I have a confession to make. It is almost Valentine’s Day and I just took down my Christmas Tree and decorations. Yes, you heard me right. Almost halfway through the second month of a brand new year and my home was still full on Christmas right down to the stockings still hung on the fireplace with care.
I had no idea why I was struggling so much with just removing everything and packing it away this year. I knew that the procrastination of this task is strong every year but this was a new record even for me.
However, with our Valentine’s Day party approaching, I finally had to force myself to get motivated and begin the arduous task of removing everything and packing it away.
I brought in the containers and I began to slowly remove the decorated ornaments from the tree one by one. I sat them down, examining each one, and then carefully began to wrap them one at a time and place them in boxes.
As I worked diligently, I suddenly felt this anxiety and sadness creep in. Remember my post about anxiety? Well, in true fashion, it came without any warning once again and hit me like a semi during rush hour.
Sometimes, we do things subconsciously and we truly are unaware and oblivious to our own actions. What might seem like one thing, is actually something else entirely. While I thought the fact that my tree was still standing in all of it’s glory was due to a great deal of procrastination, the reality is that I had been avoiding taking down the tree because it had become something I was holding onto very tightly. It had become something I was clinging to trying to help me avoid a very real reality in my life.
Christmas is special in our household. It is a time of family and Mister O and I work hard every year to make it special for our littles. It is a time when Mister O is able to have time off work and we can spend days and sometimes weeks watching Christmas movies and shopping for gifts and eating yummy treats. It holds so many special memories and traditions and without my even realizing it, I had latched onto my tree because it was the last really significant time we would have as a family for a really long time.
My Christmas tree had become so much more than just a tree; it had become an object of connection to the man I love the most. It had become a way to hold onto him when he is too far away for me to actually hold. A mirage in my desert place. And as it is with all mirages, it’s deceit began to show itself all too quickly.
As I looked at my empty tree and home now removed of all things Christmas, I finally let myself cry the tears I had been fighting for weeks. I finally allowed myself to take in the reality of what what these months will hold for our family. I was finally able to take my eyes off a silly, plastic tree and put them back onto Jesus.
Sometimes, we hold onto something for hope that actually is keeping us from having a moment of surrender that is necessary to our healing and strengthening. We begin to replace our Savior, our strength and comfort, with other things because they have sentimental value or seem more comforting but the desperate gripping of these things prevent us from the healing and peace that God wants to bring us.
I had to force myself to take down that tree and come face to face with the pain I was trying to avoid. I had to force myself to pack it all away and face the reality that my husband is not here; that I have to learn once again how to wake up each day and go to bed each night knowing I can’t hear his voice or see his face.
As much as I wanted to, I could not stay locked into the past. It was destroying my present and my future; it was robbing me of my spiritual walk and it was silently destroying my peace. It was an empty promise of false hope.
While it was a hard moment, it was also freeing. I was able to work through all the emotions and realities that I had so desperately wanted to ignore. I was able to process my fears, my anger, my resentments, my pain and I was able to finally remember that I am stronger than this. I was able to remember that I am not just a wife and mother but I am also a daughter of the greatest and most powerful. I am mighty. I am a warrior.
The last few months have been about so much more than just a tree and while it was not easy to see that or understand that during my determination to just hold onto it so tightly, once I let go, I was finally able to see that I am so much more than my weakest moments and fears.
I am going to be okay. We are going to be okay. We are going to make it through the days and weeks and months and before we know it, we will find ourselves unpacking that tree once more. While this year our tree assembly will have a smaller set up crew, we will also have a lot more to celebrate and look forward to but most importantly, no matter what happens, I can rest in the knowledge that I have a whole lot more in my life to hold onto than just a tree; I have a God who loves me and He is already waiting there to remind me that I am strong enough.
In Christ’s Love,