Tag Archives: Christmas

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It happened again this year...

Even though I said I wouldn't let it...

Even though I vowed, just last year, to kick crazy to the curb and remember the real reason for the Season this Christmas...

Then, just last week...I lost my ever-lovin' mind.

When You Need Peace This Christmas | thereisgrace.com

We were preparing to host out-of-town family for the holidays, and there was so. much. to. do. I don't remember what insignificant detail sent me into an emotional tailspin, but I do remember my wise and loving husband coming to the rescue (as he always does).

I rattled off the endless list of things still needing to be done, on top of the normal, everyday things like laundry and dishes, and homeschool. He let me rant, then he calmly said, "But we're not in a hospital recovering from surgery or chemotherapy." Then he lovingly sent me off to bed for a good night's rest, promising things would look better in the morning. And, of course, they did.

I woke up the next morning with renewed energy and a fresh perspective. Still, I had learned a valuable lesson. That simple statement from my husband was a gentle reminder of all God has done for us. God used those words to help me pause in the midst of a hectic season and realize a painful truth: It's easier for me to trust God with the big things--like cancer--than the normal, ordinary, everyday things.

But that's not what Christmas is about. Christ didn't come just for the big moments in life--the mountains that we face or the valleys we walk through. He came for the everyday moments.

Why else would He have been born in a manger, rather than a palace? Why would He come to ordinary people, not royalty? Why would He make His entrance on an average day, without pomp and fanfare?

[Joseph] went there (Bethlehem) with Mary to be listed. Mary was engaged to him. She was expecting a baby.  While Joseph and Mary were there, the time came for the child to be born.  She gave birth to her first baby. It was a boy. She wrapped him in large strips of cloth. Then she placed him in a manger. That’s because there was no guest room where they could stay. (Luke 2:4-7)

Why would heaven choose to first announce the Birth of the Christ to shepherds? Simple, ordinary shepherds?

There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby. It was night, and they were taking care of their sheep. An angel of the Lord appeared to them. And the glory of the Lord shone around them. They were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news. It will bring great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is the Messiah, the Lord.  (Luke 2:8-11)

Yes, there would be kings coming from the East to worship the Messiah. But the first who came? Shepherds. Because God is for everyone. On every day. In every situation.

Imagine the scene the Baby Jesus caused in the quiet little town of Bethlehem...a young couple, bedded down in a stable for the night where she gives birth to their first son. Then, when things are just beginning to calm down, here came a whole herd of shepherds trapsing through town with their sheep (you don't think they left them in the fields do you?), searching for the newborn King.

I can only imagine what the new-to-motherhood Mary was thinking when a group of smelly roughians approached her and her baby. That's exactly the kind of chaos every new mother needs! But tucked into the midst of all the chaos of the scene is my favorite verse in the Christmas story:

Mary kept all these things like a secret treasure in her heart. She thought about them over and over. (Luke 2:19)

In the midst of the crazy and the chaos, Mary found peace and stillness in the presence of her baby...the Savior of the world.

So, even if the shopping is not yet done. Even if the house isn't quite clean. Even if the gifts aren't wrapped. Take a tip form Mary and snuggle up with a cup of coffee, gaze at the Christmas tree, treasure this precious Baby--Immanuel, God with us, and treasure all these things in your heart.

Wishing you and yours and blessed and restful Christmas!

 

 

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Last year I celebrated Christmas quietly at home with just my husband, my children, and my mother-in-law. My body was weak from six rounds of chemo and I was emotionally drained from the battle we were waging--both physically and spiritually-- for my health. But my spirit remained joyful--hopeful.

I saw Christmas in a new light. Sure, I had a new perspective on what truly matters in life, as often happens when you face a crisis. But more than a revelation on the value of life, I had a new perspective on the whole purpose of Christmas. Suddenly, it was more than a simple story of faith. It was now a glaring declaration of God's love for us...for you, for me, for each of us individually.

Isaiah 9:6

It wasn't long after that weary Christmas Day that I received a Compassion Bag from Compassion That Compels. Since then, I've been privileged to write for their ministry and have grown to love Kristianne and her heart for women battling cancer.

This year, I will gather with all my family and celebrate Christmas CANCER FREE!! I'm talking about it over at Compassion That Compels...won't you join me there? While you're there, consider sponsoring a Compassion Bag for someone battling cancer. She'll appreciate it more than you'll know...trust me. And maybe next year, she'll be sharing her own story of victory!

Read the rest here.

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It happens about this time each year...I begin the slow transformation into Frantic-Crazy-Christmas Mom. Armed with my long list of must-do, have-to-do, and want-to-do items, I hit the ground running on December 1. My transformation escalates as Christmas parties, obligations, shopping excursions, baking, wrapping, and travel fill the calendar. By the time December 25 rolls around, I've gone from Buddy the Elf to Mrs. Scrooge in a mere 3 1/2 weeks.

Last year was the first time in a long time that didn't happen. I was finishing up six rounds of chemotherapy, so I determined to focus on my health and my family and not worry about the rest of it. It was one of the most relaxed, enjoyable Christmases I can remember.

Even though I am recovering from two surgeries this year, every fiber of my hard-core, overachieving self wanted to jump back into the frenzy. I wanted to try every holiday recipe on Pinterest and every DIY wreath project on my FB feed! (Never mind the fact that I have been banned from using a glue gun on more than one occasion!)

But if there's one thing I've learned in our journey over the last 14 months, it's to focus on the truly important things. There's nothing wrong with Christmas parties and homemade gifts, but when my time and energy are consumed with accomplishing my to-do list, there's no time or energy left for what really matters...people. That's when it's time to kick the crazy to the curb!

5 simple steps to kick crazy to the curb this holiday season (plus resources!)
photo credit: nineminutes via photopin cc

1. Make a plan. We sat down as a family a few weeks ago and made a plan for our holiday season. We asked the kids their favorite traditions--foods, activities, events, etc. Then we scheduled those on the calendar; the rest are optional. We even gained an entire evening in December when we discovered an event we were all OK skipping!

2. Create time for family. We just completed a marathon trip for Thanksgiving--3 destinations and 19 hours in the van over 5 days. Why? Because we saw more family in those five days than we've seen all year. Yes, it was exhausting, but we'd do it all again in a heartbeat. If we wait to find time for family, we never will; we have to be intentional to create time for them.

3. Focus on giving, not getting. We asked our kids, "If you got only one gift from Mom & Dad this year, what would you want it to be?" Don't worry, our kids will not be deprived of Christmas gifts this year, but that question accomplished a couple of things: 1. It helped us hone in on the one thing they really want (as opposed to the 1,463 items they circle in the toy catalog!), and 2. It tapered their expectations (because they will never get all 1,463 things they circle in that catalog!)

I'm confident our kids understand Christmas is about Jesus, not about gifts and stockings. But this year, we wanted to be intentional about giving to and doing for others. We found opportunities through organizations like Operation Christmas Child as well as making special gifts for individuals in our lives.

4. Find silence. My favorite spot in the month of December is in front of the fire place with the Christmas lights on. I'll wake up early and curl up on the couch with a blanket and a cup of coffee. Then I simply sit and bask in the silence. Sometimes it's only 10 minutes before all my creatures start stirring, but those 10 minutes of calm will give me enough sanity to make it through the day!

5. Remember Jesus. That seems so simple, really--almost trite. Of course, we know Christmas is about Baby Jesus in the manger, but too often we stop there. We forget that Baby grew up--then gave up His life for us. Too many times we forget that part until Easter.

But that's what Christmas is really about...it's more than the fact that Jesus came, it's why He came. He came because God loves us so much that He could not leave us where we were. He loves us so much He wants a relationship with us, and that could only happen through Jesus.

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. (John 3:16, The Message)

You don't need more things to do this Christmas. But if you'll take a few minutes each day to focus on God and thank Him for Christmas, it will go a long way in keeping the crazy out!

How do you stay focused and keep the crazy out during the holiday season?

It's not too late to start an Advent reading to help you keep your focus. Here are some great resources to get you started:

The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp
Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room by Nancy Guthrie
Jesus: Light of the World by Candace Crabtree

Free resources
The Hope of Christmas
Advent: Preparing to Celebrate Christ's Birth by Billy Graham

For kids & families
Unwrapping the Greatest Gift
Truth in the Tinsel
More than Candy
Check these 4 Advent Resources for kids

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Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.

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Last week, I sat in a hospital room, praying my son's lungs were strong enough to go home after a respiratory virus had flared his asthma, leaving his little body desperate for oxygen.

Yesterday, I sat hooked to an IV-drip for my sixth round of chemotherapy.

To say this month...this year...has been different would be an understatement. But as I sat in that hospital room, and in the recliner today, I realized...I am joyful. Not because of my circumstances or surroundings, but because of a not-so-easy lesson recently learned.

Joy

I love everything about Christmas...the carols, the cookies, the crazy shopping excursions, and the chaos. As a matter of fact, I embrace the chaos. I get entirely stressed out with lists and plans and commitments, and I love. every. single. exhausting. moment.

But I knew I would have to scale back this year. No big baking extravaganza. No crazed holiday shopping sprees. No frantic Christmas party planning. I knew this year would have to be simple.

I really struggled with the idea of being content with less this year. Less time. Less energy. Less fun (in my mind). Which all led to less joy.

Then, in a sermon recently on joy, our pastor made the following statement:

Joy is not dependent on what happens to us, or around us. It is a result of what has happened in us.

I'm not sure what he said right after that, because I was stuck on that statement. That truth I could not ignore. That thing I've been clinging to and spouting about for the last few months. Somehow I had forgotten it in the midst of my holiday pity party.

If God is good (and He is)...

If He loves me (and He does, and you, too)...

If He has a plan for me (which He does, and for you, too)...

And, if He is big enough (which He absolutely is)...

Then I can have joy. Not because of my situation. In fact, I can have joy in spite of my circumstances. Because my joy is not based on what happens to me or around me...it's a result of what God has done in me.

Joy exceeds emotion and sentiment. It is a supernatural result of a supernatural grace.

Suddenly my perspective changed. I started to find joy in the small things...

Like the fact that our hospital visit came on my "good week" when I was feeling well and could be there with my boy.

Or that having treatment the week of Christmas has forced me to back down from my normally-chaotic holiday schedule. And slowing down allowed me to find the joy again in Christmas.

After all, isn't that how joy came that very first Christmas? In the smallest of packages...to the unlikeliest of people...in the most unexpected place...on the most ordinary of days?

No one noticed the young couple who wandered into town.

No one gave a second thought to that manger outside of town where the couple bedded down for the night.

Until...the heavens split wide open with an announcement to a group of roughians on their night watch:

I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.

That GREAT joy came in the smallest form: a baby born to an unlikely couple on an ordinary day in the most unexpected place.

So, whether you need a little joy to rescue you from the craze of the Season, or you need a lot of joy to outshine the heaviness that overshadows your life at the moment, I pray you find this Good News...this GREAT JOY that has come to Earth. Because in Him, and only in Him, can our joy be complete.

We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy! (1 John 1:3-5, The Message)

christmas card
 

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Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.

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According to the Amercian Cancer Society, "more than 1 million people in the United States get cancer each year." That is a HUGE number! It's safe to assume, then, that you know someone affected by the dreaded, 6-letter beast.

If someone you know is fighting cancer, here are some easy and creative ways you can show them some holiday cheer this Christmas.

Gift ideas for cancer patients...from someone who's been there! | thereisgrace.com

{Note to my family and friends: This is not a shameless plug for gifts. 🙂 It is because of YOUR generosity these last few months, that I can share these fabulous ideas with others. Thank you!}

1. Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift cards
Cancer treatment typically means little energy and a lot of "lying around" time. If he's a reader, your friend or family member will appreciate gift cards from Amazon or B&N to stock his bookshelf, Nook, or Kindle.

ushakable bookStories of those who have battled cancer (and won!) are especially encouraging to someone in the midst of the fight. My story of overcoming "non-curative," stage-four cancer and wrestling with my faith through the battle are told in my book Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. It's available in paperback or Kindle and would make a great gift for someone facing  cancer!

2. i-Tunes gift cards
Nothing soothes the soul and lifts the spirits like some good music. It's the gift that will be treasured again and again!

3. Accessories 
What better time to play with fun accessories than when chemo treatments force you to do so. If you are comfortable shopping for her tastes, she'll appreciate some fabulous new hats, scarves, and jewelry when the time comes.

4. Etsy gift cards
If you aren't comfortable shopping that specifically, Etsy gift cards are a great option. She will find an overwhelming selection of unique hats, scarves and other accessories at Etsy.com.

5. Soft, cozy blanket, sweater, hoodie
There is nothing like warm, soft, coziness while going through cancer treatment, especially when the weather turns cold. And having a great sweater or hoodie for those "not-feeling-so-great" days is priceless!

6. Restaurant gift cards
Even on a "great" day, the thought of cooking dinner can seem overwhelming and exhausting. Being able to order in without worrying about extra cost is a great luxury. And for those days when she feels like getting out, she'll appreciate having that option, too!

7. "Treat" Baskets
Cancer treatment can mess with your appetite and your taste buds. Sometimes nothing sounds good. Sometimes something in particular sounds really good. Gifts baskets of his favorite baked goods, candies, coffees, teas, etc. can come in handy on those days when his appetite returns.

8. Yourself
Your love and friendship is the greatest gift of all. Send a note, a card, an e-mail or a text. Offer to take her to lunch (if she's feeling up to it). Stop by to visit for awhile. I guarantee those are the things she will treasure more than any gift you can wrap.

9. Your services
Do you make a mean lasagna? Is scrubbing toilets your specialty? Do you love to take in extra children? Offer these services to your friend. Bring a meal. Offer to clean her home. Take her kids out for a play date. An extra hand or two on the days she's barely scraping by is worth more than anything you can put a bow on!

10. Prayer and encouragement 
More than any packaged gift, I treasure the prayers of my friends and family. I am truly humbled when someone says they are praying for me. I do not take it for granted. I especially like the written prayers and words of encouragement...sent in a card, a note, an e-mail, or a text. Those are the ones I go back and read on the hard days. They snap me out of my "funk" and help me get up to fight another day.

compassionbag
Image by Compassion that Compels, used with permission

Many of these items are found in the Compassion Bags from Compassion That Compels. Consider blessing your friend or family member with a Compassion Bag, or donate to sponsor Compassion Bags for other cancer overcomers!

No one wins a battle alone. The greatest warriors have a dedicated army backing them up. You may not be able to fight the battle for your friend, but every word, every prayer, every act of kindness and generosity gives her the strength she needs to stay in the fight.

 

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Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.

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'Tis the season for Holiday cheer, which often brings countless holiday parties and Christmas goodies. Between school parties, church festivities, and gatherings with family and friends, the holidays can prove to be a potential mine field for a child with food allergies.

You might see a table stacked high with your holiday favorites. But as the parent of a child with multiple food allergies, I see potential danger in every decadent treat. At age 6, my guy is old enough to understand he can't eat what everyone else does. And he's very diligent about asking before he eats something. However, since this is his first year in school full-time (i.e., under the supervision of another adult for most of the day), I am learning to oversee what he eats from a distance. Here are a few things I've discovered to ensure a successful party for all...

holiday-parties-food-allergies

1. Be Informed

As the mom of a child with allergies, I take it upon myself to ask a lot of questions, especially concerning parties at school: When is the party? (I always try to attend if I'm able.) What treats will be available? (If there are options my son cannot have, I will make arrangements to send something for him.) Are there treats he can have? (Often, the teacher or parent responsible for the party is happy to provide options my son can have if I give them some options up front.)

For parties with friends and family, I ask questions according to my comfort level. If it is an acquaintance, I will usually just bring something I know is safe for my child. For close friends and family, I will ask about ingredients and preparation. I do not expect them to go out of their way to accommodate our needs, so I always offer to bring something. Then I know there will be at least one thing my little guy can have.

2. Be Persistent

I realize parents and teachers who have not experienced food allergies firsthand are not used to thinking about them. Even if they are trained to be aware of the dangers of food allergies, they are not used to thinking through options (not like a mama who has done so for the last 5 years!). So, if I don't get the answers I need, I politely ask more questions: Do you know what brand of pretzels you will have? What types of candy will be available? Do you have an ingredients list for the icing you will be using? This is when it comes in handy for me to be at the party as food is often brought in that day and I am able to check labels firsthand.

3. Be Prepared

Even if I know there will be allergy-friendly options, I always, always come prepared....of course with an Epi-pen, but also with additional treats. There's always the chance that something could change at the last minute and I wouldn't want my little guy to be the only one without a cupcake because I wasn't prepared.

I try to keep my freezer well-stocked with allergy-friendly options like Egg-free Christmas Cookies , Allergy-friendly Cupcakes, or Egg, Nut, and Soy-free Butter Cookies that I can grab for just such an occasion. If my freezer is bare, and I don't have time to bake, I pick up some Enjoy Life cookies  to take. (These have saved my hide and my sanity on more than one occasion!)

For a long time, I hesitated asking questions of a host, not wanting to inconvenience them. But in five years I've never had my questions met with resistance or frustration. Whether friend, family, or teacher, I've found their goal is the same as mine: to protect my son and help him have as much fun as everyone else at the party.

Do you have for tips navigating the holidays with food allergies?

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As the parent of a child with food allergies, I am always on the lookout for an egg-free cookie recipe. I was so excited when a friend sent me a recipe for "angel wing cookies" a few years ago. They are similar to a butter cookie, or Mexican wedding cookie, with plenty of butter and powdered sugar, but no eggs, soy, or nuts...yeah!

The recipe makes a pretty big batch, so we like to give them as gifts for Christmas (shaped into crescents or "angel wings") or Valentine's Day (shaped as hearts).

Egg Free Butter Cookies

Egg-, Nut-, and Soy-Free Butter Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 tsp vanilla
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
Powdered sugar

In a mixing bowl, beat butter on medium to high for 30 seconds.
Add 1/2 cup powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon salt;
beat until well-combined. Beat in as much flour as you can.
Stir in remaining flour.
Chill dough for 30 minutes or until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Shape dough into 1-inch balls then pinch and shape
into crescents (for wings) or hearts.
Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets.

Bake 12-13 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown.
Cool 1 minute on baking sheets.
Transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
Roll or lightly dust cooled cookies with powdered sugar.

Makes 3 1/2 to 4 dozen cookies.

Looking for other allergy-friendly recipes? Check out these yummy options!

Best Pumpkin Muffins EVER!
Fruit & Oatmeal Bars
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Allergy-friendly Chocolate Cake
Egg-free Christmas Cookies

 

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Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.

May your days be Merry and Bright this Holiday Season

Merry Chistmas from There Is Grace

 

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Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.

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When you have a child with food allergies, any celebration (birthday, holiday, etc.) calls for extra preparation. The odds that a party will include goodies he can eat are extremely slim. I try to keep allergy-friendy cookie dough or cupcakes in the freezer for such occasions. Christmas, however, proves to be an additional challenge.

We attended a celebration just last week which I knew would offer few options, if any, for my Little Man to enjoy. As always, I came prepared, bringing my bag of allergy-friendly treats for my Little Man. But when my poor guy saw the spread of ooey-gooey-goodness, he desperately wanted one of the "festive" treats.

It just doesn't feel like Christmas without sugar-sprinkled cookies shaped like Christmas trees and reindeer, right? But it's been a challenge to find a cut-out cookie recipe that works well without eggs. That's why I was thrilled to find this oh-so-easy, egg-, nut-, and soy-free cookie recipe a few years ago in a Christmas craft book. It has been our go-to Christmas cookie recipe ever since.

egg-free-christmas-cookies

Sugar and Spice Cookies

¾ cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
1 2/3 cups flour
2 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
Grated orange rind (optional)

Cream sugar and butter together until creamy

Add flour, ginger, cinnamon, and orange rind. Mix well.

Shape dough into a ball. Wrap in a plastic bag and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Sprinkle some flour on the table. Cut ball in half and roll out dough
to ¼ inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters and place on cookie sheet.

Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.

Allow to cool completely then decorate (see icing recipe below).

Icing
3 tbsp powdered sugar
3 tsp water or milk

Mix well.

Bonus: Make dough ornaments using the same recipe! Use a straw to make holes in the cookies after cutting out the shapes. Once baked and decorated, tie ribbon through the hole. Voila! A festive, holiday ornament!

Looking for other egg-free recipes? Check out these yummy options!

Egg, Nut Soy-free Butter Coookies
Best Pumpkin Muffins EVER!
Fruit & Oatmeal Bars
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Allergy-friendly Chocolate Cake

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e-mailed to you as soon as they’re published. Easy-peasy.
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signature-1Like what you've read? Sign up in the sidebar to receive blog posts via e-mail and get a FREE printable of 10 Inspirational Scriptures. It's as easy as that! Don't forget to follow me on Twitter and Pinterest, too!

Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.

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It happened again last week. My patience ran short and my voice grew louder until it reached explosive proportions. The evidence of my outburst was all over the faces buckled in the back seat. I apologized...again.

I'm sorry.

Mommy shouldn't act that way, even when I'm frustrated.

It wasn't violent. It wasn't abusive, but it was hurtful and unnecessary. What did it matter if we were a few minutes late, if something was forgotten, or if I didn't have it "all together" before we left the house? That was no excuse to spill my stress out on my loved ones.

When our world seems the darkest is when God's grace shines the brightest | thereisgrace.com

I knew deep down that the issue wasn't my children, their inattentiveness, or their procrastination. The real problem was I was tired. No, I was exhausted. Not the I-need-to-get-to-bed-early-tonight exhausted. Not even the I-need-a-vacation exhausted. This was bone-deep, heart-wrenching, emotionally-and-physically-drained exhausted.

In the previous three months, we had weathered the unexpected loss of a parent, major surgery , additional biopsies, and a two-month battle with pneumonia that landed my husband in the hospital for four days. Now the worst was behind us (so it seemed) and everyone was well on their way to health, but I was, quite frankly, out of steam. I was running on empty.

For the last three months, we had faced each issue as it came, even though they seemed to only come more quickly. We would put our heads down, so to speak, and power through. We did what we had to do to get through each day. I was tired of just "getting through each day." I needed a break. But instead of a much-needed reprieve, I was staring through a mountain of medical bills and busy holiday schedule with Christmas just a few, short weeks away. If there is a proverbial edge, I was dangerously close to going over it.

The regular demands of parenting are difficult enough to deal with when everyone is well and all the bills are paid. But when your time and energy is consumed with loss, fear of the unknown, looming bills, and a seemingly-endless schedule, the smallest tasks can seem overwhelming.

I never doubted we would make it. I never doubted God would see us through physically, spiritually, and even financially. I knew it would all work out; we would be fine. What I couldn't figure out was how I would make it through today. I had nothing left to give my family. And the more they needed me, the less I felt like giving.

But when our world seems the darkest is when God's grace shines the brightest.

It began with a small glimmer of Hope...a verse mentioned in passing by our pastor:

"You crown the year with Your goodness, And Your paths drip  with  abundance" (Psalm 65:11)

Grace.

Then words of encouragement from friends...more grace.

Moments of laughter over a relaxed lunch...even more grace.

Songs of hope on the radio, singing of peace and good will to all...the ultimate Gift of grace.

They came piece by piece, building hope and restoring joy. Silent nights watching Christmas lights, heart-to-heart talks with my Hubby (who is feeling so much better!). One by one, moment by moment, they began to give me rest and bring me peace.

Then we sang one of my favorite songs at church:

When darkness seems to hide His face
I rest on His unchanging grace
In every high and stormy gale
My anchor holds within the veil
My anchor holds within the veil

This had been our "theme song" when we stood in the face of cancer. We had clung tightly to the promise of "His unchanging grace." Now, I realized it's time to hold tightly to it once again.

It's time to remind myself that it doesn't matter what my circumstances are. It doesn't matter how I feel. All that matters is that God is still in control. If I hold tightly to Him, I will make it. His grace is big enough to carry me through cancer, and it's big enough to get me through my day.

What overwhelming situations are you facing today? May you find God's grace in the midst of it all.

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Plus: Read the full story of my journey through cancer to healing in Unshakable: Finding Faith to Weather the Storm. Available now at Amazon.