Here we are in the season of joy, family, fun, thankfulness, gifts, happiness, festivities, everyone sharing stories of their fabulous life, their beautiful children, their _________. Fill in the blank.
And there you are with a hole in your heart, nothing to feel especially grateful for; empty arms, empty wombs, sadness that permeates your very core, your heart is aching. Facing the biggest battle, loss, struggle, pain in your life, yet knowing this is supposed to be a time of joy and celebration.
How do you feel the ache so deep that at times makes it hard to even breathe? How do you smile and enjoy the most blessed season of all?
Let me begin by telling you that I only share what I know to be true. I know what I have had to do in my own times of difficulty and struggle. One of those times being right now.
In order to carry on we must look to the One who has the answers. We may never know the answers to the painful whys of life, but we can trust the One who does. We may never understand why life has to be so painfully difficult at times, and some of those pat answers about God having His reasons do little to comfort. Yet our hope for healing and carrying on comes through a full confidence and trust in His plan, His ways, His sovereignty. We can (& should) commit to Him our brokenness, our pain and anguish allowing Him to heal those places that feel so raw and painful.
One of my greatest sources of help from the Word of God in Philippians 4:6-8
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me – practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
When I find my thoughts drifting to the difficult situations, the heartache, the struggles, I do my best to begin to shift, change my channel, and remember these words. Thinking about what I know to be true, what is worthy of praise, what is good, what is pure. By doing so I will be kicking out the negativity, the thoughts about the things I cannot control, the parts of life that bring great anguish.
I am a work in progress and do not always succeed at “changing my channel” before the thoughts and agonies of life begin their negative effects on me. But I have learned to watch for the signs, to be alert and remember WHO is in charge. And you know what, if God is in charge then I am off the hook.
I pray that whatever it is you are struggling with you can find your way to remembering who is in charge and allow Him to pour peace into your heart as we focus on the One true reason for the season. That you will indeed find JOY knowing that you have the greatest thing of all to be thankful for….Jesus Christ.