Holiday Cheer!

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Many people develop the holiday blues around this time of year. The holidays may not be the same because of a loss of someone close to your heart, or an experience such as a recent divorce. I know that losing someone can be painful, and make it that much more difficult to muster up enough strength to feel jolly around this time of the season.  However, God has given us all a gift: memories. Even though we would rather have our loved ones by our sides, we can find joy in the sweet thoughts of them and keep old traditions going, like the amazing holiday parties, decorating and baking pies and cookies, singing Christmas carols, building homemade gingerbread houses, telling Christmas stories, making tree ornaments, making hot chocolate, or a variety of things that allow the memories of them to remain fresh. For me, it was a prolonged period before I was healed from the passing of my oldest brother. Whenever I would hear the song “Silent Night” by the Temptations, I would recall his singing voice in my head. The Christmas season was the most magical time of the year for him. I’m thankful for the memories God has allowed me to have, from the time my brother was here on this earth. God is our Creator, and we’re all here for a brief time. Our loved ones, even us, belong to Him and Him alone.  He lends them to us and us to them, while we’re here on earth, but when the time comes for God to take them back, we must find a way to rejoice and still be thankful for the true reason of the season!

Although it can be hard, God and His infinite wisdom can fill us with joy. In the Book of Nehemiah 8:10 (MSG) we read, “Go home and prepare a feast, holiday food and drink; and share it with those who don’t have anything: This day is holy to God. Don’t feel bad. The joy of God is your strength!” I am glad that we can call on the Holy Spirit to give us joy! Joy is not something that people can just give when they feel it’s appropriate. Joy can only come from our God; it provides STRENGTH we need to keep living in these trying days.

Even though I could not imagine losing a mother, I have experienced the loss of a brother and suffered in silence due to the loss of a child. I never got the opportunity to nurture my son or daughter, which was the most painful experience I had ever encountered. I had been searching for love, and I really thought having my baby would be the answer to the void in my life. I felt that God had neglected me, and He didn’t show me or give me the love I felt I needed from Him. As I look back at the situation, I believe I was going to try and out love God and show Him how to love His children.

After a few months had gone by, the doctor couldn’t find the baby’s heartbeat. Shortly after, I started to have labor pains, and my water broke. I hadn’t reached my full 1st trimester yet, and the baby was coming. I said the most awful words that I could ever say to God: I HATE YOU. You may be surprised that I even wrote that, but God knows all, and He knew before I was even in my mother’s womb that I would have to face that day and what I would say to Him. See, a mother’s love is real, and it runs deep. As women, we were born to nurture, and when it comes to our children, we will drop everything. The Holy Spirit wanted me to write this because someone out there needs to hear this and needs to know that He hears and sees you! I never thought I could feel peace again, but God met me right where I was. I had to humble myself and ask for forgiveness. I thank Him for the mercy He has shown towards me. Those words may have come out of my mouth, but He looks at the heart. God knew the pain I had to endure, and he showed me that He was right there with me the entire time. Isn’t God amazing! He does restore, and He has blessed me with amazing children and grandbabies. Psalm 30 says, “For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

We can all say that we have experienced pain and loss in our lives. Some are still in the mourning stage, others are dealing with the depression stage, and some are in the stuck, depressed and numb stages and cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. There’s no actual time period for how long a person should mourn, and no one can tell you how long to mourn, but if you feel as if you need help getting back up again, please seek some professional help. It’s a process that we all must go through, and there’s no other way around the process; you must go through it. Many people become alcoholics and drug addicts to numb the pain, but those only provide a short-term fix. I thank God for my low tolerance for drugs and alcohol because I’m sure that I too would have found myself being an addict.  You were not created to be alive and live as if you’re in a grave. Most of us have been fed lies from the enemy about seeking professional help. Seeking help is okay! Many don’t rely on other family members, nor do they tell anyone about their personal issues or concerns. I cannot express enough how important it is for us to be mindful of our mental health and well-being. It should be a priority. If not, you will then become ill and stuck, making matters worse. Many illnesses come from not taking care of your body and mind. But why is it that we feel as though our brain and mind shouldn’t reap the same benefits as the rest of our body?

I will continue to hold a special place in my heart for all my loved ones that have gone to be with the Lord. My hope for you is that God will fill you with the joy and comfort that you need! It’s okay to look back and enjoy those memories; it’s even okay to release some tears. God is continuing to heal my heart, even as He has me telling my story, and believe me, I’m crying as I’m typing this blog.

Let’s share some memories of our loved ones and try to have some holiday cheer that will continue to create memories with the family that’s still here with us! If you don’t have anyone to spend this holiday season with, you can always connect with a co-worker or someone from your church and still have the best holiday season ever! (No wait, does that only happen on the Hallmark channel! lol) Connecting with some new people around the holiday season may feel a little uncomfortable, but it may be the best thing for you. How exciting!! This will create new friendships and new memories, too! Have a Happy Holiday and most importantly, be safe!

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