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Welcome to the 6th Day of Christmas Giveaways!!!
Today my friend Suzie Eller is going us to talk about giving the gift of no pressure this Christmas season. She will be giving away 2 books; The Unburdened Heart and The Mended Heart, PLUS a $20 gift card to ITunes so you can tune in to some worship music this season!
Suzie Eller is a Proverbs 31 Ministries author and communicator. She has been featured on hundreds of radio and television programs such as Focus on the Family, KLOVE, Aspiring Women and many others, and is the author of eight books including her most recent, The Mended Heart: God’s Healing for Your Broken Places. She’s a “Gaga” to six beautiful children under the age of five, wife to Richard, and mom to some incredible people she loves like crazy. You can connect with Suzie at www.tsuzanneeller.com
To join in on the fun and be entered to win the various prizes, simply leave a comment on the post answering the question of the day. ALSO—one grand prize will be given to one person who comments on all 12 days.
The Grand Prize is a $50 gift certificate to Proverbs 31 Ministries store and a $50 gift certificate to Amazon.com!!!
Now, here is Suzie to offer you today’s post…
The Gift of No Pressure
“I don’t like the holidays,” I whispered.
I was a young mom. I used to love holidays. . .
. . . before I was married
. . . before I felt the pull to be everywhere at the same time
. . . before any decisions that I made left someone upset or angry or feeling left out.
I struggled with a desire to be home and start my own traditions with my young children and husband. We were the first to be married in both families and thus the first to break “how it’s always been. Christmas was a time to be thankful, but all I felt was stretched thin. Christmas was a time to be joyous, but all I felt was frustrated.
I tried. I really did.
I tried to be everywhere. I tried to mask my frustration with enthusiasm.
Looking back, I wonder why I didn’t say anything. Instead, I simply let it fester. I didn’t take into account that if I kept silent things would never change.
Thirty years later, I treasure the holidays. It took time, but we finally learned that things wouldn’t change unless we took the first step.
That begin with sharing our needs with each other, just me and Richard.
He was super social, so being in ten different places seemed like fun. When I explained that being in ten different places with three toddlers made this girl’s heart tired and torn, and that when my presence was demanded it robbed the season of joy.
He heard me.
I also heard his heart. People fill him up. The demands of extended family made him feel conflicted, but he was unsure of how to deal with it in a healthy way.
We started to compromise and work through what worked for us as a family.
Then we stepped back to see Christmas through the eyes of our extended families.
An empty nest left gaps that traditions used to fill. The demands actually came from a place of love, and because we expressed our frustration not all or through quiet resentment, they had no idea.
As we began a conversation with extended family, some were open. Others were not, especially in the beginning. If they were flexible, we rejoiced. If not, we didn’t take it personally because change takes time.
Perhaps the greatest gift that we by working through the pressure came later. When our children married, suddenly there were other families in the mix. Suddenly we were the ones who might be left behind on a holiday or needed to share a holiday.
What we desperately needed years before was to take the pressure off, so we gave that gift to our children.
We decided that it’s not a date on the calendar that makes holidays special. It’s the heart behind the holidays. It’s spending time with people you love. Christmas marks the celebration of our Savior’s birth, so that’s where we place our focus. Getting together on Christmas or the day after or the week after isn’t a big deal.
One year, Richard and I had Christmas Eve and Christmas to ourselves. We hiked that day. It was cold and beautiful and a new tradition.
Now, several years later, we’ll be without our children on those two special days this year. We are already scheming to think of how to make that day special for the two of us.
Will we invite people in for a huge meal? Maybe. That’s a great way to have fun.
Or we can go hiking again if weather permits. Oh, how I love hiking.
Maybe an all-day movie fest and kettle corn. Pj’s and popcorn, yes!
When the kids and their families pile in after Christmas, they won’t be met with resentment or passive aggressive references to our lonely Christmas, but get to hear about our adventures.
When we give the gift of no pressure, we open the door for our grown children to gravitate toward us rather than away. We offer fun over frustration. We are invited into their new traditions, rather than trying to force them to hold on to old traditions from their childhood.
Maybe you’ve been singing the holiday blues.
Share your need
Maybe you’ve been the cause of holiday blues.
Give the gift of no pressure
Create a new tradition of a Christmas with less stress and more room to celebrate this beautiful day.
Dear Lord, thank You for my family. I’m grateful for so many things, and one of those is family who loves me enough to want to be with me. Help me to share my needs with my loved ones, and to do it with grace and gentleness. Help me not to take it personal as they struggle with change.
If I am the one that is inflexible, help me to bend and grow. Loosen my hold. Lead me to create new traditions that include joy and thanksgiving as I celebrate Your birth.
Answer the prompt below to be entered to win this giveaway and the grand prize.
Here’s today’s question: Unwrap that gift of no pressure (whether you are giving or receiving it). Describe what you find inside.