Christmas Tree of Hope

Tree of Hope

Are you ready for Christmas?  I am this year, but that wasn’t the case last Christmas.  Our daughter decorated the entire house for Christmas last December, which was wonderful!  But things were hard.  Different.  Everything was a struggle.

Large sections of lights on our thirteen-year-old artificial tree were lifeless.  Working lights had to be strung.  I said to forget it and not fool with it – to not have a tree at all.  It was beyond me.  With years of decking our halls when often no family members took part, I was ready to join the ranks of the others and do the same.  Details didn’t matter anymore.  December days of test after test resulted in a cancer diagnosis three days before Christmas.

Merry Christmas.  You have lung cancer.

It was three weeks since an MS diagnosis and now this!?  My only priority was to spend time with family.  My church family, too.  I savored Christmas songs and Christmas chatter.  It was an altered  Christmas, where I snapped not a single picture.

Memories remain of standing in church, longing to sing hymns but too breathless to manage it.  (Christmas hymns are among my favorites!)  Disappointment and questions loomed.

“Will I ever sing hymns again?”
“What will happen next year?”
“Will I even be here  next Christmas?”

In February, as I continued more testing to identify the cancer staging, our dishwasher stopped working.  “You gotta love God for keeping us grounded in the realities of normal  life!” 😉

As we shopped for a new dishwasher in one of the stores, we spotted a room of floor model discounted Christmas trees.  I’m talking many choices of pre-lit trees for dirt cheap.  Dare I consider buying a new tree?

The irony of it all.  God dangled the possibility in front of me.  A hope for tomorrow.  Was it possible to hope for future Christmases again?  To trash the old, broken tree and take home a new one for a fresh beginning?  In February?

It represented a new start as I faced so many endings…vision issues…couldn’t walk normally…couldn’t drive…limited movement due to pain…more challenges…more bad news.  I was unable to write, and I missed my former blogging days of creating the home we (I) love to live in.  But God would have the final say.  Could I hope again while the list of endings  felt hopeless?  Could I trust God for one more Christmas and even hope for many more after?

When in a season of questions, the Lord is your Anchor.  The Answer.  Your Footing.  Your Moor.  As we look back through the years and see His faithfulness and view the lineup of ebenezers, we can surely trust Him!  As I followed my Shepherd carefully for each step this year, He gradually brought health back into my life.

Two rounds of chemo ended with a new targeted cancer pill to halt further cancer growth.  God led me to reduced pain…more steady steps now, and vibrant energy I’d never dreamed possible.

Now all glory to God, who is able,
through his mighty power at work within us,
to accomplish infinitely more than we might
ask or think.  (Ephesians 3:20)

Am I back to normal, as in “the way things were”?  No, but my new normal is far more manageable than in the beginning of 2018.  The Lord showed me how to put action to my faith and keep moving forward.  He was and is with me.  He’s with you, too!

He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.
1 Thessalonians 5:24

The boxer pictured with me (and my tree of hope) is our newest rescue and promise of hope.

Christmas Tree of Hope

Baxter joins us this Christmas, secure in his new beginnings.  Two weeks ago, he was abandoned, alone, cold, and hungry.  But, God had the final say in Baxter’s care – as He has in mine and yours.  Baxter now stands securely with love, plentiful food, and warmth.

What obstacles has God led you through this year?  Are you looking forward to an improved Christmas over Christmases past?

What represents your hope in Christ this Christmas?  Whatever your current circumstances, I encourage you to make Christmas memories in any and every way possible.  I’m joining you in that – while singing those Christmas hymns again.  Praise to our Gracious Heavenly Father!

Because He lives~

Hi and welcome! It's wonderful to have fellow "embracers" during some pretty tough seasons - and some triumphant ones, too. I invite you to enroll to receive my blog posts by email so you don't miss what's coming next.

22 Comments

  • Roxanne

    Merry Christmas Kim! It makes me very happy to read this Christmas message full of hope. Baxter has “landed in the butter tub” when he came to live with you! I wanted you to know I have been faithfully reading all your posts even though I’ve not been commenting much. In one of those jags in life’s road, we moved my 93 yo mother-in-law from FL up here near us in S.C. Wow, I love her dearly but getting her settled has consumed my life. But it’s all good. Have a blessed Christmas, full of joy, peace, and hope.

    • Kim

      Hi, Roxanne! It’s so great to hear from you and good to know you’re still reading along. So sorry for your hard season, and glad to know God is blessing that. I wish you the merriest of Christmas blessings! 🙂

  • Donna Killen

    We are so grateful you are doing so much better. Thank you for sharing your blessings. We need to hear your good news. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a Blessed New year. We love you much 😘.

  • Robin

    What an awesome testimony! Your blog has become so much more than I ever expected. You are “the encourager”. Even on days when all is going ok you manage to throw something in there that just makes you thankful. And when all heck is breaking lose we can say “ I’m not the only one” or “My current struggle isn’t THAT bad compared to what Kim has faced”.

    And YAY! for Baxter! Christmas pup! They are the best! We’ve had our Christmas time rescue pup for 3 years now! Q says hi to Baxter! He’s still a hot mess. But so stinkin’ cute. So it’s a wash. Lol!

    Lately I’ve been reading, but not commenting.
    Trying to type on my phone is sometimes too aggravating, with all the glitching, so I just say forget it.
    I’ve been slowed down a lot lately. I try. But your body can only take so much before it starts to go “ putt. putt. putt” like it’s running out of gas. I can feel it coming. And sometimes I just can’t stop and rest because even my family doesn’t get how when I say “ I feel it coming” that it means “ I need to lay around and do nothing. Nothing. Nothing. No food shopping. No laundry. No cooking. No cleaning. No crafts. No post office runs for my eBay sales. No feeding or walking the dog. No running here or there. “. It’s impossible. Stuff has to get done. It’s like having a job where you run the place and know all the ins and outs and not one person knows every single thing you do. Some know this. Some know that. They call you at home because only you will know what to do. And if you would ever quit they’d lose their minds. I’ve had jobs like that in the past. This MOM job is no different. Lol ( My dad sure found that out when my mom was gravely I’ll in 2011. He had no idea what she did. He didn’t know what bills needed to be paid and had never done wash before. Ever. ) People see me at church and have no idea what is going on inside the ole bod. I look ok. I’m there. I know you know what I’m talkin about. I know it could be worse so I am in no way COMPLAINING. I’m just reminding people that everybody has something going on….. on the inside. Don’t be all judgy based on what you see and how YOU do things. I can handle a lot more physical pain than most people can…WITHOUT ANY PAIN MEDS. Others can handle a 10th of it. So when people don’t come to church because of some illness I have to remind myself they are not the “ Bionic Woman” that I am. Lol

    Fighting this fight with ole Epstein is a silent struggle. I don’t LOOK “sick”. I’ve not been so “motivated” for this typing stuff. So I have that “ eh” attitude about a lot of stuff lately. It’s because I’m tired. Not just regular old tired. Tired from fighting a virus that has not budged in more than a few years. But this too shall pass. God is good. ( And google mini can tell me jokes to make me laugh! Lol!)

    So I remind myself on a daily basis that every wacko thing that happens…..God uses it to “polish” us into shiny new gold!
    I chuckle as I think “Geez. I must be pretty jaggedy.” Lol
    Would you believe I don’t have all my Christmas decorations up yet! What!? The world must be ending! Lol. Yup.Almost bagged the whole shebang. SuperTeen copped a ‘tude and almost blew a gasket. She taught herself to knit so she could make scarves for “Friends-mas” and has been going at it since October. And as she was just done 7 scarves I told her she had to make 2 more…. one for my sister who gave her a ton of yarn and some big bucks for her b-day in Nov, and one for my sister’s husband, the one who had a stroke last fall (in his 40s) and is still fighting the fight for normalcy. So, her gasket almost blew from stress because I wanted some help with decorations. Now mind you, she has not found a job so she is home from school AT NOON. To be 18 and stressed with knitting and decorations! Oh I wish! Lol!

    So ….almost bagged the decorations. But then a small fatherly all- knowing voice said, “Now, you KNOW ( better)…..Don’t let “ him steal your (Christmas time) joy!” So im doing things slower….2 tubs of decs from the garage at a time. Q isn’t as stressed. And either am I. (Lots of tubs of stuff piled up at once stress him out big time. And me too, right now.) Between feeling “eh” and the craziness of every car having a major ( and expensive!) problem, along with the every day junk I’ve just not been very Bionic Woman-y at all lately.

    I did receive the notes from a sermon from a guest speaker at church. It’s wasnt just some normal “ hers my notes”. It was a “ God TOLD HER to give me her notes” kind of thing. So I reread them, and I reread them, and I jot notes on them, and I look stuff up. It’s something God felt I needed. So ya know the enemy has been doing all he can to keep me distracted from doing anything NOTE worthy (I punned! Lol)

    Again…. my jaggedy-ness needs some polishing. Lol

    And your blogging helps me stay focused. So if I don’t say it enough…. thank you, Kim!!!
    I’m here in the crowd, even if you don’t always see me!!!

    Have a wonder-full Christmas!

    • Kim

      Wow. Thank you for sharing that, Robin. How I’ve missed you! I’m sorry you are having health issues still. I do pray for you – and your family, too. Give Q a scruff on the tummy for me, OK? Merry Christmas blessings! 🙂

  • Belinda

    I’m so thankful you are doing better. I love the new member of your family. He looks quite content in his new home. I pray for continued improvement in your health. We just never know the path we will have to travel in this life. We’ve certainly had many challenges in our family not only with medical issues but also relationships. But God IS still on the throne and He’s got it all in His almighty hands!!
    God bless you and thank you for being so very brave.

    • Kim

      Thank you for your prayers, Belinda. You are right. We don’t know what’s ahead, but we know Who does know what’s ahead, and He’s got us! Praise the Lord for that!! 🙂

  • Judybee

    You are a Christmas blessing to many of us! Thank you. God is faithful even when it doesn’t look like it. I’m so pleased you are better. Sending love and prayers your way. Thank you again.

  • Pam Richardson

    Praise God from whom all blessings flow! I rejoice in what God has done and is doing in your life and the life of your family through this journey of cancer and MS! Thank you for allowing God to use you! Wishing you and yours a joy-filled Christmas and the promise of a new year.

    Hugs and love,
    Pam

  • Rhonda

    Kim, Glory to God in the highest!!! And thank you for always exhibiting praise in the midst of your journey. Your are an inspiration and I am full of praise to and for our LORD for your blessings!!! Knowing that you and your dear family will have a wonderful celebration this Christmas. In His Love……

  • Dale

    Thanks for sharing your story,Kim!
    You are so encouraging!!
    God is good! He is faithful! He rescues us!
    Loved seeing your photo with Baxter! 😃
    Love you,honey!!❤️❤️❤️🎄🎄🎄

  • Heather

    I am so glad that you are feeling better.

    This has been a rough year for my extended family. My mother-in-law escaped from the Paradise, Ca area wildfire safely in early November. Her house was destroyed. We are thankful that my father-in-law died in April or they both probably would not have been able to get out.

    We are thankful that she had good house insurance and has options for where to live until she makes a permanent decision.

    We are trusting God to help us figure out what should be done, but it is hard.

    I hope that you have a Merry Christmas with your family.

    • Kim

      Hi, Heather! I’m sorry you’ve had tough times this year. Your family has suffered great loss! What a blessing that your MIL is safe and has housing options. It must be hard for her to lose her home, though. I will pray for God to lead you all clearly in the decisions ahead. Merry Christmas to you and your precious loved ones! (Tragedy helps us hold them more tightly.) Hugs!

  • Peggy Hurst

    Kim you have the gift of inspiration. You always have. You used to inspire others with your fabric creations and multiple other creative ways. Now you inspire with your attitude and your words! I have been praying for you and am so glad to hear of your progress. You are one of a kind! I love you and wish you the very best Christmas of all!

    • Kim

      Thank you, Pegs! We enjoyed your Christmas letter, as always. It would not be Christmas without the Hurst Highlights! I appreciate your prayers so much – and your encouragement. I love you and miss you, my dear friend. Merry Christmas to you and your four wise guys! 🙂 <3

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