Photo by Hernan Sanchez on Unsplash
Complaining during the Season of Joy
By DeAnna kane
The holiday season is officially here. I hear many people talk of joy and laughter, excitement in decorating, spending time with family, and holiday cheer. Lights are going up around the neighborhoods, and smiles on the faces of passers-by greet us in the dropping temperatures. Some cities have even gotten their first beautiful snowfall. I’m quite jealous of them as here in Southern California, we may only get a light frost on some particularly cold mornings, but never a good snowfall. The thought of reading “T’was the Night Before Christmas” warms my heart as it is a tradition I developed with my kids years ago. My house looks like Mrs. Clause just dumped her entire decorating collection in my living room. As my kids like to say, “It’s Christmas and mommy goes crazy!” Well, yes, I do.
The holidays are amazing, and fun, but also stressful and can bring out the “exhaustion” in the best of us. I woke up the other day and just wanted to curl up in my bed and cry. I was overwhelmed with feelings of fatigue, stress, and discontentment over so many areas of my life. As a single mom of four kids (and recently a foster care giver of four additional kids), I constantly worry over finances, work, not being there for my kids, and taking out my stress on them. I have a very contentious ex-husband who fights me at every turn and makes life harder and harder each day. I have those days when I just want to curl up and cry and complain about how my life hasn’t turned out the way I wanted.
Then I think of what has happened in SoCal over the past two weeks. I think about my hard life (and it is hard, no doubt about that), and I realize that there are thousands of people who would give anything to trade their lives for my hard life.
Here in Los Angeles, we have been battling some devastating circumstances with multiple fires that have been breaking out in various parts of the cities. Many families have lost their homes, their possessions, and some even their lives. They have no place to put up a Christmas tree, no place to enjoy a home cooked meal. These people would give anything to have my dirty home to clean, my garage full of junk that I can donate or sell in a garage sale, laundry piled up that needs to be folded and put away. Yes, they would give anything right now to have my hard life.
Our growing homeless situation in LA is horrendous. ASCEND Women have visited these areas and given away food, clothes, and biblical materials. These people would probably give anything to have my hard life.
The staggering number of kids in the foster care system, and ones that are homeless is worse than anyone could have imagined. Over 88,000 homeless children live in LA, and almost 4000 cases of foster care rise up every month. These kids would probably give anything to have my hard life.
So this season, while I acknowledge that life is hard, it isn’t impossible. With God’s amazing grace and through His strength, I am able to look at my hard life and just be thankful for what I do have. I courageously praise Him through the hard times, and I courageously thank Him for how He is going to see us ALL through the hard times.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’s to everyone!