It’s not supposed to be like this.

We aren’t supposed to have strained relationships, tension between family members, tight checkbooks, and complicated seating arrangements. We’re supposed to be thankful for each person in our family and for every little thing we have. We’re supposed to be looking forward to family coming, but we aren’t. We’re supposed to be accepted for who we are, not for our social or financial status.

Sound familiar? December, compared to any other month of the year, is when we often presume that God’s joy and peace will flood our hearts and somehow smoother issues we have. But when the holiday seasons are filled with darkness, we despair. I was just wrapping up a meeting today, when the women of my group rattled off prayer requests. All revolved around family, and all were sensitive because of the season of holiday blessings we are in. I know too well how hurtful words, past mistakes, and misguided expectations can make the holidays seem stressful, and in many ways, unmemorable. We feel cheated and wonder if the house across the street is as perfect as it seems.

Wanted or not, the family we have is the one God has chosen for us. Each heart serves a purpose; and each heart is bonded to another. But sometimes, it’s hard to accept the choices each heart makes; it tends to have a ripple effect on every other family member.

Instead of grieving over the missing pieces to the puzzle of our family life, I thank God for what it is. I thank Him and run to Him because of the way He loves us. He didn’t promise picture perfect families or picture perfect memories for that matter.He did promise that we would have trouble; after all, it’s a fallen world and this place in time is only temporary until we’re able to move on to what He has in store for us on the other side of eternity. In the meantime, I offer you the same words He has spoken to my heart, helping me see the moments for what theyare—a moment in time to reflect His love for our family, no matter the situation.

The Lord your God is with you,

He is mighty to save.

He will take great delight in you,

he will quiet you with his love,

he will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV).

Wait, one more link to bring some comfort and perspective for you this holiday season, this song by Tenth Avenue North has brought clarity, comfort, and strength. I pray it speaks to you heart and lifts your spirit! It’s titled, Times.

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