Comfort At Christmas Time

I found this article on GirlTalk.com and couldn’t help but grieve and praise God as I read it. This woman’s strength in the Lord is inspiring and really makes me think how painful and hopeless this life could be at times without the comfort and love of Christ. Just like the woman could have folded under the grief of her circumstances, with the guidance of the Lord, she chose to receive help and comfort from others even if it meant she would feel pain and sadness because she knew it was best. I also love the point where she said that people shouldn’t put a limit on the grieving process. It can take years or maybe a lifetime to fully grieve and that’s okay as long as the grief isn’t the primary objective of life. God says “there is a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:4. This year as we prepare to gather as a family for Christmas I’m sure there will be moments of sadness when we miss our loved ones that have recently passed away, but we also rejoice as we know they are in heaven and we can praise God for their life and the life we have as well.

We are very mindful that there are many people who experience grief and sadness during the Christmas season. My sister-in-law Sharon is one of them.

On July 8, 2003 Sharon lost Dave, her husband of 32 years, to a brain tumor. We all desperately miss Dave’s joy, his impeccable sense of humor, his servant’s heart, and his delicious cooking. However, the intense grief that Sharon and her five children have experienced these past two and a half years is a testimony to the love they had for Dave, and his love for them.

And yet, through this unimaginable hardship, Sharon’s faith in God’s sovereignty, wisdom, and goodness has remained strong. She has truly grieved with hope. While not a day goes by that she does not desperately miss “Her Bud” (as she and Dave would call each other) she displays a selfless strength in serving others that only comes from knowing Jesus Christ.

For this reason, we asked Sharon to share about both the pain, but more importantly the comfort she experiences at Christmastime. We pray her thoughts will provide hope to those of you who have lost a loved one. And for the rest of us, may we extend discerning care to those we know who are grieving this Christmas.

I believe there is only one answer to the question of how I experience God’s comfort at Christmastime, and that is for me to be on my knees basking in and staying grounded in the Word of God. His words touch my heart and soul, as he is the ultimate comforter. And from him come all other forms of comfort, as well.

Of course, snags are everywhere this time of year. If you’ve ever driven through the mountains, you’ve probably seen signs that read, “Beware of falling rocks.” For me as a widow, the holidays can be full of “falling rocks” in the form of that invitation or Christmas card addressed to only one name, traditions that are no longer an option, having to pass by the men’s department no longer looking for that annual sweater or tie, or even getting a whiff of my husband’s favorite cologne in the crowds of shoppers. Like a thorn on a rose pricks the finger, these reminders of a love lost prick my fragile, already bleeding heart. The challenge becomes surfacing from the pain of the past and wanting to live joyfully in the present with a hope for the future.

Although I have yet to get through the season without heartache and tears, and this will be my third Christmas without my husband, my Lord is faithful to supply the needed comfort. I should add here that I must choose to be comforted, as the temptation can be to fall into the sin of self-pity. If you are a widow, you know you can feel the pain of loneliness even when you’re in a group—even a group of family and friends. Those who help me to surface from the pain are not afraid of my sudden tears that may spill over in an instant unexpectedly, as they realize that may be the only language I can speak at the moment. They respect my need to talk at length about my current grief, or my desire not to talk at all. They give me much-appreciated hugs and tell me they care. They sometimes share remembrances of my husband that make me smile through the tears, knowing the memories may cause pain but are certainly treasured. Comfort has also come in the form of e-mails and phone calls and cards, all with words of love and encouragement. This past Sunday, I was comforted by a word shared during worship from one of the pastors with an encouragement for widows and single parents.

I think it is important to note here that we should not assume someone is no longer grieving, or not grieving as much, because a number of years have passed. I am among those who, before I became a widow, mistakenly thought that the one-year anniversary marked the end of the grieving process, that somehow things became easier and got back to “normal.” Where did that idea come from? That’s not accurate. I believe grieving is actually a gift, a good and necessary gift, a process, and a journey that, because of the depth of our love, may last until I see my Bud again. And, yes, the severity of my grieving is increased during the holidays. But as I respond to the pain and embrace with gratefulness the comforts he sends, I learn endurance and perseverance; and I realize that everything is part of the process of sanctification. And I am overwhelmed—not by my grief—but by his love for me.

Grandma Julie

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My mom called tonight to tell me my grandma Julie passed away during the night. She was 79 years old. I am comforted in knowing she was surrounded by loved ones when she passed and I pray she is singing and rejoicing in heaven. My grandpa passed away in March and I’m so glad they can be together again. I will always remember her spunky personality and that she had a huge heart and loved to spoil her loved ones. She also loved to shop, play golf, bowl, take trips to Kauai and spend time with family. I will miss her so. Thank you to everyone who said a prayer. Your love and prayers are truly a gift.
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Philippians 3:20-21 “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”
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2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
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Prayer for Grandma Julie

Friends, if you could pray along side me that would be wonderful. My Grandma Julie has had dementia for many years now, but has been stable and well cared for by my aunt (and family) and the home where she stays (My grandfather passed away this last March). My aunt informed me yesterday that my Grandma has stopped eating and drinking and is now non responsive. We have had so much loss in my family these past two years and I’m having a hard time processing it. Any and all prayers are greatly appreciated.

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Psalm 31-23:24 Love the Lord, all you his saints! The Lord preserves the faithful but abundantly repays the one who acts in pride. Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!

Lamentations 3:22-23 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Corbin Lost His First Tooth

After arriving back home from a holiday party at Luke’s work, I was getting the kids out of the car and when I looked at Corbin I noticed something and asked him to open his mouth. That’s when I saw there was a tooth missing. He is super excited about it and said “I have been waiting so long for my tooth to fall out”. That made me laugh. Since there was no achy feeling or wobbling about, I have no idea where it went or when it fell out. I’m sure he swallowed it. Ha! Now I need to figure out how much to put under his tooth. I’m thinking $1.00. Is that too much?
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Ansel Hoffman Reserve

We joined some gals from church at Ansel Hoffman Reserve for a nature walk on Friday. The kids loved hanging out with their buddies, running around, watching the deer and turkeys, jumping in puddles, throwing rocks in the river and finishing it off with hot chocolate and marshmallows.
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Fair Oaks Christmas

Here are a few photos from the parade and tree lighting in Fair Oaks on Saturday evening. It was our first activity of the season and it was so nice to sing Christmas songs and get bundled up in our winter clothes. Luke was the only one taking photos, so unfortunately he didn’t make it into one of our pictures. Oops!

AdoptionBug.com

Our long time friends, the Denly’s, are working toward adopting a girl from Russia and are in the process of raising funds. They have many ideas including a cookbook by Luke Denly, recycling and just started a fundraising site called AdoptionBug.com where you can buy T-Shirts that support their cause as well as promote adoption and awareness while you wear them. If you feel like helping a loving family get closer to their goal, please take a look at their site and maybe purchase one of these cool shirts. Thank you!!!

Right now there is a little girl in Russia waiting for her forever family. Here in California, we are waiting for our forever daughter. A mountain of money stands between us. We need your help to overcome this mountain and bring our daughter home. When you purchase a shirt from this page, you are affirming that every child deserves a family and you are helping one child in particular to join hers. Thank you for your support! To learn more about our journey, please visit our blog.




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