Recently, my husband and I got into a little tiff about the number of presents under the tree. It all started when I came home from hours of shopping and excitedly showed him the deals I had gotten. At least my intention was showing him the deals I had gotten, it turned into him counting the number of gifts I had gotten for cousins and siblings. His expression was clearly underwhelmed and when I asked why, he replied "Well, we can't afford to buy gifts for your entire extended family!" Needless to say, I was crushed. I wondered why he wasn't happy, I mean this is the season for giving after all. He left and I sat around the tree wrapping the bounty of gifts I had just purchased. I thought for a long while, then I realized, our Christmastime is not the same.I grew up in a home with a single mom. My parents divorced when I was just a toddler, and I was raised by my mom and her long time boyfriend. In the past five years, my mom has remarried, but one thing has remained consistent, I am the product of a blended family. Though my original family was not traditional, there was never a marriage between my mom and her boyfriend, he raised me as his daughter. I spent holiday mornings with his family, the afternoon with my mom's side, then, if there was time, I would see my dad's family in the evening. So while I sat there at my Christmas tree, baffled by my husband's response, I realized, our family dynamics have everything to do with this. Kristian grew up in a two parent home. Christmas consisted of his sisters, his parents, homemade stockings (a Sanchez family tradition), and the usual gift exchange. I'm sure everything wasn't as Walton-esque as it sounds, but his family was normal. Well, this is my thought anyway. He did not grow up sharing holidays with grandparents that sometimes raised him, with cousins who were closer to siblings, parents who made you choose one or the other, and so on. So there I was, huffing and puffing, wrapping these presents with a complete absence of Christmas cheer, then my Aha! moment. Ultimately, he isn't mad about the money, he isn't mad that I'm buying presents, he's upset because he doesn't understand. This Christmas will be Kristian's first without his family. I'm so excited for him to see the dynamics of my family! To see first hand what being in a crazy, mixed up, blended family is like. We have three destinations for Christmas and one on Christmas Eve. My traveling pack of siblings (four in total) will probably fight over who can ride with Sissy, and Kristian will inevitably think of some quirky way to resolve the matter. I know once we're surrounded by my brood of cousins and my excessively nice aunts and uncles, Kristian will forget we ever had this tiff. I think he will come to realize how interconnected my family is. This year I think we'll both be a little more aware of the larger context of family.
At the urging of my two adult daughters, I consented to create a “Facebook” Account and entered into the realm of mystical cyberspace, one that I had been skeptical of entering. From Maine to California, I have become a part of my friends’ everyday lives. I rejoice with them when their children wins an award, and at the birth of their grandchildren. Many times I unite in prayer with them over sickness, broken romances, and loved ones going off to War in Irag and Afghanistan. I must say that Life on Facebook has taken me down an adventuresome and rewarding road.
One day as I was once again catching up on the Latest News, a beautiful picture began to unfold right before my eyes. Actually it was the picture that Heather, the creator of Created Woman, stated in the vision she had for our website.
The Created Woman desire’s is to become the woman that she was created to be both inside and out. From Wall Street to Broadway, there is no mold; each blazing her own trail.
And there they were, right on my Friend’s List on Facebook, women blazing their trail, becoming the woman God created her to be:
- Kesha - physical therapist, singer in a Gospel Group
- Darla - school teacher, youth leader, missionary to Honduras
- Karen - operates family business, missionary to Haiti
- Suzanne - wheelchair bound, one semester away from a college degree
- Hillary - stay at-home Mom
- Frances - cancer survivor, fighting the good fight of faith
- Cindy - single working Mom
- Rhonda - Pastor’s wife
- Geraldine – Retiree, writing inspirational thoughts
I just know that Our Created Woman Team-----Heather, Cheryl, Crystal, Helen, Jessica, Katerina, and Yvonne joins with me in giving a big cheer and shout-out to these trail blazers, and many more too numerous to mention: “You go girl, you are awesome!”
But, you know what? There is an even bigger cheerleading squad that is cheering for all of us straight from the grandstands in heaven. The Bible says in Hebrews 12:1 that “we are surrounded on every side by a great cloud of witnesses.”
Most Bible commentators say that the great cloud of witness in this verse refers back to Hebrews 11, which lists people from the Bible who have reached their heavenly reward, and are a testament to the power of faith in God for bringing them through their battles victoriously. They are now witnesses for our journey of faith---our cheerleaders, if you please.
Can’t you just hear Mary, Esther, Abigail, Anna, Sarah, Rebecca, Hannah, Elizabeth, Rahab, Deborah - - - all trail blazers, indeed, in the grandstands of heaven shouting at the top of their lungs:
“Way to go girlfriends! “Keep on fulfilling your dreams, and being the woman you were created to be. We’ve got inside information--- God is pleased with YOU!”