Hope for the Hurting
Does the end of one year and start of the next leave you frustrated or disappointed? Was last year all you had anticipated it would be? Did things go as you planned, or at some point did you find yourself upside down or inside out from where you expected?
If you had asked me a year ago to bullet point for you what my year would hold, I can tell you now, I would have been way off base. I never would have predicted neck surgery, a boating accident with my son with subsequent surgery, being directed by God to close my private practice and enter into a season of rest before being diagnosed and undergoing surgery and treatment for cancer.
With one son a sophomore in high school, and another son a sophomore in college and in all likelihood never returning to live under our roof, I think about how fast the time has gone.
I recently searched for family photos for a project I was working on, and as I did, the years raced through my mind. Didn’t we bring them home from the hospital yesterday? It seemed like just a few days ago they learned to walk, talk, and ride a bike. How is it possible that our oldest is quickly approaching the launch into his career and our youngest is preparing to apply to college?
Maybe you’ve never done this, and maybe it’s just me, but I suddenly became very insecure in my mothering.
I saw God’s faithfulness in a huge way this past Saturday. Saturday evening was the Christian Literary Awards and the “Hope Prevails Bible Study” had been nominated in the Bible Study category. I had been so sick after treatment that I truly wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it until that evening when I just decided, sick or not, I was going. Evenings and nights tend to be my hardest time, and this event ran into the late evening, but God gave me the strength to make it through.
Alas, if we had hoped for a Norman Rockwall Christmas, this year wouldn’t deliver. Rather than the iconic painting, it seemed ours might look a little more like the classic Charlie Brown motley crew around their scrawny tree.
Some years it just seems we’re doing well just to “hold it all together.”
After receiving a new cancer diagnosis, doctors’ appointments, surgery, and procedures ensued. “I don’t have time for all this now,” I thought, as I considered all the holiday preparations yet to be made. But then again, I had to make time for it.
I had just turned in my manuscript to my publisher for my new book about overcoming worry, fear, and anxiety (releasing fall, 2019) when people began to ask the obvious question, “What are you going to do now?”
I didn’t have a ready answer for that. I had originally assumed that as soon as I turned in the manuscript for that book, I would begin work on a companion Bible study. Yet when the time came, it didn’t sit well in my spirit.
Over the next couple of weeks, God shared his plan for my next season: a season of rest.
Every year round about Thanksgiving, the same question always comes: “Mom, what do you want for Christmas this year?”
I remember Christmases from my childhood, when my brother and I would study the Sears-Roebuck toy catalog, all the while dreaming of the things that would show up under the tree with our names attached.
As a child and into my early teen years, things seemed so important. Amassing the newest and greatest toys or fads and comparing our holiday inheritance with friends upon our return to school following Christmas break. “What did you get? Want to know what I got?”
As I stilled my heart during morning quiet time with the Lord, He spoke to me and said, “You know what you’re struggling with is not something you battle just during the Christmas season. You have a tendency to jump into problem solving and doing mode.”
The more God got a hold of my heart and spoke to me, the more I realized that my problem solving and doing mode excludes God from the process. It takes God out of the picture.
Read more for my best tip on how to relieve stress at Christmas and throughout the year.
As fall has come to a close and the crest into winter has descended upon us (or as much winter as we get to experience in North Texas), while we begin preparations for Christmas, my thoughts keep returning to Mary and Joseph prior to Jesus’s birth.
Why was it important that Mary and Joseph go back to Bethlehem? What does their obedience mean for us in modern times?
With the change of seasons upon us, the Lord has had me consider the importance of us going back to our roots. Our roots impact our past, present and future. Returning to our roots helps us understand where we came from, what is valuable and what path to take in the future.
My family loves Christmas. I mean LOVES it! For the last several years, our Christmas decorations have come out in October. It started the year my husband was diagnosed and underwent treatment for cancer. A dear friend came to visit to help out. She asked what else she could do and I asked her if she’d help me decorate for the holidays. I wanted the home cheerful while we were going through a difficult time, and I knew that without someone else’s help, decorations were likely to not make it up that year. Ever since, we’ve continued to decorate early. My son plays Christmas carols intermittently throughout the year, but fairly steadily from September or October through the holidays.
While giving gifts is one of my love languages, I have to admit that one of my favorite things on Christmas is our stockings. I don’t need much nor want much in the way of presents, but ever since I was a little girl I’ve loved the little surprises stuffed in the fur capped oversized sock hanging from the mantle.
I’m always in search of the perfect stocking stuffers for my boys, husband, and in-laws. This year I thought it might be fun to share with you some of my favorite finds.
Get a Dose of Hope in your Inbox with Hope Prevails
How To Fight Fearful/Anxious Thoughts and Win!
Free Printable with 8 steps to help you win the fight over fearful/anxious thoughts. When life brings uncertainty, we bring perspectives to give you a hope-filled future.