Friday, December 12, 2014

An Anniversary and a Christmas Letter

Getting to the one-year mark of my husband's passing and Christmas Eve all at one time is pretty overwhelming, I must say. Any time I have thought about describing how I've been feeling over the last few weeks, it really seems best summed up by the post I wrote at the six-month point--In the Middle of the Mess (All This Glory). I guess it's appropriate since one of the quotes I referenced mentioned how grief can have partial recurrences that make you wonder if you might be right back where you've already been and thought you had come through. Truthfully at times it feels like this season is the deepest grief I've experienced yet, although it's hard to really judge and compare as grief is such a complex entanglement of emotions, lots of back and forth, and not really much of anything like you'd think it would be or what people try to tell you.

However, in the midst of all of it, I want to remember the Reason for hope, the Source of true peace and joy, and the Reason to celebrate this season, even through tears. I decided to write a letter to include in some Christmas cards this year, and thought I would share it here as well. If you are taking the time to read this, please know that YOU are someone I am thanking God for as well, and this letter is for you, too. It means so much that you would share in my heart poured out onto a computer screen.

Dear friends and family,

I wanted to write to each of you to share a little of what’s on my heart in this season. Truthfully I had been thinking I wouldn’t be able to send Christmas cards this time, and surely if ever there were a year when people would understand if I didn’t, it would be this year. But I wanted to write to you for two main reasons:

First of all, I want to say THANK YOU for being such a blessing to us! Whether you have been close to Verlin, to me, or to both of us, your influence has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated. I hate that it may not seem personal for you to get this as a type-written paper, but please know if you are reading this, I am thanking God for something personal and specific with you. Every visit, every card, every phone call or message, every person attending the visitation and/or funeral, every prayer, every hug, and every act of kindness have all been so meaningful to me, and I have felt inadequate in expressing thanks.  As difficult as this year has been and still is, maybe even more so right now, each expression of love and encouragement has touched my heart so deeply and uplifted my spirits with thanksgiving in my soul for you. Never think for a moment that a small act of kindness or word of encouragement can’t make a huge difference—it does!

Secondly, and even more importantly, I feel that remembering and sharing the greatest Gift we have been given is so vital in this season. In the midst of the most difficult grief and sorrow, we can have comfort because God sent His Son, Emmanuel, to be God with us, the Prince of Peace. Those aren’t just words. They are truths that flood my heart and bring hope, worship, and even joy to my soul. That doesn’t mean there aren’t tears and sadness, and plenty of them… but it does mean that this is not all there is. The hope that we have because of the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ is worth celebrating and sharing in every season.

So I am praying for each of you to know the peace, love, hope, and joy of our Savior in this holiday season and throughout the New Year. Please keep me in your prayers as well. I am thankful for you!

                                                                                                Blessings in Christ,

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, 
and the government will be on his shoulders. 
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  (Isaiah 9:6)