Sunday, December 20, 2015

The Christmas Letter I Didn't Send

I wrote this last year, more to wade through my personal thoughts as I watched people I loved hurt through the holidays...and beyond.  I didn't plan to post it because I usually keep things light....unicorns, and spelling errors are really more my specialty on my blog. sits here restless.  So, here's the post I didn't post last year about why I quit Christmas letters (beyond the obvious reasons).  Not to ruin the ending, but....the people I was losing sleep over last year are either completely healed and partying in heaven, or healing in other ways here on earth, clinging to God even though the answer was 'no.'   He's providing a thousand little yes answers this year to the new things He is creating in their lives through the ashes.  The yearly chapters have their ups and downs, but the ending is a happy one, so while I continue writing that story....

Psalm 27:13

2014 Christmas-time me wrote....

I usually write a letter each year to insert into my Christmas cards.  Tidbits about the years.  Lessons learned.  A few years ago I skipped the letter.  I wrote it and it felt incomplete. They never tell the full story and that year I didn't want to leave pieces out, but I didn't want to write them down yet either.  Those sentences I didn't write were the biggest pieces that impacted my year.  
Now it's another year without a letter.  The truth is I write the letter every year, but twice now I've decided it wasn't really the story of the year I experienced.  I suspect that most things that shape our life the most don't make the Christmas card.  Or the facebook feed.

It's been one of those years-a year of intercessory prayer on behalf of family and friends going through the sort of heartbreak I couldn’t have ever imagined entering their lives.  It came with news that changes the face of their lives.  Their kid’s lives.  Their family’s life.  My life.  Forever.  I prayed for a change of hearts of those hurting others.  I prayed for protection over families.  I prayed for changes of health for close friends, and leaders I respect battling terminal illnesses.  God responded with a, ‘Not now.’ and even, "No."  It doesn’t make sense in the moment, but I know that even if the answer is no, He is still good. But...I just wasn't ready to write the  unfinished stories that, with hope, I pray will be next year's testimonies.

I’ve been challenged to really dig deep into my faith.  Do I trust God?  Do I trust His goodness?  Do I trust His plan for my life?  The lives of those I love?  Yes.  Do I trust He loves those around me I'm broken for, broken by?  Yes. was a really difficult 2014 for too many I love.  I know that we will all be stronger for this year, and I'm praying on their behalf.

I serve a God who knows what the whole Christmas letter would have said in each of our lives.  He reads it daily and knows just the response to make.  Maybe you have an un-Christmas letter being written into your life this year too.  You are not alone.  There are a lot of letters that didn't make the mail this year, but in the end, the story isn't over yet.  This year will, no doubt, change my life for the better in the end, as long as I trust Him.  Praying that you find peace today whether you are in the middle of the best stories yet being written in your life, or the difficult chapters knowing the Author has a Happy Ending in store.  Merry Christmas to the happy hearts, the hurting hearts, with hope that *you* know you are deeply loved by a Father who knew you before you started this journey, and knows the path ahead.  


Msheepers said...

Ah, okay, I was wondering when I opened your card w/out a letter this year....

Although you wrote that post last year, I also have been battling trust issues with God this year. I thought that I trusted Him and that I had learned to separate Him / not compare Him to my earthly father, but evidently that wasn't completely the case. I've had some struggles this year, certainly not with life and death like you've dealt with, but where I've questioned God's plan, and more importantly, God's love for me. Like "If You really loved me, why are You allowing this to happen? Why aren't You fixing it?" etc. I've found that my trust is hardest to have when it seems God isn't hearing me (my prayers are just 'bouncing off the ceiling') or when He isn't answering my prayers in 'a timely manner'.

It's been both a surprise and disappointment to find the seemingly limits of my faith. I.e. I thought I had more faith than that, etc. There's a great song by Barlow Girl - 'Never Alone'; and honestly, I thought I was ready for and could handle upcoming trials. Ha. “Holding tight to what I know" was where I failed. I questioned God during my trials and wondered if He abandoned me / didn't care / wasn’t listening, etc. Certainly my struggles were insignificant compared to what poor Job dealt with, but I questioned God during my struggles nevertheless.

I find that I get bogged down in the circumstances instead of 1) being able to rise above them, 2) trust in past experiences (i.e. how many times God has come through for me, all the ‘God stories’ that I have), and 3) know in my heart that God is at work even if I don’t see it nor feel it. (That’s why I told Jason that for Christmas I want a sign with that saying: “Don't tell God how big your problem is. Tell your problem how big your God is!” :))

And even though my faith has been tested and found wanting, I haven’t lost it. Somehow, I need to remember during the trials to 'look up' instead of down. And there are TONS of encouraging songs that are played on the radio station that I listen to, Air1; I just need to listen to the words!