Staggering my way through the crowded shopping mall, an overwhelming sense of sadness filled my heart as I began to take in the sights and sounds around me. No one seemed to be filled with Christmas cheer, myself included. Instead of shopping for gifts, hubby and I were out shopping for a new washing machine. After a year of battling cancer and the financial difficulties that go along with it, things were looking up for us this Christmas. With no more radiation treatments this year, I would be able to celebrate the holidays without all of the fatigue. I was able to work again and had landed a wonderful new job so this Christmas was bound to be better than the last. Everything seemed to be going along smoothly until that darn washing machine decided to explode just in time for the holidays! The extra savings we had put aside for Christmas would now have to be spent on a washing machine. Thus the reason for the trip to the mall today.. not really what I wanted to be shopping for at this time of year, but nonetheless here we were pushing our way through the crowded mall alongside the other haggard and hurried shoppers.
As we maneuvered our way through the throng of holiday shoppers weaving our way up and down the mall like a herd of cattle, it dawned on me how much energy gets put into “stuff”. Shopping for “stuff” ..giving of “stuff” ..wrapping of “stuff” ..comparing of “stuff”…competing with “stuff”..well, I think you get the picture! As I was thinking about all of the effort, time and money put into “stuff” a young child began screaming at the top of her lungs for her mother to buy her a new toy which she clearly did not need. The mother started telling the child if she didn’t quit screaming Santa was going to give her coal for Christmas. This caused the child to scream even louder and the mother to get even more agitated. As I watched the chaos unfold before my eyes, I decided right then and there to stop my own internal whining and focus on the things that really mattered. For one, I was alive and here to celebrate the holidays with my family. For that I am thankful. I also began to count each and every blessing that I had received this year. From each of my family members down to the toes on my feet! Once I started counting my blessings, I couldn’t help but feel grateful and thankful. Even with my washing machine woes, life was still pretty good. I made a conscious effort to make eye contact and smile at those who I passed by. Occasionally I would receive a smile back. With each step I took, I would breath in a thanksgiving and exhale a negative thought. Soon the world didn’t look so glum and it didn’t take me long at all to shift the focus of my thoughts from negativity to thankfulness. As I looked at my husband, steady and dependable walking alongside me I could only feel but grateful. If you have been following my blog, you will know that my life hasn’t always been a bed of roses but somehow in the midst of my washing machine woes I had forgotten how truly blessed I was at that very moment in time and how far I have come. I was so caught up in the washing machine dilemia that I had lost my perspective on the reality of what life is really about.
We will all have “washing machine woes” at one time or another (metaphorically speaking of course!). We were never promised an easy life but we were all given the gift of peace and everlasting life which if we accept it, will guide and sustain us even through the tough times. How do we find this gift you might ask? Well it isn’t something you can purchase from a store. It is free for the asking. All we have to do is BELIEVE and Ask through prayer for God to fill us with His love. God sent us His Holy Spirit, a precious gift, in order to help us and guide us through the brokenness of life.. A broken washing machine, a broken marriage, a broken heart..He cares about all of it! If we are able to pray through the brokenness, we will find a renewed strength and an internal peace needed in order to rise above the depths of despair so that we are able to walk in the light no matter what our circumstances might be.
Life is always going to be full of hardships. No one is immune to it. But the good news is when we walk with God and rely on HIS strength to carry us through the darkness, we will find the power and strength needed in order to walk through the storm and come out on the other side deeper and stronger.
Christmas should be a time to celebrate the birth of Christ and peace on earth, but for many instead it becomes a time of pain and sorrow as financial worries, family issues and anxieties become magnified during the holidays. If you are reading this and are struggling with feelings of being overwhelmed during this Christmas season, know that you are not alone. Take a step back and begin to count your blessings. If you can’t find anything to be thankful for begin with the simple and obvious. If you have breath in your lungs, be thankful for that! If you can walk, talk and see.. be thankful! If you have a roof over your head and food on the table you have much to be thankful for! Life is FULL of blessings if we choose to see them. However, if we choose to dwell on the broken washing machines in our lives, then that is all we will see.
I wish each and every one of you peace, love and joy this Christmas season. And if you are in need of prayer, please send me a message. I would love to pray for you.
With all My Love,
Mitra Dee xo