Thanksgiving begins my favorite time of year. A day filled with family and focused on gratitude comes just days before the season of Advent begins. The beauty and wonder and miracle of the season cannot be undone by commercialization. This is a season of grace. And there is grace in it all. The grace of Advent is slowly ushered in by the day dedicated to choosing gratitude. It is an extraordinary time of year. A holy time of year.
But even still, it can be hard. It can be very hard.
Many are facing some tough stuff. Some very tough stuff. Death, divorce, disease, heartbreak, financial strain, loss, job stress, anxiety, addiction, and all sorts of other hardships and pains are wrecking havoc around us. There are crazy and scary and horrifying things happening around the world.
Prayers seem unanswered. Hope seem lost. Strength seems gone.
So what do we do? How do you make it through the holidays when you feel you can't even make it through the day? How do you give thanks and be merry and bright when the pain and the loss are so real and constant?
Sometimes Spencer gets to joy of hearing me rant. When things happen in society or around the world or are blasted in the media, I have to process them somehow. And sometimes that means talking through it with Spencer. It normally takes place during long drives in the car and normally involves heavy stuff. He listens with his heart as I pour out my heart about all the things. Thoughts on modern day slavery, sex trafficking, same sex marriage, abortion, Planned Parenthood, the orphan crisis, depression, the government, southern culture, the Church in America, America, the refugee crisis, and so much more, spew out of me in incoherent sentences. He is such a gracious listener and supporter. He helps me process, and he teaches me so much.
I'm such a better communicator in writing. When I'm talking, I stutter and I stumble over my words. That is why I also process best through writing. Whether it is writing in a journal just for the Lord's eyes and mine, or writing on this space in a more public way, writing helps me process, helps me heal, helps me turn off my mind.
When something happens that I need to process, my mind keeps spinning. Thoughts invade it and keep me up all night and take my focus during the day. But once I write them down, my mind is calmed. My heart races a little less and my mind is free to process other things and focus on the needs in front of me. The past few days have left me wide awake at all hours of the night. (That's partly due to battling a cold and a migraine that came out of nowhere and punched me in the head on Sunday, but it also involves all that is happening around the world right now.)
I'm left heartbroken. I'm left in tears often. I'm now just left so confused.
I grieved with Paris as I learned about the news of the attacks. Spencer loves that country and the people there dearly. I was so saddened by the terror they faced. But you aren't allowed to grieve on social media without someone pointing you to another tragedy around the world and passing you some shame for not mentioning every nation facing hardships or people that are hurting.
I wept with the refugees who would face further hardships after the attacks. My heart has been so burdened by their plight and by the lack of care from so many in the West. But you aren't allowed to weep on social media without someone stereotyping a group of people and passing you some political rhetoric about what you're supposed to think.
My confusion and my aching and my tears are about to be poured out here. So forgive me for any incoherence. Please forgive my long post.
Looking back at the blog and seeing the last post be from September was kind of disheartening, but then I remembered I actually did blog every day in October. It was just on a different page. So if you'd like to look through my 31 Days of Fighting for Grace series, I'd be honored!
You can check out all of the posts here! Or you can click on the image below to see the day by day breakdown of the whole series. I'd love your feedback on it!
Sarah loves Jesus and her family and is passionate about addressing the urgent spiritual and physical needs around the world. She is the wife of Spencer and mama of Katherine and Claire, and they live in Nashville, TN. She runs a photography business with her husband and writes in order to offer encouragement and invite others to choose grace, joy, and gratitude in the adventure and the mundane. She loves traveling and reading; she will choose unsweet tea over sweet and bootcut jeans over skinny; and she is all sorts of awkward with small talk but thrives with deep conversations.