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Christmas Eve Family 2017

Marriage Mess, Manger, Messiah in One Day

Christmas Eve.  The day for baking, cooking, last minute Christmas shopping, gift wrapping, and the hustle and bustle of things to get done.  However, my Christmas Eve started with a big, old ugly marriage mess.  It has been brewing for several weeks.  Of course, it would be the first thing on Christmas Eve, when my mouth doesn’t stay shut any longer.  Yep, that means I find myself in the middle of a big marriage mess!

A Marriage Mess

When you throw in a long-term physical disability and caregiving become a part of your marriage, things like loving and caring begin to look different. It is so hard to balance caregiving and being a spouse.  Zine doesn’t know how to receive love from me anymore because he feels guilty that I have to do so much for him.  And then in the middle of all this, being “lovers” is difficult.  So now you have a glimpse of a marriage struggle that never goes away.  (I have his permission to share this by the way!)

The second marriage struggle that never goes away is that Zine lives life with the desire to not live.  He would be so happy if God just decided to take him home. Zine will tell you that for a while he even considered suicide.  There was more than one occasion I was scared to death when I couldn’t get ahold of him or find him.  He says now that God just wouldn’t allow him to do that!  He feels that God has confirmed in his heart that it would not be right.

However, Zine does continue to struggle with bitterness, and his emotional cup overflows most of the time.  He sees no purpose in his life.  When it comes to caring for me emotionally, it’s a struggle for him. If there is anything at all that involves him, he shuts down. We can’t discuss it or deal with it.  And we all know what happens when we don’t deal with marriage struggles!  If you don’t, let me let you in on a secret, the issue keeps coming back to the surface over and over and over again.

World War 200

So Christmas Eve morning, in our favorite arguing and discussing place, (our bathroom) World War 200 began.  I share vulnerably that something Zine had done the night before made me feel disrespected and unloved.  Want to know what I got after sharing so vulnerable and nicely?  “Sorry.”  Not “I’m sorry,”  or “I’m sorry for making you feel that way.”  Just a flippant sorry.  So I quietly respond, “that sounds like just a word with no meaning.”  No response.  Zine wheels into the shower and I finish my morning routine as he finishes his shower.

Even though I was madder than a hornet at my sweet husband, with no resolution to this discussion or the four previous discussions that week, I sat down on the floor at my husband’s feet.  I dried his feet, put his socks and clothes on and helped him get dressed and back into his wheelchair.  This, my friends, is love.  My fleshly self wanted to walk out of the bathroom and leave him to fend for himself.

As we begin to speak again, what emerged was the same discussion we’ve had a gazillion times. When we start boiling a marriage issue down, it often boils down to the same problem over and over again.  I can lead Zine to the place of understanding the effects of living a life with bitterness and anger at God because life hasn’t gone the way he desires, but I can’t make his thought patterns change. He gets to be responsible for what he thinks.  My job is not to be Jiminy Cricket in his ear.  He has the Holy Spirit living in Him to do that job!  Unfortunately, I forget that at times and try to be the Holy Spirit for him.

I also don’t love well when I’m not being cared for emotionally.  Therefore, his inattentiveness to my emotional needs leads me to not always being affectionate with him.  So begins this vicious cycle on repeat.  However, we both know Jesus and He can make anything happen, so we just keep putting our hope in Him.  Thank goodness, Zine and I agreed long ago that divorce wasn’t an option murder was!  🙂

Now it’s nearly lunchtime, and no prep work has been done for Christmas.  Thankfully, I did things way different this year, so I was able to pull prep work together just in time to make it to Christmas Eve service.  I probably should rephrase that sentence; God allowed everything to pull together just in time for Christmas Eve.

The Manger to Messiah

I enter the Christmas Eve service with a full amount of frustration and sadness left over from my morning marriage mess and exhaustion from getting things done in a couple of hours.  Singing Christmas carols is not my favorite style of music either.  So when the tears started flowing in the middle of a Christmas carol, I knew my heart was now the one overflowing with emotions.

As we were singing, it was like I could hear my mom singing the Christmas carol in my ear.  I could hear her voice singing.  I’m pretty sure her favorite Christmas carol was Silent Night.  So as we sing about the birth of Christ in the manger, I am dreaming about what it must be like for my mom to celebrate Christmas in heaven.  While we sing songs of worship to a “newborn King,”  my mom is sitting in the presence of the risen Messiah.  Can you even imagine what it would be like to celebrate Christmas in heaven in the presence of the one who was born in a manger?  Wow!  My brain cannot begin to comprehend what Christmas must be like in heaven.

As the Christmas Eve service continued, our pastor spoke on not missing the Messiah.  He talked about people who did miss the Messiah.  I would love to be able to tell you exactly what he said, but alas, I can’t recall it all; I think I might need his notes though.  Our pastor talked about how King Herod missed the Messiah because he was too worried about making sure he was in charge and not Jesus.  I begin to think I sure hope my husband is listening to this statement.

The one time we need to be selfish is when we are reflecting on what God’s Word says to you.

The One Time We Need to Be Selfish

The one time we need to be selfish and think of our self first is when we are reflecting on what God’s word says to you.  God always wants to speak about the condition of our own heart.  However, it seems we believe that God is speaking to other people!!

After I had celebrated for a few minutes that our pastor was saying the same thing that I had said earlier to Zine in the middle of World War 200, God convicted my own heart.  “Don’t be so quick to point out what someone else needs to change.  I want you to apply my Word to your own life.”  My spiritual life has not been at its highest the past few months. And I have had SO many things going on, that I have been guilty many days of getting up and going about my days without spending time with Him.  I haven’t been receiving from Him.  That’s what the book I am working on is all about, receiving love and care from God and others.

[bctt tweet=”Receiving from Him is about our heart, not His. ” username=”kksmith8694″]

God is for us not against us.  He is here with us and not a long-distance dad.  So it soon became evident that I too was missing the Messiah because I wasn’t sitting in His presence.  Now my story has come full circle from a marriage mess to the manger and then the Messiah all in one day.

Thank goodness, Christmas Day didn’t include a marriage mess, just the manger and the Messiah!  Enjoy some pictures from our Christmas Day fun!

She loves these little items that are made for playhouse. So excited when she found a bag of bottles she has asked for many times in her stocking.
This guy and his little curl on his forehead!
This girl was the first one up!
He does smile for the camera on occasion!
Out for delivery! Blessing cashiers at gas stations with gift cards on Christmas morning.
I exchanged homemade cinnamon rolls with monkey bread this year.
Christmas twinkies. But it looks like we are sharing one shirt!
Christmas Puzzle completed!


Wife of 20+ years. Mom to 3 children. Love sharing my life with weary hearts so that we can know the One who is Good, who is in Control, and Whose strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Loretta

    “Even though I was madder than a hornet at my sweet husband, with no resolution to this discussion or the four previous discussions that week, I sat down on the floor at my husband’s feet. I dried his feet, put his socks and clothes on and helped him get dressed and back into his wheelchair. This, my friends, is love. ”

    I so get this! But you did it, evidence that love wins!
    Merry Christmas!

  2. Lisa Clay

    I am so thankful for the gift of your Chloe’s friendship. Even tho I’m 60 and she’s 17, she puts up with old lady blunders….like always losing my phone!!! Anyway, I looked at FB this morning to see what she did yesterday=saw your blog. (My phone is out in the car. I think. ) I have no words to express my emotions. I swear, you wrote that so I could see it. I have been “wallering” in the same way. Instead of the “proud, happy and thrilled” quote, mine is “Whiny, mad and bitter” because of my health. Lack of. Been focusing on all the things I cannot do anymore with yucky heart and lungs. I have been missing Jesus. Even tho He has carried me all through this season. I’m putting on those new glasses I got with His guidance via your blog. So: very thankful He is still carrying me.

  3. Cecilia

    I know HE helps you get through the day but I know it’s not easy for you. Love you sweet cousin. 🙏

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