God is full of surprises. Like the gifts under my Christmas tree, some were guess-able, others were not. Many moments of 2015 brought joy. Others left me with a desire to find the merchandise return counter. The times I deemed as painful, propelled me to my knees and into a deeper intimacy than I’d ever known. They were gifts in undesirable wrapping paper, the ones I longed to send back. Yet through them, I became God dependent, not self reliant – the greatest progress of the year!
One unexpected gift involved foster grandchildren. Our daughter Tiffany’s womb has yet to produce children. So she and husband Todd enrolled in the foster/adoption program. Their first placement/gift – a three day old newborn girl. We loved her and cried goodbye after eight weeks. God nudged us to love on this baby though our hearts would be broken. He’d heal hearts if we’d just love with abandon. Loving unselfishly is what Jesus modeled throughout His life. Can I tell you it’s easier said than done?
After the release of Baby Girl, four more children were dropped on their doorstep after Thanksgiving. Abused and neglected, these children arrived needy in every sense of the word. With the approaching Christmas season, Mark and I attempted to bring a nativity set on our first “meet and greet.” We stopped at four stores between our house and the kids. I figured either Jesus was so popular He’d sold out, or not popular enough to gain a space in any store’s Christmas décor section. Upon entering one retailer, I asked two employees at the front desk if they carried nativity sets. The young gentleman replied, “A what????” His cohort said, “One of those Baby Jesus things with all the pieces?” My heart sunk. Not because of the exclusion of the manger scene, but because of the cluelessness of the meaning of Christmas. Jesus’ exclusion from shelves voids the true meaning of Christmas for so many.
I thought about Baby Jesus and all the pieces – shepherds, wise men, Mary and Joseph, angels. Each played a part of this moment in history. Surrender, trust, obedience, reverence, and worship girded the story. Though none of these have action pieces to accompany the scene, they highlight the story of Christ’s birth. They also highlight my past year and my years to come. As long as I live and breathe they will keep a pulse in my spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional being.
Highlights for 2015 included a trip to India, the birth of granddaughter Jahlyn Hope (from Jennifer and Jonathan), Mark and I teaching a young married Sunday School class, the publishing of my book WHEN LIONS ROAR (television and radio interviews included), speaking engagements both near and far (salvations and reconciliations with Christ), and sharing the Gospel on The Christian View (which won the Most Uplifting Television program in Georgia). His ways are so much higher than mine. His gifts come in all kinds of packaging. So I praise Him. And as for 2016 – may surrender, trust, obedience, reverence and worship be the pieces of my life and yours! Happy New Year with love~ Dawn Mooring