December: Good News Month!

photo_2Only Good News, Please

I think there should be a rule that you can only have good news during December and only good things can happen in December—in honor of Christmas, of course! But that is just not the way life works. Things that aren’t so good happen in December too. People get in car accidents, spouses fight, children rebel, and death steals loved ones.

For me, the doctors broke the good news rule by diagnosing me with another chronic disease: Crohn’s. Not really good news. Not life threatening and it’s something that can be managed—kind of. (Sound like it’s going to need prayer management most!) I’m just at the beginning of figuring this thing out (and I am grateful for really terrific doctors) but it certainly wasn’t the results I was hoping for … from all those icky, invasive tests in November. I thought inflammation was just an inconvenience, didn’t realize it could be so damaging. Who knew?!

Unchanging Truth

But the amazing truth is—any bad news we receive, doesn’t change the good news. Nothing can change the good news that Jesus came for us. And He came to make the bad news better. He came to make a way out of all the bad news that sin brought into the world. He suffered and died to bring us eternal life in heaven with Him. And even now, we have the incredible joy of knowing His Presence. The fact that He is with us, He loves us and He walks with us through all things makes this life not only bearable, but gives us Hope.

Healing, Trusting, Rejoicing

God could heal me in an instant. He’s done it before. (He completely healed me of motion sickness—which is the coolest thing ever! I’ll have to tell you about that sometime.) Or He could ask me to walk through this with Him, leaning on Him and obeying His leading. Either way, I trust Him and I give Him praise. “Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases…” (Psalm 103:2, 3.)

And I rejoice in the good news of His birth! No matter what else happens, He came to save me. There’s nothing better than the One you love coming for you. Through the strangest path and the most unconventional means, that’s what Jesus did when He was born as a baby on earth one night in Bethlehem. Just like the angels said to the shepherds, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy”! (Luke 2: 10)

What are the “not so good” things in your life right now that you can use as reminders of His unchanging good news?

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Christmas Notes: Take Care of Your Body

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Last December 26th, I wrote myself a note. I put it in my Christmas card box and marked it, “Christmas Note to Self ~ Read on December 1st!” Then I put a reminder in my calendar for December 1st to read said note.

I pulled it out this morning. It began like this:

My Holiday Downfall

“Dear Erica, It’s December, your favorite time of year. This month you will want to do more than ever. You need to be in good health to pull off this wonderful thing called Christmas. Usually, we feel worse than ever while trying to do more than ever because of one thing: Sugar.

You cannot eat sugar for three weeks and expect to feel good on Christmas. In fact, by Christmas you will feel terrible and be lucky if you don’t get sick. This year, we wound up with neck pain, headaches and upset tummy, just in time for the Christmas weekend.”

Wow. I forgot I didn’t feel well on Christmas. I remembered being really sick in January…and February and I’ve been thinking about how to avoid that. I came to the same conclusion: take care of the body in December.

My Holiday Advice

But, back to my note. I went on to detail some of my crazy schedule last year from doing so much. Early mornings and late nights. Then, I had some more good advice for myself:

“Plan for more sleep, if possible, but definitely drink your water, work out regularly, but most important—eat as low-carb as possible until Christmas Eve. That’s right. No candy ahead of time. Plan to eat some goodies Christmas Eve through New Year’s Eve and then be done. Let’s have a carb week, not a carb month!”

Well, that’s pretty plain talk. But I wasn’t done yet.

“Plan activities. Don’t think you can do four times more than any other month of the year.

  • Start Christmas cards right now. Send them early.
  • Plan out what baked goods you’ll make and when you’ll make them.
  • Shop early.
  • Ship early.
  • Wrap early!!!”

Notice a theme here?

My Holiday Decision

Ok, this is a good word from my last year self. I’m on it. I worked out this morning, so that’s good. Have to adjust my eating to lower carb, for sure. And I won’t eat any more White Chocolate Peppermint M&M’s. (I only had a few!)

And the “Christmas Done Early” plan is now in motion!

Join me in planning for a happy and healthy holiday. It’s easier to spread good cheer if you feel good and cheerful yourself.

What things do you need to do differently this year? Are you always done with Christmas preparation early or are you wrapping on Christmas Eve?

What’s Holding You Back?

Sometimes the Lord gives us one line or thought that changes everything, a truth to help steer us in the right direction.

Crying Out to God

I mentioned last week that it’s kind of scary to be handed the one thing you thought was holding you back from doing something God has called you to do. In my case, it’s the gift of time. I was working a retail job and looking at going into a demanding full-time office job, but in my heart, I was crying out to the Lord. “You know I can’t work this much and manage my home, family and church commitments and write.” I really can’t.

There are stories about people who get up early and stay up late to write, who scribble on napkins every five minutes…that’s not me. I want to be that person. I would love for that to be my story. But the truth is, I have Fibromyalgia, and while God has brought a lot of healing to my life, I still have to deal with this invisible, chronic illness. I can do a lot of things and I’m a super organized multi-tasker. I can do great things in an office chair. But my body can only sit in that chair so long. I literally can’t come home and do it all over again. Not consistently. Plus, you have to have some brain power left to write. When my body gets too tired, bye-bye brain power.

The Answer

I was praying about this situation and the Lord impressed on my heart that He was going to change my situation and I was soon going to be home and able to write. Then He said this: “Don’t let anything hold you back.” He told me my obstacle at that moment was a lack of time, but there would be other obstacles, and to not let anything hold me back.

Good grief. There’s so many things that hold me back. All kinds of fears and insecurities and worries. Plus, I’m an introvert! Writing is still a little unfamiliar. I can share my heart with people just fine when I’m singing or speaking, but writing can get so…personal. (Like now!) Sometimes I don’t want to share…anything at all…with anyone. I want to curl up in a ball and stay under the covers. Safe. But that isn’t what God is calling me to do.

Step Forward

God is calling me forward. God is calling me to step out in obedience and keep taking step after step until “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free,” Psalm 119:32.

“Don’t let anything hold you back.” That line still makes me stop and reflect. What’s holding me back? What do I allow to hold me back? What’s the remedy? If sin is holding me back, I can repent. If it’s fear, I’ll give it to God. If it’s the enemy or plain old laziness, I must push through!

It’s time to move forward. Taking a step in the direction of God’s call today…

 

What’s holding you back? Is there something you need to step up and do?


  • Hi, I'm Erica ~ a wife, a mom, a Christian speaker, singer, author, and worship leader. I love coffee & chocolate, reading & writing, music & more music, Facebook & Twitter, time with family & friends! Thanks for dropping by ~ I hope you are encouraged here.

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