It’s almost Christmas, just a few days away and I find myself fighting a war inside my head as I seek peace and joy. It’s been a very difficult time, almost comical if it weren’t my own life. At times I’m grateful for the blessings that God is bringing to my family, such as a new job for my husband, a successful surgery to remove cancer from a loved one and three thriving sons; yet there has been significant pain, such as the unexpected death of a close friend, unsuccessful job search for myself and financial challenges that seem hard to overcome.
I search for peace and I’m grateful when it comes, wrapping myself in it like a warm blanket. Yet it feels so fleeting at times. I panic, I think the worst is coming. My imagination goes into overdrive and I start to experience pain for events that haven’t even occurred yet. Then I experience pain for what has occurred.
There’s a lot of pressure during the holiday season to be “gleeful,” but this season of my life feels bittersweet. I just wish I could fast forward this season and not feel the pressure to be so cheerful. I find it hard attending holiday parties and trying to answer the question, “How are you?” I usually respond, “Doing good.” When instead I want to talk at length about how hard things are or how scared I am for the future. But I don’t want to burden others or come across as a “debbie downer”. So I fake it with a smile and pretend like everything is just fine.
I wish I could curl up on the couch with a pile of junk food and binge watch Gilmore Girls and escape all the hard stuff in my life right now.
Better yet, I wish we had a Christmas miracle to take these challenges away.
But I know that there is only one thing that will truly work and that is putting my trust in God. It isn’t easily maintained, so I have to choose to do it daily, sometimes hourly. I have to trust that God can handle it all, that He is big enough to take us over these mountains and that He can hold us when we grieve.
I have to let my faith be bigger than my fears, as a dear friend reminded me.
I admit I’m terrible at it, yet I know that it’s a truth I have to hold onto.
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. —Jeremiah 29:11