For me, there are 2 sides to this time of year. There’s this side:
Hot cocoa sipping
Duct tape wrapping
And then there’s this side:
The side of me that I hide. I don’t want to be a burden, I don’t want to be a ‘Debbie Downer’ or a ‘Negative Nellie’ but if I’m really going to let you in, I mean all in, you need to know, it’s not all laughter and sunshine for me. Maybe someday it will be, and I was so hoping this would be the year, and don’t get me wrong it’s been the best since I can remember, but…
I’ve cried every day for a week.
I’ve been awake til the very, very wee hours of the morning unable to sleep, in a way not wanting to.
I’ve gone between not eating anything to eating everything in sight.
I’ve had such vivid dreams, some weird and some scary.
Babies, families, songs, memories, the news, debates, the bank account, etc (read: pretty much everything) trigger the flowing of tears.
But most of all, my heart and insides ache. There are so many reasons. My heart is sad right now and I struggle to keep a happy face and I have to work really hard at not crying ALL. THE. TIME.
Yesterday, I finally spoke words. Loud words of anguish that finally shot out of my mouth and gave me understanding as to one of the reasons why I’m fighting to not be depressed.
“I JUST WANT TO MAKE COOKIES TOGETHER! You are almost out of the home, I have no more children to create memories with and I’m not ready to be alone! I didn’t want to give this up yet! I just want to make cookies and be a family and spend time together like we’ve done every year! I just want…I just…everything’s changing…can we just make cookies together? Please! I just…” (cue stifling sobs, walking away)
You know how sometimes you know somethings off but you try to brush it off and blame it on hormones or the lack of sun but it just keeps popping up and you don’t know why or what until you get pushed and then all of a sudden you just start spilling words out of your guts and as you listen to them you realize you really are a hurting mess?
Yeah, that’s me.
I’m sad. I’m scared. I’m lonely. I’m grieving, mourning. Remembering. Longing. There’s been so much change and so much loss.
That’s no even mentioning my relatives and all the things that are tearing me up inside about that part of my life.
That’s not even mentioning things that are being drudged up from my past, old wounds reopening as I remember, as I come face to face with the difference between what I think it should be like and what it really is, thinking I had already come to terms with it all, realizing it still hurts my heart…
I hate talking about this.
I hate admitting this.
I have an amazing life and family. My in-laws are even great. I’m so grateful for all that I have, no one could know how much except Jesus. And THAT! Oh Jesus…sweet Jesus, saved my life, is making me whole, even through all the pain I still wear. He is faithful. So faithful.
I’m putting this out there because I know I’m not the only one who is looking at this Christmas season with tears in their eyes and pain in their hearts. Maybe they’ll read this and think they’re not the only one. Maybe they’ll read this and think that just because I’m a Christian my life isn’t perfect but she still loves Jesus, somehow, for some reason. And maybe, just maybe someone will read this and believe that life with Jesus is still worth living even though it’s hard and life without Jesus hasn’t worked so what do they have to lose in giving Jesus a chance.
I don’t know.
I don’t know what God does or will do with my words, but I need to tell you, if you’re still reading this, this is what I really, really want you to get out of all this:
My heart is broken. I’ve been used and abused and mistreated in awful ways and I still live with the pain. Life has dealt me some pretty crummy things most of my life. Can you relate? Do you know what I mean? Violence, addiction, depression, shattered dreams, broken relationships…death.
Hear these words now and believe me when I tell you this:
If all I loved and held dear was taken from me, if all I had worked for came crashing down and became worthless, if my family was taken from me and I found out I had NOTHING LEFT TO LIVE FOR…
I WOULD STILL LOVE JESUS.
I would not only still love Jesus, I would cling to Him ALL THE MORE.
I have lived a life completely devoid of knowing God, I know what it is like to be a walking dead person, one decision away from ending it all. I have also lived a life completely knowing Him, I know what it’s like to come alive and want to keep living because there’s hope! I promise you, even with my very last breath, I will proclaim how my Savior lives and has given me life! Knowing Him, is all that carries me through. Through all the pain, all the tears and all the heartache. All the loss and all the uncertainty of tomorrow, there is only one thing that I know for sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt and it is this…
God IS real. Jesus IS His Son and through Him I have been forgiven and set free from the weight of my sin. He is the only thing that never changes. His mercy and grace are for anyone and everyone who will believe He is Who He says He is. If I were to die right at this moment, I am absolutely positive my spirit will rise to heaven to meet Him in glory because I believe in Him with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength. He loves me and I love Him. NOTHING CAN SEPARATE ME FROM THE LOVE OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS!
So yes, this is a hard time for me right now. I’m a blubbering mess most of the day and I can’t sleep at night or I sleep too much during the day. But that isn’t going to stop me from trying to keep walking through to the other side of the pain. I have hope in knowing that Jesus is walking with me, He holds all my tears in a bottle and He weeps with me. Everyone who has a relationship with Him can have this hope, this same shoulder to cry on, these same arms to carry you when you can’t walk.
This is my Christmas. The other side of it, that is.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”