The holidays can be a very difficult time for survivors of abuse. Many have been abused by relatives and this is a time that emphasizes family togetherness, goodwill and good cheer. I’ve known many survivors who have been forced to ‘drink and be merry’ sitting next to the person who abused them as a child or even the week or day before.

Or if the abuse is known often it has brought about discord in the family and there are no joyful family gatherings to attend. Worse, the person might not have any family at all anymore and faces the following weeks feeling extremely lonely and depressed.

Don’t misunderstand me. Survivors of abuse are the strongest individuals I know. They have taken on more internal pain and anguish than most can fathom and have done this so eloquently, hidden it so well, they are teaching your children, running your finances, arguing your court cases, fixing your ailments, and possibly even raising your children.

I bring this up because it has hit me pretty hard the need for community in every person’s life. The holidays focus on togetherness, oneness, ‘we are the world, we are the children’, etc… so maybe it’s a time to ask your friends and neighbors if they have some place to be, do they have someone to share a meal.

A blessing of Harvey is that it has brought the community together and as we reside in our crowded upstairs rooms, it forces us out and into one another’s back yards for cook outs. I also think about my mother in law at this time, as she is going through the first Christmas without her spouse of 50 years and when we go home at night how lonely it might feel, how important it has been that her neighbors have been inviting her over for dinner to fill in the gap.

This Christmas take a moment and think about those you interact with and make sure they have family or friends to celebrate with and if it is you that feels lonely even within your own family maybe change it up this year and find some friends who help you to feel safe and comfortable. Or if you’ve  begun to recognize what puts you in that lonely place, it is then up to you to make that change and offer yourself a bit of self-care by being surrounded with those that bring joy in your life.

And certainly let us not forget that Christmas is the time that reminds us that we are NEVER ALONE. Christ is always with us. We are anxiously awaiting the celebration of his coming and so let us take a moment every morning reminding ourselves that he is near, and he is our strength even if we only have the faith of a mustard seed.

Merry Christmas everyone!!! You are in my prayers.

Below is my favorite song at the moment. Speaks to me on so many levels. May it bless you too.

EVEN IF by Mercy Me

Even If
They say sometimes you win some
Sometimes you lose some
And right now, right now I’m losing bad
I’ve stood on this stage night after night
Reminding the broken it’ll be alright
But right now, oh right now I just can’t
It’s easy to sing
When there’s nothing to bring me down
But what will I say
When I’m held to the flame
Like I am right now
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
They say it only takes a little faith
To move a mountain
Well good thing
A little faith is all I have, right now
But God, when You choose
To leave mountains unmovable
Oh give me the strength to be able to sing
It is well with my soul
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, and I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
You’ve been faithful, You’ve been good
All of my days
Jesus, I will cling to You
Come what may
‘Cause I know You’re able
I know You can
I know You’re able and I know You can
Save through the fire with Your mighty hand
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
I know the sorrow, I know the hurt
Would all go away if You’d just say the word
But even if You don’t
My hope is You alone
It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul
Songwriters: Bart Marshall Millard / Benjamin Glover / Crystal Lewis / David Arthur Garcia / Tim Timmons
Even If lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Capitol Christian Music Group

Blessings

Shannon

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