Most wonderful time of the year?

I LOVE Christmas. All of it, everything about it from start to finish. I love the lights, the crisp air, the crunching of snow, the music, the colors, ornaments and the memories they carry, watching people get blessed, the giddiness of little ones, the anticipation, the joy, the food, the friendship, the love and the celebration of Jesus, all the cheesy movies and the hot cocoa…..

This year it is different. Actually the past few years have been different. This year I have chosen to actually let myself feel the authentic feelings that refuse to be plastered over with a smile and a false pretense. This year I hate Christmas. Yes, I said it, and I used the word hate.

This year the never ending streaming of Christmas music leaves an actual physical ache in my chest. This year I can’t even walk into the storage room that houses my decorations, let alone put them up. This year I can’t stop crying, and my aching soul is filled with shame at my selfishness, and I’m “should-ing” all over myself.  I should be: happy, joyful, celebrating, thankful for what I have, thankful I’m not worse off, thankful period. But I’m not.

  Instead I’m wrestling with God for answers. A God who I know doesn’t owe me anything, a God I should be in awe of and respectful toward and yet He is the same God who appears to be failing me time and time again. Doesn’t He see my pain? The Bible says He does. Does He care? The Bible says He does. Aren’t these longings and desires from Him? The Bible says they are. Then why do they feel like torture?

This Christmas I do not want any gifts. Truly and honestly I just don’t want any part of it. I am in too much pain. My soul is in anguish and it’s all I can do to just lift my head off the pillow. My season of mourning continues and it goes against everything that my mind is screaming at me. It goes against every message being broadcast across our nation, our church, our neighborhood, and even my own mind. Yet it is very real and it just is.  

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Shifting

I’ve noticed something shifting lately; I can feel it deep inside me. It’s like the seasons slowly blending one into the next, my soul is shifting, and these are the verses that have been washing up on the shore of my heart over and over again like tireless waves against the rocks.

Psalms 42:5- “Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation.”

Matthew 5:4- “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”

I have been in great need of comfort, and up until a few months ago I hadn’t realized that my soul had many things it needed to mourn in order for that comfort to come. There are things I wasn’t even in tune to, things that I had looked away from and ignored for many years, in hope that they would grow quiet by themselves, and then there are the bigger things, the ones that seem to ache with each breath.  And so I have been in mourning.  Facing pain, and freeing myself to comfort, slowly, deliberately, and with the gentle guidance of God. Something in my soul is beginning to shift.

My desire to be a mom is one of the bigger things. The longing to carry and give birth to my very own child has been rooted deeply in my heart. This desire has been with me from the time I was old enough to hold a doll. It is deep and it is real and it is a good, Godly desire.

The years have passed and with them the pain of this longing grows. It has become one of those longings we don’t talk about because the reality of it is just too painful, too deep, and just simply speaking it aloud brings tears.  Then there is the reality of this earthy place where we live and the earthly bodies that we reside in.  Things are shifting.  My body is aging, my reality is growing closer, my longings are losing the battle to their earthly reality, and I am in need of comfort.

I know that nothing is impossible with God, and that “anything can happen”, yet I feel the hand of God leading me, in mourning the loss of what may never be.  God is gently folding up this precious longing and placing it in my “hope chest” and with it, the comfort and the tears coincide.

I am lovingly reminded by my sister–in-law that although it is not the same, I “have” children. I am “Auntie” to four beautiful babies that I have had the honor of loving, and caring for from the day of each of their births, never missing a first word, first step, first food, or a birthday. I love them fiercely; I love them like a mother. God has also reminded me of the countless children I have cared for over the years as nanny, babysitter, nursery worker….and I feel Him reassuring me that even though it is not how I wanted it, or how I expected it, He will use me in spite of it.

My soul is shifting, my paradigm is changing. My vision for my future is slowly being renewed as I look at a different life, one without this longing and desire aching like an open wound. God has reassured me that it is ok to place this one in the “hope chest” and in my mourning He is blanketing me in comfort.  This longing may never be unfolded this side of heaven, or maybe it will, and both is ok.