I heard a message written by Max Lucado on Klove this afternoon, in regards of the recent events of the school shooting in Connecticut. A few words rung out and spoke to my soul.
In order to comprehend the meaning of these words you must understand where I have been ... in a dark, dark place. You see our lives have been full - so full, that I couldn't even tell you what they are full with. We have the normal to and from like everyone who has teenagers deals with. Lately, we have had extra circumstances thrown our way, and added responsibilities. But somewhere along the way ... I picked something up, and it has been extra baggage weighing me down.
My counselor told me that I need to learn the simple word "no" once again. But I explained ... "I don't know what to say "no" to ... it all makes sense, and it all is a priority". After his scare, I started exercising that word. Removing all things that would bring me any taste of joy. My life now consists of meetings, work, home stuff and many fires or "fix-its" that have come throughout our days. That little something that I picked up somewhere along the way was now robbing me of my joy.
Duane's work has become a stress in his life, and has taken its tole on our family and home. My work has become an outlet for me, but causing me to be away in times when needed, and causing me tiredness when I return home. Our current adoption journey has us jumping when they say jump...and not given much notice in their commands. The girls have dealt with the drama of high-school and some hard decisions, needing their parents council and guidance...finding a lack of support instead. That little something I picked up along the way was now causing our once happy little home, not so happy.
We have reached a place of desperation.
I just explained to Duane this past weekend, I had Christmas shopping done early so I could enjoy the meaning of the season. I have let some of the "traditions" go this year that have brought more stress than joy, so I could truly celebrate. We have stuck to our Advent tradition, so I could draw close. Yet I still feel "I'm missing Christmas". I'm trying to do everything to not miss it ... but my heart hasn't connected with it. Is this little something I picked up along the way now causing me to miss Christmas too?
I heard a quiet voice as my head hit the pillow last night, and today I obeyed it. I put in a request for a leave of absence starting immediately, so I could take care of things at home, take hold of my health and just simply take hold. A bit of the burden I was carrying fell off my shoulders as I left work today.
And then Max Lucado's words and a new perspective came to me, causing the gloom that was following me to flee, and my iced over heart to start to melt. "Jesus came to the manger scene in the darkness of night." The light of this world, came into the darkened world. And in the quietness of my soul I saw my darkened heart,the darkness of the circumstances around us, the darkness of the joy that has escaped our home and now I plead....
Dear Jesus, just as you came to bring hope and light into this darkened world, into your darkened, sinful people, I plead and hold onto your promise, and ask that you come into my darkened world, come into my sinful life and be the newness, light, hope, joy and peace you are and always have been. Please Lord Jesus, come. I invite you in, and plead for you to just simply come.
And just like that ... that little something is gone, joy is now returning, peace is being restored .... and Christmas hasn't been missed.