forever and always.


On a Sunday morning we are all dragging our limping hearts and bodies through the motions. Up and dressed. Hair just so. Fancy shoes instead of everyday shoes.

Except this morning has been full of battles. The clothes aren’t right. Hair is too knotty. All of the sudden there is a standoff over shoes. It appears that some of us woke up ready to fight.

After we pour in the van I sigh to my husband, “How can you be for someone when their will is so often set against yours?” I feel tired after weeks of the same old battles. I know who I want to be as a mother but it feels impossible on this winter Sunday.

When we’re finally settled and ready to receive the Word broken open for us, I see that it’s Immanuel: God With Us this morning. I remember how months ago I asked a friend to pray for me in the face of disappointment: Pray for my unbelief? That I will believe God is for me, for us right here?

She sent back love and prayers and a sermon filled with the truth. God With Us. I listened to it over and over again, amazed at how it settled over my heart.

And on this Sunday, I think about this God With Us. About how He isn’t just for or against us. About how those are battle lines. About how He is with us and that is a love line. How for is the promise and with is the fulfillment. I’m reminded of the unbelief that prickles around the outside corners of my heart. Help my unbelief, Lord.

I imagine God With Me as I hear another no. I imagine God with me as I fail again. I imagine God with me as my heart swells over toothless grins and chirrupy bird-like voices. I imagine Christ choosing us over and over again as He wraps up in our skin; forever and always, He promises.

How tender that is to think of Him with me forever and always. This is who I long to be as a mother. More than just for. With. Relationship is in the with: drawing near when obedience is hard, drawing near when hearts hurt, drawing near when wills go to battle again. I won’t change my for. But I pray for God to show me the tender of with. I pray that He will show me in my own heart and that it will break open and out.

Merry Christmas, friends. He is with you forever and always.

6 thoughts on “forever and always.

  1. This is a lovely word, Ellen. I needed to hear that as we go through this day that would have been the third anniversary of a nephew and his wife. The husband and baby are celebrating her birthday, their anniversary and Christmas without her this year. Brokenness and newness. Heartache and joy. God is with them. He’s with us. Thank you.

  2. I am so so thankful for you:) in a week when the interwebs has just sapped me dry, these words of yours in my inbox are such a balm from the spirit. Thank you :)

    Merry Christmas Ellen. xo


    Sent from my iPhone


  3. Pingback: If Mary were my BFF, I wonder… / amy ruth, writer

  4. Hi Mrs.Ellen. That’s beautiful. It really is. Plus, you’re talented with words. I couldn’t have done better if I tried. But listen, it sounds like you have a little bit of spiritual warfare going on in your life. You need to read Ephesians 6:10-20. And don’t forget to plead the blood of Jesus over you and your family every morning and every night. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, because many people haven’t heard of this, ask your pastor. He/she SHOULD know, if they’ve really studied scripture.

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