Surviving Christmas

For a person who has recently undergone betrayal trauma, Christmas may feel like an especially bleak time of year. The themes of “family,” “love,” and “merriment,” can, frankly, grate on one who is barely able to keep breathing because of betrayal pain.

This year—as always—I encourage you to think about self-care. Self-care is not selfishness, it’s pacing yourself to run a painful and difficult race. If we don’t pay attention to our very real physical, spiritual, emotional and social needs, there can be serious consequences that impact on us and those we love.

So for today, I leave you with some meditations—based on the themes of advent—to take into your quiet time. You may wish to digest them one piece at a time.

Hope

“Called to hope” – from Keep Walking: 40 Days to Hope and Freedom after Betrayal by Lynn Marie Cherry

“I wrestled with God daily over the circumstances of my life. I knew I needed to pray but felt like I didn’t know what to say or how to say it. The long-term nature of the struggle and the dark reality of what was happening popped the cork of my faith and drained me of hope. As I searched for words to pray, I remembered Paul’s prayers for the Ephesians, and I was grateful to have a template to follow. I echoed his prayer over my life and made it personal by modifying the pronouns:
I pray that the eyes of [my] heart may be enlightened in order that [I] may know the hope to which he has called [me]” (Eph. 1:18).

Peace

Depths of my Heart

From the depths of my heart I have cried out to Him
To make myself known to Him
My hope is that He will hear me And answer me
In the pit of my despair

He is not far from me
I will look up
And wait for His help
For His army is strong
And courageous in battle

God will arouse Himself
On my behalf
As a mighty man of war
Therefore, I will rest
And wait for His help...

I shall be rescued
From the enemy’s hand
And He will laugh at him
As I am carried away in His arms
To a place of safety
There, I will praise Him forevermore!

Mary Ellen Brown, (PSA coach) Inspired by
Isaiah 42:13 AMP
Psalm 130:1

Joy

My dear friend, Fonda (see her story here) talks about how in the dark days after she separated from SA husband she was sure she would never find joy again... but then:

When I first started talking to her, Marsha [counselor] said, "I do have joy again. There will always be pain, the scars will never go away, but she said, I have joy again," and I couldn't imagine that. But I can still remember where I was, standing on the stairs one day, catching myself laughing, and going, "Wow, there it is. I have a smile again." It took a long time to get there, and now... there are more good days than bad days.

From the moment of his conception (or the announcement of it) Jesus brought joy to those around him.

But the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!  Luke 2:10-11 (NLT)

Love

 No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord. That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, 

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined
what God has prepared
    for those who love him.”

But it was to us that God revealed these things by his Spirit. For his Spirit searches out everything and shows us God’s deep secrets. No one can know a person’s thoughts except that person’s own spirit, and no one can know God’s thoughts except God’s own Spirit. And we have received God’s Spirit (not the world’s spirit), so we can know the wonderful things God has freely given us. 1 Corinthians 2:7-12 (NLT)

May you know the depths of His love for you in this holy season.