12 Days of Christmas… Finding Your Christmas Joy in the Midst of Recovery.

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Joy

12 Days of Christmas my true love gave to me…stop right there.  As I walked through my mall during the Christmas Holidays of 2012, the last thing I wanted to hear was what my true love gave to me. That Christmas I received gifts of post traumatic stress disorder, panic attacks, anxiety, thoughts of suicide, mis-trust, doubt, fear, and endless statements scrolling through my head all starting with “what if”.  Christmas time is not supposed to be like that!

Christmas–the happiest time of year.  Christmas is when all about the world, in the world should be right.  Christmas, the time of year when all about our lives, in our lives should be right, right?  We want the Norman Rockwell picture of life.  Unfortunately, we know we live in a fallen and sin filled world where all is not right and our lives are far from perfect.

So…at Christmas, if all is not right, if your life is not perfect, where do you find your joy?

What if it’s even more than not having the perfect life?  What if you are in the midst of a storm with waves of doubt, anxiety, fear and panic toppling over you?  How do you even begin to keep your head above the water and find joy at Christmastime?

I know where you are.  For the woman or man looking for their missing joy and are reading my simple words, know that you are not alone, I have been there and you can find joy!

Dear friend in the remaining words here I’m gong to try to give you my best tips in finding your Christmas joy in the midst of recovery. Here are 12 tips that are my “12 Days of Christmas” gifts to you.  I hope they will help you find joy in the midst of your storm and find true never ending joy through relationship with Jesus Christ!

1.  A Partridge in a Pear Tree:

Remember that your true love should be the Lord first. Jesus does not fail you.

Deuteronomy 31:8 says,

“The Lord is the one who will go before you.  He will be with you;  he will not leave you or forsake you.  Do not be afraid or discouraged.

2.  Two Turtle Doves:

Find comfort in the word of God, seek his word for guidance and direction.

Psalm 119:105

“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.”

3.  Three French Hens:

Faith, Hope & Love.  Have faith your heavenly father will see you through the storm.  Have hope that with each day you will discover more and more joy.  Love like you have never loved before and not the outer man but the inner soul, the very part of you that your heavenly father looks at.  We have to love like Jesus.

1 Corinthians 13:13

“Now these three remain:  faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love”.

4.  Four Calling Birds:

Try not to question the past, although this seems about near impossible at times!  I found even pulling out old Christmas ornaments could quickly send me into a tearful fit as I questioned was any of our previous years of marriage real? Were these memories really what I thought they were? Was it all fake?  Focus on what God has given you right now.  Cling to this verse… we did!  Thank him that he has brought you this far and believe that he can make all things NEW!

Isaiah 43:18-19

18 “Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

5.  Five Golden Rings:

Remember that we all have sinned.  Begin forgiving.  Try to forgive the best you can and ask Jesus to help you the rest of the way.  You have to start somewhere and besides Jesus will not forgive your sins if you can’t forgive.  Sister, brother, I don’t want to take that risk!

Psalm 32:1 says, “Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.”

6.  Six geese a laying:

Layout plans.  Make plans to make new memories this year.  Seize the moment, it is the Holiday’s so we might as well take part!  If you have family or children close by take new pictures in new places and maybe even start some new Christmas traditions.

7.  Seven Swans a Swimming:

Don’t just swim.  Dive in deep.  Really submerge yourself with the distractions of the season and allow the Holiday to take your mind off other things even if for a minute it could be just the escape you need.

Take time to remember why we celebrate Christmas.  We celebrate Christmas to remember that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ came to earth, to walk this earth, to struggle and go through every temptation we could ever imagine and then travel a grueling road to the cross where he died for you and me forgiving us of all our sins–a gift of redemption.  Remember why we celebrate.

8.  Eight Maids of Milking:

Stop and think, remember your calls as a daughter and son of Christ.  Matthew 5:3-4 says, ““Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Remember our goal as a Christian Daughter or Son is to show Christ’s love, even for the sorry excuse of a sailor that threw us out in the middle of our storm.  Verse 7 of Matthew 5 says, “The merciful are blessed for they will be shown mercy”.

9.  Nine Ladies Dancing:

Claim your joy.  Speak it.  Proclaim it.  Expect it! Why? Expect it because your God is Able!

Ephesians 3:20-21New International Version (NIV)

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

10.  Ten Lord’s a Leaping:

It is Christmas time and you have to know you are not the only one hurting.  Find the hurting, leap into someone else’s hurt and see if you can be a blessing in the middle of their storm.  Nothing brings joy like being used by the father, your Lord and Savior. The word says that what you do for the least you have done for him!

11.  Eleven Pipers Piping:

Think about his faithfulness!   Ask Jesus to provide.  Ask him to comfort you, lean in and press into your heavenly father like never before.  Psalm 94:19 says, “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”

12.  Twelve Drummer’s Drumming:

There is not just one beat of a drum there are multiple, repeated, continuous beats going on and on and on.  Know and remember, rest in that there will be more Christmas times, more Holidays and although this one might feel like the hardest one and most hurtful one in your entire life, you get a re-do, you get another, God loves you and that it will be different next time!

Additionally, as each of us get this opportunity every year to celebrate this time of year, let’s remember the storm and struggle that Jesus went though on earth.  He came to earth and we celebrate this, but his life was not easy.  Jesus came here and experienced every temptation that we have yet was perfect.  He achieved perfection yet the plan for his life was to eventually die on the cross for your and my sins so that we could have eternal life beyond this old stormy world.  There is joy in the Lord my friend, find your joy in him.

James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Trust ultimately in God. Find your joy in him.  Trust that he has a plan and purpose during this hard “Christmas season” of life.  Find true joy in him.

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

 

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