When The Ache is All You Feel This Christmas

{image: Yanming Zhang / 123RF Stock Photo}

{image: Yanming Zhang / 123RF Stock Photo}

I see you, friend. The one who is hiding this Christmas season.

You smile and laugh at a party and go home, get into your sweats, curl up in a ball and fall asleep. Tears may or may not accompany the falling, but a lot of the time they do. The tears actually accompany most of your life these days. They well up at inconvenient times. Running down your cheeks as you read a story with your child. Falling into the dishwater as you scrub the mashed potatoes from the pan. Mixing in with the makeup you put on before attending the holiday gathering where, if you said what you felt, people would do what they do. . . look dumbfounded, look with pity, look angry at you for still struggling.

I see you, precious friend.

I see the ways you are trying to make the holiday special for those you love. How you rallied to decorate your house, those cookies for your daughter’s party, the school gingerbread project with your kindergartener. The ways you tenderly brush curls from your child’s head at night after they’ve fallen asleep, tears quietly inching down your cheeks, as you pray they would be happy—that they would know the deep joy of this season—even if you stand outside it.

I see you. I ache with you.

I see the way you read the Bible, read the Christmas story, know God is God and God is love, and wonder if you’ll ever feel that truth seep into your tired bones again. Your faith unwavering, you press into scripture, into truth. You read and listen to worship music and cry out to God wondering, “Is this all there is to loving you, Lord? Will I ever leave this place of bearing down in sheer emotionless obedience and find the joy unspeakable that you promise in your word?”

I see you, beautiful one. You are not alone.

When you shop amongst happy others wishing Merry Christmas and feel outside the mirth.

When you sit in a room or around a table with family and friends and wonder if you’re the only one who’s struggling to breathe.

When you open the Christmas card with the smiling family and wrestle with equal desires to smile and rip the thing to shreds.

When you hear Christmas music and remember the hopes you had in Christmases past and feel schizophrenic in your nostalgia and desire to scream from grief.

I see you. I love you. We’re in this together. We will get through this. We will.

And when we do, we will celebrate. Together.

– Laurie

P.S. If you happen to be grieving in part because of the challenges of raising a child with special needs (like I am), my new book is for you. Read the first chapters here.

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  1. Jenn says

    Your book arrived today..Well done! There is so much to process (and still read), but it was already so freeing to read that other moms have some of the same thoughts. I can fiercely love my child and still wish things were easier. I also love the process of reframing her character straits- “stubborn” can be (and is) “strong”. Great book. Thank you.

    • says

      Jenn, I’m so glad it’s blessing you. It’s such a God-thing that it is shipping around Christmas. It’s not due out until end of Jan, but then there was a “glitch” (read: miracle) and people are getting it for the holidays. Such an answer to prayer! Can’t wait to hear what else resonates with you. Have a wonderful Christmas!

  2. Cheryl Pelton Lutz says

    This is beautiful, Laurie….and your book trailer is powerful! I just ordered two copies for two of my friends with special needs kids. Thank you for being so real and raw. The Lord is going to use you big! Love you

    • says

      Remember when we prayed together before I met with the publisher to share the book idea? I still relish that powerful time in prayer together. You are such a blessing to me, girl. Have a beautiful Christmas!

  3. Vanessa chesters says

    Laurie these past 7 years have come with trial after trial. Sometimes I think i can’t even come up with this stuff it feels so surreal. But there has been so much good too that has shone through. I recently watched the movie God is dead, and in it there was once section where one of the characters says the devil leaves those alone that don’t believe and showers them with riches and good health. But for those of us that continue to forge ahead with God’s kingdom he never quits. Dear lord God you are the miracle worker, you bring healing and peace. I pray for you to protect Laurie and her family and heal their bodies and souls from the inside out. We know you are there and carrying us. I pray for this in Jesus name amen.

    • says

      Oh, Vanessa, I agree with that prayer with all my heart. I know you get it—that the hard stuff and the stuff that we couldn’t make up if we tried to!—it brings this version of life that we never imagined, deep and rich even in the pain and intensity. One thing I’ve never regretted is how it brings this ability to see and be with people who hurt when the rest of the world might not see. Maybe that’s what it means, this “fellowship in his sufferings” idea. In any case, I’m glad we can be together in the hard stuff, and the good.

  4. Nicco says

    Sometimes i wish i had the problems others do. I feel the pain. I guess empathy can be as overwhelming as the actual trial; wanting so badly to help bear another’s cross. But God is in charge, listens to our cries, wipes away our tears, and sends another understanding soul just as helpless as we are to share our pain. Allthe while He works behind the scenes and blows us away with His unfathomable grace and mercy just at that point when we’re most broken and dangling dangerously over the edge. Thank you for being the twinkle in our Father’s eye that helps us remember we are not alone.

  5. Charlotte says

    thank you for this post and for sharing your heart and journey with us, Laurie. So many people don’t get it. But, you do. They think “Oh just get over it, it’s not like your kids have cancer or something big and fatal” or “well maybe if you didn’t spoil them or let them do whatever they want” etc… I am thankful for your voice and that you do “get it” but I am sorry that you do, too 🙁

    I hope that you and your family will have the most wonderful Christmas that you can possibly have. And that the good and glorious moments will far outweigh the frustrating ones.

    PS…I will be getting your new book because I really do need to know how to get that Joy back. 🙂

    • says

      Thank you, Charlotte! For the understanding, the Christmas wishes. Looking forward to going through the book in Jan on the (in)Able group on Facebook. Are you on that? If not, message me on FB and I’ll add you in!

  6. folasade says

    I am grieving the loss of almost everything dear, the heavy hand of God upon us and I,swear I wonder at times will I ever hope again..I really cant see how when everything important to me is gone. I havent even thought about Christmas there little under the tree no pitter patter anything..I undeerstand the grief of lost dreams when everything you worked for somehow doesnt look like its supposed to.

  7. servedogmom says

    Laurie, Can I share this? You are definitely NOT alone. I’ve been praying this year would be markedly improved over Christmastime last year, but the punches keep coming directly at our family and me. My only consolation is knowing God;s in control. My life (and those of my family) is in His hands, and we know that He is the rock we can stand upon through all of the ongoing storms. I do believe in the wisdom of His ways, the goodness of His love, and in the assurance of His presence. Praying that in His perfect time and in His gentle way, His caring touch will comfort, support, and strengthen you.and me!

    • says

      Grieving with you about those continually-coming punches. Agreeing with your prayer too. Blessings to you, friend!

      And yes, please share. There are so many hurting in the shadows during the holidays. Let’s love em however we can!