My wife has written a beautiful piece that I know will be a blessing to many. Please read her words and find hope and joy! Chris
The Agate in Loss
by Jennie Courtney
The direct sunlight is less and the days are growing colder as winter deepens. The brightspot of the upcoming month of Christmas shines light upon the settling winter. For some folks the Christmas season has been darkened over time due to loss, disappointments and depression. Have you ever seen an agate rock? Allow me to connect the two.
My early childhood memories are of a joyous Christmas mornings. Gifts flowed out from our Christmas tree, it was a sight. Some gifts were unwrapped and easily accessed upon entering the living room. How little did I know that this was only how my parents wanted to portrait Christmas. My parents went into deep debt for this show of memories. Their marriage fell apart which lead to bankruptcy and job loss. I went from a Christmas of this big display to the next Christmas of upcoming divorce and my parents having no money for gifts. All I remember was a large box of hand-me-downs from my older cousin. I was not sad because I had my family and learned that year the true meaning of Christmas. This was a free gift that could not be bought with credit.
Years continued on of more loss. My mother left me when I was 12. Two years prior, my father married a woman who highly disliked me. I remember the day of my mother’s funeral as it were yesterday. I stood at her casket holding my grandfather’s hand looking at the woman who loved me more than anyone else on earth. I turned to look out the chapel doors to see my father’s car and the woman (my step-mother) who despised me more than anyone I knew. My life was that unpolished agate rock. I spent the next six years of my life living in poverty, living with verbal abuse, but yet I had the light of Jesus lighting my path.
I encountered more loss through the death of my dad and my twin brothers. The loss of my immediate family left a deep hole in my life that remains with me today. My husband and I dealt with years of infertility and grieved the thought of never becoming parents. But, Jesus walked with me, never leaving me. Often times I felt I could not go on, but he gave me strength.
Within an agate stone lays beauty. It takes time to find the beauty. I still have life dings, but God has given me much to be thankful this season. I have a Godly, loving husband. He opened the doors for us to adopt our son from China. God filled his heart full of joy. This only happened after we took the focus off us becoming parents and shifting our thoughts to a child who needed love and nurturing. I am blessed by two sets of in-law parents who love me as if I were their own. I have a great relationship with extended family. I have the gift of salvation that Jesus was brought to Earth for us. I have an appreciation for life and relationships that I might not have if it wasn’t for the loss in my life. A person’s life can be gone in a heartbeat. That is quick.
I have walked through the valley of depression with someone near to me. There are peaks and lows. I have friends who can’t see the beauty of agate in their life due to loss, depression, and disappointments. My hope for you this season is that God brings compassionate people alongside of you to help you polish the dullness in your life. That you can have an experience of joy from God of the gift He sent us. Immanuel, God is with us, always.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16.33