By Julie Fuller
It is probably every church going girls dream to play Mary in the yearly nativity. I had portrayed just about every character from baby Jesus at six months old to a sheep. But my 9th grade year I reached the pinnacle of my nativity career, I was chosen to play Mary!
I was so excited in my white robe and long blue headpiece (why is it always blue?). I had one job, sit behind the manger and look lovingly at the baby doll in my arms. However, somewhere between the visit from the shepherds and the entrance of the wise men my headpiece began to slip off threatening to reveal an unsightly mess of blond curls.
It got to the point that I had to do something so I carefully reached up to pull it back on, but it wouldn’t budge because I was sitting on it. So in a moment of panic I tried to make a little hop to free the wayward garment out from under my backside and in mr. I quickly picked baby Jesus back up hoping no one saw this little mishap, but to my utter dismay the first thing I heard when I got off the stage was “I can’t believe you dropped the baby into the manger!” I was never asked to play Mary again.
Oh how I wish “dropping Baby Jesus” was just a one time occurrence! But the truth is every year I fight the temptation to let that Baby slip out of my focus as I am dazzled by Christmas distractions. I become exhausted after days spent decorating the house, hours shopping in crowded stores to find the perfect gift, baking cookies, parties, school programs, teacher gifts, church pageants, sending Christmas cards, the list can go on and on.
To be clear; all of the different ways we celebrate Christmas can bring joy and create beautiful traditions for those we love. But if I am not careful I can drop what is most important – the Almighty Creator of the universe stepping into human flesh to become Emanuel, God with us (Matthew 1:23). He humbled himself to become a helpless baby, born in a forgotten cave surrounded by filth and poverty to rescue me from the filth, poverty and eternal consequence of my sin.
When I allow Christmas distractions to take my focus from the true celebration of Christmas, it only brings dismay and disappointment. But when I let the truth of Baby Jesus penetrate my heart all-else fades and my heart is filled with awe and worship. This is where I want to stay this Christmas; this is the true joy of Christmas. y distraction the baby rolled out of my arms and into the mange
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, make their home in central Arkansas. They have five grown children and are grandparents to wonderful grandchildren. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.