Thursday, December 18, 2014

Your worst Christmas

Maybe you recall a Christmas that was simply awful—a time you were heartbroken, or homeless, or broke, or far from home, or jilted, or frightened, or sick—a time of anguish and sorrow, and life looked bleak.

You remember it as the worst Christmas ever.

But I’d like to ask you to think again.

Writing a memoir can be such a blessed project: Memoir requires taking long, deep looks at the past. Memoir involves pondering, examining, re-thinking, digging deep and finding gems we might not have known were there.
illustration in public domain

Sometimes what seems to be our biggest disaster or heartache turns out to be a blessingone we couldn’t have received without the difficulty.

Sometimes we think a calamity will destroy us but God is in the midst of our situations and, in the way only He can do it, He turns everything inside out and upside down andinstead of destroying usit makes us stronger and better.

Failures. Tangled messes. Catastrophes. Tragedies. Conflicts. Blows. Adversity. Upheavals. Disasters. Setbacks. Unwelcome surprises.

God can use our deep disappointments to get our attention,
shake us up a little,
clear our heads,
help us see we were putting our hope in something we shouldn’t,
open new doors for us,
give us new perspectives,
tenderize our souls,
and give us fresh starts.
God can do all that.

That’s what Romans 8:28 is all about: 
“…God causes everything to work together 
for the good of those who love God 
and are called according to his purpose for them.” 

A long time ago, H.C. Trumbull told this story:

“The floods washed away home and mill, all the poor man had in the world. But as he stood on the scene of his loss, after the water had subsided, brokenhearted and discouraged, he saw something shining in the bank which the waters had washed bare. ‘It looks like gold,’ he said. It was gold. The flood which had beggared him made him rich. So it is ofttimes in life.” (Quoted by Mrs. Charles E. Cowman, Streams in the Desert, January 20 selection.)

When turn-arounds and relief and solutions eventually come our way, it’s so easy to snatch them, run with them, and never look back. We too easily fail to recognize God’s loving intervention on our behalf, and we fail to recognize the good He has brought to us out of the midst of our hardships.

Take timemake time—to dig through the dirt and ashes of what you thought was your most disastrous Christmas, and mine those bits of gold.  

Search for evidence of God’s healing, new directions He provided for your life, new friends, and new hope.

Pinpoint the ways He strengthened your faith for the future.

Recognize these were all part of God’s unique plan for you and your life.

Gather all those discoveries and write memoir vignettes detailing the ways God was in the midst of your worst Christmas ever.

Write stories about the way He took a disaster or heartache and turned it inside out and upside down and turned it into something good—blessings you couldn’t have received without that difficulty. Instead of destroying you, it made you stronger and better.

If you’ll make time to do that, 
you can receive heaps of blessings.
Give it a try!

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  1. Linda, you've just reminded me of a horrendous Christmas that happened to me many years ago. So much went wrong. But the good news is God was there through it all and I had such a revelation of his goodness and protection during that difficult time. For some reason I never thought of that year to include in my vignettes for my memoir. Thanks so much and God bless you my friend!

    1. Joyful Penny, it's always so nice to hear from you! :) How typically loving it is of God to be with you during that difficult Christmas and remind you of his goodness and protection! Do write your stories from that time. I believe you will discover blessings that you might not have recognized before, and your readers will be blessed by your stories, too. Have a blessed Christmas, Penny, and thanks so much for your faithful friendship.