Christmas “Hangover”

Anyone else know what I’m talking about? Leaving for work the next day, your house a wreck, feeling puffy from all the food and sweets, money spent, and wondering what all just happened…

This year, there was a happiness, a fullness, a contentment. More than years past. I still feel “hungover”, but happily so. A messy house that I’ll tackle one thing at a time. A puffy face and tummy that I’ll treat well over the next couple weeks. A warm heart that has been ever so loved on.

My favorite part of this Christmas? Was the engagement and care from my family to my significant other. The man joining us was embraced and treated well. This is a gift neither one of us could ever buy. Rather receive thankfully.

Today, I’m tired. Six Christmases later, I’m tired and thankful. I used to feel sad and frustrated in the scheduling of my divorced parents and, now, my own kids and future step kids separate Christmases. Now, I embrace and am just so thankful they are all alive, willing, and close enough to schedule one in. This year, I let few memories go undocumented. This is not my norm. But, I wanted the world to see how thankful I am for my family and the new one I have coming early next year….

I’ve had all kinds of hangovers (emotional, physical, spiritual). But, this one I can say was 100% worth it. Now, on to the new year and new chapters in so many ways.

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Out With the Old…

out with the old

…..and in with the new. The new year is fast approaching and it always feels like a fresh slate. I’m so grateful for what I’ve learned this past year. Each experience and leap of faith has strengthened me and reined in my focus. The holidays this year were tough for me. Just emotional. I cried tears of joy, sadness, sentiment….all true. There is truth in tears. I came to the conclusion that the heaping dose of emotion was because Christmas highlights families. When our families are broken in any way and most of ours are either by death, divorce, or estrangement, the feelings associated with the brokenness are also highlighted. God’s design was for us all to be together in peace, harmony, and love. When this isn’t the case, our souls understandably grieve.

The more we love, the more we grieve the loss of love. I found myself leaning on the Everlasting Arms more than ever and asking for a real life squeeze. I also found myself relishing in my blessings more than I had before. Getting emotional over my girls getting older and their Christmas lists changing…I found myself in tears over the birth of Jesus and wondering what more I could give to Him and others because of His gift. I know Jesus rescued me. He’s been with me every day whether I’ve felt it or not. In the physical loneliness, He is still there. Protecting me. All this I know in my brain. At certain times, like the holidays, our hearts are harder to convince. And, He knows that. He’s still there.

I’ve spoken to several friends who were also struggling or know someone who is during this season. The compassion and stories we shared, felt like a special gift. Coming together, relating, listening, and welcoming honesty is so healing. Having a safe place to share our feelings is priceless. Because we all have them. Our feelings make us human, our actions show our strength.

Take your feelings to God first. Get them out and be honest with Him. I’m so thankful that He welcomes our neediness. He craves it. Needing Him is how He created us. He longs to comfort and fulfill us. This is also His design. Then, cherish the friends you can share and be honest with. Cherish the ones who love you on your worst days. Cherish the friends who pray for you, cry with you, send you scriptures, and point you to the Jesus. They truly love you and want to spend eternity with you. We usually can’t fix each other’s deepest issues, but we can point each other to the One who can.

Regardless of our relationship status, we all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts that only He can fill. OUT with the old ways of trying to fill it, mask it, cover it, or deny it. And IN with the only way to live and love in this broken world….and that is with the love and strength of Jesus. Living in His strength all things ARE possible. Family members can reunite, siblings can bury the hatchet, new families can form, and healing can take place. A fresh slate is a beautiful thing and heaven is on the horizon. In with the new…