pray because I believe that what Satan intends for evil, God can redeem for good.

And I pray for courage for myself.  Courage to really see, to really speak, to really pray, to really love.  Because can't so much change if we choose to love well?  May we love well through debates about gun-controll and mental health.  May we love well as we discuss prayer in our schools and how to live in a diversified and divided nation.  May we love well as we turn over our fears and facts and judgements.  

May we love well.
I'll just close with a few of my favorite memory-maker traditions around the Ferguson house:

{1} The picture at the top of the post is the Heritage Tree in our little town and they have a big holiday party centered around its lighting.  Different local businesses come and sponsor booths filled with crafts and you always see a few thousand people you know.
{2}  All of our stockings were made by our grandmothers.  Hand-stitched.  (Guess I'll have to learn needlepoint before my children have children!)
{3}  Did you notice from the previous picture that the letters do not spell "NOEL?"  They did when I put them up, but tradition holds that the children will rearrange them to spell LEON at some point during the season.  Why?  My mother-in-law accidentally sewed the hanger on a cross-stitched ornament on the wrong side.  Of course, then the ornament read "LEON" instead of "NOEL."  When each of her children got married, we all got our own upside down "NOEL" ornament to hang on our tree.  And of course, we all take turns hanging LEON every year.
{4}  Christmas morning is very orderly around here.  Everyone opens a present one person at a time so that we can all see what each other gets (and enjoy the smile on the receiver's face) as he/she opens the present.  We also never just sign our names on the packages.  Instead, we make up fun clues as to what might be inside!  (Yes, Christmas morning does last forever around here!)

Do you have a favorite Christmas tradition?

NOTE:  There will be no SDG party next week, as this is Christmas Eve.
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I am so happy to see your face here at Soli Deo Gloria.  Did you know we have small groups?  As SDG has grown, it started to lose a bit of the small community feel.  As such, we have groups that visit each other and leave comments for each other on SDG days so that you don't feel lost in this big blog world.  Would you like to be a part?  If so, please email me at  Also, if you are new here, please put "I am new" as your caption so that we might give you a proper welcome.


  1. love that leon tradition. hilarious!

  2. "I pray because I am little. And He is big", I just love that line Jen. Isn't that so why we groan petitions that have no words...because He hears. He knows. He understands. Thanks for that reminder, dear friend.

  3. Thanks for your kind words.


  4. Oh, I love those stockings and the Luther quote is one of my all time faves. Sweetly done all the way around and I think that tree in magnificent!

  5. Hi Jen, I love your grandmother's stockings, how beautiful! I can appreciate them because I love to cross stitch and I've done a little needlepoint as well. :)
    Found you through the 'Unite' blog hop and following.

  6. How special about each of your stockings...I can't needlepoint but I can sure appreciate the artistry and skill...just want to wish you and yours a very blessed Christmas, and thanks for being a gracious hostess, Jen :)

  7. "I pray because I believe that what Satan intends for evil, God can redeem for good." Amen, forever and ever. "Leon" makes me smile :)

  8. I, too, found myself praying more fervently over my kids' schools today and begging God to show Himself in all this darkness. Love your "clues" on the packages! Merry Christmas, dear friend!

  9. This post is perfect. Thank you, Jen. You acknowledged my need to talk about Friday's tragedy, but you left me smiling. I so appreciate your wise prayers and how you are asking God to let us see things clearly and love well. Yes, I want that, too. As for traditions, Christmas morning is similar at our house. We open presents one at a time, from youngest to oldest. It takes a while, but oh what fun. Hugs to you, Courtney

  10. Yes, it does always come back to God, as we trust in him and pray for those who are suffering-beautifully put as always, Jen.

    Love the homemade stockings! Before my sisters/in law and I all had kids (when we had more time :-)) we made at least one cross-stitch stocking for my mom.
    She hangs them proudly in her home, and we all enjoy our handiwork. Thanks for the lift today!

  11. Thanks for sharing your dual perspective--definitely the right way to go! I find that I so often want black and white answers, but God challenges me to compromise. Your town's tree is absolutely spectacular!

  12. Praying for our own courage, too. Yes, Jen. Thanks for bringing that out. We not only grieve the multiple losses in Newtown--layer upon layer--but we also grieve the loss of another piece of our own innocence and security (however falsely we may be been believing in it). May the Lord strengthen us all.

  13. oh thank you, thank you! the 'Leon/Noel' part made me smile. A couple of years ago when our son and wife still lived with us (well, it must have been over 6 years ago) we were all up very late on Christmas Eve==my son was assembling a wooden train table and I have no idea what my daughter-in-law and I were doing, BUT my husband thought he'd spruce up the 'Happy Birthday' banner from my daughter Leah's birthday (on December 3rd. Which was still on the dining room wall). So--he made an extra set of letters to add to the banner and hang on the bottom. When he taped them up it said, "Happy Birthdy, JSEUS." We howled with laughter. Yes, it was late....and we've laughed about it every year since. Jay-seuss. He's related to Dr. Seuss. :-)

  14. It does all come down to trust, doesn't it? Trust that God can, at the end of all things at least, make all things right. So hard when we are so sad...

  15. I just love that line Jen. Isn't that so why we groan petitions that have no words...because He hears. He knows. He understands. Thanks for that reminder
    foto payudara


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