Dealing with our cup this Christmas

When Jesus was on the eve of his vile crucifixion, he pleaded to the Lord in the Garden of Gethsamane that if it was not to be the Lord’s will, could God would remove this cup from him? (Matthew 26)

We all know how the story goes. Jesus was indeed crucified and arose again bringing us eternal life. The treachery – so horrendous that God himself had to turn his face to bear it (Matthew 27) – was part of the plan all along.  Look at how the world changed after that day. And for the better! Christ’s suffering saved mankind forevermore. In hindsight, of course it’s 20/20. Jesus can look back and know why he endured the fire. And would he do it again? I’m sure.

The same has happened to me in some of the hardest times of my life. I can go back over my life with illness and the horror of the liver transplant and what recovery meant from that. I can viscerally feel the pain start to creep back in. That was one of a few periods in my life where I knew I was fighting to get through each and every moment. But looking back and knowing how my story has blessed and encouraged others, and reviewing how much strength, compassion, empathy, wisdom, and patience that God was able to reveal in my life, I now see that it was all worth it. 

How many times has God allowed us to endure trials by handing us our portion and our cup while we know full and clear that it contains what will lead to pain and suffering. I’m thankful that I now realize that these times bring us strength, but they definitely aren’t easy to endure. The outcome is always greater than the pain of the battle.

Infertility is our portion and our cup this Christmas. Nothing will change that, and I can only hope that we come out stronger in the end. I’ve had a hard time hoping lately, and I’ve been so afraid that this Christmas wouldn’t be “enough.” We are missing pieces of our hearts that feel bigger than ourselves. 

I turned to one of my favorite authors and leaders, Ann Voskamp. I love her blog post, “when you’re weary and want to prepare your heart for Christmas & a little bit of hope.”

Go ahead and read it. This, my friends is why we hope. As Ann writes, she reminds us, “If you don’t let your heart prepare Hope room — it’s your own house that comes crashing down” and then, “There’s a hope waiting right up ahead right now for you in the dark.”

Hope is everything. We have to keep it present and burning even when it’s hard to believe in it.

 I found this post today, and it gave me exactly what I needed. “The Christmas Edition: Only the Good Stuff.”

…these disappointments we can’t even talk about —

they might just go ahead & try to make us bitter,

and these banged up expectations of ours,

of all that we had expected things would look like — but don’t — might keep on trying to make us guarded & hard…

and the dreams we can’t even tell anybody about, but feel pretty bruised right about now, they might be trying to convince us to just give up… we can feel You touch us, how You lift our chins slow, how You speak right into us:

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” Jer. 29:11MSG

And Your Word touches us. Touches us like a gentle salve tonight in the sorest places… And we feel it: Hope is the salve that keeps our broken hearts soft.

Believe it: When you can’t touch bottom is when you touch the depths of God.

Isn’t that all there really is to know? He knows. He’s been there, and He had given us more than enough hope to carry on. 

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