Looking Beyond the Present.
Christmas is past us and I know some of us are breathing a sigh of relief. Relief because when life is hard, Christmas only seems to underline the difficulties. When you're in a valley, it seems that Christmas is a light we'd just as soon not spend much time looking at because it seems so far away.
The picture I have attached to this blog is of my mother's family. I got this picture in a collection of old family photos for heritage scrapbooks I am putting together for each of my children. I am working on the fourth scrapbook now for the fourth child, but each time I pasted this particular picture in the scrapbook, I would look at it and wonder why everyone looked so sombre. Especially my Oma who loved a laugh and was always smiling. In other family pictures everyone looked so happy. I asked my mother about that picture and she gave a melancholy smile. That picture, she told me, was taken only a few months after Holland, where my mother's family lived, was invaded by enemy forces. Knowing that, I looked more carefully at my Oma and wondered what was going through her mind when this picture was taken. How many worries and concerns did she have for this family that she and my Opa were in charge of. I'm sure she wondered what kind of future awaited them? What would happen to her children, to the grandchild one of her children was expecting in this picture? Huge thoughts for parents to have to deal with. She didn't know what awaited her in the valley she knew they were going down into. She didn't know if they would come out the other side.
I grew up hearing stories of the hardships, they faced. The people they hid, the risks they took. The privations they endured. The losses they suffered. I'm sure there were many times during those long dark years that my Oma felt as if her prayers went nowhere and I'm sure she wondered many times, How long oh, Lord?
However, we know how the story ended. We know they made it through so we look at it differently and with assurance that they managed.
Many people I know are in a valley right now, we've gone through many ourselves. But when you're in the dark and lonely places, you don't know how to find your way out. I just want to encourage you that valleys do have an end. That things change. That other people have gone through sorrows and valleys and have come out. I pray the same for you.