Tonight begins the first of four family gatherings we will have with my extended family over the next two week holiday period. For the most part it will be the same people at each gathering. I love and am grateful for my extended family, but it is a little much at times. There is almost 30 of us and we all live within a 15 mile radius of each other, but surprisingly we go months without talking to each other sometimes.
Since chronic pain entered my life I tend to want to shy away from family functions. While I trust God's in control and working all things to my good, I'd like to get rid of this "thorn in the flesh" and be normal again like the rest of my family. It gets old having to try to explain the latest treatment options and why I continue to hurt despite seeing some of the best doctors in the country for pelvic pain. The idea of a chronic illness with questionable etiology is hard to swallow for most people especially my family who come from a "work hard, suck it up, and press on" mentality. Or worse, no one will say anything about my pain as if it doesn't exist, while in reality it controls almost all aspects of my life.
Inevitably sometime over the holidays I will feel the heat rising in me as I am tempted to say something like, "You know, doctors are not God and there are still lots of things about the human body that we don't understand"! But who can blame them. I thought and said similar things till this happened in my own body. This pain is helping me realize "hidden" pride and anger in my life, that's for certain.
With my pelvic floor and the left side of my sacrum feeling like someone took a match to it today, I am tempted to skip the festivities tonight. But tonight is actually my favorite of the holiday gatherings as we "fight" over $10 gift cards to various places during a "White Elephant" type exchange.
In all seriousness though, I think I struggle to relate to people anymore. My life is so completely different from most people I know that I feel conversations are strained. I go days without leaving my house. It's a good day when I've taken care of the household chores. I mean who wants to hear about my life? It's depressing!
I often direct conversation off me and about my daughter. But I'd love to talk about the Lord more. I'm blessed that all my extended family attends church or has at some point in their life. But I am not naive enough to think that they all true followers of Jesus. Several are very active in their church and I know are believers, but unfortunately our conversations rarely are about the things of God and how He is working in our lives.
When someone asks me how I'm feeling, I'd love to say, "making it daily by God's grace" because it's the truth! But I'm scared; I don't want to come across as being self-righteous. It's hard, isn't it?! I saw this helpful post about sharing the gospel with family/friends over the holidays that had some good practical advice. I want to be more diligent about taking opportunities to speak of Christ this Christmas and I'm praying God grants me the courage and opportunities.
How about you? How do you take the conversation off yourself and talk about the Lord more during family gatherings and Christmas parties?