My Christmas Miracle

These last few weeks have been among some of the darkest and most painful weeks of my entire life.  I have felt as if I have been fighting for my life every single second and constantly needing to remind myself that this will pass eventually.  I've struggled eating and have had several days in a row that I haven't managed to eat more than a few bites all day because of the extreme nausea caused by the unrelenting darkness.  I've woken up several times in the middle of the night and struggled to catch my breath because of the suffocating cloud of depression around me.  I've cried or felt just moments away from crying nearly every second I've been awake every day.  And hundreds of times each day, the unpleasant and unwelcomed thought has come into my mind that I should not continue on.  It has taken all the effort I have in me to push that thought away over and over and over again with little success in keeping it away.  To say that it has been exhausting and discouraging is not the adequate way to describe this experience, but those are the only words I can find to attempt to explain it. 

As Christmas Day came nearer and nearer, I prayed continually for a miracle.  I just wanted some relief for Christmas.  I wanted to enjoy the day with my family and not have to fight this continuous battle.  But on the days leading up to Christmas, the darkness continued, so I tried to focus on the great blessings all around me that were giving me the strength to persist and endure such heartbreaking pain.
  • On Sunday in church, several people mentioned light in their messages.  Each of these times brought immediate tears to my eyes as I was sure that what they were saying was exactly for me.  Being surrounded by thick darkness made even the word "light" bring flickers of hope to my broken heart that someday I really would feel and see light again.
  • I was asked to give the prayer for the end of our special Christmas service. While I hesitated in my mind to say "yes" because controlling my tears seemed like it could be an impossible feat, it also meant so much to me.  It felt like a special, tender way for Heavenly Father to help my heart know that this isn't my fault and that it doesn't make me any less worthy or valuable and that I still have something to offer even when I feel terrible.
  • My husband had a long weekend because of the holiday, which was a blessing in and of itself, because it was so nice to have him around on the days when I seemed to struggle the very most.  But on top of that, he did the dishes, laundry, and cooking while he was off, which took some of the heavy burden off of me, so I could focus on conquering the other burdens that no one could relieve.
  • Our family was invited to do some holiday things with other people.  As in years past, this meant so much to me so that I didn't feel like I was ruining my family's holiday celebration with my inability to do the little things that I would love to do if I was feeling well.  They didn't know I needed this, so it was very special.
  • Someone said something to me last week that gave me hope and allowed me to feel so capable of fighting this battle.  As I was explaining some of how I felt, they said, "You have been to the lowest point multiple times before, and then you've made it back up again every time.  You can do that again this time as well."  The strength that came from those words became a lifeline that I held onto.  They allowed me to feel courage and to know that I could win.
  • I have been given one of the best gifts recently-- the gift of new friendship.  And beyond that, I've been given the gift of understanding friends who care about me and want me to be okay, even though they hardly know me yet.  One person in particular told me that they read my blog, know about this struggle, and are on my side.  That alone has given me indescribable strength to know that I'm not alone here anymore.
  • I found a way to get a gym membership soon so that I can start exercising and hopefully start feeling a little better again.  It came about so randomly that I can't help but see God's hand in it.  We were invited over to someone's house and were talking about kids learning musical instruments.  I went to say something about this topic and started it with, "When I used to teach piano..." Immediately, the mom got excited to hear that I have taught before, because she has two kids who want to take lessons.  I agreed that I could probably do that.  Later, I was talking to someone else, and they told me about a wonderful gym in the area. When I looked up how much their memberships cost, I was a little overwhelmed, because it was more than I expected.  I didn't think there was a way we would be able to add that to our budget.  And then I remembered that I will be able to teach a couple of piano lessons, and the money I make from that will be the exact amount I need to get a gym membership!  Another sweet tender mercy that shows me that Heavenly Father is mindful of me and will help me do what I need to do to feel better.
I woke up Christmas morning and did not feel well, but I pushed through it for my family.  I was a little disappointed that I hadn't gotten "my miracle," but I was determined to make it a great day, so I carried on.  After spending the morning with my family and opening presents, I took my kids to the nursing home with some crafts we made to visit and make others smile.  It was all I could think to do to maybe help lift some of the heavy darkness on my heart.  We went to a few different buildings before ending in the biggest building there. It was lunch time, so we walked around talking to all our sweet new friends and giving them small and simple gifts.  When we got to the last table in the back, there was a couple who were obviously not residents but were visiting.  They asked who we were.  We told them that we just moved here and didn't know anyone so we were just visiting everyone.  The woman said something that brought tears to my eyes immediately and continues to do so now.  She said, "We were watching you with your kids going around visiting, and you simply radiated light.  We had to make sure we got to talk to you." I couldn't believe it.  Me, of all people, being in darkness, still shone light, and this wonderful woman took the time to tell me.  I'm not sure she'll ever know how much that meant to me right then.  We visited a while longer and then left.  My heart was beaming, as I was so gently reminded that I can still be a light for others, even when my heart is broken and doesn't know how it can go on.  I can still try to uplift others, and sometimes it uplifts me in the process.

I came home with a big smile on my face and more light in my world.  I got my Christmas miracle after all, just in a different way than I imagined.

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