Tag Archives: God is in control

Post Christmas Joy

I’ll admit that many past Christmases have been filled with my own anxiety and angst when I have unnecessarily over-anticipated, over-thought, over-spent, and over-planned. Truthfully, this Christmas started out with a plan. My son and his girlfriend were going to come home from California. My youngest daughter, who lives at home, would be going between our house and her boyfriends’ parents’ house for festivities. My daughter and her husband, who live in Tennessee, were possibly going to come home. All would be well.

Then Christmas plans changed. First, my youngest daughter wanted to spend more time with her boyfriends’ family and would be spending limited time at home. Second, my son told me he wouldn’t be home until the day after Christmas. Lastly, my daughter in Tennessee wouldn’t be coming home at all because of their work schedules.

With my heart a little sunken and my spirits and little damp, my husband and I were facing a very quiet Christmas together. I think we both felt somewhat like the breath had been snatched out of our lungs. I felt a little dazed as I realized that the position I held for so many years as a parent was in a transition phase and Christmas would be very “different” this year.

It made me reflect on life’s milestones. My years as a child with no worries, first loves, moving away from home and getting a first real job. Traveling and experiencing different parts of the country. Then love and marriage and a child. Unfortunately, a divorce and heartbreak. Then a new love, marriage and a couple more children.

Now my grown children were busily going through their own life cycles. Experiencing everything I had hoped and prayed for them. College, living in other parts of the country, marriage, love, and traveling the world. They’re living life larger than I ever experienced and that’s a dream come true as a parent. That’s what brought me joy thinking about Christmas without my kids.

I had settled my heart about our Christmas. I was at peace about spending Christmas Day at the beach, just me and my husband – the seagulls, the waves, the sun. I was okay that life brought us to this place.

Then I got a text from my son. He said he and his girlfriend would be here after all – for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! I felt elated. I started trying to set times for dinners and gift opening. Made trips to stores for gifts and food. My daughter was trying to work out times for spending with her boyfriends’ family and at home with us. It became stressful trying to work it all out.

That’s when I finally said – – – “You know what? Let’s just play it all by ear this year. Let’s not set our hearts on any one plan. Let’s just see how it goes.” The only thing I timed was when the turkey would be done on Christmas Day. Everything else could just play out as it fit into our days. It was then that my heart settled, my mind settled and I felt peace in my soul. No longer trying to control the outcome of visiting and eating and opening gifts created a much more peaceful and fun atmosphere for everyone.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were full of joy and peace! There was no anxiety. There was no angst. There were no expectations of anyone. It all just flowed beautifully into a joyous family experience. I think that may have been the lesson God wanted me to learn from the beginning – to let Christmas happen gracefully, without my own agenda trying to create an experience.  That is what made it the best Christmas I’ve had in many, many years and I will continue to feel that joy for many days and weeks to come.

 

 

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Challenge before Christmas

 I’ve had a bit of a challenging week, but I am so very grateful that life is as good as it is.
At the beginning of the week I was in melt down mode. A drunk driver had smashed into our car just before midnight Sunday evening while it was parked in front of our daughter’s friends’ house in a nice residential neighborhood. She and her college friends were all gathered there studying for end of semester finals. When we received the call, Todd and I were frantic. Even though we knew Kaitlyn and her friends were all okay, it sounded very serious.
A drunk driver passed out at the wheel and drove into the back end of our car with his truck. He remained passed out with his foot on the accelerator until the Sheriff’s department arrived. They had to break his window to get him out of the truck. He was hauled away in an ambulance before Todd and I got to the scene.
When we saw our Mazda, we were in a state of shock at the amount of damage it had taken. Our minds were crazy with “what will we do now?” We stared at the totally blown out back window, the truck still deeply embedded in our back bumper. We had already been dealing with a financial challenge and this was enough to put us over the edge. We drove the heavily damaged car home and parked it in our driveway.
On Monday morning I looked out the front window hoping that it had all been a bad dream.  Nope, the crashed car was sitting in our driveway. It looked even worse in the daylight.
Our son, Andrew, called to get the details. He talked me through all of my fears and tears and listened to my hysteria. I’m so grateful for a son with a level head. Hanging up the phone my head was still spinning, but I had been given the strength to deal with it by hearing Andrew’s calm and sensible advice.
As Andrew Carnegie so beautifully stated: “Encouragement makes a fault easy to correct, and a challenge easy to take on.”
In addition to the Mazda being out of commission, our second car was in the shop awaiting a part. Even my husbands’ scooter, which he can drive back and forth to work, was not working.
Then we found out that the man who hit our car didn’t have insurance. Damages would have been taken care of at 100% under his insurance had he not let it lapse, and we would have had a rental vehicle under his insurance. Neither would be possible now and our own insurance would have to be used. That left us being responsible for our $500 deductible and any rental car expenses (which we chose not to get).
On Monday I was amazed at how quickly and professionally our insurance adjuster handled our claim. He had a physical damage adjuster out that same afternoon. Sadly enough, the car had over $10,000 in visible damage, not to mention what they would find once inside all of the carnage. So it was deemed a total loss.
During the course of the day I began to shift my thinking. This was a horrible situation, however no one was seriously hurt. I was thankful that our car was unoccupied. I also began to thank God that it was “only” our car (and not any of my family or anyone else) that was hurt by a truck with a passed out driver. I started to feel that possibly someone else was spared a great deal of injury because my car stopped the guy who had no control over his vehicle. I believe that somehow the damage to our vehicle is so much less than what it could have been had it not been in the drunk guys’ path.
Today I consider the circumstances of so many people who are in worse positions than we are. I believe we all know someone who is going through a rough spot in their life. Cancer, drugs, alcohol, loss of a loved one, caring for a sick loved one, loss of job, poor health, etc.
I know that I won’t feel sorry for myself for the loss of my car and I must move forward and do everything I can in my power to get beyond these present circumstances. I’m not sure exactly what that looks like right now. We have some things to figure out, but I do know one thing . . . . it may look a little different than I had pictured it a couple of weeks ago, considering the financial impact it has had on us, but I am looking forward to a nice Christmas with my family around me and the celebration of a gift that was given to us over 2000 years ago in the form of a Savior. Simply put – Christmas will still be Christmas.