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The tough days of December

Joy is the serious business of heaven ~ C.S. Lewis 

James 1:2 My brothers and sisters, when you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy, 

Oh December...

My perfect storm happens each December.  My mother and aunt died this month. My deceased father and grandmother celebrate birthdays. (My grandmother's birthday is on Dec. 25). These anniversaries coupled with normal expectations of the season make it hard. 

I struggle. I truly struggle. 

Some years I'm nostalgic for the special Christmas experiences of my childhood.  I miss my doting grandparents. We were a tight knit family in those years.

I've also lost key friends who were part of my Christmas celebrations over the years. All this weighs my spirit and I can easily slip into depression.

But I choose joy. Yes. I am intentional about remembering to choose joy through my tears. 

But I do allow the tears and grief to have their place because I am human. Our Lord Jesus cried. So I cry.

I cry. I whine. I throw elaborate pity parties. Last weekend I cried on the way to several parties! But I arrived at my destinations refreshed.

I know the joy only God gives. It's not made up or delusional. 

It's deep joy that's rooted in knowing the God who created me. It's also rooted in the knowledge that HE is there and all I need to do is cry out for help! 

I still want to control life, but each December I'm reminded that God controls my very existence.

And that is good for imperfect me! 

Note: If you experience severe depression, please get professional help. I've discussed my perfect storm with therapists and in my ministry group. Grief is real and I had to deal with it to be effective in the ministry God gave me. 

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Scriptures for life

Compiled December 2011
These are a few of my favorite Scriptures. I cannot live my life without God and his word. I keep a 3x5 wire bound note diary of verses that pop off the pages of my Bibles. This helps me in case I need to comfort someone with a specific verse. Start your own collection!


Comfort

Psalm 119:76 Comfort me with your love, as you promised me, your servant.
Job 4:4 Your words have comforted those who fell, and you have strengthened those who could not stand.
Strength

Psalm 18:1 I love you, LORD. You give me strength.
Psalm 29:11 The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.
Psalm 118:14 The Lord gives me strength and a song. He has saved me.
Isaiah 40:29 The LORD gives strength to those who are weary.
Deuteronomy 33:27 The eternal God is your shelter, and his everlasting arms support you.
1 Corinthians 15:58 … don’t let anyone move you off the foundation of your faith.
Psalm 31:24 Be strong, all who wait with hope for the LORD, and let your heart be courag…