Be Kind, January

For many, January is a hard month…

When many are making New Year’s Resolutions, going back to work or school, cleaning and organizing their homes, some of us are fighting to get through the day. Especially those who struggle with depression, anxiety, Lyme disease, unexplained chronic pain, or chronic illness.

In December, many of us, especially women, gave, and gave, and gave. Shopping, decorating, remembering people by sending cards, checking lists, checking our budget (and often blowing it), wrapping gifts, and stretching ourselves physically, emotionally, and mentally way beyond our normal boundaries, to bring joy in this festive season.

And then January hits and BAM! It all stops, families return to their homes and busy schedules, and people all around you are making and talking about new goals and resolutions they’ve made for this new year. And you just want to get through the day.

January is the darkest, generally the coldest (in the northern U.S.), and most depressing month of the year. For those who suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affect Disorder), a mood disorder that brings depression, fatigue and hopelessness due to less sunlight, this is a particularly difficult time. And for those who are battling cancer, chronic pain and illness, the symptoms seem to magnify.

So rather than feeling the pressure to set new goals or resolutions, give yourself permission to take a week or two, or even the whole month of January, to be kind to yourself before moving ahead. “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” (Psalm 23:2-3a)

Immerse yourself in a good book with a hot cup of tea by your side. Bundle up in a blanket by a fireplace and take a nap or eat a few of those leftover cookies. If you’re lonely, call someone you love and trust just to hear another voice.

Most of all, recognize you are absolutely fine the way you are, just as God created you. And take some time to remember how He has cared for you in the past year. If you like to journal, you can write those remembrances down. Take time to acknowledge all you already are. Because, in God’s eyes, it’s a lot. You’re a lot. And you are loved so very much.

The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.'” (Jeremiah 31:3)

I haven’t written in my blog since August, primarily because that’s when my husband was diagnosed with Lymphoma, Splenic Marginal Zone Lymphoma to be exact. He started treatments every three weeks, but in the second and third rounds, he had severe reactions to the immunotherapy drug he was receiving. He ended up in the hospital for a few days because of the reaction. We both also got Covid, which set us back about three weeks. After that, he only received the chemo drug, so he has had few reactions. The oncologist is extending his treatments to eight, so he won’t be done until early February. Then a PET scan to see if the treatments were effective.

During this time, I’ve been the caregiver, errand runner, reporter to Caring Bridge with updates, and prayer requester. So I was doing a lot of writing, but not here. And I could do an entire post on how God has provided and cared for us during this time. Maybe a future post?

Perhaps you can thank God…

…for coping.

…for enduring.

…for bearing burdens you thought you could never carry.

…for being broken…and rising again.

…for putting one foot in front of the other on those very difficult days.

…for giving you hope.

…for stopping the flaming arrows thrown at you and using them to build your fortress (your mind and body) a little bit stronger.

You have endured, my friend, and that’s definitely worth celebrating!

Happy New Year.

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