Today, I am excited to welcome you to Sue! I found her via Compel Training and read her story, and I knew I needed to pursue her for this series! Hearing her story shines God’s faithfulness and love. Sue has become bolder and more faithful through her experiences! I’m so glad she is sharing!
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It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?
By: Susanne Suranyi
17 I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving
and call on the name of the Lord (Psalm 116:17, NLT).
Some of you might say to yourselves, I’m not sure I can give thanks. It’s too much of a sacrifice and an offering!
Why is Your Heart Breaking?
You might be sitting at the bedside of a dying loved one, or perhaps looking at one side of your master bedroom closet that now sits empty. Maybe your holiday table has an empty chair or there are no noises of children filling your home as they spend their time with the one who left you. Perhaps the room destined to become a nursery is still empty. Or the one that had been occupied is now silent. Maybe you just left the hospital, doctor’s office or cemetery stunned that your world could be turned upside down in an instant. Everything you had built your hopes and dreams on is now shifting sand.
You are grasping at anything to make sense of it all and maintain some semblance of control. Perhaps the holidays highlight the fact that you are estranged or far away from family. Or the thought of spending time with them evokes panic.
I won’t presume to understand all of these scenarios, but I have experienced enough to understand that this time of year has often not been the most wonderful time of year.
My Story of Loss: Cancer, Dementia, Death and Divorce
I am 47 years old and in the span of 13 years, I have lost my mother to cancer, my father to dementia, and my 42-year old sister to respiratory failure last December 23rd. Eight years ago my husband drove off with his belongings and my dreams of an intact family. I lost my control, my financial stability, my social network, my future, and my pride. After 12 years of being a stay-at-home mom, I was forced to work full-time again.
Then God gently reminded me that He was sovereign. He was not shocked or wringing His hands wondering how I was going to make it. He saw all this before the beginning of time. I had a choice to make – I could either trust Him or become bitter about the losses and rejection He had permitted in my life.
14 The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm (Exodus 14:14, NLT).
Clinging to Jesus
He did fight for and protect me in ways I couldn’t imagine and He answered my prayers but not in ways that I expected. In spite of my best efforts, I still became a single mom.
The fall used to be my favorite time of year but all my major losses have occurred between September-December.
If I am not careful, I can allow the enemy to steal the joys of today as I focus on the losses of yesterday or the fears of potential losses tomorrow. I have sat through dark and painful “celebrations” where the best I could do was just take the next breath and put one foot in front of the other.
105 Your word is a lamp to guide my feet
and a light for my path (Psalm 119:105, NLT).
God promises to guide us one step at a time. We cannot see around the corner and we dread the Mount Everest that looms before us but remember that He has called you to just do the next thing, to be faithful in the little things.
A Fresh Perspective: Your Pain is the Reason Jesus Came
As you look around and imagine all those other seemingly careless and happy families enjoying their “Norman Rockwell” holiday experiences, remember that Christ did not come to save us from our beautiful picture-perfect life.
He came precisely for what we are experiencing – to rescue us from the brokenness, grief, loss and rejection that accompany this sin-filled world.
Christmas is more about your story than it is about the earthly happiness that you are coveting. He has conquered death!
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
3 To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair (Isaiah 61:1-2, NLT).
Some practical tips for surviving the holidays:
- Immerse yourself in God’s Word. His truth will provide a solid rock on which to stand.
- Be proactive: plan ahead and surround yourself with some friends or family so you are not alone.
- Create some new traditions. Get out of your house if you need to. The old traditions might be too painful.
- Limit or eliminate your time on social media. Comparison opens the door to self-pity.
- If your spouse just moved out, check out: https://www.divorcecare.org/holidays
- If you’re grieving the loss of a loved one, check out: https://www.griefshare.org/holidays
I am a married stay-at-home mom of five children ages 4-20. Some of my favorite things are books, chocolate, coffee, friends, journal-writing, quiet times, rain, hikes, dates with my Love, hugs, texts and calls from my children. I’m not who I could be, I’m not who I should be, but I’m not who I was.
To read other posts in the Heartbreak Holiday series:
Dysfunctional Disaster Holiday