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My Christmas Wish
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Holiday time is always tough and tender because it holds so many memories for us all. There is a certain indefinable emptiness about returning home, or facing the holidays now. I assume that it often comes from the reality of life without some of the people who shared time with us in the past, or the addition of newcomers that still do not feel like family. I have to acknowledge that I miss grandparents, Mom, cousins, and old neighbors and friends. I trust that some of that will change with the addition of grandchildren someday.

I believe that midlife is especially challenging because it can be a real time of disappointment--the reality of our own consequences in marriages and careers, our spiritual lives, and our parents and children's outcomes. However, God can and does use all of that to make us into the people who can glorify Him. I remember how deeply hurt and separated I have felt from loved ones if they insinuated or commented that I had a defective mate or child—that somehow I had failed in my ability to make choices or to make them proud.

If Only...

So often, I must hurt because I still believe that my children's choices somehow reflect a failure of my own—if only I had prepared better meals, not worked/worked more, etc. I would look so much better to the world and to God if my young adults would just get their acts together! Perhaps I still believe that my child deserves a better spouse, or a better in-law, or a better job, etc. Yet I really do not want to convey that to my children and I pray that God will help me to show love and grace with my tone of voice and expectations.

It is so easy to drive people away where there is no chance to influence or show love. I can spend so much energy being upset about what behaviors family members choose, but God wants their hearts and love. The rest is not worth anything until He has their hearts. I am part of a support group where we read books and discuss life’s hurts. I love these passages from Healing is a Choice, by Stephen Arterburn: "If you want that peace, embrace your life. Drop your anger and bitterness over the way life is, and embrace it. Don't deny the reality of your life or attempt to rationalize it away. Embrace it and take up your life as it is. Give up the old life you thought you had or needed or deserved, and embrace what is before you... You may be holding on to something you were never meant to have, or holding on to a life you were never meant to live. Adjust your expectations, embrace the life you have, and discover what God can make of it--mistakes and all." *

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By Karen Spruill, M.A. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

*Arterburn, Stephen: Healing is a Choice, pages 116-117. Nelson Books, Nashville, TN, 2005.

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