We made the decision early on that Christmas would be super different this year because of the COVID situation. We decided to forgo the big, traditional gatherings we usually have.

We have several ‘Christmas’ days to accommodate everyone’s schedules. We chose a long time ago to be the ‘easy’ house when it came to when you could come and see us.

I had no idea how different this year would be. How difficult this year would be.

Even though we decided to keep our distance this year, we decided to go ahead and have our annual Pancakes and Pajamas party at Kyler’s house. This was the only time in the last few years that we were all able to be together at the same time. It was the last Christmas-time function that all except Kendall were there for.

I’ve been dreading this day. Just such a heaviness about us all being there without Kade. I woke up and there has just been a wet blanket on my whole morning.

Then someone said, “Things will just never be the same, this has broken your family”

And I got defensive.

It’s true. Things will never be the same. A hole has been torn in the fabric of our family. This has broken our family.

But we won’t stay broken. God promised me in His word. He has assured me that anything I’ve lost, anything that’s been taken, anything that has been unfair

He’s going to put that all back.

And maybe not here, but absolutely there.

I know he will give me things daily to be thankful about and joyful over.

But I have to expect them, then watch for them. Expectation is faith. I have the expectation of God’s work in my life, which shows Him I have faith in Him.

I’ve been working really hard on what I allow my mind to dwell on. I pray about that more than anything right now. What sets up a tent in my brain. Thoughts lead to emotion. There has to be a thought before there is an emotion. So I’m constantly careful about what’s happening up there.

So I’ve let dread take hold for a few days. Because of all the ‘hole’. And this morning was pretty rough.

Then I was doing my hair and God started talking to me. Or rather, I began listening. I got 28 Christmases with my son. They were filled with fun and joy and love and stress and orneriness and yelling and laughing and so much wonderful. We are all so close and we all have such a good time together.

I want that to all continue for the rest of us.

And I know I’ll not have my son back here, but I also know God will bless me so abundantly and He will send things to me to lessen this blow. He will treat me with gentleness and soothe my heart and soul.

So I’m changing the way I’m looking at today. We will all still get to spend the day together, and we have added touches to ensure Kade is with us in spirit. I thank God on my knees every day that I still have so much. Many don’t.

I will be looking for blessings today. Things that I know were sent to me to make me smile and have a moment of just pure joy.

Continue praying for all of us. Your intercession is something we simply must have.

Merry Christmas from the Soden Family. Thank you for all so many of you have done these last two months. It speaks so highly of everyone’s feelings about our sweet Nathan Kade Soden.

Repeat the sounding joy 🌲

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