Despite the lack of sunshine, warmth, or dry air, Monday was a lovely day. I spent most of it with my dear friend Fay, making loads of delicious, fattening Christmas candy. We had two Kitchen Aid mixers going, lots of chocolate melting, and many prayers for self-control being lifted to the heavens. I believe the most destructive of the candies are the peanut butter balls with their 12 oz. of peanut butter, five cups of powdered sugar, two sticks of margarine, and plenty of chocolate coating. I stay far, far away from those. However, I have a real weakness for the butterscotch haystacks. There is a whole tub of them sitting on my dining room table and I must get rid of them as soon as possible. We also made peppermint bark. A new twist on this classic Christmas candy was that we poured it into cookie cutters. Once it hardened, we wrapped each cookie cutter in cute cellophane bags. I'm not sure who's getting those, but they are going to be very impressed. Or not. We made divinity and millionaires too. Those millionaires are another one of my weaknesses.
Sunni is back in town, so last night we decided to see August Rush at the movie theater. It's probably not a movie that every person would love, but I thought it was absolutely wonderful. I think Lauren had mentioned it and given fair warning that it is kind of a fantasy, so I knew what to expect. It was beautiful. Keri Russell was gorgeous as always. We called Janelle as we were leaving and I told her that I was going on a diet immediately. Especially since all I have eaten for the last three days is leftover lasagna from our college ministry Christmas party. Beyonce in Dreamgirls inspired by post-holiday fitness goals last year. This year it's Keri Russell.
So to babble on a little more because I just don't have enough to do today, I ran into LifeWay before the movie last night to see if there was anything I needed. Of course there was! I found an Amy Grant greatest hits CD and was thrilled to give it to myself for Christmas. It has all my favorite songs from The Collection and Heart in Motion CD's. If you are about my age and were raised in a Christian home, you might share my joy.
On the way home I prayed for some red lights so that I could have time to unwrap the CD and pop it in. It was a very dark, very foggy drive and I was feeling pretty nervous about it. Curt had left his cell phone at work and I would have no way to call him if I had any trouble. What a blessing to have my favorite song from childhood - "Angels Watching Over Me" - play while I drove 20 minutes home in the fog! "Thy Word" and "In a Little While" played and I noticed that I was singing at the top of my lungs. When we were kids, my best friend Molly would always tell me I was singing too loud when Amy Grant came on. I had to laugh about that.
It was a really sweet time with the Lord, singing those songs of my childhood faith. I remember when Leanne Rimes was a young girl just starting out in country music. My friends and I saw her at the Harris County Fair when "Blue" was her only song on the radio. It was said back then that if she was this good such a young age, just wait until she got a little older and actually experienced the love and heartache she was singing about. She would blow us out of the water. I couldn't help but think about that last night. As a child I sang those same songs to the Lord. They meant something to me then, but how much more does "Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path" mean to me now? As an adult, I can think back on so many seasons of my walk with the Lord, good and bad. These songs remind me of His incredible, undeserved faithfulness throughout my life. Even when I was faithless, He remained faithful.
My heart was burning a hole in my chest as I drove and I just wanted to share with someone, anyone who had walked away from their childhood faith to come back! He is worthy of our trust, of the surrender of our lives. Those of us who have walked away from the Lord we knew as children will never have peace inside. We know what we are missing and we can't pretend that there isn't anything more. We know better. Living independently from Him will never get to be fun for us. Not really. Maybe for someone who never knew Him, but not for us. Return to the Lord, and just see if He doesn't come running toward you, embrace you, kiss you, dress you in the finest robe, and throw a banquet on your behalf.
"When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' So he got up and went to his father.
"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
"The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.'
"But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate.