Yesterday my beautiful Kara blogged about her longing for normal in the midst of a cancer-ridden Advent. How she longs to decorate her house, full of energy, like other mothers; bake Christmas goodies with the children; have a bad hair day. How during a particularly awful night she mourned her children hearing her pain.
I understand Kara’s jealousy on a certain level. I am insanely jealous of women with mothers. Children with grandparents. Families who spend Christmas with parents and have babysitters for Christmas shopping. Women who go to tea at Glen Eyrie with their mothers and daughters. God has provided family for us and people who love our children deeply. But the loss will always be there—that hole can never be filled.
My family and I stood vigil for Kara throughout the awful night, praying and begging God for relief. I want to be like the persistent widow, never tiring of asking. But when I really think about it, I despise the fact that I am asking God for manageable pain for Kara for Christmas instead of something, well, normal.
For another friend, I am begging for provision for her husband who has been out of work for too long. For another, it’s relief from a dark despair closing in on her from all sides. For another, it’s freedom to feel joy again even if it coincides with the grief from her loss this year. For another, it’s restoration of her marriage. The list goes on. And I bet your list looks something like this, too.
What I’ve come to understand is that in this broken world, brokenness is normal. We can’t escape it. Some people are lucky and learn this later in life than the rest of us and are spared, but even so, when we look around, we are surrounded.
If life were what we wanted, if we had everything we desired, there would be no need for a Messiah, no need for Emmanuel.
God with us.
When I feel overwhelmed by the hurt and pain in my life, and I think the brokenness might suffocate me and Christmas preparations and celebrations feel like senseless obligations, God reminds me: This brokenness so sharp it is stealing your breath is the reason you celebrate Christmas. Rejoice, for your Redeemer has come! Place your hope in me, for this, too, will pass away, and soon we will celebrate together the wiping away of all your tears.
Oh, how my heart needs a redeemer.
If you are struggling this Advent, be encouraged by the words of our sister, fellow hunter of grace: “Breathe—just breathe, look for Jesus, rest, and repeat. And remember all the past moments where you were kept, known, blessed, comforted, and normal—and give thanks for those sweet moments. Feast on the small great moments- and know they have not come to an end at this small corner of pain we are battling.”