Tag Archives: joy after loss

Part 2: How to Make Holidays More Joyful

when-youre-in-pain_-how-to-make-holidays-more-joyful-2Last week, I listed five very basic, non-festive ways to find more peace and joy during the upcoming holidays if you’re dealing with loss or a difficult season of life. This time I want to focus on how to get through the celebrations, parties, gifting, and busy schedule on the low energy you may be feeling.

1. Simplify your calendar.

Another way of saying this is: Choose your events wisely.

Do not overload your schedule. While this may be great advice during any holiday season, it is especially important when you are feeling depleted, sad, or stressed. You do not have to see The Nutcracker, attend your neighbor’s open house, or participate in five Secret Santas or white elephant gift exchanges just because you have in past years.

You also do not need to focus on anyone else’s expectations or worry about letting people down. If they are true relationships, they will have grace for your “free pass” year. Introvert or extrovert, you only have so much energy to go around when your strength is spent right now getting through the day to day.

While some people may not understand because their expectation levels do not match your reality at the moment, this is a good way for them to learn to respond with grace to those who are hurting. Or maybe you need space from people with inflexible demands right now. Either way, do not carry the extra weight around of pleasing other people.

Because I’m introverted, I limited my holidays outings to two occasions last year between Thanksgiving and Christmas: an open house at a friend’s house and a women’s Christmas tea. I also cancelled my involvement in Small Business Saturday at my church and a meal at someone else’s home. It was the best thing I could have done for myself. I had the enthusiasm for a few events, even though they were difficult because my father’s passing was still fresh.

I remember wanting to return home after the first five minutes at the open house because I met some very outgoing people who wanted to engage at a high intellectual level when I really just wanted to sit in the comforting presence of a few people I knew and sip something warm. I am very glad I made myself go, but I am also thankful I graciously stopped the conversation to be with low-engaging folks in the other room. I just needed to be with people, so I didn’t isolate, but I had no ability to fake holiday cheer.

Hebrews 10:24-25, ESV

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. 

2. Be a minimalist in décor.

I have teens and a tween at home. Skipping all holiday décor was not a Read the rest of this entry »


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

When Holidays Are Painful

when-holidays-are-painful-3It was a dreary, overcast day when I pulled into the parking lot at the counseling center in New Hampshire. I had made the 40-minute trip so many times before, almost on autopilot, but this time it had been about eight weeks since my last visit. I knew we were approaching November, the month that shook me down—several times in my life, actually. Around this time last year, I thought I’d be spending the rest of my life in fetal position crying out to God from under the covers; the devastation of loss and grieving without a funeral where family could gather to comfort one another almost did me in.

So I walked into the nurse’s office, sat down, and must have looked very tired. She asked me how I was and kept staring intently as if she didn’t believe me when I said I was doing well.

“It’s closing in on the first anniversary of your father’s death, you know. How are you preparing for that?”

Um, yeah, so I’m not, really. I’ve done everything I can to push it out of my head. As Thanksgiving approaches and I remember how shut out I felt this time last year from holding his hand one last time as he lost consciousness, I just want to skip past all holidays and land on January 1, 2017. (I wouldn’t mind skipping Election Day either. Let’s just try again this time next year, shall we? Restart?)

You see, November and I go way back.

We got off to a good start when I started dating my husband (now of 23 years) on November 18, 1990.

Almost two decades later, circumstances derailed me. In the midst of significant depression Read the rest of this entry »


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Where Is God When Your Child Dies?

Where Is God When Your Child DiesToday, I am very excited to once again feature guest blogger Tammie Wommack. She is a dear friend of mine and has regularly contributed to a series on Espressos of Faith: Guest Bloggers: Sharing More Stories of Hope and Courage.

Her continuing message of hope, healing, and even joy as she wades through the wreckage of losing her son in 2008 ministers and encourages in such significant ways. I’ve decided to dedicate an entire category to her story: Tammie’s Story: Child Loss and Suicide. My heart’s desire is that others in pain discover Tammie’s story and find healing in her words.

Yesterday was the 7th anniversary since her son Joshua left this world. I met Tammie right as these walls in her life came crashing down. God’s purposes for Tammie continue to be lived out as she and her husband Rick submit to being willing vessels of healing and ministry to others. The road has not been easy, but I love that Tammie asks the hard questions—the ones nobody wants to admit they ask—and she does it in writing for all of us to see how she works through them and how her faith informs her with an inexplicable peace amidst an unimaginable sorrow.

We post this blog today in honor of Joshua and all who suffer with suicidal thoughts. The internal battle is real, and the devastation they leave behind is significant. They are not forgotten. We also post this today to reach the hurting family members trying to make their way. May your pain find a voice in Tammie’s honest and vulnerable words, and may you know the healing balm she has found in her faith in Christ.

And now, here’s Tammie. May her words bring you peace, encourage faith in Christ, and/or offer a breath of help to your shared journey of repairing shattered hearts. Feel free to leave her a comment. She wants to connect with you. Read the rest of this entry »


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: