When Holidays Are Hard, Take Heart

It’s December.
That wonderful time of year … for many.

But for some, when it seems like the rest of world
is celebrating Merry and Bright lives,
you feel overwhelmed and alone in the dark.

When holidays are hard, take heart.
God is with you.

Marilyn* watched her husband pick at his dinner.
“I need to tell you something,” he said without looking up.

There was a long pause before he continued.

As she waited, she imagined all sorts of things.
Maybe he’d lost his job.
Maybe something had happened with one of the kids.
Maybe he was sick.

“I’m gay,” announced Jack.
“I’ve kept my vows to you.
There is no-one else,
but I need you to know.”

Marilyn’s mind whirled.
She’d known something was askew,
but was hoping it was a midlife crisis
that would pass like a kidney stone –
painful but not fatal.

Suddenly, all his odd behavior made sense.
The new clothes.
The change of hair style.
The abbreviated conversations.
The lack of affection.

Alone in the nightmare,
Marilyn decided not to include
her co-workers or family in the news
until a plan was made.

She considered her options
and tried desperately to avoid divorce.

She kept thinking,
We have a good life.
We talk. We love traveling.
Maybe, we could just pretend he has
a condition that makes sex impossible.
We could stay married but celibate,
raise the kids and keep the secret.

Compromises and concessions
were discussed,
but no suitable resolutions were found.

Her secret became overwhelming.


One morning,
after dropping the children off at school,
knowing that her world was about to change,
Marilyn  experienced what she describes as a panic attack.
She couldn’t breath.
Her heart raced.
Her mind seized and she was terrified.

Above the din in her mind,
the song on the radio swelled in the cars.
Call on Jesus
Call on Jesus,
Call on Jeeeesuuuus.

Barely able to speak, Marilyn horsely whispered,
“Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!
I need you!”


Instantly, her breath regulated.
Her heart calmed.
Her mind cleared.
She experienced calm.

Though her circumstances did not change,
Marilyn says she knew she was going to be okay.

Jack did not recant his declaration.
He filed for divorce and moved out.

It was awful,
but God’s presence remained with Marilyn
and did not leave her.

The remarkable peace that fell on Marilyn
is available to you, too.

Throughout the Bible,
God says, “Call on me!”

 ‘Call to me and I will answer you
and tell you great and unsearchable things
you do not know.’
Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV)

“ … call on me in the day of trouble,
I will deliver you …”
Psalm 50:15 (NIV)

“Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.”
John 16:24 (NIV)

“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Romans 10:13 (NIV)

God isn’t distant in your troubles.
He is fully present.

Call on him!
Ask for his help!

What he did for Marilyn,
He is willing to do for you.

He will enter into your pain
and walk with you through it.

Have you experienced the Presence of God in a tough time?
Leave a comment of comfort or encouragement below.

God, you know this misery I’m enduring. I don’t know how much longer it will continue, but I am at the end of myself and need to know you are here. Show me. Tell me. Assure me that I am not alone.
In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.

*Name changed with permission.


  1. Sandy Stroyny on December 11, 2017 at 2:11 am

    My life as I now know it, is coming to an end after Christmas. My husband of 52 years is moving out of our home and has signed a years lease on an apartment.
    He is Bipolar AND the past 5 years have been full of stress, pain and loneliness. We have lived the the same house but on different floors. We are both Christians.
    I met you at camp forest springs several years ago.
    He wants to come and go as he wants and in his words. Enjoy the years he has left without my nagging and trying to track him down. He is never home.
    He is 75 and I am 72. I have seen a lawyer and am praying for the future. I have to protect myself financially. We have 3 grown sons with 7 grandkids. They all support me and whatever My decision is.
    I am trusting God and knows he loves us both and has a Plan.
    We will all be together, in our home at Christmas. I am dreading it.

    • Robyn Dykstra on December 11, 2017 at 5:30 am

      I cannot imagine your pain. I am praying for supernatural wisdom for you, and for your protection. I pray for your man to have a sound mind and for you to have peace of mind. I’m so sorry this is your life right now.

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