Empty Holidays Filled With Joy Again
The Holidays are such a hard time for so many people who have lost loved ones. What once used to be special days of the year, filled with laughter and joy, are now empty shells of sadness and tears.
A few years ago I met with an older lady who came to my office seeking relief from the immense grief she carried.
It had been almost ten years since her husband passed away. She had always thought the sadness would decrease with time, but the agonizing grief she felt continued to ravage her already broken heart.
Christmas was only a few days away and the thought of another holiday without her husband was heart wrenching. She had barely survived Thanksgiving, and now Christmas was "looming" around the corner.
I started the session by asking her to describe a recent memory where she felt the "overwhelming sadness."
She described a recent time when a wave of grief hit her when she was least expecting it.
She had just sat down on her porch to drink a cup of coffee. As she sipped the warm drink, she immediately experienced a flash back of the last time she and her husband shared their "morning coffee together."
Alone. Hopeless. Helpless. She described the silent cries of her heart that "medicine" nor "therapy" had heard.
We traced her feelings of sadness all the way back to her childhood. She discovered that the feelings of hopelessness started when her parents divorced.
At five-years-old, she had always believed her daddy was her "hero" who would save her from all of her sorrows. When her daddy left, her little world was crushed.
She recalled the same feeling occurred when her husband died. Just like her daddy, she looked to him as her "hero," her "lifeline." He was her "best friend."
The sad seed that had been planted years before when her daddy left, had been heavily watered the day her husband died.
"I will be alone forever," she thought. Those words that played over in her mind when she thought of her daddy had begun to "scream" when her husband died.
Both men were supposed to protect her. They were supposed to "be there forever." They were never supposed to leave her side.
I asked her if God could talk to her about the sadness. I asked if she would allow Him to pull that "sad seed" that had become a giant weed overshadowing all the "beautiful flowers in her garden."
She said she was ready. The pain was tormenting. It was too much to bear.
What happened next will forever be etched into my heart. I will never forget that moment as long as I live.
She closed her eyes for a few seconds and when she looked up, her eyes were drawn to a picture on my shelf of a beautiful fountain in Rome.
With happy tears streaming down her face, she said God has just told her that her husband was waiting for her at the "Fountain of Life" and she would see him again. Her daddy was there too.
God also told her that she was not alone. He was right beside her when her daddy had "left" and her husband "died." He told her that He would never leave her alone. He would always be her "protector," her "hero," and her "best friend."
She went on to tell me that my picture of "the fountain in Rome" was "her husband's favorite place on earth." They had visited that fountain on their last anniversary together.
There is no doubt in my mind that the older lady had just been set free from the tormenting chains of loneliness right before my eyes.
There is no doubt in my mind that the sadness she had carried since childhood disappeared as God "opened her eyes."
There is no doubt in my mind that God himself was in that room that day and spoke directly to that lady's heart, when no one else could have.
And finally, there is no doubt in my mind that He can do this for anyone who has lost a loved one and fears another Christmas Day. I have seen Him speak in ways that are indescribable.
His peace truly does pass all understanding and his love is greater than the universe.
If your heart is hurting this holiday season, close your eyes and talk to Him. His voice is always kind and gentle. He wants to speak to your heart and turn your "sorrow into joy."
I've seen this too many times to believe differently. He will pull your sad and lonely seeds and plant seeds of peace and joy, straight from the garden of His heart--the place where flowers bloom and the sun never stops shining.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Friends!
"Truth Always Sets Us Free"