Friday, December 19, 2008

SHALOM

The Hebrew word SHALOM is understood around the word to mean peace. In Jewish custom it is used as a greeting or farewell proclaiming the blessing of peace on one another. In biblical terms, SHALOM means so much more. A word study in the Strong's Concordance and New King James Version associates SHALOM with completeness, wholeness, health, welfare, soundness, tranquility, fullness, rest, harmony, the absence of agitation or discord....PEACE.

That is what I have been feeling as I entered this CHRISTmas holiday. SHALOM. God has blessed our family so much. My husband stepped out of his job of nearly 25 years in August. It no longer was worth it for him to stay in the position mentally, physically, even financially. He started a new adventure with another guy on the leadership team of our church. He is doing what he always wanted to do-flip houses. They will have completed their first house in less than 3 months. I am so proud of him. And there is a potential buyer!

Why do I share this? There has been no income from Joe. It will not come until the close of the house. So I took on a second part-time job to cover most of the lost income but it barely covers the bills and cost of living we have with all our girls. It meant no money to buy Christmas gifts this year. But I had complete SHALOM in this. I turned my focus instead to the true meaning of CHRISTMAS and all was good mentally and spiritually for me.

We told our girls we would do Christmas once the house closes (Joe will make more on this house than if he had stayed at his previous job). The girls have accepted the gift situation but they struggled with it at first. I had to remind them that being in a blended family they would receive plenty from their other parent and grandparents. They will not be in need.

We did not share our situation with others because we are so blessed with all that we have. There are so many others out there who no loner have an income or house or food this season. Instead of opening gifts next to a lighted tree I wanted to go on Christmas Eve, which is our holiday time with our girls, to a shelter to serve those who truly do not have what they need-but all the shelters have plenty of help that day. I could only imagine the possible effect it would have had on our teenagers.

Last Sunday, at church, the leadership team (of whom my husband is a member of) approached Joe stating they knew how we had use our own income within the youth ministry over the past few years instead of using the youth budget. Since we are not paid in this ministry they wanted to present us with a gift. We have not asked to be paid in this ministry. We are filling a need. But on Sunday, Joe was handed a "love offering" that we can use to celebrate a secular Christmas and pay a few bills. Unbelievable how HE works. We tried to give it back.

I don't want to lose the sacredness of what I had found in my heart. As I stated above, even before this blessing I had such a peace about this holiday. I didn't need the presents. I don't want the presents. The girls would be taken care of. It's not about that. It's about SHALOM, the completeness of our faith in the birth of our Christ. So, we will accept this blessing and try to bring it into the sacredness we have in our heart. We do not plan to buy much-maybe two gifts per child, maybe three to reflect the gifts of the wise men. We want to keep it as spiritual as we can.

What I cherish most this season is the fact that I have scripture to connect me to this event, this event that has become my whole being in life. The meaning of CHRISTmas. SHALOM. Completeness. Wholeness. Health. Soundness. Tranquility. Perfectness. Fullness. Rest. Harmony. A God who can make anything happen chose to have His son enter this world in a stable instead of a kings palace. God chose the imperfect for the perfect...just like He chose us...imperfect to be made perfect in Him. Love. Grace. Security.

SHALOM. I wish you all peace as you celebrate this holiday with your family and friends. I wish you soundness of mind and fullness of heart. I pray for harmony and tranquility within your homes as you come together. And may "the Lord bless you and keep you. May the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. May the Lord lift His face upon you and give you SHALOM. In the name of SAR SHALOM-the Prince of Peace."~Numbers 6:24-26


Celebrating Him~Pamela

9 comments:

Yolanda said...

Pam,

Good morning, you and I once again, touch upon something very similar. For the past few years, we do not have gifts for one another; we have PLENTY and get PLENTY through out the year. We do not live in need. Yet, we do purchase a tiny bit for our children and Granchildren.

But where we bounce off of one another,you and I, is that for several years I have desired to work along side my Man in a soup kitchen.

Shalom my friend, looking upward, Higher Grounds.

Yolanda

Laura said...

How sweet, Pamela, that your church family would not only have the eyes to see your need, but act on their love! What a touching story. Your are blessed.

Merry Christmas.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Shalom to you.

peace~elaine

Amy said...

That is wonderful, Pamela!:)

Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family!

God Bless,
Amy:)

much2ponder said...

This was a very touching post and also another testament to the grace and love of our Lord.

You have been at peace and had come to terms with the financial reality you have been living in. you remained faithful in your devotion and service to God. Your girls too had to come to terms with this each in their own way. Not an easy thing to do considering their ages and the fact that they are surrounded by "stuff" in this world. You set such a good example for them and you are blessed in the process.

We serve a loving and faithful God don't we? What an amazing testimony of how the Lord works when you rely on him for everything. He is so much better than good.

Gail W. said...

Pam, God bless you for sharing this story. I believe God is using the economic downturn to refocus His children's desires onto things above. I was most deeply touched by your desire to not lose the sacred peace you already had, once God made temporal provision. I know our Father delights in your precious heart! Thank you for sharing it with the rest of us. Christmas blessings to you and yours!

Paula (SweetPea) said...

I think the Lord has blessed you with a wonderful opportunity to put aside the secular Christmas and to teach your girls how the gifts really aren't necessary. I've often wondered how we took the birth of Christ and began to give ourselves gifts. I mean, maybe it started by giving to others because God gave His Son to us. But if you think about it, it's His birthday and when someone has a birthday we give gifts to the birthday boy or girl. I'd be fine without the gifts and just have the fellowship and time with family. I think many people over the years have come to that. I believe it's no accident that the economy became really bad just months before celebrating Christmas. Have you thought about that? I mean consider how many people are cutting back and focusing on the real reason. Even those of us who know the reason (believers) are cutting back so we can sit and reflect more on Christ than on exchanging gifts.

What an awesome gift to have God's peace, His Shalom, even prior to the money. What a wonderful church you have that thought of your previous giving of your monetary budget and then giving back to you. What a way to honor you and for God to in return bless you during this time to meet your financial needs.

BTW...I like watching Flip THis House...not the one on TLC but the one on A&E. I particularly like the Montelogo's (sp?). It's very fascinating and I love to see the drastic changes.

Bask in His Blessings, Pamela.
Love,
Paula

LynnSC said...

Oh Pamela, thanks so much for sharing this with us.

God has provided for our families needs (actually wants) this Christmas season as well. I don't know how old your girls are... but I have at least one still young enough not to understand that no money means nothing on Christmas morning. We do Santa with the children... so of course she still thought that he would be coming with "just" what she wanted. I did struggle with this... but God was so gracious to provide money through a great friend and we were able to sell some things that we didn't use. With this... my little ones will be blessed. My husband and I are just thankful that we were able to get for them.

The peace that God gives is so amazing... even in the worst of circumstances... things sit well in our hearts. Thanks again for sharing this...

Merry Christmas my friend!
Lynn

LisaShaw said...

SHALOM my dear sister in Christ. I also will pray for you and your husband and children and the house flipping ministry unto the Lord that your husband and partner is doing.

You have so much because you understand that it's not about the 'gift's but rather about THE GIFT: JESUS!!

lOTS OF LOVE.