I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that so many people are struggling during the holiday season. I’ve been one of them more times than I’d like. It’s such a season of contradiction at times. Life is still happening but for some reason we think it all has to stop and we have to happily sip our hot cocoa. I love how more and more of my writer friends are writing about their struggles in this season. But what I love more is how they freely offering not only their story of struggle or pain but they are offering encouragement to others on how they made it through.
One of our favorite quotes here on EPFH is “A story worth living is a story worth sharing.” If we live it, we should share it. That’s what EPFH is all about. Keeping things in secret or in hiding, the good and the bad, the joy and the sorrow, keeps the light from both going out and coming in. Light pierces darkness.
In the midst of all the hard, the busy, the challenges and even
When I’ve navigated my own choppy seas, I’ve longed for someone who has been through and survived it to tell me, “Andrea, It’s going to be okay. You can make it.” Here are a few of my favorite posts that I pray will do that for you.
“Sometimes, you feel like you just can’t catch your footing for all your worth — and it can be pretty darn hard to tell yourself that the whole crumbling shebang isn’t a reflection on your self worth.” ~Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience
When I think of a blog with encouragement in deep waters I immediately think of A Holy Experience. Ann Voskamp has a way with words like no other. She also has a way of making you feel like she’s right across the table from you, sipping hot tea or coffee in a beautifully worn cup, sharing her story into your story. I can’t always read all of her words. Admittedly, sometimes I skim. But I think she knows that and I think she gives grace in that because she always highlights just the parts I need.
“The older I get, the more I appreciate pain. I’m not a masochist by any stretch because I don’t like pain any more than the average person. And yet I’ve come to appreciate it.” ~Donald Miller, Storyline
This is one that has remained with me since it’s original posting in 2011. He posted it on an older blog and I saved it. I guess he liked it too. Enough to re-post on his Storyline blog. When I think of going through pain, I think of this post. I’ve shared it countless times with friends over the years and now I’m sharing it with you.
“If your heart is broken this Christmas, I get it. I see you. And I’m giving you a pass.” ~Lauren Flake, For the Love of Dixie
This is such a heartfelt and encouraging words from my friend, Lauren. She gets it and she tells you that joy will come because the source of Joy is already here.
“The answer, for me at least, is equally complicated. Get plenty of rest, but not too much. Not enough and anxiety comes out to play. Too much and depression creeps in.” ~Brooke Fradd, Awkwardly Graceful
My friend, Brooke, shares her honest heart and gives us 4 things we can actually do to help us cope with hard times during the holidays. She reminds us there is hope in the hard.
And last but certainly not least (plus there will be some amazing things for you to read if you click o the link up froggie) this is from my friend, Kelly. She reminds us that if anyone experienced a hard Christmas season, it would have been Mary.
“Mary and Sara both made a decision to choose joy before their circumstances could dictate their emotions.” ~Kelly Smith, Mrs. Disciple
As I close this, I am struck by how blessed I am to have so many wonderful writer friends in my life. How blessed I am to have so many wonderful friends in general. If this is a hard holiday season for you, may I encourage you to reach out to someone you can trust and let them be a part of your story? We really are better together. We’re not meant to do this stuff alone. Are you in a place where you wish someone was sitting across the table from you telling you, “It’s going to be okay. You can make it!”? I hope after reading this post and clicking on the links I’ve shared, you feel encouraged in that way. But just to make sure, let me tell you…
It’s going to be okay. You can make it!
Edit: I had to come back and add this scripture when I ran across it on my friend, Kelly’s, amazing blog post that she linked up, A Light in the Darkness. When you put verse 2 up next to verse 6, it’s a “WOW” moment!
Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan—
2 The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned.
3 You have enlarged the nation
and increased their joy;
they rejoice before you
as people rejoice at the harvest,
as warriors rejoice
when dividing the plunder.
4 For as in the day of Midian’s defeat,
you have shattered
the yoke that burdens them,
the bar across their shoulders,
the rod of their oppressor.
5 Every warrior’s boot used in battle
and every garment rolled in blood
will be destined for burning,
will be fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Now it’s time for YOU to LINK UP!
Bloggers, link up (click on the blue frog) with your favorite post from your blog this week.
Non-bloggers, feel free to leave your favorite link from this week in the comments.
Readers, visit the link up page (click on the blue frog) and read some awesome stories.
Everyone, leave some comments and share your thoughts!
Link up option ends on Monday. Not to worry, though, we’ll be back next Saturday!