In this season of holiday celebrations, a common tactic of the enemy that hits us as single moms is depression. Our aloneness can be highlighted by all the family gatherings and parties. We see couples together at gatherings and talking about gifts they are receiving and giving, and this can really bring a sense of isolation and feeling unloved. Our financial situations are emphasized by the extras needed to get gifts for our children and families. Some of you, like me, have had painful things happen at this time of year as well.
In my journey, Christmas in particular was also a time of great loss. My late husband David was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer on Christmas Eve of 2001. We told our kids Christmas day. My dad’s sudden death which happened on December 20th when I was 12, has caused this time of year to feel like I was sinking into sadness and quicksand of depression and isolation. These events colored my view of this time of year for years….that’s the bad news.
The good news is that the Father always wants to redeem our places of pain and loss and make the places of death come to new life like a flower in the desert. But we have to LET Him do this and ask for His perspective of our wells of despair. He did this with my story and my childrens….
Ten years ago, I began asking the Father to redeem the holidays for me and my kids. The following year, my first granddaughter was born on Christmas Day! My step-dad, Tim, had a dream a few months before her birth that she was going to be born on Christmas day as a sign of new life and hope for our places of loss…..and she was! But I had to let her be a promise of hope and joy, even though life didn’t look like what I wanted or expected. I could have continued to partner with self-pity and the colored lens of grief. But I didn’t – I opened my heart to the Father’s perspective and redemption. It was a process of coming into joy and I’m not saying there were no more tears ever this time of year…but they were minimal and I was able to quickly cross over into hope and joy and thankfulness. Here are some things I did, and you can as well, to move from isolation and sadness to joy:
Choosing to focus on thankfulness for what we do have and who is with us is just one way to help with this process.
Giving to others who are new to their loneliness is another.
We always have adopted someone who was in worse straights than us and given to them somehow.
Another way to combat the isolation is making a plan to have someone over, if no one invited us to share in their holidays.
Decorating even a little can help. Playing joyful worship or Christmas music can help.
I also have found a way in December or January to “get myself” a present to feel celebrated and to feel like I got a treat. This year it was planning several months out to buy tickets to So You Think You Can Dance. I combined it with my daughter’s 21st birthday present and it felt so good to bless myself with something that brought me joy.
I encourage you in this season – if you are lonely reach out to someone else. If you are not lonely –then reach out to someone else as well!
Father I ask that Your comfort and hope would surround the one reading this. Bring creative ideas for them in their giving to their kids, and to themselves. Heal the pain of their past. Bring springs in the desert of their isolation. Restore and renew the way that You faithfully do! In Jesus name.
This post was first seen at www.TheSingleMOMKC.org where Laurie serves as the Pastoral Director. You can read more about Laurie's work with The Single MOM KC by clicking here.