This Christmas, you’re not alone!

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A few years ago at the peak of my illness, I was so weak I couldn’t even roll over in my bed without help. I was in extreme pain, I was half blind, my legs didn’t work at the time and I couldn’t control them or walk (this was before my Lyme treatment that gave me back control of my legs). On top of this, the Lyme had made it’s way up my spine, to my brain, and started eating away at the TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) that I already had. This caused everything to get worse, especially my brain. That year I had one of the saddest and most wonderful Christmases I’d ever had.

Due to my brain injury, I could only be in a dark quiet room. When a family member or friend came over they had to come into this dark room to visit me. I’d only last about 15  minutes before my pain would go up, I’d get nauseas, and confused. It became very hard for me to comprehend what anyone was saying because of the chaos my brain injury would cause me after 15 minutes of talking

I’ve lived in a dark and quiet room for years. It’s just this past year that I’ve been able to tolerate light a lot better than before. But I still spend a couple hours a day in the dark and quiet, because it’s the only thing that helps my pain and chaos in my brain (from the brain injury) calm down.

Just a few years ago, on Christmas Eve, the family came over to celebrate. There were around 10 of us that year. My mom cooked a delicious Christmas Eve dinner for all of us, and it was time to enjoy and celebrate together. The only problem was I couldn’t join them due to how sick I was.

I was too weak to sit up. Even if we put a bed next to the dining room table for me so I could lay down, or brought everyone to my room, I couldn’t handle the noise. The light and noise from the conversations made my nerve pain so high it just felt like someone was squeezing the nerves throughout my body and it wouldn’t stop. On top of that; the light and noise made me soooo dizzy and nauseous, and made my vision worse where everything would look blurry to me – and the room looked like it was spinning. Additionally, when I was in a group of people I wasn’t able to comprehend what anyone was saying. I knew they were speaking English, but it felt like they were speaking another language cause I could barely comprehend anything they were saying.  All together it was a horrible, painful, experience.

There wasn’t much choice for my family, but to have Christmas Eve dinner without me . Of course my family came up to say “hi” , and see if I needed anything, but couldn’t stay longer than a few minutes since I couldn’t  handle it. So my mom made me a plate and brought it upstairs to my  bedroom for me to eat.

There I laid in my dark bedroom with a plate of delicious food next to me. I could hear the muffled noise of my family laughing and talking downstairs. This was one of those times the sadness of my illness really hit me. I started crying ,wishing I could be downstairs with my family and not be disabled and so severely sick.

It was a holiday and I had always spent it with them. But this year was different. I was alone. Hearing there muffled, familiar noises made them feel so close yet so far. They were only downstairs, yet my sickness kept me from them. And if I were to join them and lay down on the floor or the couch, all the symptoms I described above would have happened and I would have paid for it physically for at least a week. My pain would go through the roof, the nausea, dizziness, vision problems. and confusion would all come crashing down with full force on me every hour of every day. An hour with them would have felt miserable physically and I would have paid physically for a week or two.

So there I lay in the dark, with my shooting nerve pain and dizziness, and all my other painful symptoms, and I cried and cried. I felt so alone……

BUT THEN, I felt the Lord speak to my heart. ….”You’re not alone. You’re having Christmas Eve dinner with the King whose birth Christmas celebrates.”

Wow, the sudden awareness that I was having a one on one Christmas dinner with God Almighty!! I was having dinner with the one who Christmas was all about! I went from sadness, to being honored and touched. I wasn’t alone, I was with Him.

It’s one of those memories that stands out in my mind. God took my sadness and loneliness, and  reminded me that none  of us are ever alone.

I don’t know what you’re doing this Christmas, if you’re spending it with family or with friends. Maybe you’re spending it alone. But I want to remind you of what God reminded me…you are never alone!! If you’re not joining anyone for Christmas, I hope you can realize that you’re spending it with the King whose birth we celebrate. That’s pretty amazing!!

Family gatherings are great! But Christmas isn’t about family, it’s about Christ. And whether  or not family comes, Christ will be with you every Christmas forever. Sometimes having family and presents can even distract us from celebrating the one who Christmas is all about. I’m not saying don’t spend Christmas with family. I’m just saying if you’re not spending it with family, you’re still spending it with God Almighty, and that is quite an honor. 🙂

If you’re spending it with Family or friends, I hope that you can make time during this Christmas season to be with the King whose birth we celebrate. Don’t let buying presents and planning dinners distract you from reflecting on the reason we celebrate Christmas. Don’t get too busy and accidentally cut Christ out of “Christmas” and make it become a “Xmas” lol ;).

Remember HOW much God loves YOU. He loves you so much He came down to earth, born to a humble stable, so He could teach us how to live,and how to love. And then He died on the cross so that we could spend eternity with Him. That’s the best gift any of us could ever ask for or imagine. The King of kings wants to spend Christmas with YOU :). He wants to spend every day with you. He loves you so much, that He was tortured and crucified so that He could spend every day of forever with you.

I hope this can be a wonderful season as you reflect on the reason for the season. Merry Christmas!!

“Do not be terrified or discouraged; for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child and give birth to a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel”- which means God with us.  Matthew 1:23

 

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2 Responses to This Christmas, you’re not alone!

  1. Susan says:

    Rachel, I can’t explain why you and I are still suffering with lyme disease and head injuries, but I do know that we serve a Sovereign God who loves us very much. We need to just hold on to His promises inspite of the pain we are going through (that no one but we can even understand), and know that one day soon we will be spending every day with Him in Heaven. God Bless you this Christmas Season, beautiful young woman that you are. I pray for peace for you this Christmas………….. Hugs Susan

  2. Jenna Lopes says:

    I’m sorry your conditions are so debilitating, but I am so blessed by what God has revealed to you through these times. Because I know you, it is even more meaningful. Thank you for sharing yourself with us, Rachel! I love you.

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