Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. It’s the official start of the holiday season. It can be a brutal time of year for parents whose children are ruining their lives with drugs or alcohol, suffer with a mental illness, self-injure, have an eating disorder, struggle with their sexual orientation, are in trouble with the law or are in prison, and on and on. You may be dreading this day – and the Christmas season altogether.
I remember when my daughter was young and innocent. She’d be excited to watch the Thanksgiving parade curled up on my lap, giddy with anticipation. Happy sounds filled the house. After our big meal she would eagerly pull on the turkey’s wishbone with a sibling or other relative, smiling and laughing, hoping her wish would come true.When she was in full-blown addiction the holidays only brought increased pain and sadness. Regret. Longing. Tears.
What about you? Do you find yourself yearning for your wish come true; for your child’s health and well-being to be restored? Would you be giddy with excitement just to have them back, fully restored? I wish it was as easy as pulling on a turkey bone.
In your mind you can still see your adorable little girl’s smile that could steal your heart. Your precious little boy, so cute when he was four, how contagious was his laughter. You remember it all, only now, instead of putting a smile on your face, those memories bring tears. If only . . .
Those happy days are gone. Over. Our children aren’t who they once were. Everything has changed. Our once innocent son or daughter has broken our heart. If they’re out of your home, you may not even know if you’ll see them. Will they call?
If you do see them, how long will they stay? Will there be drama? And what about Christmas? If they’re still with you, they can make the holidays miserable. If you were honest, you might admit you wish they weren’t going to be there. Who do you admit that awful truth to? Some wonder if they’ll survive until the New Year. Others would be satisfied just to know they’re still alive. That itself would be a gift.
One fall, when my daughter was struggling, I started to listen to Christmas music on Thanksgiving, like I always do. But this time, when the music began to play, instead of bringing me joy, I had a meltdown and had to turn it off. What a strange mixture of sweetness from the past combined with bitterness in the present these holidays can be. So bittersweet.
Do you want the holidays to go away? Are you wondering how you’re going to do this?
Hold on to hope dear dad or mom, for you never know what tomorrow may bring.
I heard from a mom last night who had been on the verge of despair, having lost all hope. BUT two days ago the impossible happened. Her son came home! He gave her a big, long hug and joyfully declared he’d found his faith again and was beginning a new life. How quickly things can change!
This may not happen for you this holiday season, but if you trust Him, God will strengthen you to wait while He gives you His peace in the midst of your pain. He will get you through. You can count on it more than a wish on a turkey bone.
“Wait for (trust in) the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord (Psalm 27:14).”
May your Heavenly Father comfort you at this very moment. May He lift up your head and renew your hope. May He make His face shine upon you and give you His peace. May you be comforted you to know that He has a collection of your tears in a bottle. Your pain matters to Him that much.
Tomorrow, on Thanksgiving Day, as the other holidays approach, may God Himself show you how to cope with a heavy heart when it feels like everyone else is so happy. You don’t have to do this by yourself, so lean hard on God, and be sure to thank Him that you’re NOT alone.