Every year around this time I start feeling a little stuck and lost. I love to coach women on becoming unstuck because feeling stuck has been a repetitive occurrence through various seasons in my life. Now that I have perspective and tools, the onset of a stuck season is something I can tackle with confidence. Yet, they still come.

It is always in the fall, that it registers again in my heart and mind, that I have months of holidays to endure without my husband. Holidays that are supposed to be joy-filled and traditions in the making. There are so many expectations. So much that highlights what we don’t have. As I muster up the strength to “make the holidays” as the mama, I find myself feeling more like a child. I want to crawl up on my husband’s lap in my overwhelm and be told it will all be alright but he’s not here to reassure me. That fact slaps me in the face and I feel lonelier than ever.

It is frustrating to me that I am going into my 6th holiday season of our children’s birthdays, our wedding anniversary, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years without him. Why doesn’t it feel easier? Dread lurks and I fight like mad to prepare myself mentally, emotionally, and physically for what I anticipate is coming. Still each year as I round February I think, I made it! It had highs and lows but I made it! Yet here I am a year later.  Here I am again feeling stuck and dread and uncertainty creep back up as I wonder how I am going to “make it” through again.

So, I have decided to focus this year on peace.  I don’t want to just “make it” through another season of holidays. I want to embrace this time of year with peace in my heart.

All any of us can really do is make a plan: execute at our best, assess, and readjust as we navigate through each year. Each year I have entered into this season with just that, a plan. In the past, I was motivated to travel and busy myself up. Both offered me avoidance as I explored what “felt right” for me and my children. This year, however, I know we need to stay put. We need to rest and to honor what comes. I am in a season of refining for something I don’t quite yet recognize.  My heart is saying, “stay, rest, and find peace.” Why? Because I can, I should, and I need to.

So that’s my plan…but why the focus on peace?

Before I even knew the awful truth about my husband’s accident, I knew something was very wrong. As my heart tried to hang onto hope and simultaneously prepare my soul to accept the truth, a tremendous peace came over me. It was in this space that I truly realized how deeply my faith was rooted in me. That this peace was directly from that foundation of faith that had been nurtured throughout my entire life. Something in me just knew my kids and I would be “okay” even though…

I can’t explain it more than that. I’ll never be okay with what happened and with living without him. Yet throughout my journey as a widow, I have always had peace, even if it was at times only a sliver. Peace within has allowed me to operate and thrive in the pain. It has motivated me to make difficult decisions with confidence, to hope in people even after so much heartbreak and disappointment. Peace has given me the courage to believe that this life can still be lovely.

Peace is a freedom from disturbance.

It is to be calm in your heart amidst chaos or activity. I just love seeing it defined that way!

It is a break from whatever is going on around you and within you. Lord knows I need that with 3 kids and the craziness of holidays!

Have you ever experienced peace like that?

Inner peace comes from within you. It comes from a calm mind. You experience inner peace by redirecting your focus to thoughts that bring you calm and peace. I have spent the last few years really being intentional and practicing this. It is truly amazing that what you set your mind upon, from the minute you wake up, can have a profound influence on your thoughts and feelings for the rest of the day.

Focusing on inner peace in particular has been tremendously helpful for me as a widow of young children. There are so many things occurring beyond my control.  I am faithfully reminded that the only things in my control are: the way I choose to think and the way I choose to respond or act. Being able to create a peaceful atmosphere in our home I believe is (and has been) instrumental in our grieving process. It allows for us to have a truly safe space to make progress in our grieving and in creating our new life together without their dad.

It is with all this in the forefront of my mind that I cross into this season. My plan is to lean into the peace I know that covers my soul. That same peace that carries me through the day to day and hasn’t failed me yet is just as powerful and present in the busyness of the holiday season. I need to remember that and lean into it. It doesn’t mean that I won’t still experience missing my husband or spending a moment or two thinking about what could have been. Rather, I will do both of these and enjoy the smiles on my children’s faces and the new traditions and memories we make, with calm, love and peace in my heart.