Why ‘God will give you more than you can handle’ changed my life: And how it fixed Christmastime

It’s been nearly a year since I wrote God will give you more than you can handle.

A whole year.

I can hardly believe it. It still surfaces as one of my most-read blogs of all time and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. It’s because out of everything we could ever go through as human beings, that is the one thing that connects us all. The struggle–and the triumph over it.

I read it again this morning, throwing myself back to the time when the Christmas lights were strung, the tree decorated, the little manger on the dresser paused in time with Mary’s eyes on the baby Savior’s face. Nothing had changed from just an hour before and I’m certain that even our cat was undisturbed from his sleep. Nothing had changed except our hearts. Because my dad, laying within the glow of Christmas lights, had breathed his last. This morning as I read it again it was so hard to wrap my mind around how time had continued to propel us forward, not even taking a moment to help us stand on our own. The night turned into day and the snow came and went and the needles on the tree began to dry and fall in a heap on the carpet. We were stuck in time, unable to breathe without pain, but time didn’t care.

2013-11-03 17.38.59

It brought me to here. Another Christmas. Another tree. And time to sit and reflect on that Christmas that changed everything.

I’ve been astonished–more so this year than any other year–how broken Christmas is for so many. And no, I’m not saying that because I lost my Dad at Christmastime.

This year more than ever I’ve noticed how superficial the holiday has become to so many. It’s the most stressful time of year for holiday shoppers who scurry around with holiday lists and rack up credit card debt. People compete to have the prettiest lights on the block and stores fight to have the best sales. The gifts, the traveling, the way we get so entangled in things.

And somehow we forget the things that were illuminated to me just one Christmas ago.

mary and jesus

The gift of breathing. The amazing, indescribable gift of having family by your side, even next to an empty tree. The wonderful warmth of hot chocolate and candles and twinkle lights as you simply share the company of a friend. The carols that remind us of the sleeping baby who came to save us all. The wonderment of a child waiting anxiously for Santa to come.

None of these experiences are things. And we know it. Deep inside, we all know it. But we forget over the years and become calloused to what is expected and to the status quo.

Time didn’t pause at the stable over 2,000 years ago. It kept going, and the child grew and he ministered and suffered and died and made his way in and out of our hearts through the years. We turned away from the cross and faced in all the other directions that promised fulfillment and peace and just left voids. And we continue to struggle to face the right way. Through the generations we’ve struggled to remember, we’ve struggled to fill the voids with material things and importance, and all along we’ve been breaking Christmas apart. We’ve been breaking our lives apart.

jesus hugging dad

I still believe that God will give you more than you can handle. This year–starting at last Christmas time–has been the hardest year of my life. Even now, as I write these words, I find tears streaming down my face. It’s not that it’s gotten easier, because it hasn’t. But I’ve learned something that takes me through.

God will empower you to fight the impossible.

God will send something to make you smile when all you want to do is melt into tears.

God will send friends–so many friends–who paint your life with sunshine and share the shadows.

God will remind you of the laughter and not just the pain within your memories.

God will fight for you to be okay and carry you when you’re weak.

God is for you.

This Christmas I choose to step away from the brokenness and the rubble of forgetfulness. I choose to remember the way my Dad’s face lit up when I hung the lights near his bed and the way he fought to stay with us. I choose to remember the way he didn’t grab for things when he got ready to step into Heaven–but he grabbed for our hands. Christmas is our reminder of the things that keep our feet on solid ground and the One who handles what we simply cannot. Christmas is our time to remember the way the Savior came to a broken world full of grief and pain and impossibility all in order to bring life, and relief and hope.

repentance

Because of Him, you make it through the days you otherwise could not. And I believe more than ever, a year later, that we can’t handle everything–not a single day. But He can.

And that’s the reason to celebrate.

Not only Christmas–but every single breath.

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8 thoughts on “Why ‘God will give you more than you can handle’ changed my life: And how it fixed Christmastime

  1. Philippians 4:11-13, 11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

    12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

    13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

  2. This picture is sort of a metaphor for how Dad held us up through his last hours.. I miss him and times like the holidays are difficult, and although we need to put that one foot in frount of the other it still does feel like quick sand:( your writing is beautiful, and it will make me see how we all must do what Jesus did and move forward as time will heal and blessings will come upon us:)

  3. Disagree with you title. God will never give you more than you can handle, he will however, give you more than YOU THINK you can handle. He knows us well enough to see capabilities beyond our imagination and knows we can handle more than we think we can. He knows we can handle it and will learn something from it. So, we get the feeling of being buried by our cares and concerns only to realize that we made it through them amazingly and to our own bewilderment.

    • I agree with you only to the extent that, by relying on Him, we can get through anything with our souls intact. So He will never give us more than we can handle–with His help. If we refuse His help, we can easily be buried in the burdens of life.

  4. Reblogged this on easone13 and commented:
    “Christmas is our reminder of the things that keep our feet on solid ground and the One who handles what we simply cannot. Christmas is our time to remember the way the Savior came to a broken world full of grief and pain and impossibility all in order to bring life, and relief and hope.” What beautiful words from Kayla. I love her blog, the original entry she mentions here specifically. I encourage you to read it as well and share your thoughts.

  5. Reblogged this on It Really IS Just That Simple and commented:
    I remember (and re-blogged) when Kayla posted the original a year ago. A persistent thought/fear throughout my life has always been: “What will I do if I have to face something I can’t handle?” God finally provided that answer.

    It was 6 years ago when I reached the end of my strength. It was there I found HIM in a way I’d never before knew. I now call that time my GIFT of DESPERATION. If I had not been THERE, I would not be in the place I am now. If I had not realized and admitted my brokenness I would not now be healed(ing). God WILL take us to a place at which HE is our only answer. It is an expression of His Love for us.

  6. Pingback: Mary’s Prayer |

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