When the Holidays are Hard

I helped my sister decorate her Christmas tree. It looks so pretty with gold bows and sparkling lights. But it’s not my tree. I miss my sentimental tree with ornaments made by blonde-haired boys in Sunday school. I miss the ornaments my family picked up on trips to hither, there and yon. I miss the ornaments from my childhood Mom gave me once I had a tree of my own. This Christmas, I find myself unemployed, not-quite divorced and 1200 miles away from my children. If I let myself think about it too much, I’ll sink into a major holiday funk. So, you know what? I’m not going to let myself think about it much.

I’m learning my head is a dangerous place when I let my thoughts run wild. But here’s the super-secret trick…ready? We don’t have to let our thoughts run wild! We can tell our thoughts what to do! Can you believe that? Forty-five years old, and I’m just now figuring that out. If you follow this blog, be prepared to hear lots about that topic in 2016.

The holidays are hard for lots of people. I’m thinking of my friend, Melanie, who spent last Christmas watching her husband fight for his life and now faces her first Christmas without him. I’m thinking of my friend, Bonnie, whose mom died last week. I’m thinking of loved ones fighting cancer, others fighting for their marriages, and others fighting for the strength to get out of bed this morning. I bet you have your own list of folks who’re hurting. Maybe you’re on the list.

Let’s make a pact, friends. Let’s fix our thoughts on Christ this Christmas. You know…the fella the season celebrates? No matter what’s not right about our lives, Jesus Christ is still I AM. And that’s worth celebrating.

Lord,

The holidays are hard for some of us this year. So much is missing. People we love. Customs we cherish. Life as we know it. The loss is real, and I’m so grateful we can be real with You about it. “A man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3 ESV), You get it. You aren’t put off by our heavy, hurting hearts. As we draw near, You wrap us up with abundant grace tailor-fit for our unique needs (2 Corinthians 12:9) 

You wrap us up…but You are the gift.

You are the Light for our dark night (John 1:4).

You are the Word of truth for our questions (John 1:14).

You are the Love that fills up our emptiness without fail (1 John 4:8).

And You are the Same in the middle of our changes (Hebrews 13:8).

This Christmas, help us receive Your gift deep into our souls, so healing can begin (Matthew 9:21)

Help us gaze on Your constant “Christ-ness” and glance at our temporary trials (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

Help us hear the hope in the Christmas carols and claim it for our current need (Psalm 25:3).

Lord, we choose to live this day wrapped up in who You are and in who we are in You. That is the greatest gift. An unbreakable gift. An everlasting gift. 

It’s a gift we can open each new-mercy morning. Oh, Lord, help us do just that (Lamentations 3:22-24).

In the name of the One always worth celebrating…Jesus, AMEN

What will you do today to fix your focus on Christ? Leave a comment. It’ll hold you accountable, and it just may encourage someone else. 

 

 

 

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Job Hunt Prayer

My first real job was at Richardson’s Jewelry. At the time, my only work experience was babysitting the Methvin kids. I didn’t apply for the job, but, somehow, Jabe Richardson got the idea I was a responsible young lady worthy of his jewelry shop. Next thing I knew, Suzie Graves was showing me how to windex jewelry cases and take in jewelry repairs. Mr. Jabe taught me how to count back change. And his quiet integrity and humble faith taught me about things money can’t buy.

Mr. Jabe’s been in heaven for a long time now, but I still know how to count back change. Something tells me a job offer’s not going to materialize this time around.  And I can’t go back to babysitting those brown-eyed Methvin kids. It’s time to dust off my resume. And it’s time to pray.

Lord,

I need a job. But not just any job. I want You to plant me right where You want me.

I have some hopes, though. 

I’d like to make a living loving on people.

I’d like to lay my head down each night knowing I did some good.

I’d like to work with sweet people.

I’ll do the legwork, Lord. But, will You direct my steps? 

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him (Psalm 27:33 NIV).

I’ll do my best to wow ’em. But will You give me favor with the right folks?

May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us; establish the work of our hands for us—yes, establish the work of our hands (Psalm 90:17 NIV).

I’ll do everything I can. But will You do what I can’t?

Is anything too difficult for the Lord? (Genesis 18:14 NASB)

I’m going to go ahead and say thanks, Lord, because I know You’ll provide. Not just for me but for others looking for work right now. Please pave the way for all of us. Please use the waiting to remind us You’re worth waiting for. Please provide for our needs in ways that are just so You.

Trusting and praying in the name of Jesus, AMEN

Are you or is someone you love looking for work? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll get busy praying. 

 

 

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