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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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A New Birth-9 Months Later

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Seedling

“A New Birth – 9 Months Later”

“By his own choice he gave us a new birth by the message of the truth so that he would be the first fruits of his creatures.” James 1:18

When most people hear nine months, they think of babies, new births and the wonderful months that lead up to that birth.  When I hear nine months I think of how nine months ago our world changed.  More than just a change of not knowing to knowing or from living in denial of what I thought our marriage was to wishing I still was in denial. It was a change of the heart that began in both my husband and I. This change of heart began amidst the hurt, agony and disbelief. This change of heart began despite what was happening in our marriage and despite what had happened.

Our Lord promises us in his word that he will give us new birth and not just any new birth but specifically new birth by the message of the truth. I love what the HCSB notes say about this verse.
“Message of truth refers to the gospel by which new birth comes. First fruits refer to the best that the harvest produces. God gives us good gifts that yield wondrous fruit, not temptation that leads to death through wayward desires.”  Praise him!

After that August 12th Sunday morning my husband and I found ourselves flat on our face before our heavenly father. We began (I don’t know how-I know this was a God thing) the next morning in the word and prayer together and have for the last 247 days (9 Months).
What if we had not fallen on our face before God together? What if we would have not went to the Truth (the Word) and prayer? Would we have encountered new birth? Would we have seen the hand of God begin to restore our dead and broken marriage?
August 5th, five days later God gave us Isaiah 43:18-19, we actually both wear this

verse on a leather bracelet every day.  Here is what he said.

“Do not remember the past events (oh my …so hard), pay no attention to things of old.  Look I’m about to do something new, even now it is coming.  Do you not see it?  Indeed I will make a way in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”

When I read this verse now I shudder at the sheer magnificence and authoritative way God started working in our lives and marriage.  He was telling us that morning that he was in control.

Does the Lord want to give you a new birth, a new life?  I implore you to fall flat on your face, laying it all down and asking him to take control.  It started that day and has been a process for us, but a journey that I’m so glad we are on.  How sad it would be if we were still drawing away from each other and Christ. 

1 Peter 1:3 says, “Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ according to his great mercy, he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 

We are guaranteed new life through Jesus Christ our Lord! We all are!

I’m praising hiss all day long for what he has done, is doing and will do in our marriage and for that matter anyone’s life that will totally surrender.  Because of the cross my husband doesn’t have to live any longer with sexual addiction, my marriage didn’t have to continue on the road to destruction.  Remember what 1 Peter 1:3 says, “…God gives us good gifts that yield wondrous fruit, not temptation that leads to death through wayward desires.”   Hallelujah we are not chained to our addictions but have new life through the message and a new birth into living hope because of the cross! 

Last thought for today:

I love the song “Restore” by Chris August, it has resonated with me in such a special way.

“…But right now if their being honest

They don’t know if they’ll stay together

Let’s fast forward to the future

After struggling on their own

They finally figured out they needed

Jesus in the middle

Now I’m watching God rebuild their home.

The enemy tries to come and divide

Trying to get us to give up the fight

But darkness will always lose out to light

Cause we’ve got the power of Christ on our side…”

 

Continued Journal Entries:

9-16-2012:  Today I heard a story about a Ugandan woman named Mercy.  I learned of how hard her life has been.  I feel like the Lord is saying your life could be so much harder.  My family is all alive and well, move forward with me child and truly live out the life I have for you.  I feel like the Lord is saying to me that I’ve been trying to live as a Christian with no dialogue, no true relationship… sad thing is…he’s right.

9-17-2012:  Today God gives us Colossians:13, 23-25, Here and in many places in the bible God talks about forgiving, just as forgave us…..THIS IS HARD! HELP! All over Ephesians, Mathew, Luke, Colossians it talks of this.

9-19-2012:  I’ve come to an empty place…Wilderness within my soul. It does not satisfy me anymore…I have to follow after God’s own heart.  It’s all been lip service, one day I want to be able to tell of his faithfulness. I’m now broken beyond recognition, we are not the same people, we are God’s not Satan’s.

9-21-2012:  Today I have to leave town for work for the first time overnight since all this happen.  Dear Lord please give me peace while gone. 

9-24-2012:  Today I’m better than yesterday and better than the day before only by the grace of my loving Jesus…he is truly my strength.  Today is my birthday.  Psalm 16:1,2,5,8

9-25-2012:  I love being in bible study with my husband, however I look over often at times and get MAD…MAD at what he did…I can’t even begin to describe how I still feel a little over a month out now.  I feel very alone sometimes.  Psalm 23:4 really spoke to me today.

9-26-2012:  I have been amazed at how close I have felt to my King but it comes from constant communication… something I’ve never had before.  Philippians 4:19, There is only one hero…We all need to be rescued… His name is JESUS!  There’s no perfect man or woman… We all have imperfections that we bring into our marriages. Genesis 2:20 and 3:7-15.  Adam and eve were pulling away because of the sin that was in their life. It was affecting their marriage.  WE are all sinful and self-centered. There is no perfect person.  It’s something that we have to realize every day… It’s not just about my husband changing it’s about us both changing.  I had built up so much resentment…yet I was so far from God myself.  We had become roommates totally.  I had pushed things under the rug for so long…that’s what the devil wanted… he wanted us to stop talking.  I believe in his redemption, his renewal and his transformation.  If we are connecting to God it will connect everywhere…I need to stop worrying about him and make sure my relationship with Christ is the first priority.  Holiness is the goal for us together, that’s the purpose of our marriage now!  Ephesians 5:22-32,  this should provide freedom.  Jesus designed marriage to make us more holy not happy.

9-28-2012:  It’s hard for me to read John 8.  To see the word adulterer.  I am thankful though that God is a God of second chances.  I love that he loves my husband and that he cares for our marriage. I love that we can lean on our heavenly father.