Author: Lori Apon
The holidays are here. I’m sure, because I have been there, the anticipation of family gatherings without your husband is more than you can handle.
For years I couldn’t listen to Christmas music and wondered how in the world I would make it through this time each year. Oh, the draw to curl up in fetal position and never leave your bed, have you ever felt that? However, we both know that for the widow mom, staying tucked in is not realistic. And, even for the widow without children to care for, isolation may not be the best solution.
A God who promises peace
God cares about widow. His compassion for women who have been left alone is woven all throughout scripture. God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah during a time when judgment was around the corner, “Leave your fatherless children; I will [do what is necessary to] preserve them alive.” I love the Amplified translation of this verse; God will do what is necessary to preserve our kids! He goes on to give an important challenge for the widow, “and let [those who have been made] your widows trust and confide in Me” (Jeremiah 49:11 AMPC).
Ladies, the only way to truly experience peace during the holidays is to keep your focus on God who promises peace for those who do! “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).
Believe, trust, and rely
The Amplified Classic Version of the Bible links three verbs together on several occasions—believe, trust, and rely. Jesus responded with this trio when questioned about His delayed response to Lazarus’ death, “This sickness is not to end in death; but (on the contrary) it is to honor God and to promote His glory, that the Son of God may be glorified through it…for your sake I am glad I was not there. It will help you to believe, trust and rely on me” (John 11:1-15).
What?! Did I just read that Jesus was glad He was not there to keep Lazarus alive? How can that be? Is God really glad when our prayers are not answered, or the response is “no” instead of the prayed for “yes.” Is He absent when we need Him the most? Is this really for “my good and His glory?”
Yes, that’s what he says, but it is not all he says…
I certainly have experienced disappointment when things did not go according to my prayer and God did not give me the desire in my heart. However, we must realize that a greater glory is often taking place that is beyond our limited ability to understand.
In these moments, when our circumstances are out of our control and leaving us wanting, God says it will help us to believe that He is up to something greater, trust that He is working all things for our good and rely on Him to carry us through the valley.
As the holidays approach, let us focus on two familiar Christmas verses:
Mark 1:23: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel,” which translates to God with us.
Isaiah 9:6: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given . . . and He shall be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
God is with us, with you, with your family! He has not left you alone. He is your Wonderful Counselor. He is your Mighty God. He promises to be an Everlasting Father—a father to the fatherless, and He is our peace.
5 practical ways to survive the holidays while experiencing God our Prince of Peace:
- Redirect the focus: Allow God to gently turn your heart to Him. It is crucial your perspective is based on truth from God’s Word and on the character of God who is good no matter what our perception of good is. He is writing your story for His glory and your good.
- Relax in God’s love: He loves you deeply. During this time of tears and sorrow, a simple schedule amidst tumultuous emotions is important. This may be the year to let things go, establish new traditions, and allow the pain to grow your intimacy with God
- Rest in God’s plan: He works everything, even death, together for the good to those who love Him. Even when the enemy attacks with an evil plan, God works it for our good.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).
- Release the weight: Replace bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness with a sacrifice of praise to God for His faithfulness, and often, this will feel like a true sacrifice. Praise is not always easy, but so important. Work through these difficult emotions instead of holding onto them as this will only delay your healing. Ask for God to restore your broken soul.
“Let us lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us…and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus the author and perfector of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews12:1-2).
- Realize the truth that God is with you: The best way to do this is to read and meditate on the promises in the Bible every day.
“And I will bring the blind by a way that they know not: I will lead them in paths that they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, and uneven places a plain. These things I have determined to do for them, and not leave them forsaken” (Isaiah 42:16).