The Weekly Word
The holidays are such a joyous time for so many of us. Yet, for some of us, they are lonely and difficult.
I have a sense that some of you reading this are hurting right now. You are not alone.
As we face our current challenges and those to come, I pray that these words from The Christmas Blessing by Donna VanLiere will come to mind.
"Time in the valley will teach you to be a man, Nathan," she had said. "It's where your character will form. I hope you go through the valley so that you'll learn so that you'll learn how to love and feel and understand. And when life wounds you, I hope it is because you loved people, not because you mistreated them." It was a blessing of sorts, a blessing that forges love in the darkest places.
There have been times, especially during those early years without her, that I thought time in the valley was anything but a blessing, but now I know otherwise. As I grew, I began to understand what my mother meant: It is those times of struggle and pain that teach us how to live. It's not really living until you've thrown your heart and soul on the line, rising failure and suffering loss. And I have come to realize that we're never alone; everyone has been through their own valley or is walking through it now...
There were times when the grief in my life made it impossible to believe that God was alive and working, or the doubts were so great it seemed hopeless to believe anything at all, but as I look at the faces in the seats before me I now once again that we're all hear for a reason, a purpose that is often beyond us.
-The Christmas Blessing by Donna VanLeire
My time listening to Donna VanLeiere's books was such encouragement. I was reminded of two facts:
1. We. Are. Not. Alone.
Even if it feels like we are, God is with us!
FEELINGS ARE NOT FACT.
The fact is: God is always with us - even if we are angry with Him or overcome by grief.
2. We. Are. Here. For. A. Reason.
In 2023,let us prayerfully seek out the reason for our existence and live it fully.
Someone needs each one of us. It could be a perfect stranger or a dear loved on. But, someone is out there who needs us.
In 2023, let our antennas be up and sensitive to how we can contribute to making our surroundings a softer, kinder place to be.
Once we focus on God's presence in our lives and on helping others, everyone's lives will be enriched.
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