| from Suzanne Phillips |

Perspective is a funny thing isn’t it? It changes with time and experience, growth and wisdom. There’s a reason that God’s word instructs older women in Titus 2:3-5 to teach younger women. It’s part of His design for life. 

It’s so easy, especially during the holidays, to get wrapped up in the to-do list of life and to miss the moments. Over a decade ago, my husband’s company began taking the leadership team and their spouses on an annual, all-inclusive getaway to an adults’ only resort in Mexico….10 days before Christmas! Sounds wonderful, right? Well, not so fast.

Perspective is everything. Eventually it was wonderful. However, when I began participating our children were 12, 10, and 7 years old. Did I mention it was TEN DAYS before Christmas? I would leave every year with a pit in my stomach and tears in my eyes. How would I bake the cookies, mail the presents, shop for the kids, host a party, go to the school functions…..how would I enjoy this magical time of the year??? It was painful. Yet off I went year after year. 

A decade passed and last year, on my twelfth trip, I was able to enjoy watching the tide slip in and out. Before leaving for Mexico, I mailed presents, finished my shopping, planned the Christmas menu, and, for the first time in my life, I had decorated the Christmas tree alone. I didn’t love being alone as I decorated but, I had a choice. I could either weep and long for what had been, or I could focus on how excited I was that we would be together for Christmas! It was my choice. 

This year I face a Christmas that is altogether different. We are currently displaced from our home due to storm damage. I don’t know if we will be home or in a hotel during Christmas week. I’m not sure about a tree.

More significantly, it will be the first year that all of our children will not be together on Christmas morning. Our oldest daughter, Ansley, will be with her new husband and in-laws. No annual picture of the kids at the top of the stairs and voices will be missing as we sit before the tree and pray, acknowledging our Savior, the true gift of Christmas, before we pass out the packages. Oh, my heart. The temptation is to look back and long but instead I choose to look forward with hope. 

Time moves and seasons change. It is God’s design! We won’t escape it. This season of life is so sweet in its own way, and I am learning to adjust. We all must! If we refuse to adjust, we miss the moments God gives us in the place we are in. There are precious moments in ALL of the places. There are treasures tucked into ALL of God’s timing, but we must be present to notice and receive His gifts. 

 ~ The first Christmas when you are SO excited, and your sweet baby sleeps the entire day. Treasure!  

~The toddlers who are so overwhelmed they are stunned into silence and awe or who endlessly rattle gibberish while you try to figure it out! Treasure!  

~The children who run around the house in disbelief over the gift they HAD to have, or they knew they wouldn’t get! Treasure! 

~The middle schooler who is too cool to be excited, but a side grin creeps out because the pleasure can’t be contained. Treasure! 

~The high schooler who is maturing into genuine appreciation offering eye contact and a sincere thank you. Treasure! 

~The college student who is desperate for some clothes and money but is really just glad to be home with family. Treasure! 

~The married child who is building a life, working to blend and balance all of your family traditions with the traditions of another while also creating their own. Treasure! 

~Another generation of “littles” and “bigs” to love and watch, teach and shape. Treasure!  

We are still figuring it out. We are choosing to adjust. And, all those years of tears and leaving?? Well, God wastes nothing. We know our way around Mexico now. We have grown to love both the beauty and the break. 2020 got the best of the company. For the first time in 12 years there will be no company trip. But, if things work out, we will adjust to the changes at home on Christmas morning and then board a plane to Mexico with the family. This year we won’t leave them but instead we will take them with us to the all-inclusive, adult only resort and we will be alone, together. Oh, my heart. 

Today, I offer you the gift of perspective. If the turkey is dry, so be it. If the gift doesn’t arrive, print a picture and wrap it up. If the tree falls over and crushes the heirloom ornament, pick up the pieces and make something new out of it. Don’t let the messes rob you of the moments! Because, the moments, good or bad, WILL turn to memories! 

You won’t get this Christmas back. It is the only one you will have in this season. Time doesn’t stop for us to linger! Treasure this time! MAKE this Christmas a time you treasure! 

Enjoy and give thanks!  

Suzanne is a storyteller with a desire for connection, a teacher with a heart for transformation, and a visionary with a commitment to the family and discipleship. A season of trauma and the loss of a child led Suzanne to a radical conversion and a passionate pursuit of truth. 

Suzanne is the co-founder of Ignite the Family, a ministry with a mission to help families live out God’s design for the family. She is also a  co-founder of Legacy Community Academy in Atlanta, GA, a unique hybrid academy and model of education with a vision to launch mission-minded student leaders who shape culture. Suzanne is wife to Lane, mama to Ansley, Ward, and Lilly, and mom-in-love to Will.  At any given time you will find Suzanne with a book in her hand, people at her table, an idea on her mind, and family in her heart. She is motivated by seeing others live out their unique calling and loves serving as an associate for Celebrate Kids.