Doing Life Together

Doing Life Together

Merry Christmas! The Gift of a Lifetime

posted by Linda Mintle

ID-100152931

MERRY CHRISTMAS

I had to laugh as I watched the commercial. A woman and man were running towards each other just like you see in an old romantic movie. But as they get nearer and nearer, arms stretched out ready for an embrace, they by pass each other. The woman’s face drops, she cries and looks distressed. As she lifts her head, a red sweater is hanging on a clothes line in front of her. The tag line, “The man may leave you, but the sweater never will!”

Hardly a Hallmark moment!

But the idea that a gift can bring you joy is only true for a moment. More is needed for continuous joy! And there is one gift that lasts for a lifetime and brings comfort and joy. It’s not the sweater!

My mom’s Hummel Nativity scene greets you when you walk in the door. I love this time of year. The house is lit up with lights, candles glow in the evenings, and the fireplace warms the house as we enjoy the beauty of the tree. But the manager scene is front and center as a reminder of the true meaning of Christmas. It is the reason we are joyous.

God gave us a gift, HIs Son sent as a baby.

This gift is not for one year, but lasts for all the years to come. And this gift continues into eternity. It is the gift of eternal life spent with God.

No dream destination can match this prize. No sweater, car, new gadget or money can bring such comfort and joy.

Today, on Christmas, receive the gift of God’s Son. It is freely given. JOY TO THE WORLD, THE LORD HAS COME!

When Disappointment Gives Way to Joy

posted by Linda Mintle

Blue Christmas TreeIt’s a familiar part of the Christmas story.Luke 1: Zechariah is told by the angel, Gabriel, that his wife Elizabeth would have a child. This proclamation was surprising because Elizabeth and Zechariah were infertile and had been praying for a child for years. Now, past the normal age of child bearing, the couple was living in the reality of disappointment.

  • Most of us are can relate to barren places in our lives. We have experienced disappointment in a job, relationship, dream or health. Whether that disappointment is over a physical infertility or some other type of barren place, disappointment can easily settle in. We can give up on our dreams and feel that time has passed us by.Yet, in the biblical account of Elizabeth and Zechariah, against all odds, Elizabeth conceived and her desire was granted.As we picked apart this passage, several points are made:1) Disappointment happens to good people.

    2) Don’t believe that just because you are getting older, life is passing you by and your dreams won’t be fulfilled. Our later years can be times of great fulfillment. We don’t always understand the timing of God. But His timing is always best.

    3) Like Zechariah, we must continue to pray and contend for the goodness of God. In Luke 1: 13, the angel tells Zechariah, “Your prayer has been heard.” Never doubt: God hears our prayers.

    4) Miracles happen.

    5) Great joy comes from God

    When we are in those barren times, it is easy to think that God forgets us or that we aren’t that important to God. However, God wants us to stand fast in prayer and believe for those desires of our hearts.

    Luke 1:58 says that God showed great mercy to Elizabeth. The character trait of mercy is still true of God today. God wants to show great mercy to us as well.

    So if you are feeing barren in your life this Christmas, if you are living with disappointment, one of the messages of the Christmas story is that God wants to do something miraculous in your life. He delights in showing you great favor.

     

     

 

Grieving During the Holidays

posted by Linda Mintle

ID-10078264I was driving down the road the other day when a song played on my phone. It touched me and it will touch you.

I encourage anyone who will be missing a special someone this holiday season to click on this link. The music will minister to you. Such poignant words from Christian song artist Mark Schultz.

If you are dealing with loss this holiday season, here are a few points that may help:

1) Allow yourself to grieve. Let the feelings  come. It may hit at unexpected times–during a song, commercials, photographs, etc. The year my mom died just before Christmas, I remember baking and suddenly feeling overwhelmed. I needed to ask my mom a question about the baking and I couldn’t. For whatever reason, this hit me hard and I started to cry. I realized that so much of my mom’s contribution to the holidays was her incredible baking. Baking triggered the memory. It’s OK. Let the feelings out.

2) Consider attending a  support group. This is no time to be strong and go it alone. Grief needs to be shared. Find people who can listen and grieve with you. If you are really struggling, a support group can be just the place to heal the heart.

3) Do something for someone else. I know it is a cliche to say that seeing the need of someone else helps you feel better, but it is true.  Take an angel off the Angel tree, volunteer in a soup kitchen, visit a shelter or hospital, participate in a church activity or community event. Giving to others takes your mind off yourself and improves your mood. This year, I am caroling in a nursing home. The residents love it.

4) Don’t wallow in pity. It’s easy to look at people celebrating and feel deprived or resentful. Don’t go there. Anger will come as part of the grieving process, but don’t allow that anger to move to resentment.

5) Take a time-out if you become overwhelmed. Find a quiet room in a family get together, leave the church sanctuary for a side room to cry, etc.

6) Don’t avoid the loss or pretend the person wasn’t important. Talk about the person. In our family, we talk about mom’s pies and how much we miss them, the sound of her laughter, the love for her grandkids, etc. Share a favorite story. Laugh about funny moments. This helps keep the memories alive.

7) If the loss is fresh, don’t push yourself. Do as little or as much as you feel you can handle. There is no right way to handle grief. Pay attention to your physical life–sleep, eating well and resting. A little self-care will take the edge off the rawness of loss feelings.

8) Feel joy and laughter without feeling guilty. There will be moments of joy and laughter during the holiday season, especially if you are a person of faith. Allow them to come. You can’t sustain grief 24/7 or your body will be too stressed. Sometimes a light distraction like a funny movie can even help.

9) Don’t push yourself to grieve too quickly. The intensity of grief lessens with time. Time does heal. As the months go by, you will feel stronger and better, but it does take time.

10) Pray and comfort yourself with God’s Word. God knows our grief and our sorrows and promises to comfort us. Ask Him to help you through this difficult time.

 

Relatives Who Drink Too Much: How to Handle it

posted by Linda Mintle

ID-10049332Question: We will be traveling to our relatives in another state for several family gatherings during Christmas. Two of my siblings are problem drinkers and I am not sure how to handle this with my family. We do not drink so my children are not used to seeing family members act up while under the influence. In the past, the drinking has gotten out of hand. My children are now old enough to ask questions. What do I do or say if the drinking starts to become a problem again?

 

Drinking during the holidays can get out of control and create many problems for families, especially in families where problem drinkers are in denial and do nothing to prevent getting intoxicated.

The best advice is to make sure that when you visit, you have a way of escape. Even if your siblings offer to let you stay at their homes, reserve a room at a hotel. That way, if their behavior becomes problematic, you can leave.

Before you travel, I would tell them and your parents that the past history of drinking makes you uncomfortable and that if things begin to get out of control, you will excuse yourself and leave. This way it puts the burden on them to moderate. If they persist in their behavior, you explained the rules ahead of time.

If you leave, have a talk with your children about the importance of family (the reason you continue to visit), but that there are times family members must set limits and boundaries on behavior that is unsafe or inappropriate. Being around people who are drunk is not something you want to expose them to or be around. Altered states change people in ways that are not always nice. This is a hard line to take but one that will earn the respect of your children and may cause others to rethink their enabling behavior. Don’t allow anyone to put guilt on you for setting boundaries. You are not telling your family what to do but telling them what you will or will not tolerate to keep your family safe.

Previous Posts

Merry Christmas! The Gift of a Lifetime
MERRY CHRISTMAS I had to laugh as I watched the commercial. A woman and man were running towards each other just like you see in an old romantic movie. But as they get nearer and nearer, arms stretched out ready for an embrace, they by pass each other. The woman's face drops, she cries and looks di

posted 6:00:58am Dec. 25, 2014 | read full post »

When Disappointment Gives Way to Joy
It's a familiar part of the Christmas story.Luke 1: Zechariah is told by the angel, Gabriel, that his wife Elizabeth would have a child. This proclamation was surprising because Elizabeth and Zechariah were infertile and had been praying for a child for years. Now, past the normal age of child beari

posted 6:00:47am Dec. 23, 2014 | read full post »

Grieving During the Holidays
I was driving down the road the other day when a song played on my phone. It touched me and it will touch you. I encourage anyone who will be missing a special someone this holiday season to click on this link. The music will minister to you. Such poignant words from Christian song artist Mark Sc

posted 6:00:59am Dec. 22, 2014 | read full post »

Relatives Who Drink Too Much: How to Handle it
Question: We will be traveling to our relatives in another state for several family gatherings during Christmas. Two of my siblings are problem drinkers and I am not sure how to handle this with my family. We do not drink so my children are not used to seeing family members act up while under the in

posted 6:00:57am Dec. 18, 2014 | read full post »

Christmas Shopping With Toddlers: Dr. Linda's 10 Tips
A reader asks: As much as I love to shop on-line, I prefer to tackle the masses during Christmas and head to the malls and store. My question is, “How can I shop with two little ones (ages two and four) and remain sane?” I will have to take them with me but really want to give it a try.  

posted 6:00:45am Dec. 17, 2014 | read full post »


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