If you've never had to be away from family and friends during the holiday season, know that it's probably more emotionally difficult than you imagine. My empathy for those who've gone through this has grown, now that I'm in the throes of such a time. So, you may find yourself apathetic toward this post, but for those who have endured, this one's for you.
I've become more keenly aware of the pain of separation, experienced the loneliness, felt the agony of observing others connecting and laughing with family and friends while I remain on the outside. Longing for the familial, while still certain that God's good plans for me include me being exactly where I am leads to a conflicted state of being. It really makes me question whether I do love Him more than mother or brothers, and oh how I want to be found worthy of Him (Matthew 10:37)! I'm not saying it's a sin to miss them, but I must put them as second priority as hard as that is, ESPECIALLY at this time of year. It's often felt like more than enough combating the Christmas "isms" (materialism, consumerism and the like) but adding "separation anxiety" to it is like a Supreme Court level of a trial.
And yet, in this weakened state, He pierces through the ever-growing obscurity with His light and life-giving truth that I can wear around my waist like the belt that it is. And here's the shiny solid beam: In Himself, God is complete. The Father has relationship with the Son, the Son with the Spirit, and all perfectly relate to each other. They are where the whole concept of family begins and never ends. The beautiful, tear-inducing truth is that as a part of His family, I now share in relating to Him as family. I now share the family inheritance (which is an absolutely POIGNANT truth to cling to when you're poor), I have constant access to my Father, and know what it is to be embraced by Him who lovingly wraps His arms around me. It means I am never alone, always protected by the One who is not ashamed to call me his brother (sister) (Hebrews 2:11). No one better mess with any of His kids, those who preciously belong to Him.
So, let me encourage you, friend, Christ knows exactly how you feel. He knows because He was for a time separated from His family. He understands because He was removed from His earthly family, prioritizing the ministry of His Father. HE HAD SOMETHING MORE IMPORTANT TO BE DOING. That didn't mean it wasn't hard, but it meant He kept His focus, His eternal focus, and that separation from His family was merely a temporary state. He persevered by staying connected with His Heavenly Father, Who, remember, He had always been with up until He left His throne above to come to Earth. He is well-aware of your sadness, and here are His solutions:
I pray for you, my struggling friend, because I KNOW AND FEEL what you do, and so does HE. Let us, as brothers and sisters, earnestly lift each other up before our the One who is our FAMILY, because He can actually do something about the state of our heart.
Let me know how I can pray for you.
Brittany Van Ryn
Working out thoughts with HIM.