Santa Clause Hats are for Nice People

When Andrean was a newborn we were doing some last minute Christmas shopping at Walmart on December 23 (bad start to a story I know). The biting cold and blowing snow were daunting and with 3 young kids (2, 1 and newborn) I decided to provide safe passage by dropping them off close to the door. This meant I would have to stop our van, let them out as quickly as possible and resume driving so as to minimally disturb the traffic flow.

Some guy pulled alongside me as I let them out and I naively lowered my window to hear what he was quite deliberately telling me. The words were embarrassing to me for my children to hear and it triggered my protector instincts. I followed the guy to his parking spot and was surprised to see him get out of the car wearing a Santa Clause hat. I don’t know what I expected to do, but all I could think to say as I walked up to him was “Santa Clause hats are for nice people”. I sincerely meant to be meaner. Kind of a swing and a miss, eh? That was just the burst of words that flowed from an emotion that I have since learned to recognize.

As a father and husband, I feel a need to protect my family from ANY harm. Rarely is this from physical harm, but if it is watch out. More often it is protection of innocence, or of self esteem, or inaccurate teaching that they need to be careful with. Other times it is protection of hurt feelings or from physical hardship.

Those emotions are here now and I cannot do much about it. My wife is going into surgery tomorrow and my strong urge is find a way to drop her off on the other side of this hardship or to say to the ones causing some pricks, cuts and pain “Hey you, scrubs are for nice people.” So God, I call on you, “Protect my wife. Be with my children”. I know we will continue finding joy in the midst of this suffering.

Tonight when praying together, my prayer kind of sounded like a preschooler trying to ask for something. But she prayed, “Father, consecrate me because I believe tomorrow you will be in that operating room and I am not worthy to be in your presence.” Man, what kind of a woman did I marry. Little did I know when the big game was being played she would be this clutch.

Nicely done my beautiful wife. You should be wearing the Santa Clause hat.


47 thoughts on “Santa Clause Hats are for Nice People

  1. Beautiful. Beauty out of ashes. We all need to pray like that. Thank you Tara for being the example to all of us, amazing woman. Jay thank you for this window so we can see and be taught & encouraged in the midst of this hardship. Out of the mouth comes the overflow of the heart. Tara your surrender is truly an amazing example to all of us. Praying for all of you. Waiting on The Lord one moment at a time-you are so dearly loved.

  2. Maier family,
    You have been on our hearts all week since learning of Tara’s condition- praying for you as you come to mind & asking God to show you sweet mercies in these days leading up to surgery & even more now that the day has come. May the God of angel armies show you His presence, breathe on you His peace & protect your family from fear & harm. As your brothers & sisters, we’re lifting you up- as family- to our Father who loves & cares & feels the same way about protecting our innocence, our hearts, our bodies. (And I’d imagine he feels the same way about Santa hats , too:) You are loved.
    Exodus 14:14 “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.”
    In all this beautiful, undeserved Grace,
    Luke & Emily Duenser

  3. This morning I read a passage in Isaiah and then I read the same passage posted by Precept Ministries on Facebook. This is for you…”fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

    What amazes me about God is that everyone of us can claim that today at the same time. He is with Tara in the operating room, you in the waiting room, and each of your children where they are all at the same time. And with me.

    Praying for you today.

  4. As I drifted in and out of sleep I have prayed for each of you all night. The Lord will be with you today! My prayer is that you will see the Lord’s fingerprints as you move forward in thiis storm. Speaking from some experience, the people wearing scrubs are simply amazing. We Love you and your precious family!

    The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. (Psalms 18:2)

  5. Jay and Tara, we lift you up in prayer today and in the days to come. From Psalm 34: “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, And delivered me from all my fears” (v. 4). “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”(v. 7). Although my heart breaks for your family, I am rejoicing that you are HIS, Tara! You are His child, He loves you so much and He has you in His hands!

  6. Praying for you all this morning, with complete confidence that God will be present and at work in the OR today…and also holding each of you close while you wait!

  7. Dear Jay and Tara~ We have been praying for you since we heard, and we are praying for you especially today. I know that God’s presence WILL be with Tara today, and I am praying that His peace and love will cover both of you and your children today, as well. We love you both, and are keeping you close in our hearts and in our prayers today. With love from your Kansas City cousins, Laura and Gary and family

  8. I pray that everyone following this story takes more than a moment to pause and look internally at the relationships in your life. Specifically, are you cherishing your time with your family / spouse. Put your phones away and engage.

    I’m praying for all the Maiers and I can put myself in Jay’s position. It is a daunting prospect and has led to some great heartfelt moments with my wife and children. There are a lot of people suffering, some if which may be in your own home. Share your love, dissolve your hostility and identify your blessings. When I look back on my life, no matter how long, I want to say I gave it everything and those I love know how much I love them.

    This house is praying for Tara today!

  9. From just the brief amount of time I’ve spent with Tara, it’s clear she has a beautiful spirit. What a humble (and humbling) response to her trials. Many prayers going up from Thailand as you all approach the hours of surgery.

    In His mighty power,
    Angela & Todd Johnson

  10. We have been and will continue to pray, especially today,
    and in the days to follow. Clearly Tara’s response last night is an answer to our prayers as it is a gllimpse of God’s presence with her. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Tara, jay and faimily,
    When I first heard the news about taras cancer there was sadness and tears, and then there was a sense of expectancy of what God is going to do. Thank you for this website where so many people around the world are able to see God work in and through this hard time. I had a picture this morning of what the hospital would look like if all of your prayer warriors wre

  12. Wow, Jay! Just wow!

    Lord, thank you for this reminder that You, the great I AM, the God of the Universe will be present with Tara and the doctors in the operating room today. Thank you for filling Tara with your Holy Spirit, and giving her this wonderful prayer. Thank you for consecrating her, for setting her apart, to showcase your glory here on earth. Lord, forgive us for taking You for granted and failing to realize the awesomeness of your presence with us. Lord, fill Jay & the kids with your peace as we wait to see how You will reveal yourself to us today. To You be the glory forever and ever, Amen.

  13. Were there with you. Mayo would not know what to do with all of us. The chapel would be full, the waiting rooms would be full, and the hallways would be lined with people. We are praying!

    Lov you guys, dave and karhy

  14. My Tough Mudder Brother Mark is so blessed to have a faithful and courageous brother like you, Jay. Your words and living example are inspirational and uplifting to me as I stand at a distance praying for all of you. I pray that God be glorified through this journey, which will be like running a marathon in the most extreme conditions. “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,”
    Hebrews 12:1-3

  15. Her depth of character is amazing! God is most certainly going to be with her today. He is with you, too.
    On a lighter note…
    I hear your voice when I read your blog as if it’s you reading it outloud to me. I sort of chuckled when you said in your tough guy voice, “hey Santa hats are for nice people.” I think that was God’s way of keeping you out of a fight and giving you a lesson about protecting your family that you would need to draw on later. Love you guys so much.

  16. Although I don’t know you all well at all, I have grown to respect you because of Eric’s love and respect for you. I am so sorry to hear of this hardship that you are all experiencing right now. Know that Eric and I are praying for you all daily! I can’t help but have only hope for all of you. James 1:2-4 “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” Hope for a miracle to remove all of that cancer and complete healing, full recovery. Hope that your family’s strong faith is going to have such a huge influence on all the medical staff and to other patients and even to our church family that hearts will be changed God will use you in miraculous ways. Hope that your own family will be strengthened, bonding together more than ever, and that love will abound over all. I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult this time is for all of you but there IS hope. As Jay wrote yesterday, this is a race you are just beginning and we are going to be cheering you on to the finish line. Let us help with anything that we possibly can once we are able to come back from school!
    Jay – for not being a person who keeps up with his Journal, thanks for keeping us all up to date through this blog every day so far! I’m impressed πŸ™‚

  17. A new day with the mercies of God new every morning. May you experience His love and presence. Love and prayers from your sisters (Tuesday morning Bible Study) in the Lord who are from Good News Community Church where your parents attend.
    by Gert

  18. When you marry someone, you really do not know who they are until crunch time. She is a tower of strength and a blessing to all of us.

  19. Jay,

    You are a tree man. I have just heard this song and it made me think of you, my Brother.

    He is jealous for me
    Loves like a hurricane
    I am a tree
    Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy

    When all of a sudden
    I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory
    And I realize just how beautiful You are
    And how great Your affections are for me

    And oh, how He loves us so
    Oh how He loves us
    How He loves us all

    The da Silvas gathered in prayer on behalf of Tara, you and the children. We love you with a love that words can’t possibly express. Glory to God!

  20. Just returned from daily mass@ St. Pat’s here in CL. One of our specific intentions offered up was for Tara(which I was not the one who spoke) ! Again many prayers continue from our church family. Our love surrounds you all . Love Aunt Cathy & Uncle Mike

  21. It is hard to know what to say at this difficult time. You and your family are in our prayers.
    Hebrews 13:5 “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you”.
    Matthew 11:28 “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

  22. I remember being where you are right now–the emotions, the warfare, and the continued awe of being used by and being touched by a holy God. Tara’s prayer is so beautiful and sweet to the point. What an extraordinary perspective from a woman of extraordinary faith. That she is not focusing on the flaming missiles or the terror that strikes night and day but that she is counting herself unworthy of being before a holy God….amen and praise You LORD! Kendall and I are praying for you and are proud to stand along side a family of such exemplary faith. We pray for you now. We stand in the assurance of the Word of God that He who is strengthening you all while you wait during surgery is He who absolutely is with Tara and the surgical team. You are in the presence of holiness this day. My friends may He who has begun this good work in you faithfully complete it even until His kingdom comes.
    Because of Jesus,
    +Kendall & Andi Koens πŸ™‚

  23. Jay and Tara, we are praying for you continually today. Our 8th grade guys small group had a long prayer time for you last night and it was just beautiful to hear those young men praying humbly, earnestly, lovingly for you. You guys have been great role models for them through your cell group leadership and they care for you deeply, as we all do.

  24. Praying for Tara and all of you throughout the day today. God is certainly in the OR and I have been praying for His hand to guide the surgeon’s hands and to give them His wisdom as they care for Tara.

  25. Jay and Tara, how I see the beauty of Christ in you and your family. As I read your words today and hearing Tara’s heart in her prayer the prayer in Colossioans 1:9-14 came to mind. “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strenghtened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.” I hear this as your hearts cry to glorify the Lord in this very difficult time. My prayers are with you, my heart fills with love for all of you. Along with strength, I boldly ask God for healing. Tara, you are a beacon of light in this darkness. You are in surgery as I write this.May God’s love envelope you, his precious daughter.


  26. The devotion today spoke about ” An Undeniable Purpose”

    Romans 12:2 ” Don’t let the worls around you squeeze you into its own mold.”

    We can ask ourselves what doe God want us to do with our lives. We get busy with life and at times can miss the real reason we are alive. Our purpose is to recieve and give love. God loves us so much and we pass that love onto your family Maiers! Everywhere, there are people who desparately need enabling concern and care.
    Tara, you and your family need our loving care and we are here to give it. Lifting you up in prayer as you face surgery.

    Robert, Masuka, Michael, Benjamin and Victoria Magambo

  27. Beautiful words and expressions. We are in prayer over your family multiple times daily, PETITIONING Him for full and quick recovery of his faithful servant, Tara.

  28. Will continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers.

    Isaiah 41:10-NAS
    ‘Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’

  29. I have been pouring prayer over your lives… I have some understanding of the helplessness you feel (I watched my 4 year old battle cancer) and how you think you should be able to protect your family. It’s a harsh realization when you are hit head on with the complete and utter knowledge that you have very little control. However, along with that realization comes incredible strength and peace that only makes sense when it comes from God. Have you ever heard Stephen Curtis Chapman’s song “God is in Control”? It’s from the CD he wrote and recorded after the death of his precious daughter. God put that song on my heart for you all this morning. Praying.

  30. Peggy and I join our voices with a multitude of others….lifting you up to a Father that cares beyond our understanding.
    This song has been an encouragement for us.

    “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us”

  31. Tara can certainly wear that Santa hat…. I am praying for Tara today, and for you and your family for God’s love, healing, strength, peace to be with you all.

  32. Joshua 1:9

    New Life Version (NLV)

    9 Have I not told you? Be strong and have strength of heart! Do not be afraid or lose faith. For the Lord your God is with you anywhere you go.”
    I love Gateway Bible. I love this verse and looked it up in several translations. This is the one that seemed to say what I wanted to share with you. I have loved the sharing messages you write. They have built me up and made me re-examine my own life. You and yours are in my prayers today. I loved Tara’s response to her vision of a Holy God. Her spirit is being fed what she needs every moment. May God bless each one of you today, as you wait. We wait with anticipation to hear the good news about Tara. We love you.

  33. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
    Philippians 4:6-7 Tara & Jay, this became my verse after what we went through at Pierre’s birth. It was so real and I could feel that peace that I could not understand. This is what I pray for you right now, that despite your right to scream, and all the reasons to be anxious, outraged, and angry, you experience peace that only God can give. It is impossible for men, but the Lord can guard your minds… Amen

  34. What a priveledge to carry, everything to God in prayer…
    Schaeffer Academy teachers prayed for you by name yesterday during our staff meeting. Your kids don’t attend the school, yet you have touched the lives of so many students, parents, and staff members. What a blessing it is to be part of the body of Christ, who listens to every concern. Lay them at His feet.

  35. Tara thinking and praying for you and your family. I know God is with you and your family. I keep thinking ot the footprints in the sand poem where God is walking by our side and carrying us in our darkest moments. I know God is carrying you and your family right now.
    Jay is right when he says that you should be wearing the Santa hat. You are an amazing and kind women and a true testament and gift from God.
    Our family will continue to pray for healing and strength for you and your family.

  36. We continue to be prayer warriors for Tara and for your family. May Tara’s hospital room and your home be filled with abundant blessings from our Lord Jesus Christ.

    β€œAre not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7

  37. My thoughts and prayers have been for your family since I learned of this.
    I pray for God’s blessing to pour upon your family like a gentle summer rain.

    2 Corinthians 1:3-4
    New International Version (NIV)
    Praise to the God of All Comfort

    3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

  38. Tara was my first small group leader for WBS when I first moved to Rochester. She was then and still is now a remarkable example of faith and love to our Savior, our God. May you all feel God’s arms wrap around you with comfort and know that you have an army of prayer warriors behind each and every one of you. I’ll keep you in my prayers.

    Pam Sells

  39. I heard more of the story about Santa’s hat, and it sounds like someone is always watching over you, or paying attention πŸ™‚ you never know who you will run into after these moments to remind you where you stand. Claudia and I had a good laugh over that at lunch! Tara is showing her strength in all aspects of her life choices, and having you beside her, with your wonderful family can only make the outcome the right thing. She will be strengthened by your presence as she soon awakes…

  40. Never alone
    In my darkest hour I am never alone
    Not far from home and I can feel you near me
    For I am never alone

    In the midst of trials there is a triumph that I know
    While trusting in the One who never changes
    And though my heart grows weary in the struggle of it all
    I have such assurance that you hear me when I call

    Never ALONE
    In my darkest hour I am never alone
    Not far from home and I can feel you near me
    For I am never alone

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