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Receiving Comfort and Joy This Christmas

     The tagline on this website states, “Information, encouragement, and inspiration for women”……that is our goal for the articles you read in this on-line magazine. Many times as I sit down to write, I find myself saying, “but God how am I supposed to write about (insert topic that He gives me for that month) when I don’t feel qualified or have expertise in this area?” Now, there are a few times when He gives me a topic that is easy. It is fun to write about an issue that I have experienced.  However, most often He requires me to share out of my weakness.

     It is in these times that I can actually feel that when I am weak, He is strong. I love feeling His Spirit rescue me when I have nothing left. One of the principles He has taught me is that when I have nothing left to give, if I will help or pray for someone else, immediately my focus comes off myself. This is a two-way benefit. I get blessed, healed, and grow spiritually and I help someone else, as well. I don’t know who out there needs what I am writing about this month, but be encouraged because God orchestrated this just for you!

Dreading Christmas

     As the Christmas season approaches, many people begin to feel depressed, stressed, lonely, or all three. (And yes, you can have a house-full and still feel lonely!) This should be one of the most joyous times of the year but often if you have been through conflict with friends or family, these joyous get-togethers become a source of tension, anxiety, and stress instead of joy. Often because of the pain, we isolate ourselves either emotionally (keeping it stuffed inside and feeling angry because nobody understands) or physically (actually avoiding people altogether).

     It doesn’t take an Einstein to figure out that those closest to us have the most potential to cause us pain. We expect strangers or acquaintances not to have our best interests in mind. However, we love and trust our close friends and family. The ultimate blow seems to be when those who hurt us are also Christians! How does one get past this? I don’t mean just extending forgiveness to those who have caused us pain. I mean moving past the loss we experience. There is loss and (necessary) grieving when betrayal occurs. Healing of hurt and trauma does come with forgiveness but sometimes we don’t know what to do when starting over. Even if we have forgiven the person responsible, we can still feel the loss. Why?

Hope Deferred

     The Bible says that “hope deferred makes the heart sick,” Proverbs 13:12 (AMP) which can also mean to “grow weary or become exhausted” Hebrews 12:3 (AMP).  When we experience pain or betrayal and subsequent loss, we will grieve. Grieving is a necessary part of healing but here is where we can get stuck. If we aren’t careful our wounded spirit grows weary and the hope in our heart gets captured by the enemy. Many of us have walked through some serious “hope-deferred” situations. When those situations have been caused by those we love and trust, there are a few things to keep in mind to receive God’s Comfort and Restoration.

The Need for Justice

     First, God is a God of Justice (Is. 30:18; Ps. 89:14). He loves Justice (Ps. 11:7; 33:5). Nobody can really cheat you if you keep your faith in God (Prov. 29:26). If somebody takes something from you, even if God has to work through hundreds of people to get it back to you, He will restore it. Nobody can get by with it if you keep your focus on Who God IS versus who did it to you and the injustice itself. This is something God wants you to know. He says, “My daughter, I saw what happened to you. I saw the injustice. Even if they deny it and never make things right, I saw. And, you are mine. The enemy messed with My child and I won’t have it!”

     You see, it must be enough for you that God sees it – even if nobody else does. Yes, it is a matter of justice. Yes, you can grieve it. But even if those who betrayed you never acknowledge it and make things right, it should not matter because God sees it.

     Sometimes our need for justice can move beyond necessary grieving and turn into self-pity. If you find yourself constantly reliving what happened and have trouble “letting it go,” this is a sign that you have fallen into self-pity. This is something we have to fight. Sometimes we do “let it go” and then we get tested and “pick it up” again!

The Danger of Self-Pity

     Self-pity says, “What about me?” and it is a common mistake that we make when we feel pain. It earns us no favor with God. But it is simple to eradicate. 1) Recognize it for what it is: self-pity is a sin of pride. 2) Confess it and 3) Repent – stop wallowing in it. Focus on Who God IS versus the injustice itself. This earns us favor with God. The Bible says He “gives Grace to the humble” Prov. 3:34 and James 4:6 (NAS). Applying this verse to our situation, the “humble” are those who recognize they have sinned, need forgiveness and grace from His Spirit to overcome because they are not able to “let it go” on their own.

     In my own life, I extended forgiveness to those who caused me pain. I didn’t want un-forgiveness in my heart (that’s a whole different article!). I didn’t want revenge (if you do, that is a pretty good indicator that you haven’t forgiven). I prayed blessings over those who betrayed me until I really meant it and wanted it for them. I just needed to know that I wasn’t being ridiculous about what happened. I needed someone to acknowledge “yes, this happened. It was wrong, they were wrong, not you.” God did that for me and He will do it for you too. “God shows no partiality and is no respecter of persons” Acts 10:34 (AMP).

     Once God helped me out of self-pity, He led me to Psalm 69. The last sentence of verse four leaped off the page of my Bible, “I am forced to restore what I did not steal” Ps. 69:4 (AMP). This is exactly how I was feeling! When I knew that my reactions to the hurt were not right, I felt even worse. Although I had asked the Lord for His mercies and forgiveness, I still felt bad. Then I read verse five: “O God, You know my folly and blundering; my sins and my guilt are not hidden from You  Ps. 69:5 (AMP).  I felt like He was saying, “You know, Dorena, the whole self-pity thing, don’t beat yourself up. You repented, I took care of it. I knew it would happen before you did and already forgave you.”

The Impact on Those Watching

     But the part of Psalm 69 that stirred the fear of God within me was verse six: “Let not those who wait and hope and look for You, O Lord of hosts, be put to shame through me; let not those who seek and inquire for and require You [as their vital necessity] be brought to confusion and dishonor through me, O God of Israel” Ps. 69:6 (AMP).  I realized at this point that throughout this entire difficult situation, my children and husband were watching my reactions too.  I had to “let it go.”

     You can be certain when you encounter betrayal and difficulty everyone watches your reactions, especially if you are a Christian. When we are entrusted with training the hearts of little ones, how much more should we make our response what God desires? I am still undone over this. It grieves me to think of the wrong reactions my family has observed in me.

     And so, as I sit down to write this month and provide that “information, encouragement, and inspiration for women” that MyFriendDebbie.com aspires to, I cry out to God yet again. “I am still not qualified to write how to overcome betrayal! Look at me! God, look at what I did. I am so sorry!” He gently provides yet another tender touch to my spirit. This month, He taught me two specific truths I had not seen.

Joy in the Midst of a Mess

     First, having joy in the midst of the situation is not invalidating what happened. This doesn’t absolve the betrayers of guilt in God’s eyes. It doesn’t mean your situation won’t change for the better because you choose to be happy while going through it. God doesn’t say, “Well, she is happy again so I guess it wasn’t a big deal.” NO! God saw the injustice. God said, “the enemy messed with My child and I won’t have it!” The Bible states “the joy of the Lord is our strength” Nehemiah 8:10 (AMP). We also need joy to overcome and stay out of self-pity. Not having joy doesn’t gain us any apologies from those who have hurt us. But it will provide an example to those around us of how to keep our faith in the midst of betrayal. As a parent with little ones watching, this is crucial.

Enduring Hardship Versus a Need for Rescue

     Second, we need to realize the difference between the times we are to endure hardship and the times we are to cry out to God for help and rescue. Just as the young, future King David saw Goliath and said, “And all this assembly shall know that the Lord saves not with sword and spear; for the battle is the Lord's, and He will give you into our hands” 1 Samuel 17:47 (AMP).

     Goliath was still there and the battle needed to be fought. But David knew it wasn’t his battle to fight, it was the Lord’s. David knew the army of Israel was not to sit by and endure Goliath’s taunting jeers and the oppression of the Philistines. Instead they were to cry out to God for help and rescue. God revealed to me that it was OK to cry out to Him for rescue from a battle that was not mine to fight. God wanted me to stop feeling overly responsible to fix the problem. He longs for us to have joy in watching how He creatively rescues us.  

Receiving Comfort and Joy

     You see, when you are a true child of the Living God, the God of Justice, He will fight for you. Jesus will ALWAYS step between you and your enemies. By enemies, I mean the enemy. We are in a spiritual battle and when those we trust are used by the enemy to hurt us, we need to see that for what it is. Pray for them. Bless them. God will ALWAYS take care of you – His Own.  What an awesome truth and comfort for our soul this Christmas season. Be blessed, decide to enjoy life, eliminate stress, and fully enter into Joy this Christmas.  

Copyright © 2008-2015 Dorena DellaVecchio, Ph.D.

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