Wednesday, December 21, 2011

When the Magic Dies

The magic of Christmas has inspired and wow-ed me ever since I was a little girl.

Anticipating Santa.
Singing Christmas carols.
Counting the days until we would fly from our balmy island home to the chilly winter winds, where our Maryland family would be waiting with open arms.

And then of course, the picking out, cutting down, & trimming of our REAL, live tree, the playing of the newest gifted board game with our cousins on Christmas day, exchanging gifts like socks & underwear, which you had to show to all, aunts, uncles, and grandparents alike because, well, it's tradition; and so much more.

The wonder.
The awe.
The beauty.
It never seemed to wane for me, year after year, and while it changed as I grew into adulthood, my eyes still sparkled with this -- my favorite time of the year.

Until last year.
Last year, when I found myself childless {for another year}; on an indefinite sabbatical from 10 years of full time ministry; dealing with over 3 years of increasing chronic pain with no end or solution in sight; in the wake of recovering from the fear of almost losing my parents in the Haiti earthquake; and isolated from friends and family because of distance in miles, in some cases, and because of distance in hearts with others.

My parents returned back from Haiti for the holidays, and my mom and I traveled to our traditional shopping haunts, and all of the feelings that I had been holding at bay, like a dam on the brink of bursting, slammed through my carefully guarded walls and I sobbed to my mother.

I told her that I did not feel needed.
I spoke about how I felt insignificant and how I had no purpose.
I shared how empty my arms and heart felt with no little one to share my usual, boundless, IMMEASURABLE joy of Christmas with and how I wondered if I could ever feel the same again.

I cried, "I want to WANT to give up!! Why is God so cruel to give me this strong will to fight in spite of myself, but with no answers, no solutions, no change, no tangible appearance of His precious promises."

To say that I was undone would have been an understatement.
My mother grieved along with me as tears ran down her face, lined with worry and stress at seeing her sensitive little girl all grown up and struggling through these real life heart breaks.

I hated hurting her with my emotional outburst.
I wanted to protect her. She wanted to protect me.
I could only imagine what she felt as a mother seeing her child suffer with nothing she could do...and as hard and difficult as this may sound, I felt even angry at being denied the opportunity to sit and to cry and to love and to lift up in prayer, my own children.

I truly felt dead inside, like I had found the bottom of my heart -- the deep, dark, hidden place that no one likes to go because the pain there is lonely and without tangible words.

Gradually, the Lord lifted me.
Like He does.
And carried me through Christmas.
Like only He could.

And now it is Christmas again.
Just a few days away, in fact.

My longing mother heart is still longing.
My arms still feel the weight of emptiness with a palpable strain.

And yet, something is different.
This year has been a year of healing, a year of soothing broken places,
A year of the REDEEMED.

Do not get me wrong.
The ache never goes away.
Not quite.
Moments that others take for granted.
Words spoken without a thought.
Memories made simply as part of tradition.
Hearing and seeing them still sting....

Yet, this year, as I unwrap Jesus, and His heart for me and Arno, for our parents, for the world, I ask Him to help me see with His eyes, to be gracious like His heart, to give generously from my own need.

There is a strange sense of hope that I have
In spite of the reality
In spite of the circumstances in front of me
In spite of the voice of fear inside of me -- "What if you get hurt again?"
In spite of ME...

I see Him.

And maybe, just maybe...seeing Him is the real magic of Christmas for me this year.

Life: Unmasked


Betty said... Best Blogger Tips


Reading this today has touched me deeply! I can't say I know what you have felt. I am so very glad, though, that God is restoring you. Thank you, Jesus!!! I love you dearly and it hurts to read of your pain knowing I can't help you. I always want to help those I love but most of the time the best help is prayer!!! Often, it is the ONLY thing I can do!! Please know that I do pray for you and Arno and am here for you if you need a listening ear!! There are great things from God ahead for you. He loves you so very much. He has not and will not ever leave you. I am glad you are strong and won't give up!!  It is very hard to see your child suffering. I do know that as a mother! So, I do understand how your mom feels. She won't give up praying for you! There is power in prayer, especially from a praying mom! I love you, girl. Thank you for sharing from you heart!

Melanie Cantelmo said... Best Blogger Tips

That was so beautiful. I'll be praying for you. It is so hard to be excited when you're going through a hard time. We are too. But He carries us through!

Annie | said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you for sharing your heart, in process and still aching and hoping growing and letting it all muddle together in the mess of the beautiful and broken world, Lindsey.  You are a gift, friend.

JeriT said... Best Blogger Tips

This is beyond amazing! Such beauty in your words as you share what's deep inside you. What you share here ministers healing to past part of my heart.

I'm in the same "redeemed" place as you are. I'll share your pain and your joy in praise.

Kristine McGuire said... Best Blogger Tips

So beautiful in your honesty. Thank you for this gift.

JamieCartright said... Best Blogger Tips

All I can add is a quiet and reverent "Amen". Well said, Lindsey,

Meredith said... Best Blogger Tips

I don't know if everyone who reads your writing feels it, but my soul feels this visceral, tangible connection to you.

I was weeping through the reading of this, aching with you, and longing to be a part of your support system... in whatever way I can.

Thank you for this gift - - sharing your heart, and the pain, and the beautiful way that He is bringing you back to joy.

Always you are in my prayers.

Christina Gilliland said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh how I love this...I am there with you in the raw state of pain...questioning, why! I love that you still give yourself permission to say, "Don't get me wrong. The ache never goes away." You are showing such strength to me. You are helping to grow my faith. You are showing me Christ this season. Thankful for you!

Kim said... Best Blogger Tips

How wonderful when the Savior makes beauty in the ashes.  Thank you for sharing your pain and touching others.  Beautiful, beautiful  heart felt words that touched me in the depths of my spirit; For anyone who has cried out "why?" and not recieved answers but instead felt God's presence in the pain, this post resonates and fills us with hope.  The potter uses broken pieces to make beautiful (AND USEFUL!) vessels!!

Stephanie said... Best Blogger Tips

Redeemed. Such a wonderful word - especially when experienced, when lived. 

Thanks for sharing your heart, your words, your encouragement, your life.

May it be a very Merry Christmas for you...and a "best year yet" in 2012.

WhatThisGirlLearns said... Best Blogger Tips

This is so beautifully written, although my heart also breaks at the hurt you have gone through. I am glad you are experiencing some healing. And I also understand about hurt not completely being gone. Wonderful post. I also started following you on Twitter. :)

Jennifer Camp said... Best Blogger Tips

Lindsey, your vulnerability is stunning and powerful.  I am absolutely captivated by your post, your words, your heart.  I stand with you, in prayer, dear one.  Love to you.

Hilary Sherratt said... Best Blogger Tips

Lindsey - it seems like everyone has already told you this, but your writing is beautiful, and the story you tell makes me ache to give you a hug, somehow, across these miles. Thank you for your reminder that however much fear and ache and hurt is inside us, when we look at Him, He carries us. I'm so glad that I came by. Blessings on you. 

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh, I feel and receive it Hilary all the way to the heart of me! Thank you. It is hard to express how much it means when people take the time to come along side me and encourage me in this journey. I truly appreciate it!

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you, honor me with your words. I am truly touched. Thank you immensely for your prayers.

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you for coming here, stopping here, sharing here. It means the world to me to know that I do not walk alone.  I look forward to further walking our paths together...even if in just small ways.

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you, my friend! I am so THRILLED to have "found" you in this journey!! Hope that you all had a beautiful holiday season!!

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh I am sorry! I do not know what your hard time is, but my heart is reaching out to you. Sorrow and pain understand each other even in different circumstances.  Thank you for taking the time to comment.

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

As are ME! Thank you....

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

I am so thankful to hear that it ministers to you too....sharing together...through both joy and pain...that is what true connection is, right? Thank you!

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow...thank YOU for putting it that way. You bless me.

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you, my friend. Thank you.

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

And you are, in ways that you may not even now, supporting me, encouraging me, lifting means the world!
Thank you!

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

Thank you so much, Sis Betty! You are SO kind and sweet and your prayers are just such a blessing to me! I think you for your heart to always love and give and extend grace!

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

I am here. Albeit far in miles. Close in heart.

Thank you....for your words....

lindseyfoj said... Best Blogger Tips

Hope...I thank God that you can sense that here. Beauty in the ashes....Redemption in my brokenness....thank you!

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