I wrote a guest post for Julie of UnMasking the Mess about Christmas this year for her "Heartbreak Holiday" series. Julie's ministry is FULL of encouragement for when life is TOUGH. I highly recommend reading the rest of her series, I believe this is the second year running now so there is plenty of content!
Christmas can be tough- yes? I don't know what it is about the holidays exactly, maybe it's as simple as our expectations but "the most wonderful time of the year" can be one of the most difficult times when you have a loved one who struggles with addiction.
For me, personally, I always put a lot of expectation on Christmas. One of the things I want to encourage you in this season is to enjoy your Christmas, no matter how imperfect it may end up being. Determine right now that you're going to spend this Christmas with the people who love you most and relish the time you have with them. Those moments of contentment are the fragments we string together to find true happiness.
A few years ago, I told myself all of this at Christmas and made my password for everything (it isn't anymore!) "the best year ever". I was sure it would be a great year! Well, wouldn't you know it but it was a terrible year. I thought my husband being sober was going to change our everything and you know what? The year got so bad that I went to see a lawyer and had separation papers drawn up. I cried more that year than I ever had before but I didn't allow it to throw me off the path God had laid for me. It almost did, but here we are now.
Whatever happens this Christmas, how un-wonderful the season or year has been, keep following that star in the sky to Jesus. There is a plan. You may not see it today but God sees it and He knows where you need to go. He knows why you need to go there. And He knows how to turn it into something that blesses both you and those around you.
My Christmas was full of homemade gingerbread men gifted to our neighbours, tobogganing at the old mill, colourful wrapping paper, the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree, Christmas productions at church and sparkling apple cider served in a “fancy” glass at my Grandma’s house. It truly was, “the most wonderful time of the year”.
It stayed that way until I married my husband. Being a single mother who lived on and off with her parents, I had done my best to ensure that Christmas for my son was still the most magical time of the year. When I got married, I only assumed Christmas would be all the more wonderful as I would be able to do the same for my child as my parents did for my brother and I. Gingerbread men. Hot chocolate. Jingle bells.
As Christmas loomed closer in our first year of marriage, it became clearer that my husband was struggling with what I thought was alcoholism. Things got worse in November of that year and by the time Christmas arrived, it was rocky- to say the least.
The next Christmas, things got much worse.