Have you ever read a letter to someone else and felt absolutely certain it was written to you? It’s an odd thing. Like eavesdropping and finding the clue to the golden ticket. It’s a holy thing, that moment.

I was reading Isaiah for a different reason when I happened onto this verse:

The Lord has called you back from your grief –
As though you were a young wife abandoned by her husband.
(Isaiah 54:6)

Um, hello there, Words For Me.
Words for My December.

I read them aloud to Peter, and he said, “Except for the ‘as though’ part. No metaphor here. You were a real, young wife, abandoned.”

True story. And I have been called back from my grief, into a season of joy.

In that same chapter, I found these words as well:

You will no longer remember the sorrows of your widowhood.
(Isaiah 54:4)

Those words are for me. They were written to and about the future glory of Jerusalem, but this Christmas, they are mine.

In the past, anytime anyone suggested a healing so complete that it leads to unremembering, I resisted it. Because I thought that forgetting the season meant forgetting Robb, forgetting the darkness of the loss and the journey of the healing, which are things I never want to forget. Scars of healing, badges of honor.

But I see now – it isn’t about that. The truth is that I can no longer recall the truest sorrows of widowhood. The dark nights, the aching pain, the endless breaking… I remember them as a vague shadow, no longer a searing, white-hot flame. I cannot remember them.

You know how you can look at a picture and remember how it felt on that day? You can bring back the emotions that come with the memories? I can remember the darkness, the heaviness. I cannot recall the sorrow. I can’t revisit that anymore.

It is a miracle. A very true and real Christmas miracle.

(And it makes me thankful I did all of the writing back then, when the pain felt indeed too hot to touch. Because I can’t get to those details at all anymore.)

In Genesis, the angel asked Hagar, “Where have you come from, and where are you going?”
(Genesis 16:8)

I have been a widowed single mom,
swallowed in grief and unable to rejoice.
I have come through the valley of the shadow of death.
I have been sad and broken.
I have been a woman who longed for healing.

As Hagar praised, so do I.

“You are the God who sees me.”
(Genesis 16:13)

~ ~ ~

To my friends in the dark valley of the searing pain,
hold fast.
Stay the course.
He sees you.

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