Unwrapping When Christmas Feels Like Any Other Day

unwrapping jesus_t_nv

What do you do when Christmas feels like any other day in your heart? I have found myself asking that question multiple times over the last twenty-four days and then once again this morning.

While commercials and conversations talk about shopping for your friends and family, what gifts have been purchased and being wrapped to give, parties that are being planned, and foods that are going to be prepared, you may find yourself in what feels like one of those movies where you wake up to live the same day over and over.

I have many family and friends this year that are spending Christmas for the first time without a loved one, dealing with financial struggles, health problems that seem never-ending, family issues, or something that has made Christmas not quite the same this year. Maybe this is you, maybe this is me, maybe this is someone you know.

Even when we wake up with no gifts to open, no family to spend time with, feeling the same pain, or looking at an empty chair where that loved one once sat as we experienced the joy of Christmas, we can find comfort and encouragement through these words…

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6

Through Jesus we find all that we could need and long for. Any emptiness or sadness we feel, He can fill with His love and joy. It may not take away the heartache of missing someone we love or magically make all of life’s trials disappear in an instant, but He does sustain and comfort us through it all.

Through Jesus we have a hope that nothing in this world could ever take away, a hope that we will see that loved one once again, a hope that says no matter what we’re facing and how dim things may look today, light is coming again.

He is our Wonderful Counselor who when our heart is hurting, He teaches us many things like no one else can, listens like no one else ever will, and guides us in the right direction.

He is our Mighty God who is One with the Father and has more power than anything we are facing. Mighty in it’s very definition is great in amount and characterized by superior power and strength. So when our hurt is so great that it feels unbearable today, we can find joy because He is greater!

He is our Everlasting Father who is eternal. We can’t lose Him, He is our constant. Though on this earth we temporarily lose those that we love until the glorious day that we meet once again because we know Christ, we simply cannot lose Him! He has promised to never leave us and if there’s one thing I have learned, He keeps all of His promises!

He is our Prince of Peace who reconciles us to our God and the giver of peace in our hearts. Whatever hurt, loss, or questions that may be swirrling around in our hearts, He is the answer, the only answer that can bring true peace.

Those are gifts that are priceless, irreplaceable, and won’t lose their value after today passes. Gifts that tell us how much we are lovedThe only gift that truly matters is the gift of Jesus Christ, and He was given to us!

So what do we do when Christmas feels like any other day?

We dig in and unwrap the very gift that was chosen just for us, the gift of truth, the gift of love, the gift that makes every other day feel like Christmas! We get to unwrap the joy of Christmas every single day and revel in the mystery, the excitement, and the hope of a new season.

In this season of hope, joy, and peace, I am someone who has felt this way. I have struggled emotionally, I have had more questions wandering in my mind than birds wandering the skies, and I have prayed and asked God to lift me up and remind my heart of His promises. While my family slept through Christmas morning with no rush to the tree, I have felt the rush of His presence and for that I am forever thankful.

It doesn’t mean we don’t have faith or that we don’t trust, it simply means we are human and we will experience emotions. God created emotions and they can draw us closer to Him. It means that we need Him each and every day and reminds us of how faithful He is to always be there. It means that maybe, just maybe it doesn’t feel like Christmas today because we’ve been experiencing Christmas every day!

If you are someone who has been asking yourself this very question this year, I am praying with and for you. I can’t take your hurt away, I can’t answer your questions, and I can’t make things different for you, but I pray for your heart to be encouraged.

If you know someone who may be feeling this way, take time to listen to them and give them the freedom just to talk about it. Give them room to feel the way they feel and simply love them through it. Share this article with them in hopes of it being a small encouragement to their heart.

Lord, thank You for the gift of Your Son, Jesus Christ. His birth, His death, and His resurrection is by far the greatest gifts we could ever receive. Thank You that everyday is Christmas in the hearts who have received Your Son and for the hope we have in Him! ~ In Jesus Name, Amen. 

 

 

 

Love Letters: Leaning into You

dear god_wide_t_nv

 

From the moment I woke up, those are the first words I have to start with. Honestly, I’m surprised I’m sitting here at the moment. The fiery darts have been flying today for sure and so many of them have landed straight in my heart. They must have pierced something on target for all the tears that have fallen upon Your hands today. Thank You for being there to wipe away and catch every one.

The more the day progressed the more I heard You whisper the words “lean in.” It never ceases to amaze me how You are always listening to my heart without me having to speak one word. You knew exactly what I needed to hear and Your whispers reach further than any word spoken out loud to me.

I’m here, I’m leaning in. Right now more than anything I just need to breathe in more of You. When I feel like I can’t take another breath because it just hurts too bad, You are there, breathing the air in for me. When I feel like I’m drowning, it’s Your hand that’s reaching for me and pulling me up.

Without You, where would I be? In the midst of the pain, the hurt, and the uncertainty, it’s You that I see. When I look around, it’s You without fail. It doesn’t matter how dark it gets around me or within me, You are there, lighting the way. I’ve asked myself time and time again where would I be in all of this if it wasn’t for You? I can’t even take my mind there. I couldn’t see life without You. Days like today where it hurts too much to even take a breath, I know I couldn’t do it without You.

Life, it’s funny how it doesn’t feel that way now, but it’s because of You that I know it is. I know that even though it’s been one thing after another every single one of them went through Your hands first. I’m not alone in it, and for that I’m grateful. You have always made sure I knew You were lying next to me, lifting me up when I couldn’t rise on my own, and giving me the strength to stand when I feel like I’m going to fall. When I feel like I can’t take one more step, it’s You that moves my feet or carries me.

I’m leaning in and against You. There’s a peace that enters my heart and consumes it when I’m in Your presence that I can’t get any other possible way. I know it may seem crazy, but it’s like I can feel You gently moving my hair out of my face and holding me so close to You. I don’t have to explain it, I just want to bask in it.

The love You give me is more than I could ever ask for. The peace You give me is more than I could ever comprehend. The help is more than I could get anywhere else. Sometimes I wonder why You are so faithful to me, even when I don’t deserve it. But it’s just who You are, isn’t it. I look back on my life and every time I needed You, You were there. Faithfulness with You is something I never have to question, I never have to doubt.

There are so many things the world, the enemy, and my flesh screams at me, but Your voice always rises to where I need it most. When I feel like I can’t do what You’ve called me to, You’re there to tell me I can. When I feel like I’m not good enough, You’re there to tell me I am in You. When I question things, You are always the only answer I truly need. Everything in my life comes down to You, and I don’t want it any other way.

For all the things inside my heart that only You and I know about, thank You for reminding me that You are the only one that needs to know. You are the only one that needs to understand it’s not just one thing but several things and I know You are in control of every single one. Nothing slips by You and my soul rejoices. There’s no battle unknown to You or lost with You. Those truths today alone were enough to keep me going when my flesh screams to crawl back into bed and just sleep.

Thank You for using what comes my way in life to draw me closer to You. What it all truly comes down to is I want to be closer to You. You are good, faithful, true, and pure love. I’m crying out to You not only for deliverance and healing, but strength and endurance for what You choose not to take away right away. I’m crying out for eyes to see the value of all that You are teaching me. It’s in You and Your name that I will find all that I need and want. My heart truly desires more of You. You are more than enough.

I realize more everyday how much I am in love with You, how much I need You, and how much I fall short. You have redeemed everything in my life up to this point and none of this will be any different. I look forward to the day I can stand and look back to see how You chose to redeem it, but until that day comes, I look forward to knowing You more and going a little deeper with You. My faith in a relentless and faithful Father tells me I’ll see it soon.

Until then, I’m leaning in to You. I love You!

Faithfully Yours,

Angie

 

love letters

 

 

Love Letters: Daddy, I need to talk

tears

Daddy, I need to talk.

Your daughter is crying out to You tonight in desperation. My heart hurts. Tears are flowing from my eyes like an endless river flowing. I know You know all that is stirring within me, but Daddy I just need to talk to You about it.

I don’t understand why all of this has happened. I don’t know why life had to take a turn in this direction. Daddy, the man You sent to me twenty-two years ago is hurting, he’s struggling, and it feels like he’s fading away. I know he’s here with me physically but he hardly seems like the same person. It’s been so hard watching him the last year hurt more and more by the moment.

I miss his laugh, I miss his smiles, I miss so much about him Daddy. But more than what I miss about him, I miss him feeling like he has life within him. Daddy, it hurts to watch him hurt. I don’t know what to do for him. I don’t know how to help him. I feel like I never have the right words to say. I just want to take it all away. I just want to make things better for him. I want him to jump up like he used to and be that man full of life that You created. I want him to feel about himself the way You intend for him to.

I know You said we would become one flesh when we vowed before You to love one another, and I believe it now more than ever. I may not feel his pain the same way he does, but oh Daddy, I feel pain with him. I look into his eyes and see the desperation of just wanting the pain to leave his body and it sends my heart into a place that nothing seems to draw it back from. I know he’s scared and I’m scared with him. I know some days he feels like nothing is going to get better, and honestly some days I feel it with him. I see how tired he is, I see how hard he’s trying to fight.

But I have to say thank You Daddy. Thank You for helping me to still see that warrior that You created in him. I see him even when he doesn’t. I see all that You are filling him with no matter how much this pain seems to drain him. Every time You allow me to look at him and see who He is in You it does so much for my heart. I guess this is still a part of that whole one flesh, huh? I am grateful that You gave me the honor of being one flesh with this man. I love him, Daddy. I love him so much. I know You know that, You are the one that gave me this love for him. I refuse to let life take that from me! He’s a good man for me. He’s always taken such good care of me, and You knew he would, that’s why You chose him for me.

But Daddy, I feel like it’s my turn to take really good care of him. Can You help me with that? I feel lost. I’m not sure how to help him, how best to take care of him. In my flesh I just want to take it from him and throw it as far as I can. I know that I don’t have that power, but Daddy, You do! I’m believing for that. I haven’t lost hope in You, I can’t do that. You have saved us from so many things in our lives. You have brought us through some of the darkest of times and I know this time will be no different.

You gave me two hands Daddy, and in my right hand is Yours, and in my left hand is his. Help me to keep walking hand in hand with You so that I can be what he needs me to be as his wife. Give me eyes to see past the things I don’t need to see so that I can focus on what You need me to see.  Fill me with more of You. Everything in me knows we can’t walk through this without You, and I don’t want to try!

Keep reminding me of Your truths so for every lie the enemy tosses our way I can send it right back. Hold us close because I know that it’s so easy at times like this to get carried away and I only want to draw closer to You. Strengthen the fight in us, help us to get back up stronger every time we get knocked down.

Thank You for listening to my heart tonight Daddy, and every night when the hurt starts trying to settle. Thank You for listening when I’m alone in my office trying my best to stay focused and when the tears keep sneaking out to roll. Thank You for listening when I’m driving down the road and can barely see the road through my tears. Thank You for hearing our every cry and holding every tear in Your mighty hands. And Daddy, thank You for the healing that I know is coming His way! I feel it in my bones, I feel it in the depths of my soul. It’s coming and I am giving You praise for it! I don’t want my lips to ever stop giving You praise because You are so worthy, no matter what!

I love You Daddy! I’m so grateful I have You tonight and every moment. I trust You and that’s not going to change.

With rolling tears,

Your Daughter, Angie

 

love letters