For those of you who are dealing with the loss of a loved one; trying to find peace, hope, or joy during the holidays can seem nearly impossible. Your life has been forever changed and the idea of trying to cultivate these, perhaps leaves you feeling guilty.
You long for joy to return to your life but somehow it feels like you’d be neglecting or forgetting the one(s) you’ve lost. In the 4 short years my husband and I have been married we have lost 2 of our precious babies to miscarriage. We lost our first baby right before Christmas in 2015 and our second baby this past March.
We have yet to experience the blessing of holding our babies in our arms. With the reality of loss, it’s easy to feel stuck or even spiral into depression. Sometimes loss has a way of making us look inward, feel alone, and keep us from being present to those around us.
So then in the midst of loss, how do we even begin to cultivate peace, hope and joy? Having grown up in and married into a family of faith I was encouraged to give all my thoughts and hurt to the Lord. To talk to Him and be real about my hurt and all my questions. To praise Him despite my broken heart.
While this honestly seemed like the last thing I wanted to do some days, I found my burden being lifted each time. In seeking counsel from God’s word He spoke to me by bringing the word “trust” to mind. This was the same word that came to mind in my season of singleness. “Do you TRUST me?” God had reminded me of the amazing blessing he had given me; my husband. Having been so focused on our loss I had forgotten to be grateful for my answered prayer.
During my time spent reading the Bible I came across Romans 15:13.
Did you catch that? The God of HOPE! Fill you with all JOY and PEACE as you TRUST in him! We cannot cultivate these on our own. We weren’t meant to. Putting on a brave face at family gatherings or trying to recreate Pinterest worthy pictures cannot produce these. Peace, hope, and joy can only be found when we learn to place our trust in God. Only when we allow Him to fill us, can we truly cultivate these within our own family?
As I am learning this, it’s important to note that this is NOT a one-and-done deal. Finding joy is not something that can be checked off a list, but rather a daily process that requires giving yourself grace. Allowing yourself to grieve without a time limit. It’s okay to feel angry, bitter and sad. These are normal human emotions when life is unfair. But, God’s grace also makes it possible to experience peace, hope and joy in the midst of it all.
As I find my joy restored, I am reminded of the importance of being present to those around me. Placing our focus outward and looking for ways to bless others breathes joy into our lives. Taking the time to create traditions together helps form lasting memories. In my family, my husband and I have started a tradition that celebrates the life of our 2 babies. Each year our church sets up a tree called “Share your Christmas.” It’s an opportunity to bless someone in the community with a gift who may not be able to afford. As we pick 2 children who would have been the same age as our own, we find great joy in such a small gift.
However you choose to celebrate this season or honor your loved one, my prayer is that you would take a moment to look to God. He knows all about loss. His son Jesus was born into this world and died on the cross for us. Luke 2:10. “But the angel said to them, do not be afraid. I bring good news of great JOY that will be for all people.” Jesus is the good news! He came into this world to bring the gift of salvation. And He is the great giver of Peace, Hope and Joy! Merry Christmas!
About Anna Gravening
Anna is wife to her husband of 4 years, Joe. She is a mother to two beautiful heaven babies. They reside in Minnesota with their energetic black lab Otis. They love adventuring together in their spare time. Anna uses her gifting in creating beauty through her business Willow Farm. You can find her business and treasures at Willow Farm.