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Holidays have been difficult for us since my mom passed away five years ago.  Every holiday has been different without her and it has taken time to figure out how to handle things.  Each holiday we have handled differently.  One year we went to a restaurant for Thanksgiving, another year we hosted Thanksgiving at my home, another year we left town and I spent the day with my children, another year we reconnected with my family in California.  This year we formed our own  family with people we chose to spend time with.  This is the first year that I feel like I have found a groove that works for us.  My recovery program has taught me how to take care of myself.  I used to leave my step family's home in tears and I'd be so upset by all that happened while we were there.  Their behaviors impacted me and my feelings. God has taught me that what happens may not be right but I have a choice regarding how I will respond to these painful things.  This year we invited them over but only my stepdad came for a few minutes on Thanksgiving.  For Christmas, we went over when they invited us, stayed for a little while, had good conversations with those we could, exchanged gifts and then left.  We came home made food, celebrated amongst our chosen family and played games.  We had a calm and peaceful afternoon.  It was such a blessing!

This year God is teaching me about boundaries.  I am learning to stand up for myself and others.  I said some assertive words to a family member when they were overstepping their boundaries.  This year I also had to share angry words with an ex-friend whose actions hurt deeply.  I confronted her several times this year.  I'm learning to walk away from toxic people and I'm learning that I don't have to stay in painful situations.  I've also learned to better identify what I need and what dynamics I require in relationships to feel safe.  When people have asked me out I've stated where I stand, how I feel and I've been able to identify my needs.  Even when I haven't felt safe with people God has been providing solutions to help me. God is teaching me that I have options.  He's showing me ways to handle the situations I face.  This is filling me with peace and sanity.  Life may not be perfect.  I will continue to deal with difficult people but God is helping me grow a backbone.  He's teaching me how not to be a rug to be trampled on and how to let unhealthy people out of my life.  This is helping me to surround myself with healthier people.

My prayer for each of you is that God will help you learn how to set healthy boundaries with people. I hope that we will realize how to be God pleasers, not people pleasers. May we be in touch with our thoughts and feelings so we can establish boundaries that are appropriate for us.  Heavenly Father, may you help us let healthy people into our lives and usher unhealthy people out of our lives.  We owe this to ourselves. God wants us to be people that are filled with peace.  Learning boundaries is important for all of us.  In this new year, my prayer is that God will help us establish healthier boundaries with the people that are in our lives.  

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