December 31, 2017
As I write my last Christmas Encouragement for 2017, I am closing out the year with a heavy heart.
My heart is heavy because I see heartache all around. I see it in so many people I know and don’t know.
- Marriages that are struggling for many reasons such as financially, medically, multiple deployments for Military families, separations due to travel, and the mounting list is just endless. Marriages are becoming disconnected with no way of knowing how to reconnect. Once the pain and distance takes root it is hard to rejoin without a lot of work that many couples are just to tired and weary to give.
- Families are struggling while they watch their loved ones battle cancer and the strain it causes on their family. The weight of this is immeasurable. It affects every aspect of their lives. It affects the loved one and the patient as well as affecting the whole family. It wears everyone down physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially. There is no aspect of a family’s life not touched by the effects cancer can have on it.
- Families with babies are not able to wrap them up in their arms and hold them tightly when they wish due to health complications. The pain this creates is massive. You see it on the faces of the mommies and daddies as they leave the hospital empty handed yet but another day with no end in sight. They have no idea when their precious baby will be strong enough to go home and live with them. The only hope they cling to is the hope the hospital staff will love their baby enough to give them the extra hugs and kisses they can’t give them at this moment in time. They find themselves praying all day long and into the darkness of the early morning hours. The tears are always in their eyes and in their hearts, for the pain they are experiencing is just unbearable.
- Families are struggling financially whether due to a loss of a job or job that isn’t enough to pay the bills. Their circumstances make it hard to go get a better job or another job to make up the loss they are use to. Their bills keep mounting due to no fault of their own and the weight of it all becomes enormous.
- Families are struggling to keep their homes from being foreclosed on because their income took a hit for one reason or another. Their is nothing more scary then thinking you are going to loose your home and everything with it and then become homeless, but for some, if not many, this is their reality. Their fear and pain is real.
- I see single moms trying to provide for their children, not just monetarily but emotionally and spiritually as well. They do everything within their power to make them feel happy, safe and loved. I know this isn’t easy. It is a lot of weight they carry on their shoulders with no way of releasing that burden. They try to be strong, but some days the strength just seems like a dark hope. The tears just flow down their cheeks with no ability to turn them off. Many moms try to remain hopeful for their children while inside they battle with the ugly feeling of hopelessness. They don’t know what the future holds, they just try to live day by day and some days, moment by moment.
- I see people on every street corner begging for food and money. There are so many that if you wanted to help them you couldn’t unless you were blessed to have a lot of money.
The pain is real and is felt by so many. Are you a reader today and you are experiencing one of these I have listed or is your pain one that I didn’t mention, but is real and ugly no matter how you look at it? Has your every fiber in your being been tested, strained, and torn apart? Are you feeling hopeless and lonely in this dark world you find yourself struggling in?
My friend, I have some hope to share with you. His name is Jesus Christ. He knows your every tear, he knows every ache your heart feels. He has not left you or forsaken you.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV
Sweet friend, I know your life may be dark right now, but in Jeremiah we see God’s promise to give you a future and a hope. He is using this time of hardship to mold you and to refine you into what your future holds for you.
“For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; You laid afflictions on our backs. You caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; But You brought us out to rich fulfillment.” Psalms 66:10-12 NKJV
My friend, you are being refined during this difficult time. Here is the definition of refinement from the Webster Dictionary, “:… the act or process of removing unwanted substances from something: the act or process of making something pure.”
God knows your pain; He sees your pain; He is holding you up when you can’t hold yourself up any longer because He is refining you, to make you pure for His mighty plan He has for you.
Think about the lives and the people your story is either touching right now or those who will be touched when you share your testimony later. This hardship will not be null and void.
Hang tough, my friend. There is a hope for a brighter tomorrow. There is hope for happiness and laughter again. There is hope for no pain again. God will restore your life to one you could never imagine having. It is His promise, not mine.
Lastly, remember this last promise God has while you are struggling in your darkness.
“Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, But the night shines as the day; The darkness and the light are both alike to You.” Psalms 139:12 NKJV
I know this is a hard time. but no matter how dark and hopeless your world may seem to right now, the above Psalmist stated God knows no darkness. He is not hiding from you, He is right there with you every evil, ugly, harsh step you are having to make. He is getting dirty and muddy along beside you. He has not forgotten or forsaken you. My friend, He is leading your way. He is allowing you to be refined through this hard time to grow you into the beautiful person He created you to be.
“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul know very well.” Psalms 139:14 NKJV
Now, before I close I want to leave you with one final Christmas Encouragement wish for the New Year to come… Ralph Waldo Emerson couldn’t have said it any more clearer then God in His scriptures. Take this journey you are on, no matter how hard or ugly or difficult it is and turn it into something magnificent. “… Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” This trail will help to encourage others behind you of the journey you have been on. It will encourage them and give them hope of a new and brighter tomorrow.
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Tomorrow is not only the start of a new day, but it is the start of a new year. Leave the ugly behind, my Friend and try to look at your circumstances as a new and encouraging journey; one of hope for a brighter future to come.
You can do this, I know you can!
Happy New Year!