Girlfriends in God - Dec. 27, 2012

December 27, 2012
God – Our Source
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
Psalm 23:1-6 (GWT) “The Lord is my shepherd.I am never in need. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside peaceful waters. He renews my soul. He guides me along the paths of righteousness for the sake of his name. Even though I walk through the dark valley of death, because you are with me, I fear no harm. Your rod and your staff give me courage. You prepare a banquet for me while my enemies watch. You anoint my head with oil. My cup overflows. Certainly, goodness and mercy will stay close to me all the days of my life, and I will remain in the Lord’s house for days without end.”

Friend to Friend
Christmas is my favorite time of the year! One of my favorite family traditions is the buying of our Christmas tree.  It must be purchased on the day after Thanksgiving and it must be purchased from the nice man who runs a tree lot just down the street from our house because he has the best Frasier Firs in town.  The whole process is something to see and steeped in Southerland tradition. 

We all pile into "Old Blue," my husband's well-worn truck, and head for the tree lot two minutes away from our house. When we arrive, my husband and our children fan out in search of "the tree." Yes, I believe there is one particular tree just waiting for us to claim it. Over the years, many people have tried to change that opinion, but I am standing firm. As tradition demands, my husband, Dan, immediately begins muttering, "Bah, humbug" under his breath, but just loud enough for us all to hear. That is the cue for our daughter, Danna, to begin rolling her eyes and correcting her Scrooge father. Our son, Jered, ignores them both and carries out his steady search in quiet contemplation. He usually spots "the tree" first. "Found it!" he will shout, which is another verbal tree-finding tradition. We all gather to inspect Jered's find, immediately dismiss it as unworthy, and spread out once again in search of our tree.

The owners of the tree lot now recognize us, understand that there is a non-negotiable Southerland step-by-step process and stand back, waiting for the curtain to fall on the tree drama, content in the knowledge that we will eventually buy a tree from them. I consider and dismiss almost every tree on the lot before going back to the first tree Jered picked. Afraid of losing it to another customer, Jered diligently stands guard over his tree until we come to our senses and realize that he, once again, has found the perfect tree. After what we consider a respectable search time, we once again gather at Jered's tree, looking for "holes" in the branches, evaluating each side to make sure it will display well and finally, examining the top of the tree to make sure our angel tree-topper will be comfortable there.

The moment of truth arrives when Dan, Danna and Jered all look at me and ask, “Well, what do you think, Mom? Is this the one?" Savoring the moment, I take my time. My husband and children know that, at this point, their only job is to remain silent. Finally, I turn to them and say, "Let's get it!" I am almost certain I hear applause at this moment, from my family, from other customers and certainly from the tree man. My husband writes the check as Jered loads the tree in Old Blue and we head home where the Christmas tree stand is ready and waiting. Jered, the hulk football player, unloads the tree, cuts off an inch of the trunk, places it in the stand and transports the tree to its new home for the holidays. 

The smell is delicious. The needles are green and fresh ... for about a month, and then, every year, the same sad process begins. Although I faithfully water the tree, the needles grow more brittle with each passing day, the smell is less powerful and eventually, the limbs begin to wither, dry out and turn brown. Why? The tree has been separated from its source. The same is true in our lives.   

God is our source and there is no life if we are separated from Him. He will meet our every need, and not just material needs. God meets every emotional need, every physical need, and every mental need. A loving Father meets the needs of His kids. He is our source! Our mate is not our source. Our job is not our source. Our children are not our source. God alone is our source. 

As you celebrate the Christmas holiday, don’t allow anyone or anything divert your heart and mind from the eternal truth that no matter what you did or did not receive this year, no matter what you gave or were unable to give this year – God is your source. And that truth is not seasonal – it is eternal.

Let’s Pray
Father, I come to You today with a heart full of thanksgiving and praise. I am in awe of Your perfect plan that sent Your Son to earth for me. He took my sin. He paid the price I was supposed to pay for my imperfection. I don’t understand that kind of Love, God, but today I celebrate that love and the fact that You are all I need. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Now It’s Your Turn
It is easy to be wrapped up in serving God instead of being wrapped up in Him. We keep doing “the next thing” until one day we look around to discover that we have built a life on the wrong foundation. We have been depending on the wrong source. Yet, the Father stands waiting, arms open wide, ready to be all that we need. Consider the following questions and record your answers in your journal.

  • As I examine my life in light of Psalm 23, who or what am I depending on to be my source?
  • What “wants” have ruled my life?
  • Am I ready to believe and live out the truth that, as a child of God, I lack nothing? 
  • Revisit the day and time when you surrendered your life to God. 
  • What needs did He meet in your life?
  • What needs is He meeting in your life today? 

More from the Girlfriends
One of the most powerful ways to learn and saturate your life with the truth that God is your source is through consistent Bible Study and prayer. That’s why I began my weekly online Bible Study. I want you to be able to get in God’s Word, understand it and apply it so you can live the life of victory God wants you to live. So check out my weekly online bible study, Light for the Journey, for practical ways to tap into the power of God’s Word. The first study of 2013 is Power Up With Proverbs and begins January 14, 2013.

FREE MP3s on Mary’s website in the Freebies Section!

Do you or someone you love struggle with depression? Mary’s book, Hope in the Midst of Depression, offers practical steps you can take to get out and stay out of that pit. You can alsoconnect with me on Facebook or through email.

Seeking God?
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106

Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area or having one of the GiGs speak at your next women's event.

Originally published Thursday, 27 December 2012.