I have been struggling to get into the Spirit of Christmas this year. I’ve cried more than I’d like to admit. I’ve been grumpy and irritable, but I’ve been trying to shake it. I know I’m grieving over the loss of my son, and now I’m grieving over the recent loss of a dear friend’s father.
I have tried everything I could imagine to regain the joy that Christmas brings. I decorated the house. Though truth be told, I only had the heart to put up a few decorations. The tree is up and my Grandmother’s Nativity is up. I have been listening solely to the Christmas music station while in the car. I point out all the Christmas lights to the Littles as we drive past them. I made myself watch It’s a Wonderful Life. I even agreed to attend a Christmas Cookie Swap, which I would not have done if a good friend had not invited me. Cookie swaps are the epitome of hard work for little to no pay off. You bake a bazillion batches of your favorite cookie and receive cookies you pawn off on others. I finally resigned myself to the fact that I am not going to get in the Spirit of Christmas this year. I decided that I was ok with that.
Then it happened.
I was shopping for a Christmas Party to be held at our church when I saw them. In a sea of Santa, reindeer, elves, and snowmen, I saw my Jesus. A lovely illustrated Nativity on a gift bag proclaiming, “The Prince of Peace is Born Today” (This was at the Dollar Tree, mind you, not a “Christian” store). And in an instant, I became joyful. I became hopeful. It reminded me that God will reveal Himself to us.
And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13
No matter what trials and tribulations you face this Christmas season, know that you can find Him when you truly seek Him. He will give you His joy, His peace, and His love.
I usually use my Thirsty Thursday posts to share what I’m learning, what God is sharing with me, and what I’ve read that has spoken to me. Since this is my blog, I’m using this post as a call to prayer. For me.
My father was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) when I was eight. Around Christmas, he was unable to walk, became paralyzed for some time, and was bed ridden for six months. My mother’s mother had RA, and my mother has been diagnosed with Lupus and Fibromyalgia.
Last Tuesday, my elbows, wrists, and knuckles simultaneously began to throb. The pain was excruciating. Then my hands were in pain, felt like they were on fire, and like the insides of my hands would burst through my skin. For the rest of the week, I felt pain and my hands were stiff. I looked up hand exercises to do and they were difficult to perform.
This week, my energy levels have plummeted. I am exhusted. I lay in bed in the morning and pray for help to get out of it. I haven’t felt this tired since I was pregnant with Yeeyum. I have cookies and a birthday cake to make for Cupcake’s birthday party this weekend, but I have no idea how I’m going to do it. Other family birthdays, my anniversary, and Christmas are all around the corner. I have gifts to make and purchase. I really need my energy back.
I am praying for healing. I know God can heal me if it is His will. He can glorify Himself through my healing. However, this might be my “thorn in the flesh” that God will use to mold me into the woman He created me to be. Pray that God will reveal Himself to me and let me know if He will give me the strength and grace to handle an illness or if He will take it away.
Thank you for your prayers. I desperately need them.
Hunny and I have been through more hardships in the almost six years we’ve been married than the average person experiences in a lifetime. There have been times when I wondered why God kept allowing pain into our lives. I wondered why God did not intervene on our behalf.
But He did.
By allowing pain in our lives, God has shaped Hunny and me into more compassionate people. We are more loving people. We are more forgiving people. How could we be reflections of our Father in heaven without being loving, forgiving, and compassionate? It would be impossible.
Paul wrote to the Romans:
For I consider the sufferings of this present time (this present life) are not worth being compared with the glory that is about to be revealed to us and in us and for us and conferred on us! Romans 8:18 (Amplified Bible)
Paul knew a thing or two about pain. He was shipwrecked, stoned, beaten, and jailed. He felt like his sufferings were nothing compared with knowing Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:8).
Besides, I am not the only person on the planet going through a hard time. The Bible says that as Christians, we should bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). How can we help someone else if we’ve never been through difficulty? How can we support someone, how can we show God’s love to someone, how can we encourage someone if our lives are always perfect? Who would be able to relate to us? No one.
You may be going through a difficult time in your life. Look at it as the blessing it truly is, because when this storm is over, you’ll be able to help someone else through their storm. God will use you to be His arms to hug, His feet to go, and His mouthpiece to speak life and truth and love.
Have you heard of Operation Christmas Child? The first time I did, Hunny and I were dating. Even though the organization had been around for fourteen years, I had never heard of it and I didn’t quite understand it.
Operation Christmas Child started in 1993 to help the children who were facing the effects of the war in Bosnia. It started as a way to show the Love of Christ through a simple gift box. Now over 113 million children have received shoebox gifts and countless lives have been changed.
National Collection week is a month away. It’s never too early to pray for the shoeboxes, volunteers, and families.
You know how I’m always talking about how God answers prayers? Well, God answered a prayer that has left me an emotional mess. So much so that I have been trying to write this post (and others) for weeks and have found myself completely incapable of writing anything.
Mr. Bill & Mrs. Peggy are Cupcake and Yeeyum’s third set of grandparents. They work in the nursery at church and brag on the kids as if they were their own grandchildren (or great grandchildren). Mrs. Peggy became like a grandmother to me, which was wonderful considering I lost both of mine in 2009. It was nice to have someone to give advice to me and talk about when they were young and care about me.
Mr. Bill & Mrs. Peggy’s family live in the mid east and they have had their house on the market to sell for four years. We have known them almost two years and have been praying about their house selling for as long as we’ve known they wanted to move. Mr. Bill would always say, “We’re never going to move,” and jokingly, “Maybe I should pray to the devil and see if he answers my prayers.”
Even though I was praying for them to be able to move, I kept hearing Mr. Bill say they would never move and I started to doubt. People would look at their house and not make an offer on it. Or they would have a viewing scheduled and the people wouldn’t show up. One couple offered way less than the asking price, and Mr. Bill & Mrs. Peggy had to turn down the offer. When Mrs. Peggy told me last month that their house sold and that they would have to be out in a month, I jumped up and down, hugged her, and burst into tears.
Last night was the final time I would see them before the move. I didn’t know what to say other than I love you. Having them move away is like losing my grandmothers all over again. Painful, emotional, and difficult to discuss.
I don’t know when we’ll see them again. I do know that God will continue to answer their prayers, your prayers, and mine. And I’m praying that God will provide a way that we can visit them!
God really loves me (and you, of course!). I mean, He really loves me. If He didn’t, this movie would not have been made.
Populaire is everything I love all rolled up in one great movie: a based on true events romantic comedy, a period piece no less, with 1950’s fashion set in France that stars a PINK TYPEWRITER (Ok, ok. The pink typewriter comes into the storyline towards the end, but still)!! Seriously?! Seriously? Best. movie. ever.
I don’t even want to review this movie. When Hunny and I first started dating, he asked me if I saw this movie and if I liked it. I had not and I was not interested in watching it. I did come across some interesting information about The Cable Guy. Ben Stiller was originally meant to star in the film, but he found directing and acting was too difficult. Chris Farley was the first choice, but was unable to commit due to scheduling conflicts. Jim Carrey won the role and got an unprecedented 20 million dollar salary for the role.
The only funny line from this movie is: I learned the facts of life from watching The Facts of Life.