Before I even begin, I gotta say: I’ve heard back from several of you faithful readers lately and y’all are the kindest! When I began writing this quaint little blog, it was for two reasons. 1. It would be entirely too selfish of me to think that I am the only one who is going through this awkward phase struggle, but it’s not something that’s commonly talked about. I really felt like I needed to share if for no other reason than to sympathize with at least one other person. All I want to do is help. 2. When I was in school it was a fantastic form of therapy. Writing helps me process things, get it out, and move forward with what I needed to get done. Now, I’ve discovered that I actually enjoy writing more than I thought, so I’ve just kept on.
However, I never fully imagined that what I would have to say would actually strike a chord with anyone. But I am so grateful that it does! If you read regularly, (whether I know who you are or not), I truly appreciate you more than you could know.
Now for my updates. I passed my ACE certification exam, so now I am a personal trainer! Woo hoo! And a hallelujah to Jesus for carrying me through, cause I didn’t study for very long, nor do I test well. Now I can at least start some sort of work with a source of income, because quite honestly, I’m beginning to feel like a lazy sloth. So an even bigger woo hoo and hallelujah for that! I have also applied for a job at UA’s Rec Center, and will soon hear from that. Until then you can rest assured that my workout tips are at least legit, and if you want a trainer you can soon hire me (if you want… I promise it’ll be fun!).
Alrighty, now for what I’ve got for ya today. I gotta be honest with y’all, I got a little ways into writing about what I’m getting into, but then I just didn’t want to. I went to Hobby Lobby with my mom to gather a few more things for our Christmas decorations, and when I got there I just thought “no, I don’t want to think about all that. This is supposed to be a joyful time of year! Not melancholy”. But then the Lord confronted me. Although I may be filled with joy, there’s still turmoil in this world and others might not be so filled. So I’m going to continue.
Lately I have seen more loss posted on social media than I think I have in a while. Loss of friends, family, loved ones… and I hate to think of the sadness that these people are going through. Especially at such a time of year as Christmas. Honestly, I just want to put the social media down, and walk away. And that is so selfish, I know, but I think part of it might be because it’s somewhat reminiscent of when Laura died almost 5 years ago. Although it was after the holidays, this time of year reminds me of her.
In fact, I can still remember Christmastime 5 years ago, sitting on the couch with Laura while watching a show (I don’t even remember what it was). I looked over at her and she had tensed up her little body with a look on her face that seemed fearful and it broke my heart. So I leaned over and gave her the biggest hug and a kiss on the cheek, and told her it was okay, but she didn’t relax. Then, looking over at the Christmas tree, just beyond her, I prayed “Lord make this stop whatever it is, I rebuke this in the name of Jesus”, and I held her tight. Soon she relaxed and shortly after, my family called me into the kitchen for dinner and the night continued as normal. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that the Enemy was trying his best to take a swat. Little did I know that in a few weeks she would be gone.
I hate recalling unhappy memories like that. Still, the truth is that it happened, and no one should have to experience such sorrow ever but especially around the holidays. You already are reminded of their absence at the holidays, but if they leave you around the holidays then the feeling intensifies. It’s so so so unfair.
Fortunately 5 years can make a difference. In this situation, time often can heal certainly not everything, but some things. I miss Laura just like anyone would miss a loved one. In the 364 days following her death, the world was turned on it’s head. It was like figuring out how to walk again, and I lost sight of who God is. But His great love and faithfulness conquer and covers all.
For those of you who have experienced recent loss, I pray that you will be filled with the peace, comfort, and joy of the Almighty. I’ve been where you are and it is extremely difficult. But I encourage you not to lose sight of the ultimate victory that covers all pain, injustice, sorrow, sadness, and hurt: Christ.
A Christmas season should not be filled with any type of sorrow whether it be over a lost loved one, a hurting relationship, a difficult situation, a break up, or disagreements between families. The truth is, Christmas marks the birth of Christ. Advent should be filled with endless amounts of joy over the fact that God sent His son, the Lamb, in a tiny human package born to virgin mother, from the line of David, in a manger (that would have resembled more of a cave), in tiny, normal, regular, Bethlehem. The same Lamb that would take up a heavy wooden cross, and die for ALL the sins of the world, an event and necessity that in itself was the very definition of unfair. The truth is, no matter what happens in our lives, the most important and very best thing that could have ever happened to us happened because Jesus came to save us.
That it is the kind of thing that should fuel our joy for all of eternity, and it does. But that doesn’t stop the Enemy from trying to steal our joy by distracting us with disaster. In fact, that only spurs him on to do so. Don’t let him have your joy! It’s so very hard sometimes, but ask God to hold your heart and give you peace and joy, and I can promise you that He will do just that.
This is a heavy subject that isn’t easily expressed in words, but it’s definitely harder to execute. I’ll easily admit, that after Laura died I had a very hard time understanding what God was up to. Her healing was something I had looked forward to since her diagnosis. Finding joy in the midst of that loss was so hard. I had even begun to think even though God existed, the details of my life didn’t matter to Him. Satan delivered a pretty hard blow that time. Not only had he stolen my joy, but he was lying to me too.
The truth is He does care, ever so much. In keeping with the theme of Christmas, here’s one example. Bethlehem in Hebrew means “house of bread”, and Jesus called himself the Bread of Life. So when He was born in Bethlehem, it couldn’t have been more appropriate. But there were so many people who denied Christ was the Messiah, because the way in which He appeared was so different than what they had pictured in their head. The Messiah was supposed to be majestic like David, yet He was a lowly carpenter. Again, it speaks to how God is present even in the ordinary, and sometimes His plan doesn’t look like what we have pictured in our heads. But it doesn’t make His plan any less right. Nor does it change the fact that every detail of our life matters to Him. And that is something to be completely joyous over.
I’m not minimizing loss, sorrow, and suffering. But I do want encourage each and every one of you that may be dealing with something this holiday season, to stay focused on One Who Conquered death. Let Him love on you. Seek Him. And be filled with endless amounts of joy in knowing that The Creator of The Earth has you in the very palm of His hand and He knows everything about you. Be joyful that the One Who Conquered Death is in the middle of the situation that you are in. Trust Him with your life, your heart, and emotions and know that He loves you with an infallible, steadfast love.
I’m praying for each and everyone of you this Christmas that you may experience the fullness of Christ. When Satan attacks, he attacks hard, but don’t let him steal your joy. Christ Jesus has come and saved us, and He will return!