Growing up, I participated in a number of Adopt a Family programs with my family, my church, and my high school French club. I loved perusing the lists of things they wanted, imagining the look on their faces at Christmas. I loved adding in a couple extra things for the parents, wanting them to have something special under the tree as well!
There have been some changes at my job recently that are making Christmas a bigger struggle than usual this year, changes that I wasn’t expecting to take affect until January. Yet even in this season of struggle, I am holding on to the hope that the Advent season brings. Within an hour of finding out about the changes at work, I got a text telling me that our family is being adopted this year. I had not applied, I had not had time to share my struggles or anxiousness with anyone yet. The only thing I had done was pray “Thank you, Lord, because I know that even with these changes, you will provide a good Christmas for my kids.”
I certainly don’t view God as a magic genie, granting our every wish. But I do know that the timing of this news, and the circumstances leading me to this moment were miraculous! And even though I firmly feel God’s hand in this, I still struggled with it. It was hard to accept this blessing; I didn’t feel deserving. I know there are other people who have far less than we do. I reminded myself that it is okay to accept help, and that I feel God’s guidance in this. I even asked Him for it! Yet I was stubborn in allowing this act of kindness into my life!
The most challenging part, and the part that has caused me such introspection that I am sharing this with you, is that I was asked to complete a list for myself. It took me almost the full week before the deadline to fill it out, and it made me realize that even though I talk about self-care and promote it to others for a variety of marketing clients, I don’t practice it nearly as much as I should. My guess is a number of moms, or women in general can relate! I don’t remember the last time that someone took care of me for Christmas. At some point in the last 20 years, I transitioned into dedicating the Advent season to making the season special for everyone else. And as with all areas of my life, my circumstances made me feel as though I shouldn’t want anything for myself. As though my place should be on the back burner, as though my role is to serve others exclusively.
I stared at the blank wish list for probably 2 hours over this last week. Eventually, I filled in the section asking what I like to read, and what I wear. The other sections, the something I need and something I want were harder. You see, I have let myself stop wanting. Because if you don’t want, you are never disappointed. And my needs? Well, it has been years since they had been the top of the list. And they wanted me to list 3? Does Health Insurance count? I need that! I had to work through my feelings of inadequacy and lack of worth before I could figure out how to answer those simple questions.
Eventually, I completed the list. I sent it to the powers that be today, feeling grateful for this blessing in a time when it is truly needed. I am learning to accept help. I am learning that my needs, and even my wants, matter! God is showing me that He will provide no matter what, and that He is providing not only for my kids, but for me. Lastly, I am learning that part of this whole human journey means that sometimes you are able to give, and sometimes you are able to receive. And it is a blessing to be in a position to do either one.
Have a hope-filled Advent and Christmas Season, dear ones.