(December 13, 2006)

I’ve decided that my main focus this Christmas has to be to create a clean happy home for our two mothers, my son and his wife, and my sisters when they come. I’m only going to bake two things: shortbread is done and I still want to make a Dutch cookie that is traditional in our home. The rest I will buy. I will simplify things as much as I can.

I saw my psychiatrist today and he decided he wants to wait to give me an antidepressant. I’m on so much medication already. Besides, when he saw me I was all bubbly and enthusiastic, telling him about the things that have been happening in my life. I did not seem at all depressed. He thinks my problem might be exhaustion rather than depression. And he might be right. We’re going to wait and see if I get any better after Christmas. I’m kind of glad he didn’t just automatically put me on yet another pill. I want to see if a combination of looking after myself, physically, mentally, and spiritually, will pull me out of this.

I went to tell my pastor that I did not think I should do anything at the Christmas Eve service. He was fine with it. We had a great talk. I’m glad I made that decision. I would have had to do a lot of preparation for that – not good right now.

A good friend of mine recommended I read Day 25 of The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. That by itself encouraged me about the state I’m in. Warren says that “Your most profound and intimate experiences of worship will likely be in your darkest days…We learn things about God in suffering that we can’t learn any other way.” He quotes the apostle Paul, who said, “We know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character.”(Romans 5:3-4) He goes on to say, “Your circumstances are temporary, but your character will last forever… The Bible often compares trials to a metal refiner’s fire that burns away the impurities. “

I’ve been through much over the past forty years and I know God has changed me because of the suffering I’ve undergone. If my life had been easy, I would not be who I am now. I think I’d be a pretty bland person. My life is rich because I’ve clung to God. I’ve trusted Him since I found Him twenty years ago.

I’ll try to be good to myself, patient, do what I can without pushing myself too much and be secure in my belief that God knows what’s best for me.

Rick Warren quotes Corrie ten Boom, who suffered in a Nazi death camp. She explained the power of focus: “If you look at the world, you’ll be distressed. If you look within, you’ll be depressed. But if you look at Christ you’ll be at rest.”

This Christmas time I will try to look at Christ, not all the “stuff” that comes with Christmas. I’ll remember the baby Jesus and try to place myself back there in Bethlehem, 2000 years ago. I’ll take time out now and then, within my mind, to re-enter the peace of the stable where He was born. In the quiet of my bedroom, I’ll shut out the glitter and noise and pressures of the Christmas we’re forced to live today. Then I’ll truly be able to worship Him.