Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 4 - Four Calling Birds

Sarah had suffered so much and the thought of facing another holiday without her husband Charles felt overwhelming and unbearable. She reeled from the possibility of decorating, gift giving and the holiday gatherings she might be asked to attend as ‘that poor old widow who needs cheering up’.  Charles had been gone now four years this month and her friends and family seemed weary with hearing her stories about their many years together. They had been good years with many lively occasions of celebration. But sometimes, Sarah felt a particular draw to put a special little ‘spin’ on the story just to spice it up a bit and continue to hold other’s  attention.

She sensed that this wasn’t quite right but the looks on the other peoples’ faces had become so dreary she told yet another story.  Just this year, she had found that she would overdo these stories just a little bit more and more. Sarah had prayed to God to help her break free from stretching the truth but eventually it would happen again.  She even had begun to believe the special twists herself. Her memory wasn’t as good as it once was and anyway, people seemed to like the stories so much more now. The heroic bent seemed to help Sarah to cope with the pain of missing Charles so much.

As she prepared for the evening’s holiday party, she rehearsed her intent to tell the real story; after all these were wonderful memories. At the party as she told her stories, again it happened and this time the stories were more fanciful than ever!  As the last of a story fell from her mouth, so did the utter sense of loneliness and shame. What had she done again and why did this keep happening?  She silently prayed, “Please God help me whatever it takes to stop this habit. I’ve been cheating my own heart and defiling the truth about memories of Charles.”

She was beginning to despise this cycle and decided to see a biblically-based counsellor friend for help. After a couple of sessions together, she began to recognize where the pain had started. Gently, as they prayed Sarah sensed the words, ‘the real pain is in search of the real story’. She cried as she thought again of Charles and how very, very much she missed him. She shared the real stories about him and the counsellor really seemed to listen!  Together she and the counsellor took all the unresolved grief and pain of losing Charles to Jesus and asked Him to unlock it. Sarah’s heart saw how much the sin of embellishment was trapping her and released it to Christ and the work of the cross.

Now Sarah can share when she feels prompted about her sweet journey with Charles and it’s from a place of freedom and truth in her own heart. The stories are still so very precious and people seem to listen, all with a sweet spirit of rest and peace in God’s magnificent plan called life.

**Real names were protected and not given.

Read Day 3 HERE!