I’ve seen the pictures of troops on the front lines during the holidays. I’ve seen pictures of them in chow halls and outposts and pictures of their families with empty chairs and “flat soldiers” in their place. I know the challenges this time of year can bring to people and to families. I know first-hand.
I have never sat on a battlefield on Christmas day or had Christmas dinner at a chow hall downrange, but I have bought and wrapped every present for every family member by myself and explained to my children that Daddy’s heart is here even if he is not. Regardless of which side of the equation or ocean you’re on, these moments can be difficult, to say the least.
It can be so easy to sink into sadness or even anger. We start to long for things to be different than they are and knowing there is nothing we can do about them. Feeling like something is missing, it seems like things just can’t be “right.”
I would submit to all of us that God has a different plan.
We are not missing anything.
Our God is a purposeful, intentional God. Locations and circumstance are no surprise to Him. He does not desire to cause us pain and heartache, but He does desire for us to grow, to be obedient, and to love. He is the source of joy and hope, even now.
So how do we shake off the feeling of missing something in an intentional effort to not miss what God is doing?
I have three ideas:
1. Look – Look for what God is doing around us. He has not stopped working just because things don’t look like we want them to or like we planned. Look to see what He is doing and then join Him in that work. He has a plan and a purpose for us even during this time.
2. Remember – Remember what God has done for us in the past – His love and faithfulness that has brought us through many things. Maybe even more importantly, though, we need to remember that just because things are different doesn’t mean things are bad. It is hard to imagine sometimes that things are as they are because He allowed them to be that way. He is good. He is faithful. He is intentional. He is still the same, even during this season.
3. Find – Find joy. God has blessings planned in unexpected ways, whether cherished times with friends who become like family, renewed focus on the reason of Christmas, or simply joy in who He is and what He has done for us. Challenging times can bring some of our most special moments. Find those moments that God has planned and find the joy in them. HE is our joy – we still have Him, no matter what our circumstances may look like.
We are not missing anything, really we’re not. This very sentence can be hard to swallow on Christmas morning when we head to the chow hall by ourselves in the same uniform we wore yesterday or sit in our living room without a family member, though. I know that feeling well.
These simple three words and the ideas behind them don’t really fix anything, but Jesus does.
Our location on the planet and that of our loved ones is no surprise to God. He has a purpose and a plan for us just where we are. My prayer for us this season is to be reminded of that and then to be on the lookout for what He is doing.
Although it feels like we are missing something sometimes, the true tragedy would be to miss out on what God is doing. He is good. He is intentional. And He loves us. May His peace, wisdom, blessing and grace pour over us this season. But even more importantly, may we accomplish what He has designed for us for this time, keeping our eyes on Jesus.
What do you struggle with most during this season? What have you seen God do in your world lately?
Kori Yates loves adventure and her former life as a Marine and ongoing stint as an Army wife has given her just that. Desiring to bring together Christian military women and impact a globe for Christ, she has helped launch Planting Roots. Through events, online Bible study, and a social media community, their prayer is for revival among military women. Kori is also an author (Olive Drab Pom-Poms) and speaker, as well as a homeschooling mom of two amazing kids and wife to one awesome Soldier.