I’m standing in line at the checkout with my 4 kids as Christmas tunes are played over the intercom. The only thing I had in mind to accomplish was to purchase much needed toilet paper…and my patience was growing thin. Shopping carts crammed full with toys and treats lined the aisles and the lyrics screaming a Holly Jolly Christmas were spinning violently in my head.
In that moment… nothing at all was JOLLY.
My eyes were heavy from lack of sleep and a never-ending to-do list in hand, I stood there in the checkout line feeling desperate to hold myself together. I could feel the tears falling helplessly down my cheeks as my 8-year-old pokes me with another item that he wants to “add to his Christmas list.”
There’s just something about Christmas that turns everything upside down. What’s supposed to be a joyous celebration of Jesus becomes a horrid reminder of all that is lacking in life. The Christmas cards trickle in with happy smiling families, Facebook friends sharing pictures of holiday parties that I’ll never get to attend, and carols buzz on about the perfect and wonderful life that everyone but me seems to have.
It’s funny how easily we convince ourselves that everything else in the world is absolutely perfect when everything in OUR world is absolutely unbearable. If we could stop even for a second to see the truth, it would be so very obvious that suffering and pain is no stranger to the holiday season. Lost loved ones, financial trouble, family drama, serious illnesses and so many other circumstances find themselves ever more devastating this time of the year. Despite the image that is portrayed, everyone does not have a Martha Stewart Christmas tree that they will gather around singing carols with a whole and healthy family.
But sometimes, it just feels that way. This is such a hard struggle that many single parents share. It’s true. Sometimes it feels like we are swimming upstream in a gutter.
Standing there in the check-out line I was reminded that while the circumstances might be overwhelming and the temptation to slip into despair was stronger every minute, God is fully in control.
SO HOW CAN A SINGLE MOM FIND PEACE IN THE DARK CIRCUMSTANCES?
Despite the busyness, we cannot neglect to spend quality time for ourselves. A nice bubble bath after the kids have drifted off to sleep, a cup of tea as we sit down to read our favorite book, or simply sitting in the silence having a moment to think.
For some, meditating on Scripture is the only way to can keep the mind focused on God. Find a few verses that speak to you and write them down. Post them where you can see them or keep them in your purse/pocket. When Jesus was facing persecution by the lies of Satan, He fought back with Scripture.
Count Your blessings
It probably goes without saying that if we focus on what we lack, it will consume us. Our focus must be on the blessings that we do have. I know what it’s like when being thankful is hard. I have lived those moments when it seems like there absolutely cannot be a single positive thought to have. And I’ve learned that the enemy convinces us to stay there. Yes, the days might be dark and the bills might pile high. The storm might rage on and our hearts might bleed raw. BUT…we are still blessed. There is still light at the end of the tunnel. Reach out to your support system. If you don’t have one, get one! AMHH
This year, serving is the focus of our Christmas festivities through 12 Days of Random Acts of Christmas Kindness. Tomorrow begins RAK for AMHH. Be on the lookout, you just might see us spreading some cheer!
After all, long after the latest toys are broken and shoved under the bed, the memories that we make with our children will be treasured in their hearts! Let’s go make some memories this Christmas, shall we?