This year has not been a peace filled year for my little family. It has been a year of loss; loss and boatloads of change. Out of the boat, waves coming overhead, levels of change.
The year was cruising along, the way life has a tendency to do, when I arrived home from a women’s retreat on a Saturday morning in September. My mom calls and I can tell instantly something is wrong. She asks, “are you home and is Jesse (my husband) home?”I say yes to both questions and her next words changed my life forever.
She says “your brother was found last night. He committed suicide.” Even now, writing the words seems impossibly ridiculous to me.
My brother was a veteran who had been lost to addiction for many years. Yet I always had hope. Hope that my brother would once again be the funny, helpful brother I knew. The week after that loss, we begun bankruptcy proceedings that involves moving from the only home we’ve known as husband and wife. In case you are thinking “Why, on earth, is she revealing all these personal things?” I promise, I have a reason.
That reason is because sometimes life is terribly hard. There is unexpected loss. Your peace has been ripped out from under you.Things that you’ve been trying for so long to not have happen, happen. Your plans all start slipping from your hands. Life literally feels like it’s falling apart, then you realize the calendar doesn’t stop and the holidays are quickly approaching.
Everyone is excited – lights twinkle, trees decorate the windows of your neighbors’ homes. You want to embrace the sparkle, but your heart has this huge gaping hole in it. Your mind races with anxious thoughts. Not the thoughts of all the baking and gift buying like years past. But “how can I be excited when Christmas will look so different?” Different because someone who should be here isn’t. Because financially life has changed. How can you be excited when you really want to hide instead of faking it. Whatever has you feeling like hiding rather than celebrating, I see you.
I see you, when honestly I never had before. I see your heart split wide open. I see your worry. I see your anxiousness.
YET. I feel like we serve a God who says “yet,” “but,” and “however” in all caps.
Yet, God supplies. Yet, God heals. Yet, God fills our cracks with peace. Maybe this year will feel different, that chair will be empty when it should be filled. That pile under the tree smaller than ever before. You might think it’s going to feel different in a terrible way, but it doesn’t have to.
You can claim Philippians 4:6-7
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.” We can claim this because of Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
When the bad happens, we aren’t promised it won’t, so when it does God will use it for our good. When we give our worries to Him, He will trade them for peace.
You, right there with the lump in your throat, I see you. I see you, the brokenhearted, overwhelmed, and hiding from Christmas. Come out, embrace this moment. Don’t hide. God will supply your peace. When the peace comes in, Joy will follow.
Peace and joy will help you remember the true meaning of this season. Loving others. Seeing those hiding and loving them well. Make your moments about who in your life you can love not what is under your tree.
Find another who needs a dose of peace. Sit down with coffee and maybe some chocolate cake and pray. Pray peace, over each other, so that you’ll shine peace and joy onto others!
If you feel like the sparkle of the season is lost on you, I pray peace over you. I pray that you will seek the source of peace. The Source will redeem you and I, and our Christmas joy can be had!
Winter lives in a small Indiana town and is married to her high school sweetheart, he is the calm to her crazy! They have two children, who she thinks are hilarious! They also have two sweet cuddly dogs. Winter’s perfect day would include sleeping in, bible study and coffee with her best girlfriends and a rousing game of Uno with her family, while eating chocolate cake. She is passionate about sharing the love of Jesus with others, to help them see God where they are. She wants to inspire them by the way she lives, to boldly step out of their comfort zones and do what He is calling them to do.