Do loss and disappointment characterize the holidays for you?
Last night I celebrated out with some friends. Six or seven women gathered, beckoned by one of my mentors, a woman in her seventies. Over the past 3 months she has lost her husband, sister, and a close friend. Yet in sincerity she related about what a cherished year this has been with the goodness and provision of God.
This is the same women I watched prepare and navigate through the death of her precious husband and marveled over the way they brought glory to God in the midst of sickness and death. Watching that season was like traversing on holy ground.
These past two months my friend has also trained over 350 church planting pastors in the Philippines, and toured Israel. She has poured into my life and the lives of countless other women, each of us feeling like we are her closest friend. She has a way of living with such authenticity that intimacy is forged almost instantly in her relationships.
Sometimes we forget that we bring God glory right in the midst of our pain and messy lives. Scripture teaches that God is with us as we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, not around that valley. We prove our faith in suffering, as we draw near and emerge from our losses with sincere gratitude, marveling over His mercies which are new every day.
When life is less than ideal this holiday season, remember the One who loved you first, who brings joy and meaning through every hardship. He has a way of making the worst of years, the best of years.
"We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves". (2 Corinthians 4:7 NLT)