We leave the church building inspired and filled with Truth and encouragement each Sunday … and somewhere along the course of the week, often we find ourselves in need of a little bit of something to help us through.

Welcome to Extra Strength: a mid-week pick-you-up for the soul. Be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom for extra encouragement and challenge. 


Extra Strength for: Real Christmas #icFirstChristmas

Today I foremembered something.  A little boy I used to babysit used this word for things he had known or remembered at one time but then forgot and then remembered again.  You see, I know and have known for most of my life that God is with me but like most human beings, I forget.

This past Saturday was the annual tree-lighting ceremony at the Jackson house.  In past years we had begun a tradition of bundling up and piling in the car with our three children and driving across the frozen tundra of Grand Avenue to Lowes or Home Depot and picking out the perfect tree.

This year my husband and I just didn’t feel like braving the elements, spending the money on a real tree only to throw it out in January and do it all again next year.  So in unceremonious fashion he and my 10 year old went out on the Saturday of Black Friday weekend and found a screaming deal on a fake tree.  On one hand, I am excited at the ease of taking the tree out of a box; but I will admit – a little of the magic was lost when we made this decision.

The magic lost may have been what started my funk this past Saturday, but in reality I think I just forgot.  In the past I remember feeling that warm feeling deep down after we finished decorating the tree and putting out the Advent book.  This year, I just felt … nothing.  Worse than that, as I took a walk outside after a tense discussion with my husband amidst a home-improvement project, I thought about all the stuff that needed to be done.  As I thought of it, I felt more and more stressed and annoyed, even angry.  I don’t want to spend this season thinking about gift lists and money.  I wish I could just focus on what Christmas really means.  As I made my way home down the final stretch of our street, a neighbor stopped me to chat.  We both voiced our frustration with the commercialism of Christmas and how we wish it could be different.

Then I went to church Sunday … and I foremembered. I had forgotten the whole point of the whole thing is that even when I don’t feel the feeling, even when I’m stressed, even when things aren’t the way I wish they could be, HE is with me.  Christmas with HIM is different and that changes everything.

Sometimes remembering what you forget is better than never having forgotten.   So if you’ve forgotten like I did, take heart.  You can foremember too — or remember.  When you do you can look forward to a renewed joy, excitement and peace that come with the promise that underneath the story of a baby in a manger in Bethlehem is the whole point of the whole thing.  No matter what, you are not alone when you receive the gift that was given in Jesus, Immanuel, God with us.

imageMartha has been a wife for 17 years and is the mother of three children ages 10, 9 and 5.  When she’s not folding laundry, cooking meals, helping with homework, kissing boo-boos, grocery shopping, cleaning house and running errands, she loves to hold babies at Immanuel MOPS!



Be Challenged:

  • Take five minutes right now and ponder the beautiful gift that God is with you at this very moment. In the joy, in the stress, in the chaos, in the mundane, He is always with you!

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