Nancy stood alone in her kitchen as she stared at the small fake Christmas Tree she had forced herself to purchase only days before.
Christmas Eve had never felt so lonely. How could things have changed so drastically since last Christmas? Looking back she should have seen the signs, but she had been so caught up in the usual Christmas hustle and bustle that she failed to notice how her husband seemed to be unusually disconnected from the family celebration.
The New Year had brought the most painful season of Nancy’s life. One night in January her husband, John, had come home from work and simply announced, “Nancy, I don’t love you anymore. I haven’t loved you for quite some time. I’ve met someone new and I want a divorce.”
Nancy went numb. Her knees buckled and she literally fell to the floor. When her husband turned and walked away Nancy was left alone to process her feelings. She was so taken aback she couldn’t even cry.
Nancy sat stunned for quite some time. Then pulling herself together she followed her husband into the bedroom where he was packing up some of his clothes.
“Can we talk about this?” asked Nancy.
John wouldn’t even look at Nancy. He just kept pulling things out of his dresser and throwing them on the bed. He said, “Nancy, let’s not do this. There’s nothing to talk about. I’ve been thinking about it for quite some time. And I am sure this is what I want.”
“What you want? What you want?” Nancy cried, “What about what I want?”
John angrily responded, “Oh, come on, Nancy. You’re so busy with the kids and your own career, you haven’t wanted me in a long time. I mean, when was the last time you even wanted to have sex with me?”
Nancy was stunned. She and John had been married for twenty years. Of course they both had their own interests and maybe they were a little distracted from working on their marriage, but how could he just walk away from the life they’d built over the last twenty years?
But John did leave. Refusing to seek out any counseling, John filed for a divorce. And by April their divorce was final. Nancy got to keep the house––the house where they had raised their children. But now the empty house seemed to be just a painful reminder of what might have been––a place they’d grow old together.
Nancy had insisted on having Christmas at her house again this year. Her children would be bringing their spouses and little ones first thing in the morning. Nancy was now second guessing her decision to host the holiday at her home.
Somewhere in the distance Nancy heard the Christmas Carroll, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”
Nancy thought, “Most wonderful time of the year? Yeah, right. If your life is perfect! Mine is a mess.”
But before Nancy could sink into despair her daughter, Susan, called her cell phone.
She said, “Hi Momma. How are you doing? I’ve been thinking about you all day. Are you ok?”
Just hearing Susan’s voice lifted Nancy’s spirits. Nancy tried to act like she was doing well, but Susan saw right through her pretense.
“Mom would you rather not have all of us over in the morning? I can call the family and have them over here instead,” said Susan.
Nancy thanked Susan for her thoughtfulness but assured her that she wanted the family to come for Christmas. And she promised Susan that by morning she would be up for the celebration.
And then, before Nancy could say goodbye Susan said, “Mom, can I pray with you please?”
Nancy had never been one to pray, but Susan was a devout Christian so Nancy agreed to let her daughter pray for her.
Susan began, “Dear Heavenly Father, only you know the ache in my momma’s heart. And only You can fill the loneliness with Your love and peace. I pray that this would be the year that You would help my mother to understand how very much You love her. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”
For some reason, Nancy began to cry inconsolably after hearing Susan’s prayer for her. She quickly excused herself from the phone call and hung up the phone.
For the first time in her life, Nancy heard the love for God in Susan’s voice as she prayed. In the past, Nancy had always thought of Susan’s religion as ritualistic and unnecessary. But tonight––tonight, Susan’s prayer seemed to penetrate Nancy’s heart like never before.
Nancy began to think, What if this God Susan prayed to is real? Is it possible He really does know how deeply my heart is aching? What if He does love me? “
Nancy opened the Bible that Susan had given her and turned to John 3:16––the verse Susan had highlighted. She began to read:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
She then turned to another scripture that Susan had highlighted Romans 5:8:
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Nancy pondered what she had just read. She hadn’t felt loved in such a long time. When her husband left, she was certain she would never feel whole again, and now somewhere deep in her soul she began to feel hopeful.
She thought, If God did love me and He sent His Son to prove how much He loved me, why am I rejecting that love?
Susan had explained to Nancy on more than one occasion how coming to God meant admitting you are a sinner in need of a Savior. Nancy had no doubt she needed to be saved. She had certainly made a mess of her life. And tonight she was ready to turn from her mess to a relationship with Jesus.
Nancy bowed her head and prayed, “Dear God, you know I am a sinner. And I know I don’t deserve Your forgiveness, but Susan says You sent Jesus so I could be forgiven and made right with you. I want the new life in Jesus that I see in my daughter, I want you to forgive me and I want You from this day and forever, I want You.”
When Nancy finished praying she couldn’t explain the peace she felt. But she knew that God had just rescued her from the mess she had been.
Now, Nancy could hardly wait for Christmas morning so she could tell Susan what had happened. Would Susan believe it?
And then looking over the Christmas card Susan sent to her she finally understood the Scripture that appeared over the baby in the manger. It read:
For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given;
and the government shall be upon His shoulder,
and His Name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Here’s a prayer you may want to pray:
Father, you know the mess I’ve made of my life. I am so sorry for the choices I have made that have led me so far away from you. I agree with You that I am a sinner and in need of Your forgiveness. Your Word promises that if I confess my sins You are faithful and just to forgive me of my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
I am ready to ask you to forgive me and to surrender my whole life to You. Thank you for sending Jesus to die to take the penalty for my sins, and thank you that He rose again to give me life––new life in Christ. From this day forward, with Your help I turn away from my sin and promise to walk in obedience to You and Your plan for my life. Amen.