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When it all comes down to it…

Ever experience a day you didn’t plan on…but God had it scheduled?

The past three days have been that way for me. And I am so very thankful!

This year has been an extremely tough year.

I’ve experienced four family members’ deaths (I was with three of them when they died)…three friends’ deaths…major health complications of multiple family members…I was referred to an oncologist…and many difficult situations.

2022 has not been a fun year.

This week, I’ve been sick and on bedrest. At first, I panicked…it’s the worst time for this to happen — right before Christmas. I have an absolute TON to do.

The first day of being on bedrest, I cried. Pure frustration. I’m not sure…actually, I’m absolutely sure…I haven’t processed all of the grief that’s happened. It’s a lot. Being on bedrest forces you … invites you … to confront things you may not have wanted to sort through. I took some much needed time to really think about each treasured loved one our family lost…and each loss and heartache. It was much needed.

The second day, I was still worried about all I still need to do before Christmas…and was super sad I’m not going to be able to do my usual Christmas traditions leading up to Christmas Day…many of which I do every year in honor and memory of my loved ones.

Then, being convicted of caring about all the “fluff” of Christmas, I decided to clean my heart up with God…pretty much did an inventory of my heart and life and talked to God about everything. Much, much needed.

The third day, I’m feeling much better. As I was on social media earlier, a friend had posted videos of his family worshiping Jesus through Christmas songs. It really convicted my heart for being so worried about Christmas. Because of this, I decided to have a better perspective.

As I’ve had time to think about everything…it’s even more important to me to live each day with purpose. To clean out all of the clutter – the things that distract from what really matters – and simplify life.

This year has taught me so much … it’s taught me how it’s so important to realize this world is not our home. Heaven is our home. Earth is simply a training ground for heaven — it’s where we learn to best love and serve God, and be good to others. We will have a purpose in heaven..so it’s wise to continually develop an eternal perspective.

I know I’m not the only one who has experienced an extremely heartbreaking year…so many have had a heartbreaking year as well. Yet…I know the following with my whole heart:

  • God does all things well – even when life doesn’t feel or seem well
  • God is faithful and trustworthy
  • God is good
  • God is love and loves all of us so much

And after the first two days of my pity-party bedrest…and cleaning my heart up…I realize:

  • It’s not about the gifts
  • It’s not about the baking
  • It’s not about the decorations
  • It’s not about the family gatherings, traditions, and events

It’s completely about Jesus.

Here I was worrying about the commercial side and traditions of Christmas …instead of just focusing on Jesus. Instead of appreciating and enjoying what a true miracle Christmas truly is. And it put in perspective all of the grief events my family and I have endured this year.

My focus leading up to bedrest was wrong…being worried about things that in the grand scheme of things…just. don’t. really. matter.

I’m thankful I took the time to allow God to clean up and reset my heart…so I can fully delight in Jesus and rest in the best Gift of the season — Him. Simply, purely Him.

If we look at life through a worldly lens…we can become worried and stressed…even depressed. We can panic….freak out…worry…focus on the wrong things.

When we look at life through a heavenly lens, we are freed up to fully dedicate our heart, life, and purpose to our Heavenly Father…and trust Him.

Today, let’s ask God to show us what truly matters…let’s ask Him to show us His love like never before…ask Him to help us see life through HIS lens…ask Him to reveal the full meaning of Christmas to our heart in a new way.

God loves you, cares deeply for you, and has a good plan. Let’s ask Him to give us the grace to trust Him, love Him, and serve Him – especially when going through tough situations. Especially these final days of the Christmas season.

I’m actually extremely grateful for illness today. Sometimes, we need to quiet our hearts and focus on the true meaning of Jesus and Christmas…and the true treasures of Christmas, Jesus, loved ones, and life.

These next few days, give yourself permission to simplify life…allow God to clean up and refresh your heart…invite Him into your heartache and ask Him to make something of great value come from it.. relish in the miracle of Christmas…treasure God’s love for you…focus on what truly matters.

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas filled with God’s love & richest blessings!

~Kim

❤️⭐️❤️

©2022 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

⭐️For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God: http://www.peacewithgod.net

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s book):

•$3.19 eBook: https://tinyurl.com/CB-ebook-version

•Barnes & Noble: https://tinyurl.com/Barnes-and-Noble-book

•Amazon Books: https://tinyurl.com/y9svptsa

•Walmart: https://tinyurl.com/yckuuohr

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: https://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

❤️Kim’s blog: https://www.griefbites.com

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5

6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv

7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14059-valentines-day-experiencing-holidays-with-jesus

8. The True Treasure of Christmas: https://www.bible.com/en/reading-plans/28852

⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is copyright protected material. Please ask for permission to copy, use, or print.

⭐️⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is for encouragement purposes only and is not in any way to be construed as medical, emotional, mental, relational, or psychological advice. We hope to serve as a bridge to encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance and advice.

⭐️

🎄Christmas Countdown ~ December 9🎄

🎄❤️🎄Good afternoon!
Today, we’re on Day 9 of our Christmas Countdown. If you enjoy music, today is for you! Hope you and your loved ones are safe and well!

🎄🦌🎄❤️🎄🦌🎄 Day 9🎄🦌🎄❤️🎄🦌🎄

The gift of music, especially around the holidays, is unmistakable! How God created just a few scales and keys – and millions of songs have now come from such few notes – it is seriously amazing and mind blowing if you think about it.

When you also consider how we have the ability to sing with our voice these beautiful notes, it truly is remarkable and an exquisite gift as well.

Listening to Christmas greats such as the beautiful Handel’s Messiah, the mesmerizing O Holy Night, and the majesty of the Hallelujah Chorus – as well as all of the fun Christmas songs – it’s easy to see that God loves for us to enjoy singing and listening to music.

I grew up in a very musical family. My mom and all of my siblings can play the piano very well…two siblings (including my sister who passed away) are professional level, concert-quality pianists.

While growing up, there was always someone playing the piano in our home each day, mostly practicing for a competition, recital, or performance. They’d also play their favorite music or write songs just for fun, too.

My favorite was when my siblings would play the piano and sing carols and heartfelt praise songs during the Christmas season. The praise songs intertwined with beautiful Christmas music was so very beautiful and meaningful.

As the musical oddball in my family who couldn’t play the piano very well, I could at least join in and sing.

What’s your favorite Christmas song? Which Christmas carols hold great meaning to you or bring warm memories to your heart? What Christmas songs bring you closer to Christ‘s heart?

Whether you’re very musical like my family…or not-so-musical like me…God absolutely loves hearing musical talents and our singing.

Thank and praise God for the incredible gift of music today…and sing a song especially for Jesus! It doesn’t have to be perfect – just heartfelt and genuine.

As you listen to Christmas music this season, intently listen to – and truly ponder – the words and melody, being so very thankful for the exquisite gifts of Jesus and music.

🙏🏻Prayer: “Jesus, thank You so very much for the gift of music, the ability to sing and worship You, and also for the ability to make music in our hearts! Music is a true source of joy. May we hear You in every Christmas song this season and praise You each and every day! We love and adore You! In Your most highly treasured and valued Name we pray, Amen!”

⭐️Activity #1: Enjoy listening to Christmas music with Jesus each day this Christmas season. If you are hearing impaired, praise and worship Jesus in a way that is meaningful to Him and you!

⭐️Activity #2: Each year, buy a new Christmas CD and listen to it in your home or car. As the years go by, you’ll have built a great collection of Christmas music. If you have children, grandchildren, nieces, or nephews, begin to build them a CD collection of Christmas music, or pass yours on to them. (You can also make loved ones a digital playlist as well).

⭐️Activity #3: Create a new song for Jesus. It could be instrumental, with words, or a song sung straight from your heart!

⭐️Activity #4: if you have a piano, keyboard, or guitar, sing carols and praise songs with family this Christmas season. Singing acapella is also great! (Update: due to the pandemic, you can also do this with extended family, church family, and friends through FaceTime, Zoom, or Skype to spread holiday cheer as well)🎄❤️🎄

⭐️Bonus Activity: Every night, light the Christmas tree and listen to peaceful Christmas music to relax.

❤️Read: Ephesians 5:19-20, Psalms 71:23, Psalms 150:1-6, Colossians 3:16-17, Psalms 98:1, Psalms 98:4-8, 2 Chronicles 5:13, Psalms 40:3, Isaiah 55:12

This devotional © 2018 by Kim Niles/Grief Bites. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️🦌🎄❤️

©2020 Grief Bites. All rights reserved.

❤️If you were encouraged by this post, please feel free to share it to encourage others!

⭐️For more encouragement:

❤️Making peace with God: http://www.peacewithgod.net

❤️Getting Your Breath Back After Life Knocks It Out of You (Kim’s $3.19 book): https://www.christianbook.com/getting-knocks-transparent-journey-seeking-through/k-b-h-niles/

❤️Connect on Facebook by “liking” page: https://www.facebook.com/GettingYourBreathBackAfterGrief

❤️Kim’s blog: https://www.griefbites.com

❤️FREE YouVersion reading plans:

1. Grief Bites: Finding Treasure In Hardships: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/912-grief-bites-finding-treasure-in-hardships

2. Grief Bites: Doubt Revealed: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/954-grief-bites-doubt-revealed

3. Grief Bites: A New Approach To Growing Through Grief https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/862-grief-bites

4. Grief Bites: Hope For The Holidays: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1964-grief-bites-hope-for-the-holidays

5. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Christmas: http://bible.com/r/3V5

6. Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: Happy New Year!: http://bible.com/r/3Zv

7. Valentine’s Day: Experiencing Holidays With Jesus: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/14059-valentines-day-experiencing-holidays-with-jesus

⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is copyright protected material. Please ask for permission to copy, use, or print.

⭐️⭐️All content on the Grief Bites blog and website is for encouragement purposes only and is not in any way to be construed as medical, emotional, mental, relational, or psychological advice. We hope to serve as a bridge to encourage others by sharing our personal grief and life experiences. Please contact a qualified healthcare professional, mental health professional, or qualified pastor for guidance and advice.