I want to talk about motherhood during the holidays.
It can be too easy to look only on the dark side or only on the bright side; focus only on the good or the bad. So often we get lost in the everyday struggle of tantrums and schoolwork and dinners and bedtimes and budgets, and it can be difficult to struggle out from under the everyday.
But straying too much to either side leaves a lot unsaid.
So, what do we do? Here’s one idea: I’m going to vent first and then I’ll bring it back around to encouragement.
It’s no secret that this year has been difficult; everyone has struggled in one way or another, exacerbated by a pandemic and political poppycock.
As we head into this holiday season, a time that is supposed to be full of family and joy and blessings, I’m having a difficult time finding my way there. For my part, one of the biggest blessings and challenges this year has been my husband becoming a law enforcement officer. I remember thinking in March, when he began working in the field during a pandemic, that at least it wasn’t like four years ago when everyone hated the police.
Clearly, I spoke too soon.
This will be the first time my husband will not be with us during Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas. On top of that, because of COVID, I will not be spending the holidays with some of my family members in person for the first time in a very long time. The holidays will look and feel so different this year, as will my role as a mother, and all this change makes it harder to remember the things I’m thankful for.
How do we stay thankful?
I know the first place to look for help in challenging times is God’s word, even if I don’t always do that in the business that is motherhood. Especially during this exceptionally busy season.
What am I trying to say? Coming back around to my original point: I am working to be truly thankful this holiday season.
But even beyond being thankful, I am trying to be content. God has brought in to sharp focus this year that I need to learn to be content with where my life is, not where I wish it was.
I have Him, regardless of what else I may or may not have (and I have a lot).
It’s contentment that shows us that what we have is enough. 1 Timothy 6:6-8 says, “…godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and neither can we carry anything out of it.” In short: start small if you don’t see the big picture.
How am I starting small?
Here’s a short list:
I am grateful for my eyes because I’ve gotten to see my children grow a year older.
I’ve seen my husband find a new, fulfilling career that allows him to serve others.
I am thankful for my hands. This year, they will help me show my daughter how to light the Hanukkah candles.
I am content to celebrate on different days, learning to be flexible and discover new ways to celebrate that will turn into new traditions.
If I look for them, there will be plenty of things to be thankful for. I will be able to see them when I am content, living in the present, and finding joy in what I have rather than disappointment in what I don’t have.
It is about giving thanks “in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:18).