Forgetting Jesus

I forgot Jesus this Christmas.

I’ve been so busy with wedding after wedding, moving, unpacking, laundry-ing, cleaning (jk, I haven’t done any of that), MONAT-ing, recruiting, traveling, church-ing, gift wrapping, and basically just running…….and I’ve had to add “forgetting.”

Did you catch it? Oh, don’t get me wrong – I’m reeeeally good at church-ing. We serve in lots of ways, both visibly and behind the scenes. But church-ing doesn’t equal intimacy. Going to church isn’t enough to sustain a relationship, even though I’ve subconsciously been trying really hard to make it enough. My prayer time is essentially nonexistent. My ‘bible studies’ consist of two reluctant, half-asleep minutes of scrolling through my bible app before I set my alarm and pass out.

But by golly, those presents are wrapped.

It’s funny – Christmas is my absolute favorite season, but I feel like I’ve missed it this year. I haven’t had time to slow down for months, and now, when I finally have a chance to take a breath, it’s the week of Christmas. Hardly enough time to truly enjoy the season…or is it?

I know Jesus is the reason we celebrate. I know that. So why is He the furthest thing from my mind? Instead, my head is spinning with gift ideas, Christmas songs, Pinterest cookie recipes, and a creative plan to convince Daniel that we should just leave the tree up until Christmas 2016. They aren’t bad things; it’s just that none of them have any eternal significance.

It wasn’t obvious at first. The King didn’t appear as a marauding conqueror or a persuasive political figure. God’s plan to save the world unfolded through a tiny, soft, squishy baby. He’s the reason we’re alive. He’s the reason we have any hope at all. He is more important than work, holiday parties, and getting together with friends and family. I may only have a few more days before December 25th, but I’m going to spend them in quiet surrender and gratitude. Join me?

“And so this Christmas I’ll compare the things I felt in prior years
To what this midnight made so clear
That You have come to meet me here

To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me
In the hope that what You did
That you were born so I might live
To look back and think that
This baby would one day save me

And I, I celebrate the day
That You were born to die
So I could one day pray for You to save my life.”

from “I Celebrate the Day” by Relient K

Laura’s Christmas Wishlist

How is it a WEEK until Christmas?? I’m in shock. I’m thankful, though, that I finally got a chance to buy some gifts for people! Gift-giving is probably my strongest love language. I get such a rush from picking out the perfect gift for someone, and imagining their face when they open it and instantly love it. But since I can’t post pictures of the gifts I’m giving, here’s a few pretties on my own wishlist!

So many lovely non-sugarplum things dancing in my head!

If you could pick one gift to receive this year – no matter the cost – what would it be?

Wedding Weekend + Christmas Decor Reveal

Hey friends! My life has been flying forward in every direction lately, but I F I N A L L Y managed to get some pictures of our house decorated for Christmas. I also had the honor of standing behind one of my best girls this past weekend in the sweetest wedding – shout-out to the Lord for the beautiful weather! Congratulations, Blake and Kelli!

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Isn’t she the prettiest. :)

Honest-to-goodness, Kelli’s wedding is really the reason that the Christmas pictures exist. The bridesmaids got ready at my house the day of the wedding, so of COURSE I had to clean and make it look nice.

*Sigh.* So lovely. I’ll be heartbroken when it all has to come down!

Who’s interested in a complete Hendrickson home tour??

Married Monday: Why It Matters

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“Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper who is just right for him.’” Genesis 2:18 (NLT)

One of my favorite wedding pictures isn’t one you might expect, like the first look, walking down the aisle, or the first kiss. It’s a photo of us facing our audience right after we were announced as Mr. and Mrs. Hendrickson. We were looking down at our feet, holding hands tightly and taking our first steps off of the platform into the grass below. Our first steps. Just like babies. We were SO ready to take that step because it meant that we were finally, actually, really married.

I love the joy on our faces in that photo. Maybe if we had known some of the storms we would weather in the next few years of marriage, we wouldn’t have been so eager to jump off and get going, haha! We made powerful promises to each other that day, but we had no idea what we were really saying. It would have been terribly easy to just stay on that platform, surrounded by the people who love us most in the world. But oh, how would we ever have the chance to prove that we MEANT what we said in our vows?

"A ship is safe in harbor, but that's not what ships are for." William Shedd |

William G.T. Shedd said, “A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” We were never meant to stay on that wooden stage in the woods. We took that first step, and every step we’ve taken since has been together, for better AND for worse, for richer AND for poorer, in sickness AND in health.

But we couldn’t have done it without help. The Gospel has transformed both of us through marriage, and we are so different now from those people we were on that day years ago. That’s why who you marry matters. You are picking the person you’ll grow with for the rest of your life, through years and years of changes. Ann Voskamp puts it so beautifully: “That’s the unspoken miracle of marriage: you vow to keep loving someone who keeps growing into a mysterious stranger.”

Not only that, but you are the picking the person with whom you will model to the rest of the world what you believe about God and how He relates to His people. That’s what marriage does! Have you ever thought about that? Marriage was created for God, not for us. A covenant isn’t saying “I promise to keep my vows…as long as you keep yours.” A true covenant means “I promise to keep my vows, regardless of whether you keep yours or not.” Marriage was designed to reflect the God we follow – the God who loves us even when we don’t love Him, the God who made a covenant with us and not only keeps it, but took the punishment we deserved for NOT keeping it. God chose marriage as His primary symbol of His relationship between Himself and the church, so honor Him by taking marriage seriously.

If you’re not married yet: pray that, if God gives you the gift of marriage, He will give you joy and patience to endure the difficulties.  And if and when you do get married, don’t pick the person you’re most attracted to, or the person you’ve been with the longest, or the person you’re with because you’re lonely and want to be with someone. Pick the person who actually imitates Jesus and motivates you to do the same.

If you’re already married and struggling to remember why: intentionally reflect on the promises you made. Pray for your spouse, even when you don’t want to. Choose to love them even when you just hate them. God can restore anything. No marriage is too far beyond repair.

This is the first post for “Married Monday,” a new series I’ve started in order to expose myths and lies we’ve been told about married life, celebrate moments of joy and growth, chew on hard truths and sprinkle them with grace, and remind others (and myself!) that marriage doesn’t work without Christ in it. I have lots of ideas, but I’d love your input too! What topics would you like to see covered?

New Marriage Series, Coming Soon!

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In case it wasn’t obvious, I kinda like that guy up there. ^^ We’ve been married three and half years, and each year that goes by is better than the one before. The longer I’m married, though, the more I learn that a good marriage doesn’t just happen by accident – it’s created with intention.

The world we live in now paints a very weird picture of marriage, and I’ve had just about enough. This blog is about engaging people in conversations about things that matter, and marriage matters. It’s one of the best representations of God’s relationship with us. As married believers, we have been charged with the responsibility of representing Christ through our relationships with our spouses – we can’t NOT take that seriously.

I’m a “healthy marriage” advocate. Our nation needs more of them. We are painfully flawed humans, but we have a powerfully great God, and I believe He has a lot to teach us about our relationships with each other and with Him through great marriages.

So, to start things off right, I want to hear from you! What would you like to discuss? What topics related to marriage are important to shed light on?

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like…

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C H R I S T M A S !

(insert all the winter emojis here)

You guys…it’s my favorite, favorite time of year. So thankful for a beautiful new home to celebrate in. Full decorating post with lots more pics coming soon!

What have you done so far that’s Christmas-y?? Decorating, gift wrapping, watching Christmas movies – I wanna know!