In a recent article, “Holiday Depression”, featured on selfcounseling.com, Dr. Richard Boyum states, “We generally think of the holidays as a joyous, happy period. The period of time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s is a time in American culture for much celebration. People come together to eat, sing, share gifts, and the camaraderie of each other’s presence. But there is an increasing body of knowledge that says that the holidays are a period of time that is, for many, stressful at the least and for others, downright depressing.”
For those who have lost a child through abortion like myself, the holiday season can sometimes not only prove sad and lonely, but depressing. Amid the turkey, collard greens, sweet potato pies, sparkling lights, and gifts, we may experience depression, simply because we miss our children.
In a journal entry dated November 22, 2002, I wrote: “Today, I woke feeling lonely and distressed. It is the holiday season again, and I have never gotten accustomed to the stress of events. In my heart I give thanks, but I want to be alone with my thoughts. Amid all the activity, I am missing my child. I can’t hold back tears. It is so hard. God help me. I need to begin again.”
I would like to share steps that, over the years, have helped me overcome and turn holiday sadness, loneliness, and depression into holiday happiness.
Step 1 – Give a gift to a child or a charitable organization in memory of your child. Many charities at this time of year encourage giving to others. Many children have no one to provide them with gifts and many children who have a family are not able to receive gifts during the holidays. Somehow, when we help others, it takes the focus from ourselves. “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40 NIV
Step 2 – Spend time alone to reflect. Getting away from activity can help organize our thoughts. Jesus found it necessary to get away from the crowds. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 NIV
Step 3 – Share your sadness with someone you trust. “A burden can seem lighter when shared. Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2 NLT
Step 4 – Write a journal entry about what you are feeling. Over the years, journaling has brought and continues to bring great healing to my life. I often reflect on my journey from pain to peace as Heavenly Father continues the healing process of my fragmented soul. “Write down for the record everything I have said to you.” Jeremiah 30:2 NLT
Step 5 – Feel like having a good cry? Let the tears flow. Heavenly Father sees our tears and promises to heal us. “I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you.” 2 Kings 29:5 NIV
Step 6 – Pray for someone you know who is going through a difficult time. God created us to be blessings wherever we go on this earth. When we pray for others, we are extending His love and concern for them, and it takes the focus from ourselves. “Pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16 NLT
Step 7 – Remember, if you have asked our Heavenly Father for forgiveness, you are forgiven. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NIV
Nothing will ever replace the emptiness in my heart for my child. However, over the years, these steps have allowed me to enjoy holiday activity and to especially focus on the rich spiritual significance associated with the holidays.
Heavenly Father, thank You for forgiving me. During this holiday season, please fill me each day with the gift of Your peace, comfort, and happiness, in Jesus name, amen.
Copyright © 2017 Merle Mills. Used by permission.
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