“Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
Tis the season for lights to twinkle, bells to jingle, and fireplaces to crackle. I must admit, Christmas truly is my favorite time of the year.
Unfortunately, for many years it was also a bittersweet time of year. I remember the days of dreaming of a Christmas filled with romantic sleigh rides with the love of my life, and waking up on Christmas morning to watch the excitement of a child’s dancing eyes as they basked in the joy of their new toys. For me, I feel humbly blessed and excited that this year I get to anticipate many of these moments. (Not sure about the sleigh ride in Memphis, but maybe.)
You see, life didn’t go exactly as I had planned and there were many Christmases where I woke up alone on Christmas day, crying in the arms of the first love of my life, Jesus Christ. I didn’t get married until I was almost 38 years old. After getting married, we then faced several years of infertility struggles where I was blessed to finally become a mommy at the wonderful age of 42.
But there were so many times I, like Hannah in 1 Samuel 1, grieved over dreams unfulfilled.
I remember many Christmases where I sat back watching as family members gathered their little ones together for their Christmas pajama pictures and their sweet time of telling The Christmas Story. I smiled and was truly thankful to be part of a beautiful family where I was included in everything. But the sting of unfulfilled dreams seemed to be magnified during these precious times. I also remember the many conversations (in which I wasn’t a part) of my sweet siblings anticipating the joy on their children’s faces as they saw the many new toys that “Santa” had stayed up all night putting together. I was honored and thankful that I was included in anything and everything with my family, and yet, like Hannah, my desire still lingered and my heart still ached.
I’m 44 now with an amazing husband and a beautiful 2-year-old little boy. I strive to never take my blessings for granted, and I can honestly say that I am thankful now for the loneliness I encountered and the season of desires unfulfilled. You see, it was during that season I learned to run wholeheartedly to the arms of “The Desire Giver,” our Heavenly Father. I had to learn that a husband and children did not determine my worth.
Hannah became a role model for me as I learned I too could pour out my soul to the Lord, and He truly cared.
Dreams unfulfilled led me to struggle with “bitterness of soul” sometimes as I watched others continue to have what my heart so longed for. The Lord gently taught me through His Word that Hannah too struggled with bitterness of soul, and she wept much and prayed to The Lord over these emotions. (1 Sam. 1:10)
There were many tears cried and many prayers prayed in order to overcome any bitterness and rejoice with others. But it was during that season of my life the Lord taught me that my joy doesn’t come from my circumstances, but from a continual reliance upon Him as the focus of my joy. (Something I’m still learning!)
I found also that Hannah described herself as “miserable” in 1 Samuel 1:11. I can tell you there were many times I too felt that way. But as I continued reading on in verse 12, it says Hannah “kept on praying!” (A sweet lesson to learn as we as women strive to navigate the many emotions and feelings we are faced with on a daily basis. Keep on praying!)
You see, season’s come and go, but God is our constant. My heart is tender for the single mom, the grieving mom, the want to be mom, and every other wife and mom who faces bittersweet times during the holidays.
My prayer for you is to continue to run to the arms of The Desire Giver. He is your El Roi! He is “the God who sees.”
He sees your pain and your loneliness and your anxiety. He understands every emotion and loves you with an everlasting love.
Hannah didn’t run from the many emotions and desires her heart encountered; she ran to The Desire Giver and she wept and prayed and kept on praying!
1 Samuel 1:18 says, “Then she went her way and ate something and her face was no longer downcast.” You see, at this moment her circumstances and desires hadn’t changed, but I believe she reestablished her “trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not to your own understanding” mentality (Prov. 3:5). She knew that HE had heard her, and she could trust Him.
As the holidays approach and the busyness of being wife and mom or the longing to be a wife or a mom begins to overtake you, take a lesson from Hannah. Don’t run from the desires and emotions, run to your El Roi, “the God who sees.” Cry it out, pray it through, and know that you are loved and valued. He hears your heart’s cry. After all, He is The Desire Giver.
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