The Worst Christmas Ever, Part 3
Who’s in Charge Around Here?
My father died when I was fourteen. Kids that age don’t think about the possibility of death, but when you lose someone you love, that innocence is gone forever.
When Hal and I got married, I was so afraid he’d die that I’d wake up in the night to put my hand on his chest and feel him breathe. When he left for work in the morning, I’d pray like crazy for his safety. So, to hear the doctor say, “I think it’s cancer and it looks really bad,” was just devastating to me.
Here it was the Christmas season, one of the happiest times in our family, and I was a wreck. I didn’t want to burden Hal or the children, so I would sneak upstairs to my bathroom and sob my eyes out.
If you’d ever run out of toilet paper in my bath, you’d know that no one could ever hear me there. Honestly, I’ve screamed until I was hoarse with no response. I hope I don’t ever break a leg up there!
So, my secret was safe. I could sob and cry and worry as long as I liked and no one would ever know. It didn’t help, though. The burden just felt heavier and heavier.
We have a tradition of choosing an Ornament of the Year that says something about what God has done in our lives that year. Somewhere special we went, a certain provision for our needs, a happy memory, all of those things were represented there.
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Each day was full of phone calls begging doctors to see Hal (don’t ever get really sick during the holidays) and research about our options. Every time I looked up, my eyes fell on one of our ornaments and the memories flooded over me. Then the worries came. How would I support the children? How could I raise six sons by myself? What would the girls do without a Daddy? How could I keep going without my best friend? The fear followed me around like a dark cloud. It was my constant companion.
But, if Hal were to die, would I really want to spend the last few months I had with him miserably anxious? Was this anxiety even getting us anywhere? I decided that every single time a worry came into my mind, I would stop and pray about it.
How would I support the children? Father, please provide for us. If there’s something I need to do, please show me.
How could I raise six sons by myself? What would the girls do without a Daddy? Father, please spare Hal to be a father to his children. If that’s not your will, please be a father to the fatherless, as you said.
How could I keep going without my best friend? Father, please, please, please heal Hal. Help me to bear this.
Know what? The crushing anxiety stopped. Worries no longer flooded in. All that fear was not from the Lord, and the enemy surely didn’t want to drive me to prayer.
When I took my fears and anxieties to God, they faded in the light of His sovereignty. This cancer was a surprise to us, but not to God. He’d prepared us for it; He would take care of us through it.
When I laid every burden at the foot of the cross, looking at the tree became very different. The cornucopias reminded me of the year God provided for us through a tough layoff. The ornaments for each new child made me remember the joy that came at the end of each of those rough bedrest pregnancies. Every memory showed God’s love and care for us.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 127
Stay tuned. An amazing bit is coming.
Read Part 1. Part 2. Part 4. Part 5.
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