Founder, Refined Family
Kerry Tittle is a mother of 10 children and an 20+-year homeschool veteran. She is the founder of Refined Family. Her desire is to honor Christ while comforting others with the comfort she has received from the Lord.
How can such a joyous and opportune time to teach children be so heavy?
As I hung 12 stockings the details of my life were clear. A third of my family is in heaven – my husband, two daughters and a little unborn baby I never met. Each year as I try to move forward to best parent my surviving children there is always a gaping absence of laughter and joy from those we miss. Each year I try to take another step and do the next thing because the heaviness reminds me of the important job that God has given me; training my children in light of God’s Word during a Christmas season that vies for their hearts.
But I am tired. My heart is waiting and longing. I am in Advent.
It’s difficult for me to share in their joy and excitement of Christmas. I long for the day that things will be made new and the hurt will cease. But the clincher is, longing and hope is really what you will find at the heart of Christmas.
The Old Testament is rich with anticipation of a Redeemer. The first part of the canon is filled with eagerness and waiting. The expectancy of the One that is to come and save God’s people is brimming in their prayers as well as imploring from the cries of the prophets.
The birth of Jesus was God’s redemption plan to turn the hearts of His people back to Himself. The long awaited Messiah had come! This is the pinnacle of the advent story!
Jesus came, was born and took the sins of His people upon Himself. But yet here I am suffering and hurting. I have a nagging guilt thinking that the Redeemer has come and I am sluggishly going through the motions to celebrate it. I should be relishing in it!
But the thought occurred to me as I read (Romans 8:19-23) that people who grieve deeply still await an advent. The Redeemer has come to deliver us from sin but our soul still deeply longs for a Rescuer from this broken world. Our salvation is not yet complete.
“So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:28, ESV)
This second advent needs to be the longing of our heart as we eagerly await for Him to return and make all things right forever. When there are times such as anniversaries, holidays, and birthdays that have a tendency to intensify grief …..try to change your avoidance into anticipation for the still long awaited Messiah that will come again.
To be incredibly honest, at times these ideas seem insurmountable to me. Much of what you read at Refined Family is a me trying to remind myself and cling desperately to truth, which is exactly what the author of Hebrews is encouraging you to do! Those great hall of faith folks in Hebrews 11? You know … Abraham, Moses, David…and more? Each of them sinned. Each doubted and struggled. Yet by faith, they clung to the faith that God would fulfill His promises and still made the list.
That is exactly what God wants you to do. He knows you are human and are likely to mess up just like the “Hall of Faithers”. He knows the trials stoke the fires and dross shows up in abundance. But in the end He will use these trials to fashion you in His image and to be all the more confident in the Second Advent that is coming!
Dear Christian, you are weak, weary and the holidays drain you. Take that to the Father. Tell Him. Use any energy you might have to hold fast to the Truth he has given you. Beg Him to turn your grief into longing for Him. There will come a day when grief and pain will give way to peace and joy and the long, difficult journey will become a testimony of how Christ worked in your pain to change you and bring you to such a beautiful salvation.
So, this year if holidays are difficult, beg Him to turn your dreading into longing for the final advent.