The fragrance of fresh cut Christmas trees, sounds of laughter from the party house, chilly scenes of winter wonderlands. These are the sensory experiences we’ve come to expect of the Christmas season.
My own house appears to be merry and bright too as I’ve trimmed the tree most carefully and gone room-to-room preparing for guests. But even with all the glitter of the Season my heart hurts.
It’s been a rough year for many of my friends and family. A dear friend’s loss of her only sister, too soon, too young; a precious family watching as their husband and father battles cancer, all the time believing for his healing; the unexpected loss of a job; alcohol addiction; depression; mental illness; friendships broken; people of faith who have walked completely walked away from their long held beliefs; and marriages ended while young children are left crying for their daddy.
As you know, I haven’t been here on the blog much lately. I love to make people laugh and smile. I love to offer hope to those who have no hope because God has done so much to change my life and I know that if He can do it for me He can do it for anyone. He can do it for you. But for the first time ever I’ve felt like I have nothing to write, nothing to give back to my readers for their faithfulness in coming here regularly to read my words.
In slight admonition, Mr. OTN said to me the other evening, “How can we NOT share our hope with others when it is what causes us to most come alive?” Yes, we know through experience that when we give ourselves to others, even when our own hearts are hurting, God blesses us with such joy that we have even more to give.
Yet this year, a year of great pain within my own family, it is that very sharing of our hope with the many that has caused such anger to erupt within those who are closest to my heart. How do I prove to someone that I love them more than any of the people we’ve reached out to in the past? How do I continue to reach out to others when it causes such feelings of jealousy in those I love the most?
The pain ebbs and flows within this heart of mine due to hard happenings within my own family, and when I hurt deeply, nearly every day, I feel like I have little to give. Then God reminds me that the giving doesn’t have to be BIG. I can give in little ways. I give back when I am faithful to pray for the many who’ve asked me to keep them upheld through tough times. I give back when I make our home a refuge for my hard working husband. I give back even in the decorating of our home for Christmas to make it warm and inviting for those who are coming for the holidays.
Yesterday I watched my elderly dog Cozy slide off her bed, feet splayed out around her on the hardwood floor as she tried to stand and I was reminded of when she was just a little puppy learning to stand and walk.
“Cozy, it’s been 16 years since you were just a pup. How did you come so soon to this place of failing health?”
Tears fell as I thought of how quickly life passes by.
I cannot waste a moment of my God-given allotment of time.
Even if I am not being used in big ways I will give what I can. A card, a hug, a text, a call. A message to you my beloved readers.
I have great hope in God. No matter what the circumstances, no matter what it looks like around me, I know that He is with me every step of the way.
“Hope builds faith. Faith trusts that God still moves and that He is good.” – Pastor Jeremy Havlin
Prayer: Father God, please be with each one who reads this post and bless them richly this Christmas season and beyond. If any are lacking hope please show them that their only hope is in You. Not in the provision, not in the healing of relationships, not in the whatever . . . but ONLY IN YOU. You are enough and in You we have everything we need. Amen.
And now, because I want to share this awesome new Bible by Joni Eareckson Tada with one of you, here is the Giveaway. There are three ways to enter and the more ways you enter the more chances you have of winning. 1. Answer a question 2. Follow me on Twitter (I’d love for you to follow me here too but that isn’t a requirement. 3. Tweet about the Giveaway. Let’s go!:
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Good luck and may the JOY of the Lord be your strength this Christmas!
Blessings to you dear friends,
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