Podcast

075: A Safe Space for Spiritual Pain and the Holidays

This is episode 75 and in today’s episode, Lauren holds space for those carrying spiritual pain with them throughout the holiday season. Caring for our souls includes acknowledging and processing the spiritual pain that accompanies the caregiving journey and is elevated during this time of year. Listen in as Lauren offers honesty, compassion, truth, and hope for your heart this holiday season. 

Quick Links:

Abiding Caregiver Facebook Group

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050: Reflection Questions for the End of the Year

038: Managing Your Mental Health with Gillian Marchenko

Quotes from this Episode:

“While I go through the motions of scheduling and confirming and coordinating all of the holiday gatherings and activities, I force a smile on my face. But, inwardly my heart secretly throbs in pain.”

Lauren D Crow

“Fragile emotions, disillusionment, and a tender heart are God’s specialty.”

Lauren D Crow

“We are allowed to celebrate and weep at the same time. We are allowed to be grateful in one moment and sad in the next. The holiday season is not wrapped up in a perfectly crafted bow, that’s the Home of Eden we eternally long for. It is wrapped like a toddler got a hold of it. This is not meant to draw us away from God in our pain, but propel us into deeper dependence and relationship with Him.”

Lauren D Crow
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Transcript:

Hi friends! Welcome to Self Care and Soul Care for the Caregiver! I am Lauren Crow, one of your co-hosts! This is episode 75 and today I am sharing about when spiritual pain collides with the holidays for caregivers and special-needs families. In this episode I do not have points to portray, but rather I have safe space to hold for you.

It can feel extremely lonely as a caregiver over the holiday season, but here you are not alone. Your feelings are not minimized here. They are not too complicated. They are welcome here. Right now, in this moment, take a deep breath and remember that God’s presence is with you and allow your soul some rest during our time together today.

My Friends, it is that time of the year that the texts begin to roll in and all the phone calls. You know, the ones about scheduling extended family gatherings, holiday parties, and the emails from the school, and perhaps therapy centers, about special holiday events and activities. 

The arrival of these notifications, honestly, makes my heart skip a beat. Not necessarily because of the practical side of how we need to accommodate or modify the holidays for my special-needs son, but rather it’s the rise of spiritual pain that shocks me as it strikes my heart once again.

While I go through the motions of scheduling and confirming and coordinating all of the holiday gatherings and activities, I force a smile on my face. But, inwardly my heart secretly throbs in pain.

The holidays have a way of reminding us that things are not the way we dreamed and desired that they would be. We thought we would do all of our childhood traditions with our children, but that is not our reality. Or, the anxiety stemming from last year’s holiday meltdowns steal what should be the joyful anticipation of this year’s gatherings. There is a spectrum of disappointments that can be uncomfortably highlighted for the remaining days of this year.

Thankfully though, as children of God, perfect circumstances and the absence of pain are not requirements for flourishing. On the contrary, with Immanuel, God with us, His power overcomes our weakness enabling us to experience flourishing through our struggles. We might be able to hide our pain from those around us, but God sees our inward being and has compassion towards us. He is always holding safe space for us.

We are allowed to celebrate and weep at the same time. We are allowed to be grateful in one moment and sad in the next. The holiday season is not wrapped up in a perfectly crafted bow, that’s the home of Eden we eternally long for. It is wrapped like a toddler got a hold of it. This is not meant to draw us away from God in our pain, but propel us into deeper dependence and relationship with Him.

In the disappointment and pain, may we fervently search to identify the threads of God’s workings within the tapestry of our lives here and now. Rather than seeking clarity, may we remain aware and yield to God’s presence at work in our lives. Fragile emotions, disillusionment, and a tender heart are God’s specialty. He nourishes us in the form of love and breathes his transforming truth into the deepest spaces of our hearts that hold our most tender longings. 

Friend, did you know that birds are experts in hiding their injuries? In the wild they would become easy targets if they showed weakness. This disguise of false strength prevents them from being rescued and receiving the care needed to survive. Even when they are offered safe veterinarian care a bird will act healthy because of their innate desire to be their own protector. This is precisely the lie the enemy keeps us in bondage with — “You can handle it and fix it on your own.” That’s just not true.

My Friend, we aren’t powerful enough to rescue our own soul, or to heal our own pain. Hiding behind the grief will lead to an internal collapse. I’ve been there. And, yet searching for happiness from any other source other than God just leads to emptiness. We can be freed of limping through life and run in grace saturated freedom instead.

A natural response to pain is to hide it. We keep our wings closed tightly against our body, so our wounds are not exposed. Some of us hear that internal dialogue, “Be strong and don’t let your guard down. You can handle this on your own,” is the new lie whispered in our ears when pain is running deep. This lie keeps us from running, with wide open arms, to our Good Father, exclaiming the honest truth to Him, “I am hurting and I cannot fix this on my own!” We exasperate our condition by not allowing God’s truth to sink deep into our wounds. The pain only increases over time and, if you are like me, our agitation climbs to new heights.

However, our Great Physician, God, has the power to mend our wounds and heal our hearts through His balm of love and ointment of truth. He desires to be our safe place and refuge from the broken world. But, we must let our guard down, drop the disguise of superwoman and offer our honesty in His presence that is always with us. Open our wings and allow God access to the hurting parts of our hearts this holiday season, for He already knows it’s there. He’s gentle. 

It is in these moments of pain when I am tempted to distract myself or escape it somehow, instead of sitting in it. In these moments the only words I am capable of uttering originate from a simple hymn I learned as a child while sitting in a wood pew that groaned with every movement my jittery legs moved. 

“In moments like these, I sing out a song,

I sing out a love song to Jesus.

In moments like these, I lift up my hands,

I lift up my hands to the Lord.

Singing, I love You, Lord.

Singing, I love You, Lord.

Singing, I love You, Lord,

I love You.”

As we end this time together today, let’s pray and invite God to be our comforter and friend throughout the holiday season this year.

Father, may we open the wings of our hearts allowing You, our Great Physician, entry to the wounds that we’ve expertly learned to hide. May we let our guard down in the safe presence of You Jesus, our Friend, offering our honest words to You. Surrendering our ways, may Truth sink deep into the injured parts of our soul cultivating a new nesting place. May we develop a new trust in You that is deeper than we’ve known before. And may You gently remove the residue preventing a life of wholeness. May what has been stolen or abruptly loss in our lives be overcome and restored by You, God. Not because we are good enough. Not because our performance exceeds expectations. Because we are your daughters and your love for us runs deep and wide. May your grace be the new beat our feet dance to during the holiday season. And, may we speak of your glory, power, and wonder in our lives forever and ever. Amen. 

As we end our time together friends, I want to invite you to leave a 5-star rating or a review for this podcast! Sandra and I are enjoying creating content that we hope is an encouragement to you. And we desire to support and bless even more caregivers. When you leave a rating or review, or when you share this podcast with others, it is an invitation for others to experience something you enjoy. Thank you so much for doing that! 

I am so grateful that you spent this time with me today! Next week, both Sandra and I will be back for another genuine conversation together and it is a fun one that I know you’ll enjoy! In the meantime make sure you connect with us through the Abiding Caregiver Facebook group! The link to join is in the show notes. See you next week, friends!

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