In my distress I called upon the Lord,
And cried to my God for help;
He heard my voice out of His temple,
And my cry for help before Him came into His ears.
~ Psalm 18:6
With the approaching holidays, I have found myself spending a lot of time this past week crying out for God’s help. And while He knows the plans He has for my life, I certainly wish I understood them more clearly!
My grandmother was the oldest of 10 children and right now I have somewhere close to 150-175 relatives. However, my immediate family consists of just my self and my parents, and that is the hard part. I always imagined that I would be the mother of a large family of about 6-8 boys. Don’t ask me why, because I couldn’t tell you! And, since my biological clock has only ticked about a total of 5 days in my entire life, I just figured that my large family would happen via adoption or from marrying someone with a lot of kids (i.e. think “The Sound of Music,” which is one of my favorite movies!). As I write this, however, I am still single, with no marital prospects on the horizon!
When I was growing up, the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) were always a time of large family gatherings. Thanksgiving usually took place at my grandmother’s house. She would invite the 6 brothers and sisters (and their families) that lived in the area over for dinner, so there were often 15 to 20 of us squeezed around card tables in her living and dining room! And, like just about every other family in America, we also had a “kid’s table!” Then, before the food was served, my cousin Edith and I used to go around switching everyone’s nametags and it drove my grandmother nuts! It was loud, it was chaotic, the food was amazing and I loved every minute of it.
Christmas Day was usually the same. At noon, my parents and I would go over to my grandma’s house and have Christmas dinner with she and my grandpa. Then, later in the day, the rest of the family came over for (left-over) turkey sandwiches and dessert, after which the men would go play cards, the women would clean up, and the kids would compare Christmas gifts.
Sadly, all of that came to an end in 1988 when both of my grandfathers died – one from cancer (at Easter) and the other from suicide (the day before Thanksgiving), making that season a very difficult holiday for all of us. And for some reason this year, I am also finding myself in the same place of sadness and depression.
In my head I know that I have a LOT to be thankful for, and that even though my immediate family is very small we are truly blessed. I also know that “the reason for the season” has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with the birth of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. However, at the moment that knowledge still does not take away the pain and sadness I am struggling with right now, as I think about the fullness of joy of holidays past.
So as I head into this holiday season, I will continue to cry out to the One who knows the path He has chosen for my life; begging Him to take away my sadness and feelings of loneliness, and fill me with the joy of His Presence on a daily basis.