Each holiday that comes around brings about a bit of sadness for me…….missing my family in Canada, and missing my mom and dad and being able to talk to them or celebrate with them since they passed away from cancer. To be honest, each special occasion brings a bout of depression that I usually have to fight off….the memories and thoughts of “what if…..” Holidays are a struggle for me and a time I need to be near uplifting friends and spend more time leaning on God for strength.
I had to share that this Christmas was a little bit different and I saw God working once again. Just before Christmas I went on a VIP Founders Cruise for a new disruptive technology company I have partnered with. The trip was from Dec 17th (my dads birthday) until Dec 24th. I had no idea how I could leave a week before Christmas, be away from my boys (all 4 of them) and be around people on my dads birthday. God kept nudging me to go, that it was for a purpose and Aaron and I both agreed it was the right decision for me to go, even though there was a huge part of me not wanting to, because I know how I get around my dads birthday and Christmas. I was obedient and went…….
Well, what a blessing the trip was! I was so busy being surrounded by amazing people that were uplifting, positive and encouraging that I couldn’t be sad, and depression could not creep in. I had a few days I was extra quiet, but I worked through them much quicker than I would have being at home, where I know I would have gone to my room, shut the door and been a recluse for a few days. On the ship I did not have that luxury and God knew it’s exactly where I needed to be to grow closer to Him and to take authority over the depression.
I spent time with two people in particular that gave me a sense of “home” a sense of my Italian family and comfort. Spending time talking with Carmela and Frank reminded me of sitting with my aunts and uncles back in Canada. There was a closeness that I can’t explain, but it comes with an Italian family. There were ways Carmela looked at me and I felt unconditional love and support and it reminded me of how my mama would be. Then Frank would come up to me for no reason and put his arm around me and give me a squeeze and it was like getting a hug from my dad…….as I write this, tears are filling my eyes because of the pure love I felt from this amazing couple when I was with them. They probably have no idea the effect they had on me and my heart – but they did. Frank probably had no idea that the times he came up and smiled and gave me a hug or tapped me on the shoulder to show me something and then give my shoulder a rub like saying “way to go kiddo” made me feel such comfort and safety. Sitting with them at dinner and sharing stories and eating as many lobster tails as we could (because they were free that night!!!) made me feel like I was at home with family, sharing a meal and that was the best Christmas gift I could have ever received.
Stepping out of your comfort zone to do something is when your life will change. Listening when God is “nudging” you to do something is when your life will change. Doing something that makes you uncomfortable is when your life will change. Being obedient to Gods word and where HE leads you is when your life will change.
All these things happened to me in the past week, because I listened to where God wanted me to go, even though I didn’t, and opening my heart up to see the beauty and kindness all around me. There was so much love from everyone I was travelling with and I am just so thankful for each friend that I was with. When I got home on Christmas Eve, there were no tears or missing my parents in a depression type way – on Christmas, there was no depression creeping in……..for the first time since my dad passed away in 2002…….the first time. There’s usually one point during the day I have to leave the room, and hide and just cry and it didn’t happen this year. I believe it’s because of the new memories I created on the ship, especially with Carmela and Frank – I believe God was giving me exactly what my heart desires and misses – a mother and father figure to love on me and hug me and be near me during the holidays. I kept calling Carmela “Nona” as my boys called my mama – and she let me and smiled……..without me knowing, this trip was giving me a little bit of family back for a time that I really needed it – through the holidays. But – without my heart being open to receive it and without me being obedient and saying YES to go where I didn’t really want to, it never would’ve happened………….
BE BOLD – say YES when God is asking you to do hard things – the reward is so much greater than we can imagine. To Carmela and Frank – thank you for your beautiful hearts and your loving nature – you may not have even known how you were affecting me during this trip, but you brought a comfort, peace and love to my heart and soul that I have been longing for and God certainly worked through you to give me such JOY. My Christmas was FULL of JOY this year and the enemy did not creep in with any depression or sadness or loneliness……..what a beautiful way to end my year – seeing God’s supernatural hand work again in my life – not because I’m anything special, just because I trust HIM fully and obey……even when I don’t want to! God surely is good ALL the time……..
Merry Christmas and God bless