We have been a little hectic at my house, so I’m
sorry this issue is a little late getting out. We decided
to do some home improvement projects at my house on top
of all the normal hectic Christmas activities. So, this
month’s article is one I have written before and
I’m using this month. For some Christmas can be
really stressful if you go back home to a dysfunctional
family situation. So, hopefully this article will be of
some help to you. May I wish all my CWM sisters in Christ
a Merry Christmas where Christ is lifted up and adored.
He is the best present we could ever receive and His gift
lasts for eternity. Joy to the World the Lord is Come,
Would you like to surprise a sister CWM with a special
gift celebrating her? Check out www.zazzle.com/cwm*.
Article – Maybe This Christmas Will Be Different
Have you always dreamed of a Norman Rockwell Christmas
- where everyone is singing Christmas carols and there
is joy in the house? Alas, your Christmas memories are
often filled with Uncle Joe getting drunk and your parents
ending up in a fight. By the end of Christmas day family
members are mad and no one is talking to one another.
Christmas can be very difficult if you grew up in a dysfunctional
family and you choose to go home for Christmas. Often
the holidays bring out the worst in families instead of
the best. Old arguments that have never been resolved
are reignited. Old wounds that you thought were healed
are ripped open once again. Is there anything you can
do to truly make this Christmas different?
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Pray that God will give you the wisdom to know when
to speak and when to stay quiet. Many times you won't
win the age old argument. Is it worth the fight?
2. Have realistic expectations about what will happen
at your family gathering. Often we dream and envision
things will be different and our dreams are crushed once
3. Limit your time or choose not to place yourself in
toxic situations. If you will be putting yourself or your
children in physical or emotional danger you may need
to choose to stay home.
4. Remember and be with your "adopted family".
Often people from dysfunctional families have extremely
close friends who feel like family. I have had several
people tell me about a friend who is like a sister or
a mother to them. You may choose to spend Christmas with
your "adopted family".
5. Remember your heavenly Father loves you unconditionally
and that He can meet your needs, even when your earthly
family does not meet your needs.
6. Recognize that there is a difference between forgiveness
and acceptance of actions. You can and should forgive
family members and others who have hurt you. That does
not mean their actions were acceptable. Also, you can
be cautious of putting yourself into situations where
you could be emotionally or physically harmed once again.
7. Don't be too hard on yourself. You may have made great
progress in your own spiritual and emotional growth and
find when you go home you are right back where you started.
Dysfunctional family patterns have a tremendous pull.
You can realign yourself when you return to your own home.
8. Make a conscious choice to raise your own children
and live your life
in a more healthy family. Decide what new Christ honoring
traditions you want to start for your family.
9. Be open to and aware of other people who come from
hurting families. You have a story you may choose to share
of the healing that has occurred for you. You can give
10. Be aware that your own addictions may resurface.
Those could include overspending, overeating, drinking,
or drug use. Often we try to soothe our emotional pain
by overspending or overeating.
Above all I pray you will be kind to yourself. Have realistic
expectations of what Christmas will be for your family.
Create your own good memories with your own family or
your "adopted family". Remember Mary's first
Christmas was probably not what she expected. She probably
did not plan on delivering Jesus in a barn (actually we
know now it was more like a cave), but what a blessed
and glorious night. May God be your peace and joy this
May this Christmas you get some special time to just
goof off and enjoy your children. Start a new Christmas
tradition of staying in your Pajamas all day, for example.
May we all teach our children the true meaning of Christmas
and a thankful heart.
Till next time,
Kimberly M. Chastain
Kimberly M. Chastain, MS, LMFT is the Christian
Working Mom Coach and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.
She is the author of The Voices of Christian Working Moms,
2 ebooks and an online Bible study. To find out how to
receive coaching tips by email daily, go to http://www.kimberlychastain.com/cwmtips.htm.
To find out more about her books go to www.christianworkingmom.com.
For a free, initial coaching session send an email to