Life is filled with joy, laughter, love, adventure as well as sorrow, anger, hurt and difficult seasons. Life is not always easy; frankly its seldom easy. Rather life if full of hardships, difficult times, heart wrenching decisions and hurt. Holidays are a season where these hardships, difficult times, heart wrenching decisions and hurt become even more apparent. The hurt feels a bit deeper, the difficult time feels more difficult, the heart wrenching decisions feel more heart wrenching. Typically this is where the focus in during the holidays when one feels caught in the depth of the difficulties of life.
The last year has been a difficult year for my family. I will not disclose full details at this time out of respect and privacy for my family, as the story is not fully mine to share. During the year though I lived in a land of hardship, of difficult decisions, heart wrenching decisions and deep hurt. The hurt, the anguish I felt was from watching someone I love so dearly hurt and not being able to do anything more than love them and pray for them. I spent each day feeling helpless; I cried out to the Lord for peace and direction. Unfortunately this season lead me to lose hope. I instead became extremely negative, almost angry, sat in fear and saw everything through a filter of negativity. I knew this view was not going to help get us through this time as those around me needed to see strength, bravery, hope and confidence. I hid my fear and anger from those closest to me, but it came out in many other ways. I felt hopeless at work, I was angry with people at work for actions I normally would just laugh at with them. I felt angry with God for allowing this to occur in our family; I questioned Him on a daily basis.
Eventually I grew tired of feeling angry and living life hiding my negativity. I decided I truly needed to be filled with joy and hope; that I needed to truly be brave and confident. I cannot lead those around me to trust in the Lord if I myself cannot trust in Him during difficult seasons. I began writing a list in my journal of everything I am thankful for, even the smallest of things. I began being honest with those around me that I was hurt, that this situation was difficult for me and I sought prayer and strength from my prayer warriors around me. I decided I didn't need to hid the story, my piece of the story, I didn't need to feel ashamed that my family was walking a season of great difficulty - instead I needed to invite those I love and trust the most in to walk the season with us; I needed to be transparent to my family and my friends... and to me. I needed to grieve, to laugh, to love and most of all I needed to open my eyes and see God's hand in it all.
As Christmas is approaching, God has brought peace to my heart. He has walked out a season of great difficulty and is still walking it out with me. This Christmas season I feel hope and joy like I haven't felt all year. I look at my family and I see His hand on them. I see the stories He is writing in each of them. I see the strength, bravery and confidence He is giving each of them. I see hope when I look at the faces of my family. I see joy and love in their faces. I see His faithfulness. This Christmas season He is reminding me that His ways are not my ways and that He will use all things for His glory! He has shown me by his unfailing love for me, that simply loving people in times of hurt, in times of heartache, in the midst of their life storm and praying for them while loving them is exactly what is needed.
Each of us have a story... and the story God writes with us is more beautiful than any story we could write on our own. Even in seasons of hardship and deep anguish, God is working to write our stories; pieces of our stories that will show Him to others, that will deepen our faith and walk with Him. Pieces of our stories that will only show others His amazing, unfailing love and redemption. I see the story of my family being written each day... the most incredible part of my families' story is how we continue to walk by faith, not by sight; how we continue to point one another to Jesus, and our story shows, and will continue to show, the unconditional, unfailing love of our God.
I'm a single mom of four radiant kids who believes in relationship with Jesus over religion. I'm trying not to battle with fear anymore - instead I am choosing to follow what God has called me to do. With that you'll find me here, trying to be brave, with the goal of being authentic and honest about God, single parenting and the beauty in the mess of my joyful chaos. It's sure to be a journey... and I am blessed to share it with you!