This Christmas season has been tougher for me than the others. I have constantly found myself down–when looking for new Christmas decorations, when decorating my house for the first time, when buying presents for everyone–you name it, it has made me feel sad. I have a huge hole in my heart. I have let myself feel the depths of grief. And, honestly, I’m glad I allowed myself to feel the hurt. I know that’s probably strange to admit, and it’s weird for me to admit it myself. I’m a normally positive, happy person. I love to smile and to laugh. I even love when I laugh so hard I snort (which Jake would always make fun of, by the way). I love being happy. But, I have realized that being down and feeling sad makes me appreciate the joyfulness in life all the more.
I was completely content in this physical life when Jake was alive. I had all the joy and love a person could have. I had a husband who loved me with every breath he took – there was never a day that he did not love me with this whole being. I have experienced a love that some people will never be able to experience. Then, all of a sudden, he wasn’t there anymore. I never get to hear him tell me “I love you” or “you’re beautiful.” Sure, I will get to see him again – I mean, that’s the goal in this life… striving for heaven. But, we won’t have the same relationship…. because it’s not about Jake or anyone else who has gone before us. It’s only ever been about God. He is my joy in the midst of my mourning. When I open His Word, when I close my eyes and breathe Him in around me, when I go to Him in prayer, it brings me so much joy and so much peace.
I have said this multiple times in my posts… I can choose to be bitter or better. I can choose a life of misery or a life of joy even in suffering. And, because I have felt the pangs of grief and loneliness and despair, I will choose joy every time. I have always felt my whole life that I was missing something… I was missing God being my number one. I was raised in the church; I have been incredibly blessed that I have faithful grandparents and parents. When I lost Jake, I fully realized that God needed to be a part of my every day life. He needed to be my one and only. And I needed to let go of control and let Him work. Friends, I have seen so much joy in the midst of mourning. My life has been forever changed for the better.
My challenge for myself during the rest of this Christmas season is to find joy in the midst of pain. And I challenge you to find that joy as well. It’s not about the presents or the enormous amounts of food. It’s the small things – how the lights on the houses light up the world; how families come together during this time; how people are more giving to others. So, today and tomorrow, I am going to choose to smile, and I’m going to choose joy.