Since the minute I found out the truth about my marriage I have been dreading the holidays. The thoughts, “Where will we celebrate? Will I even be with my kids? How do I make sure my kids have a wonderful season no matter what?”
I don’t know how I had this clarity, but way back in October I had a conversation where I said, “My kids need to be with their Dad at Christmas, and I’m not going to spend Christmas without my kids.”
I drew a line. All of us or none of us.
That line definitely caused pain. “All of us or none of us” meant more than a few people chose the “none” option. Thankfully, I don’t think my kids totally felt the weight of that. They asked questions of course, and I answered them as truthfully and gently as possible, but one thing I know for sure is:
My family had an absolutely beautiful Christmas.
Man, I feared it.
I was so scared of Christmas–I absolutely dreaded it–and it turned out to be one of the very best Christmases of my entire life.
When we recognized our uninvited reality, Adam and I decided to be very intentional about “new”. This year was going to be all about us: our choices, our time schedule. So, we took that freedom and chose to make all new traditions.
Christmas Eve we went to a candlelight service at our church. I’ve never done that before, a new tradition that I cried all the way through. It was unexpected and truly beautiful.
Another new tradition: Adam got it in his head that he wanted to have a cajun crab boil for Christmas Eve dinner. So, we covered our table in newspaper, dumped that delicious seafood right out in the middle and dug into it with our bare-hands. My babies LOVED it: we laughed and stuffed ourselves silly.
Then we made fresh from the oven chocolate chip cookies, curled up by the fire and watched Christmas movies all together.
Another first for us, we chose to read scripture every night through Advent together as a family. On that sweet night before Christmas I watched as Adam read to our children about the “Everlasting Father” our “Prince of Peace” and I thanked God for these beautiful promises.
Then on Christmas morning Adam and I were up by 4:30, too excited to sleep.
We lost our patience around 5 a.m. so we busted into their room and woke our babies up.
Every present was opened and celebrated before the sunrise.
Some of my dear friends found out that Adam and I didn’t have anywhere to go on Christmas and they invited us to their own, “misfit toys” Christmas tradition of going to the movies in their pajamas. So, we pre-bought our tickets and met up with our “chosen” family at noon. (Although I did sleep through part of the show, I was up before dawn after all.)
Another beautiful tradition.
And we all got wonderful presents, but I got an especially beautiful one.
At some point Adam had asked what I wanted and I’d said, “An experience”.
Well, be careful what you ask for…
The very last present opened on Christmas morning was a letter from Adam informing me that he has signed us up for a Spartan race this summer. A 13 mile, multi-obstacle, body killer.
(Hey, you asked for it).
And I wept.
Not over the race itself, although I am crazy excited.
I bawled because at the bottom of the letter Adam wrote that 3 other couples had signed up to race with us.
The very same “misfits” that had invited us to the movies.
The people who chose us.
I am so deeply honored to have been shown so much love.
I’m honestly just blown away.
I was hugging and thanking everyone at the theater when one friend said, “Well, I told you I’d die for you, I think I’m proving it now.” And we laughed..
Cause we are TERRIFIED!
Oh my gosh, I’m so scared.
One thing I’m learning, however; is that my fear of the future has never actually protected me from it.
Being cheated on was my biggest fear as a wife, and here I am…still thriving.
My biggest fear in life was to one day wake up and find myself alone, and yet here I am…still feeling loved by my misfits.
I am scared of the Spartan race obstacles, but I’m not going to let fear keep me from the excitement of seeing what other hard things my spirit is capable of.
I feared Christmas–and it was beautiful.
It was lovely in part because Adam and I were intentional about it. We saw our reality, (we got some obstacles ahead of us) and we prepared for them. We prepped and planned. We didn’t let our fear rule our time.
I fear the race–but I expect it to be beautiful.
We will prep for it, we will spend months planning. (After church this Sunday we spent a good amount of time comparing notes with one friend who is joining us. I think this race is going to dominate a lot of my thoughts for a while.). We know their will be obstacles, so we will prepare ourselves for them.
I fear the future, but I know it will be beautiful.
And I plan to be intentional about it.
All things new, and beauty in all things.
“Let your faith be bigger than your fear.”