Everyone goes through times of good and times of bad. We all have our up times and our down times. Times where everything seems to be going just great, this life couldn’t get any better and times where if one more thing goes wrong you don’t know how you’re going to make it through. Sometimes life seems to cycle through the good times and the bad. Sometimes life seems to stall out in the middle of the bad cycle. Sometimes it appears as if other people only have the good times. Sometimes it feels as if you only have the bad times.
My family had gone through our share of good times and bad. We’ve had times where everything feels like it’s going just right and it’s all worked out and there’s a plan and we’ve got this. And we’ve had times where it’s all come crashing down. There’s been days that felt so dark I didn’t know if we’d ever see daylight again. We’ve had days that felt hopeless.
This past year has been interesting to say the least. It’s certainly had its up and downs. People we love have died. Jobs have been gotten and lost. Times have been hard. But we have also laughed and loved and had joy. Times have been good, too.
The day after I got a seasonal part-time job, my husband lost his job. And while he wasn’t surprised by it, I was certainly shocked. And then I took a deep breath and remembered all the calls he got from people wanting him to quit his job to go work for them. We decided he’d take a week off to relax and then he’d be back to work in no time. He was too loyal to his company to just up and quit so this was a blessing.
That week or two off turned into 6 months. All those job offers vanished overnight. And as the weeks stretched on, it was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. My job ended before he had a new one. And while I wasn’t making that much, it certainly helped. It was hard to stay hopeful. It was hard to stay calm.
We are very blessed that we have each other to lean on. We have family to turn to for help. We have friends who repeatedly asked what they could do to help. And we consistently reminded each other that God has a plan for our lives. We are following His path, and we know His plan is good.
As November rolled around, I thought about the last two Christmas seasons where I have used my words and together with some amazing people, both strangers and family, we have given hope to people who didn’t have anywhere else to go. Together we have been the shoulder to cry on, the sympathetic ear, the hope for the hopeless. And while I thought about it, I didn’t think I had it in me to be that hope for someone else this year.
I made a decision that I just couldn’t do it this year. Last year I was so emotionally involved with every person that asked for help, and I just didn’t think I had it in me this year. How was I going to help others when I wasn’t even sure how we were going to do it this year?
Sometimes I need to take my own advise and remember that God has a plan. My husband started his new job just before Thanksgiving. And, honestly, it feels like our own Christmas miracle. But even with that, I still decided I wasn’t going to host Hope for the Holidays this year. I just didn’t have it in me.
I told my husband I wasn’t going to do it and gave my reasons, and he thought I was making the right decision. He remembered last year me sitting at the computer crying every time a new need was written when there was no one to fill it. He remembered, when people trusted me to decide how to send out what they wanted to give, how I agonized over every dollar entrusted to me. He knew I laid awake at night wondering if I had made the right decisions, done the right thing.
And then I got an email from one of our moms from last year. I let the email sit for days. I didn’t know what to do with it. How could I tell her no? How could I just walk away from it? I told my husband about it and sometimes he just amazes me. He told me that it sounded like God wasn’t ready for me to walk away. He said that he thought God uses me to give hope to people feeling hopeless this time of year. And then I got emails from two more people asking about this year.
We got our Christmas miracle so we’re going to try to pass that along to others. This year has been really hard for a lot of people. The world at times has seemed so hopeless. There is so much sadness and darkness out there that it’s hard to remember there is also hope. There is light at the end of even the darkest tunnels.
So here we are today taking a giant leap of faith. This is our third year for Hope for the Holidays and I’m not really sure how it’s all going to work out. The first year people connected with each other directly. Those who were able to help contacted those who needed help. Last year those who were able to help contacted me and I connected with those in need. This year we’re just going to see what happens and where God leads us.
Here are the guidelines:
IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR HOPE-
- Please comment on this post. Tell us your story. Give us ages and genders for your kids. Let us know what kind of help you need. If you need groceries, what stores are close to you? If your kids need winter coats, what size do they wear? What is the best way for us to help you?
- Be sure to leave your email address so we have someway to contact you directly. Leave your email address as yourname AT domain DOT com so spammers are less likely to find you.
- You do not have to use your real name. If you want to remain anonymous in your request you can be.
- Be patient. The needs come in faster than the help does. Last year it was a week between the first need and the first help.
IF YOU ARE LOOKING TO GIVE-
- If there is a specific need you feel moved to fill, please reply to that comment and then contact that person directly. You can contact me if you need to or have additional questions for me, but connecting directly with the person you are wanting to help will be the easiest way to help.
- If you don’t have a specific need you are wanting to fill but still want to help, you can contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you. This is the way most of the giving was done last year, and I’m okay with doing it that way again.
So here we go. Maybe together we can spread some hope this holiday season. Let’s be a light in the darkness. Let’s share in the magic of Christmas.