..to be lonely. Everyone is shopping and spending time with family and friends. It is such a busy time. But, the holidays can be a very difficult time for so many people.
I lost my grandfather eight years ago right after Christmas. I was extremely close to him and was his caregiver during his last two years. When he passed on, I was devastated. I did not deal well with it so I went to a grief support group to help me better deal with it. I still attend on occasion, mostly around the holidays because that is when it is most difficult for me. I also continue to attend these meetings because it has become a time of fellowship with a wonderful group of mostly older ladies.
The most important lesson I take from these ladies is that with our loss things change. We do not always like it, but it does. When we lose someone, it changes our routines and our traditions.
For some people, this can even mean the loss of their remaining family, a wife that loses her husband and they have no surviving children or an child that loses his last remaining parent. These are the people that can feel particularly lonely.
The Bible even tells us several times to care for the widows and the orphans. During the holidays, this can be as simple as visiting someone. Take some cookies or fudge. Have your children make a homemade ornament and take it to them. Take a group of friends and go caroling. Invite them to go look at Christmas lights. There are so many little things that we can do that would mean a lot to someone else, something that would help them to feel not so lonely.
Yes! He will give you more than you can handle! I know the above statement will upset a lot of people because “It’s in the Bible.” No, really, it’s not. Find it.
Everyone believes that it is Biblical for two main reasons, I believe. First, we want to believe that life as a Christian will be easy, that we will have few problems. Well, without these challenges in life, we could not have the opportunity to grow in Christ. The trials and tribulations we endure mature and cause us to grow as Christians. If our life is perfect and we never face difficulty, we will not see our need for God. Remember, the only difference between a Christian and a non-Christian is that a Christian has accepted Christ as his Savior.
Secondly, there is a verse in the Bible that is similar and has been misquoted to say that God will not give us more than we can handle. If you looked up a verse, it was probably this one. 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NASB) states, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
Let’s look further into this verse.
“No temptation has overtaken you but such is common to man.” There is temptation all around us. We face it everyday. However, temptation is not a sin. Remember, Jesus was tempted. The sin is giving in to temptation.
How Much Can We Handle?
“…And God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” God will not allow you to be tempted more than you can handle turning away from. He will leave you a way out so that you can “walk away” from the temptation without giving in to it. God does not want to see us giving in to sin. He always has a way out prepared for us, but we do not always go in the right direction.
Nowhere does it say in that verse that God will not give us more than we can handle. This verse is about temptation, not about what God allows us to go through. God wants us to turn to Him.
Our annual Black Friday shopping has added a new chapter. I will say that Black Friday 2016 was the most unforgettable yet! In the past, we have talked to Siri, listened to and sang “Dumb Ways to Die,” told stupid jokes, and have done some crazy things. Black Friday 2016 definitely tops it all!
The rule is that once you turn fifteen, you can go Black Friday shopping. This time, my sixteen-year-old middle son decided he wanted to go. Apparently, this is not good when you put him with his thirty-two-year-old cousin’s husband, Jimmy, who is a former college football player (a big, big guy). All I can say is, “Heaven help us!”
Our outing started out pretty normal. Jimmy had already told us he had a YouTube song/video for us. After we had made several stops, he decided it was time for the video. It was “PPAP – Pen, Pineapple, Apple, Pen.” Let me say, this is the stupidest thing we have seen yet. It is so stupid that I cannot even laugh.
Our next stop was the mall to look at women’s boots for my niece. While she was looking, the “boys” are discussing what size women’s shoe they would need. Jimmy wears a men’s size 13 (Did I mention that he is a “big boy?”) so we knew he would not be able to find something to try on…in the women’s department. So they set off to find a boot for my son. They started with a lovely high-heeled sandal in a size 11. He modeled it for us and then said it was pinching his little toe. (He also almost fell twice and could not keep his balance in those four-inch heels.)
Then, Jimmy found the ultimate boot–a size 11 wide! This made them both happy. My son tried it on and stumbled around as other shoppers walked by giving them strange looks. We were all laughing so hard. Did I mention that it was around 2:00 a.m.?
These two continued getting in touch with their feminine side. They looked at makeup in Sephora. My son tried on sweaters that he had bought for his girlfriend. He even did the model poses. Yes, I took plenty of pictures! These two had quite the time and ended up getting lots of odd looks and lots of laughs.
The highlight of the night (yes, it got better) was when we later made a stop at Quik Trip. Remember the song that I mentioned earlier? It has a dance. Before they got back in the car, Jimmy taught my son the dance in the Quik Trip parking lot at 5:00 a.m. This was so funny! And, yes we did get it on video.
Before anyone says that I should not have shared some of these embarrassing highlights, I did preface the night with the comment, “Remember, what happens on Black Friday goes on the blog.” They were forewarned!
I do not know how we will top this next year,
but I am sure that they will try.
As I have gotten older, I have become more aware of true sacrifice. Those who have served our nation have made a huge sacrifice that we do not stop to think about. As Americans, we tend to think about the military in a more generalized way. We know that we send these men and women to war, but it is in other countries. We do not see the everyday results of this war. Even from what we see on the news, we cannot fathom what war really entails because we have never lived it. For us, war happens far, far away.
If Not for Veterans…
My perspective is much different. (Even as I type this, I have tears in my eyes thinking about it.) A few years ago, I started noticing some older men wearing caps with “Korean War Veteran” embroidered on them. It dawned on me that if it were not for these men, I probably would not be here. As I have written about before, my mother was a child in Korea during the Korean War. She lived and survived that war. She has seen firsthand what war looks like. Had it not been for the intervention of the United States of America, she would not have been able to come to the United States. She might not have even lived through the attempted communist takeover. She would not have met my father and had me and my siblings.
Do we truly understand the sacrifice of these men and women? When young men and women volunteer for our armed forces, we do not give it a second thought. No one forced them to join–they VOLUNTEER. We do not know how many lives they have saved or how they have affected countless lives. We do not know all the good they have done. Many times, they do not even realize the lives they have impacted. Most never speak of it after they return home. They sometimes come home wounded and traumatized.
These men left their homes and families to fight and possibly die for someone else, people they do not even know. They had their reasons for joining the military and most were willing to make that sacrifice, if necessary. Most did not truly know what lay ahead of them, the destruction and death of war. Yet, they went and fought.
We all ask that question, “What if?” Usually, it is for something we regret. Sometimes, it is for something we wish for. Or, maybe you are like my husband and if someone asks, “What if…”, he answers back with, “What if a big green monster jumped out of the sky and ate us all up?” We live our lives with the “what ifs?”
A friend recently asked a question on Facebook:
“If you could change anything about your life, what would it be?”
Most answers were about work, where they lived, decisions, education, finances, marriages, and past behavior. Some were silly like to be rich or be able to answer her previous question. (What is your favorite dip?) Some answers brought tears to my eyes and others made me smile. Most were filled with regret, though.
I pondered this question for several minutes before commenting:
“We all say that we would change things, but those things are what made us who we are. All those “mistakes” are what shaped us. Yes, I would like to go back and change things, but if I had, I would not be where I am today. So when you think of it that way, I wouldn’t change a thing and I don’t think most people would.”
Our decisions/actions have consequences, good and bad. How we react to these consequences shape us as a person. They make us who and what we are. We have all heard the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” These things bring us to this point in our lives.
Looking back on my life, I realize that if I had made a different decision in high school, my whole life would be different. I had planned to go out of state to an Ivy League university. I had been accepted and was making plans. During that time, I was also concurrently enrolled in a small, local college. I had friends there and just somehow ended up staying and not going out of state. While I did not meet my husband at college, it was because I was at a local college and went home every weekend to work that led to us dating (we had met previously through a friend).
Yes, it would have been impressive to graduate from an Ivy League school, but that would have changed the entire course of my life. So, because of that decision, I am married to my wonderful husband with three incredible children that I would not have had. I am a stay at home, homeschooling mom (So, I guess it does not matter where my degree came from.) I love my life and my family. Why would I want to change that?
I can look back on so many other things in my life and see that if I had made a different decision or something else had happened, my life would be very different. My life is by no means perfect, but I would not change it. God wants us to live our lives for Him. As long as we are striving to do that, our decisions will be the right ones. We should be looking forward and not backward. Let’s live our lives so that we will have no regrets.