I sit here tonight with a thankful changed heart. When I started writing and sharing pieces it was so people didn’t feel alone. I am sharing in a different posture tonight, from palace of gratitude and thankfulness on the changes from last year, on the changes from 2 years ago. It is amazing and a testimony to what God is doing and how he is growing my heart. That is something worth sharing and celebrating.
I started this season off dreading Christmas because it means that the day that changed my life is closer, it means everything seems to remind me of that day and memories flood my mind. Has that been happening, yes, but this year it is different. This year, God is allowing me to take Christmas back. See, this time last year I was not sleeping, panicked, and coping with it in some unhealthy ways. This time, I have not utilized my unhealthy coping mechanisms Have I been tempted? Absolutely, but I haven’t, and have chosen healthy alternatives instead. That in itself is a miracle, a sign of growth.
There are amazing people in my life. They don’t just tolerate me, they love me and accept me right where I am. In the middle of a bad day, when I am filled with doubt, with tears, in panic, and everything else, they come alongside and encourage me through love. It has been late nights, listening to rambles about thoughts, and irrational fears, but they jumped in with both feet and came to the middle of the storm with me, they didn’t just toss me a life preserver and say swim in. I am blessed by the number of people that I have in my life on my side, I have family and friends who are fighting for me right alongside me and I have not had to do this journey alone.
I want to share about one special person, Rachel, the story of how we really became close happens because of all of this. A friend asked can I talk to Rachel about what happened so I have someone to talk to about this. I said sure, I only knew Rachel from watching her 3 adorable kiddos for a summer, but we didn’t talk much at all. After my friend talked to her, I got a text from her saying if I wanted to talk she was there and we could get coffee. I took her up on that, mostly because I thought it would be nice to have someone who I didn’t know well and who didn’t know me well to talk to a little. We went had coffee, and talked. Little did we know what that started. The ease and ability to share drew me back. There wasn’t any other reason. We started talking more and more, I shared more and more. Pretty soon, Rachel was taking calls in the middle of the night in the middle of some of my worst panic, in the moments of sheer desperation where I was sure nothing could ever get any better. In the times that I was ready to give up, or when I was panicked and anything but sober. She stuck by me through it all, through the almost 2 full years now. Never once did she give up, there was nothing but encouragement, compassion and a whole lot of grace. I know that it was God that brought us together. I never would have thought a cup of coffee would lead our relationship to where it is today. Where I have gained a sister, a spiritual mentor, and some adorable minions that I love. All because she wasn’t afraid to be in the storm with me, even if it was the same storm over and over at times. That is how crazy God is, he had a plan and in his timing in his own way brought us together. And I know that because of his hand in it, this is a unique, treasured relationship that shows me what it means to do real life with someone. For that, I can celebrate.
That is one way God has provided. And there are many more ways he has. He sent his one and only son to die for me, so that I may live freely with the promise of Heaven. That is reason enough to celebrate and to look forward to Christmas. He promised peace and joy. And those are not feelings. And because they are a promise from God I know that those things will be fulfilled. Feeling are temporary, they change, but God’s promise is constant. My feelings will change, the anger, frustration, and hurt will remain but that doesn’t mean joy is gone. I can be upset and still look forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus. Those things can co-exist, the struggle doesn’t just disappear. I have a God who loves me, provides for me, and has blessed me despite my feelings. It is because of God’s provision and benevolence that I can say: Christmas is about the birth of Jesus and that celebration and he doesn’t get to take that away from me. That is what it means to go from victim to conqueror.