Warning - I might get a little preach-y today. But this is what’s on my heart, so this is what you get.
I’ve gone to the Edgewood Bible Church for over 20 years. It’s the church my dad grew up in, where I met my husband, and where we celebrated the dedication of our daughter with our church family. We love that place and all of those sweet, sweet people.
Before I started attending the Bible Church, we were part of a local Lutheran church; that’s the faith tradition my mom was a part of growing up. I remember being in the third grade at the Lutheran church and learning all about the Church Calendar; all of the special holidays and seasons, special church services and traditions. We don’t pay too much attention to the Church calendar at Edgewood Bible Church. Of course, we acknowledge Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter…but we don’t celebrate the specific number of weeks for each holiday as many other churches do. However, one ritual I still hold onto from my years in the Lutheran church is the Church Calendar. I attribute it to my love of music and leading worship - there’s just too much good music to coincide with the calendar, and the music makes the meaning so, so rich for me.
Yesterday was the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is the season of expectation; the time where we eagerly await the coming of the Savior. Since it is situated at the end of our year, Advent has always been a season for me to reflect and prepare. Well, 2020 is quite the year to reflect upon, isn’t it?
I know it can seem quite simple to say, “Everything happens for a reason.” And I touched on this a couple of weeks ago when I shared the story about my grandma’s house. But I fully believe that every situation we go through is preparing us for something ahead. Can I share some thoughts from God’s Word with you along this line?
The Old Testament is full of stories of hard situations for the Israelites. (As you read more and more, you find that they brought most of the calamity upon themselves from their disobedience, but it was hard regardless.) But when you get into the books of the Prophets, we see them teaching the Israelites about great promise awaiting them…teaching them to be patient and expectant…teaching them to be obedient in their waiting. In Isaiah, we find a set of verses that point us right to the thing the Israelites were waiting for:
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
will accomplish this.
You could also listen to the entirety of Handel’s Messiah for practically every.word. of Isaiah’s prophecy…
Here’s the thing: the book of Isaiah was written about 750 years before Jesus was born. That’s a LOT of years of waiting and expectation, guys. I think it would be so hard to be obediently patient for so long. SO. HARD.
Okay, let’s flip the script. We have been sitting in a pandemic for over nine months. We are growing weary. “Covid fatigue” is a real thing. We miss normal. We miss our families. We miss seeing each others’ mask-less faces. But it’s only been nine months. The people who were alive when Isaiah was sharing his prophecy weren’t even alive to see the fulfillment of his words. And even though we’re still waiting for the deliverance from our current situation, we get to enjoy the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy from nearly 3000 years ago. Can we please take a respite from our weariness to celebrate that?
So, now. In our season of Advent, this time of great expectation - take some time to reflect on how you’ve arrived at this place in 2020. What have you grieved over? What’s made you rejoice? How can you celebrate, even when it’s hard? What blessings have surprised you? And where might all of these things take you in the season to come? Don’t grow weary in the waiting, my friends. Use this season of expectation as a season of preparation.
Sending you all of the love.
Since next week is finally Thanksgiving, I'll be taking the week off from the studio and also from posting here on the blog for some much needed time with my family. But before that, we need to have one more post about thankfulness.
Last year at the studio, I had every dancer share something they were thankful for, and we filled this poster up with all of our gratitude. It’s one of the most special activities I’ve ever done with my kiddos.
So to kick-off my list of "thankfuls" this week, I have to start with...
1. My dance families. This week when we thought we had to pivot back to online classes, my dance families were ON.IT. They didn’t hesitate to support me and the studio. Their messages brought me to tears. And THEN, when we were told we could return to in-person, they celebrated with me. They fill me with so much joy.
2. Heather. I have always been independent to a fault and have a hard time asking for help. I usually wrongly assume asking for help makes me look weak. About five years ago, Heather started helping me with things at the studio, and she has been the BEST. She often takes care of things before I even realize they need to be done. And as a bonus, she LOVES Ella. She’s like a part of our family. If you run a small business and have a lot of things on your plate, I highly recommend finding your own Heather.
3. My parents. This weekend, my parents will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. I am so thankful they’ve been such a beautiful example of love, caring, hard-work, and loyalty my entire life. I hope Andy and I can be such wonderful role models to Ella as she grows up.
I remember once when I was in middle school, a ladies trio at my church sang the song "Count Your Many Blessings." Have you heard that song? It's a sweet, old hymn, and the words go like this:
When upon life's billows you are tempest tossed,
When you feel discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one -
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
I can still vividly hear their voices in that beautiful harmony, and they're still the voices I hear whenever I hear that song to this day. It's a good reminder for all of us in this season...there is always something to be thankful for.
When we were thrust into the pandemic back in March, I downloaded this wallpaper for my phone from The Hollis Company:
Eight months later, that image is still the first thing I see on my phone. I still appreciate that reminder every single day. Even though I’m now able to work, leave my house, enjoy some amount of normalcy, life still seems to be in the throes of upheaval.
I have a gift for looking at the positive side of things. I can spin any situation into a positive, finding the good and the lesson, and I’ll make sure you see it, too. Those who know me best, however, know I can also spiral out into the depths of what-ifs, absolutely certain that everything is going to crumble around me at any minute. (If you know that side of me, you know it’s pretty ugly. Thanks for loving me through it.) Every morning, I write down ten things I’m grateful for, and at every class I ask my dancers to tell me something great about their day. I am convinced there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for. But I’m also not so blind as to think it can’t be harder to find some days than others.
Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes the world around us is crappy, and it is 100% okay to acknowledge that, grieve that, be mad about that. But the challenge comes for us to look at that situation, turn it on its head (or do a headstand if you must) and look at it in a new way.
There’s a story I haven’t told too many people. It’s a hard story, one that is bittersweet, and one that I still have a hard time wrapping my head around. But I think it’s appropriate for right now. So, here goes. After I graduated college, Hubs and I bought a house about 15 minutes from our hometown. There wasn’t anything special about this house - it was available, the price was right, and we needed a place to live. It was never meant to be our forever home. I thought we’d be there two years, tops. I was just starting the dance studio, we didn’t have plans to have kids for a while, and we wanted to live in Edgewood - where we went to church, where the studio was based, where Hubs worked - it just made sense.
Well, fast forward eight years - we had a seven-year-old and our cat, Luther, and we were still in that little house. Oh, it wasn’t for lack of trying. I had been busy dreaming - we talked about building, buying, creating a HUGE space to make a combined house and studio, kicking my parents out of their house (just kidding, mom). We’d talked to a realtor and nothing was coming available. Nothing was ever quite right. And I knew everything would be just right when we found the right house. I was so miserable.
Then in 2015 came the worst news - I lost my grandmother. Do you remember in my original post when I told you about how big of an encourager my mom was to me in following my dreams? Well, my Grandma Bushaw rivaled my mother in terms of unconditional support.
She would quote Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things thru Christ who gives me strength. - and remind me that absolutely nothing is impossible with Christ. She came to every dance recital and taught me to love and appreciate music. But the day came that she was gone, and it was as though someone sucked all of the air out of the atmosphere.
A few years earlier, I had a conversation with Grandma about her house. I loved her house, and I asked her what she would think about me buying it when she no longer needed it - although we both prayed that wouldn’t be for a few more decades. She thought that would be just fine, but she wasn’t so sure that my decorating style would work there. Of course, the years passed, grandma stayed healthy, and in those coming years, we grew even closer.
Just a few weeks before Grandma passed away, we talked to our realtor about a house that might be coming available. It would have been just right; exactly what we were looking for. And just as quickly as we got our hearts set on it, it was sold to someone else. And, that was it. I had resigned myself to a life that was less-than my dreams. The perfect house didn’t exist, so we may as well stay where we were.
And then Grandma passed.
((You guys, typing that last line just now buckled me. It still knocks the wind right out of me.))
The details of the next few days are so hazy, but there were several teary conversations around Grandma’s kitchen table. It was decided that Andy and I would buy the house. If you’ve ever been a part of settling an estate, you know there was a whole process to follow in the following weeks and months. But when it was all said and done, we moved into my grandmother’s house. And I can’t explain the joy that filled my heart with being in this beautiful home. But, especially for that first year, every moment of rejoicing had a backhanded sadness to it. I didn’t know it was possible to hold such happiness and such grief at the same time.
All of our lives are different. My experiences shape my perspective. Your experiences do the same for you. You may have had more traumatic experiences than you care to share, and you struggle to find any good rising from them. I don’t want to reduce your feelings; that’s not the intention of this story. I just want to pose the thought that perhaps, when we look beyond the immediate response and result, just perhaps there is some good there to be found.
Let’s circle back to the example of the pandemic, and this second (third? fourth?) wave we’re currently facing. I’ve gotten back to smaller class sizes. I get to be home with my daughter more. I’m shopping for more essentials locally. I’ve found some amazing subscription boxes for things I can’t find in my town. I’ve saved thousands of miles on my car. I’ve saved SO MUCH money on gas (I really should have kept better track of that…the savings have to be substantial).
Friends, things are not always going to be awesome. We live in a broken world full of hard things. Sometimes we are going to have to sit with those hard things. But then, we get to choose to stand up and move forward. We get to find the good in every day. It may be something as brief as the fact that you actually got to open your eyes this morning. And if that’s all the joy you can find today, let that be enough. And never stop looking for those good things. Soon, it will be everywhere you look.
Stay safe. Sending you love.
I’m back! We spent the weekend celebrating my in-law’s 50th wedding anniversary, and I didn’t get the blog put up on Monday. We’ll be back in business Monday! For today, here’s my next list.
Something I’ve learned this past week
I’ve been doing math with my homeschooler this week. If you know how excellent I am at math, that should concern you — I am definitely better with words than I am with numbers. However, right now Ella is working with fractions, decimals, and percents…that stuff I have a pretty good handle on. As she’s been asking me questions, it’s been fun to be able to help her. I know that many of us who are schooling at home (in whatever form that’s taken for you this year) often feel like we’re in way over our heads. But I’m finding such joy in being able to share in these moments with my girl!
Something amazing I’ve consumed (be it food, book, tv show, song, etc…)
Guys, I started. I started watching Christmas movies. Now, unlike so many people, I am not a Hallmark movie-watcher. Part of me wonders if I gave in and watched ONE of them, I would get sucked in and watch them all — ha! I started with “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” — the live-action one with Jim Carrey. I know everyone has opinions on when the “right” time is to start celebrating Christmas. Now, our Christmas decor probably won’t make it out until the week of Thanksgiving, but Christmas movies start now. There are just too many of them to keep them in December!
A Good Word to encourage you.
Matthew 5:16 — In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
Have a great week!
My list is returning for November! After what continues to be a stressful week for many, unwind with a cup of coffee and an easy read.
Something new I’ve learned this past week
I guess this isn’t new, but it was re-newed in my mind. This is a time of re-creation, folks. Things that were once easy and repetitive are now requiring different thought. My assistant Heather and I have been going over ways to run our winter show for the dance studio. Y’all, what an adventure. Trying to figure out how to run one hundred performers, hundreds of audience members, and paying attention to safety protocols in the time of Covid…yikes. We’ve determined it’s possible, but it’s going to be heavily orchestrated and something completely new. Stay tuned for details as we iron them out.
Something amazing I’ve consumed (be it food, book, tv show, song, etc…)
I’ve been listening to “Truth I’m Standing On” by Leanna Crawford on repeat this week. It’s such an encouragement to know that, whatever trials we may face, God is already at the end of them, fully aware of every moment. If you’re looking for a song rich in truth and promise, give it a listen this week!
A Good Word to encourage you.
Proverbs 19:21 — “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.”
Finally -- this weekend is our town's Christmas Kick-Off, "Tis the Season." Our local retailers and restaurants are ready to welcome you for a great weekend. The event is spread out over four days to spread out the crowd, and you're encouraged to social distance and wear a mask while you're here. Check out the Facebook Event for more details!
Have a great weekend!
Welcome to November, friends! We are coming up to a favorite holiday at the Beyer house -- Thanksgiving. Yes, I know I just told you that I loved Halloween. But Halloween is my number two, just behind Thanksgiving. (Really, I just love all reasons to celebrate.) Anyway, in honor of Thanksgiving, the focus on the blog this month is going to be thankfulness.
I read a quote several years ago that asked, “What if all you woke up with tomorrow was what you thanked God for today?” Whoa. That was hard to read. Not because I thought it was wrong, but because I was faced with just how many things I take for granted everyday. So with that in mind, let’s kick off November with a list of things I forget to be thankful for, but would be lost without.
The blog needs to YOU to participate this month, folks! Please share with us things that you’re thankful for. Let’s have an abundance of gratitude fill up this page all month long!
I'm also thankful for YOU! Have a great week.
My name is Miranda and I'm a mom, spouse, dance teacher, and entrepreneur. I’m going to share my life with you. The good, the bad, the weird. I hope to inspire you, encourage you, make you laugh. I’ll be honest. And I can’t wait to learn more about you through it all.