Thursday, December 10, 2015

Not a Christmas Post :)

Being that it's December and I have a Christmas book in release (2 actually), I had intended to do today's post about Christmas. Makes sense, right?

But then today happened.

And I knew that this testimony was more important than another Christmas traditions post.

Twice in my life now I have had a similar situation, and twice God has reminded me of his presence.

The details don't matter (and frankly I don't even remember them from the first time), but both times I was having a really bad day and found myself wishing for a hug - you know the really good kind of hugs where the other person wraps you up in their arms and just holds you tight.

My father was the best hugger, but we lost him 13 years ago this month. I miss his hugs. One of my daughters was a great hugger, but she doesn't live at home any more.

Anyway, I remember the first instance so clearly. I was walking into church on a Sunday morning thinking of how I really needed a hug.

At some point I noticed a woman and young child sitting in front of me, and before long I recognized the woman as a former student - a girl I'd taught in sixth grade.

After Mass was over, she turned to me and said, "You probably don't remember me, but I was in your  class and you made me love science so much, that I'm going to medical school to become a pediatrician." We chatted for awhile about her desire to serve underprivileged communities, about the little girl who was her niece and how she would pick her up and bring her to church on Sundays so she knew God's love.

As I walked out of church, I remember thinking, "Lord, that might not have been the hug I was imagining, but you really came through for me." I'd felt so warm and loved in that moment, that whatever trouble I'd been having was washed away.

Fast forward to today - another day fraught with problems and I was wishing for one of those all-enveloping hugs from dad. I was chatting on the phone with my sister and we kept starting to get off, but then one more thing would lead to another until phone batteries were dying.

We were just about to hang up when she said, "One last thing. I've been meaning to ask if you know the group Casting Crowns?" I said I did, and she said, "I know you'll love their Christmas song."

After we hung up, I googled Casting Crowns to find the song.

This came up instead.

I'll admit, the tears were flowing freely as I embraced God's goodness and his answer to me. All day I have been trying to remind myself to just be in his presence. This song was just what I needed to hear, but it struck me that it's also the message we try to send with so many of our books.
I hope it helps you too.

I did eventually find the Christmas song. I bet all of you historical readers/writers will particularly enjoy the explanation in the beginning. And all of us can appreciate the message at the end.


  1. You are such an inspiration to your students.Congrats!!!
    Merry Christmas to all!!!
    Jingle Bells Lyrics

  2. Mary, what a wonderful thing to know you affected a life that way! Teachers have such an important job.

    Thanks for the links! I look forward to listening. I LOVE Casting Crowns!

  3. Beautiful, and I argue it is a Christmas post What a great gift. I, too, love Casting Crowns, and have their Christmas album.

  4. Oh, my! Now, i'm wondering what the songs are!! Where they are supposed to be, I'm just seeing black squares that don't click to anything. :(

  5. Lovely, Mary/Cate! Thanks for sharing.

    Isn't God amazing? He always knows what we need.

    Advent blessings and hugs! :)

  6. Oh, Sandra, I'm sorry. They are youtube links to the Casting Crowns videos Just be held. I'll put the links here. (Intro video) (main video) (I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day)

  7. Thank you everyone for the lovely comments.

    I shared this song with several people at school today and they all had the same emotional reaction I did.

  8. Hi Cate! I'm sorry to hear about your dad, I know the holiday's must be tough for you. I love that God does give you the "hugs" you need at the time you need them. Isn't He amazing? That Casting Crown song is one that plays on our Christian radio station and I love it too. It reminds me that I don't always have to be strong or keep it all together, I have a loving God who just wants to hold me in those moments.
    Keep looking for those moments in every day, He's right there waiting for you :-) Merry Christmas to your family!

  9. Hi Cate.
    I enjoyed reading your blog and listening to Castings Crown. Both were so moving. Thank you for sharing your heart felt thoughts because they were uplifting. Your students are blessed to spend their days with you.
    I have shared your blog with a few new people so they can be inspired too. Thank you Cate!

  10. I needed a good hug too. This is it!!


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