It's December 23, 2013 and I just read a Facebook post by a young woman who shared that she "just can't get into the spirit of Christmas this year!"
This comment made me stop and think about the "spirit of Christmas" and whether or not I am "into the spirit" this year or not.
Since the sudden loss of our youngest son, Kevin, in 2002, I am more keenly aware that there are people all around the world who are living with loss, pain, sorrow and heart-breaking, challenging situations, and that the spirit of the Christmas Season may be over-shadowed by the spirits of sadness, suffering, loneliness, disappointment and despair. Just as there are hearts and homes filled with the light of Christ, there are also hearts and homes (and the homeless) that are overwhelmed by feeliings of emptiness and they are without hope, without peace.
This past Sunday, I was introduced to a new phrase that caught my attention by our Pastor, Dary Northrop, at Timberline Church here in Ft. Collins - - the "spirit of slap" (taken from the Hockey term "slap shot"). In context with his message, I was reminded of the times in my life, when out of fear, frustration, anger and/or pain, I have lashed out and wanted to slap someone, and that in the first few months and years after the loss of my son, the "spirit of slap" was very prevalent in my heart, as I made my way through the ardurous and challenging journey of grief.
Have you found that the "spirit of slap" comes upon you more now than before the loss of your child? Do you struggle to relate to God and people, knowing peace, living in peace? Are you becoming an unforgiving, judgemental and critical spirit? Are you questioning God's plan for your life? Do you just want to slap someone? Is that someone God?
Perhaps, like me, the "spirit of slap" comes upon you, when you feel that you are somehow a victim and you wonder where God is, and if you can really trust Him. Perhaps, like me, it is out of heartache, pain and disappointment that you want to lash out and "slap-shot" someone, when the "spirit of slap" comes upon you.
This past Sunday's message at church seemed to be written for me, as Pastor Dary shared a poignant message about the "God of Christmas" - a God who has a plan for each of our lives in keeping with His God-sized story of love and life - an eternal plan for good forever and ever and ever through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. A plan that "God is working out on the other side of the mountain from where we are now"- beyond this realm and our circumstances - and the plan is so much bigger than we can even imagine. Dary's question to us (me) was "are you at peace with God's plan for your life in keeping with His God-sized story?"
My final answer - YES! I am at peace by God's grace, and it is my fervant prayer this Christmas Season that you and I, moms living with the life-changing sorrow of loss, will seek to live as God compels us to live - at peace with Him and "at peace with all men (everyone)." This callling on our hearts by our God is most certainly a challenging one, as we are human and our natural response to life's challenges and circumstances may be to argue, strike out, hit back or to cut and run.
May this be a "peace-filled" Christmas Season that you will remember in the years to come, because you, like me, believe and stand firm on the truth that we are not defined by our circumstances, but rather by the way we respond to our circumstances with faith, hope and love in God.
"Sleep in Heavenly peace" - dear "sisters of the heart,"
Angie "a mom like you"