I have a tendency to overthink things. Shocking…I know. Maybe that’s why Christmas gets harder and harder for me each year. The extravagance that is the American Christmas makes me sick to my stomach.

Are they grateful?
Did they say “Thank you”?
Did they mean it when they said “Thank you”?
Do they even appreciate those socks?
Where are we going to store that?
Ummm…is that a pooping baby doll?? (True story)

This year was our first year as a family that we stayed home and celebrated Christmas just us. Jared and I agreed to let the kids open their gifts on Christmas Eve (a Black family tradition). As you can imagine, 5 children opening gifts all at once is a bit chaotic. About halfway through, I had to retreat to the Christmas puzzle (a Hamilton family tradition…the puzzle, not the retreat).

The holidays are draining, you hear it everywhere you turn. I am no exception to this rule. In fact, this year, in the midst of the season, I have been dealing with a particularly tough realization. There are people in my life who have made great sacrifices for me and I will never be able to repay them. I almost lose it just typing that. I will never be able to repay them. For a long time, I haven’t been okay with that. The guilt alone is a weight I can not bear. I noticed myself withdrawing and it became really hard to maintain relationships. Around Thanksgiving, I finally started letting God chip away at my pride. It’s been very painful and at times downright awful. I am in no way near acceptance but instead of dwelling on the debts I cannot pay, I am learning to look for ways I can bless others. It’s kind of like “paying it forward” I suppose although I’m not a fan of that term. Instead of trying desperately to repay those who, quite frankly I need but do not need me, I am learning to look for those who don’t have the ever-present, firm, and loving support system I have. I can only hope that by supporting and encouraging others, I will in turn bring more meaning to the ones supporting me and therefore will increase their influence.

I will forever be grateful to:
♡Those who saved our kids from being split up and continue to nurture them and treat them like beloved grandchildren (and me like a beloved child).
♡Those who agree to be called Aunt and Uncle and truly treat us like family.
♡Those who travel long distances to visit often bringing peace and a break.
♡Those who pray for me when I cannot pray for myself.
♡Those who tell me I’m doing a good job.

I know I’ve been a burden. I cling to Jesus’s words in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” “For when I’m weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 2:10b)

For all that You have done for us
For every battle won
We’ll raise a song to bless Your heart
For all that You have done
Rend Collective

Much love,
The Black Family

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