Inside: Since becoming a solo mam seven months ago, my faith has been put to the ultimate test. How do you choose joy in deployment during this season?
Welcome Paige to the blog. I met Paige through my church here in Wisconsin! She’s full of strength and courage. I’m so glad she said yes to writing a blog post!
Growing up in rural Wisconsin, the holidays were the most magical times of the year! I will forever cherish my snow-laden memories of large family gatherings, traditions, food and of course, Santa Clause.
Oh, how I long to give my children those same cheerful holiday memories as I experienced growing up, but our childhoods couldn’t be ANY more different!
We are a military family. My husband Chris is a Sergeant in the United States Army. There haven’t been snowmen to build or hills to sled. No family reunions to gather at and even our friends become scarce as they become busy with their own families during the holiday season.
We are stationed hundreds of miles away from any family (or snow for that matter). I remain hopeful each year, but still, the feeling of loneliness mixed with nostalgia and sadness linger throughout the holiday season.
This year is especially heavy in our hearts, as our soldier will be spending Christmas halfway around the world.
A deployed loved one, and being so far away from our extended family makes the empty spots in our hearts feel a little bit deeper. In our home, our motto has become You choose your own attitude and we have chosen JOY.
The Season God has Me in
The season of life we’re in right now can be very exhausting, lonely and overwhelming. On days I find myself less than content with where I am at, God reminds me that I’m exactly where HE desires me to be.
My ministry is to raise up these little disciples of His….and be joyful while doing his work! (Psalm 100:2)
God has been so faithful in shaping my heart!
Since becoming a solo mama and a corporate widow seven months ago, my faith has been put to the ultimate test. I have been relying on God more and trusting Him in areas I once refused to surrender control. I am daily given lessons about contentment, patience, joy and forgiveness. There is no limit to His grace.
God Remains Faithful
To be quite honest, The earthly desires of my heart have been stealing my joy this holiday season. Instead of running to God, my longing heart has been turning to people and things for instant gratification. I want immediate relief for the voids in my life, but like all earthly things, all of these “quick fixes” have been temporary and leave me thirsting for more. ( Jeremiah 17:5-12, Colossians 3, Matthew 5:6)
Despite my wandering, God has been faithful to me. Every week I attend a women’s bible study. One particular day we were reading in Exodus about how God provided for the Israelites in the desert.
The Lord performed many miracles in Egypt and rescued his people out of slavery. The Israelites saw with their own eyes how he miraculously took away the plagues and parted the Red Sea so they could escape oppression. The Lord had been faithful to them and consistently provided for their needs, but as the Israelites came into the desert, they began grumbling!!
How quickly they forgot what God had already done for them!
They complained about being thirsty and the Lord provided water from a rock. Instead of being thankful for that miracle, they began complaining about being hungry. The Lord, who is a gracious and merciful Father, heard the Israelites complaining and manna and quail fell from heaven.
Am I an Israelite?
As I was reading I couldn’t help but think “how could these people be so ungrateful?! They had been in the midst of many miracles and the Lord had provided for them over and over, yet they were still unsatisfied.
In chapter 16:3, they even complained about being freed out of slavery! WHAT? It’s true, but as I began thinking about the areas in my life I have grumbling about, I began feeling less judgment towards the Israelites as I realized how much of an Israelite I was being.
How often I forget how faithful God has been to me.
My heart has been less than thankful for my abundance of blessings, especially during the holidays when the challenges of being military family arise and choosing joy take extra effort.
Making the Best of this Season
During this season of Advent, we will make the very best out of where we’re at right now. Christmas shouldn’t need to be anything more than a joyful celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, our salvation! Christmas is for Christ! We would be blessed to make the trip back to my snowy childhood home for the holidays, but we would be just as blessed to have a big birthday party for Jesus right here at home all while video messaging our soldier from abroad.
No matter where we are, what earthly things we have (or don’t have) we will always have satisfaction in the Lord.
In a life full of uncertainty and longing, what peace we have in Jesus! This is the truth I long for my children to know.
When their little hearts are missing their daddy and a tear or two may fall off big round cheeks on Christmas morning, what better gift could I give than to lead his littlest disciples to the joy and peace of His presence?
May the peace of Christ be with you.
Merry Christmas, Y’all
I’m a 24-year-old woman after God, a blessed military wife and a mother of GIRLS! My cup runneth over!
To read other posts in the Heartbreak Holiday series:
Dysfunctional Disaster Holiday