A New Year

Are you ready for it? Don't you stand at the end of a year and wonder how your life will have changed by this time next year?
How will you be different?
Will your family have changed by adding someone new or saying goodbye to someone you love?
Will your health be the same or will you be battling a challenge you can't imagine at this moment?
Will you be more successful or will your dreams seem crushed?
A year can bring so much change and it can be frightening to look ahead into that dark unknown and wonder.
I cannot fathom facing the unknown without the One who designed it holding my hand.
I had no idea that Christmas of 1997 would be the last one I'd spend with my father. Or that New Year's Day of 2001 would start the countdown to my mother's death 29 days later.
Who could have predicted on New Year's Day 2004 that by the next year, my eleven-year-old child would have suffered a life-altering brain injury? Aren't you glad we don't know these things ahead of time? I couldn't take it.
But I know the One who holds tomorrow already has it under control. That's the only way I can face with confidence another year of unknown. If you don't know him, let this be the year you place your hand in His so that next New Year's Day, you can say, "Who'd ever imagine this would be the first year I learned how to live!"

Approaching Christmas

Here it is again. The holiday season. Can't believe it's been a year since the last one. My dad was right--time passes faster the older you get.

I'm another year older. The world is another year older. Twelve months worth of time has gone by, and for what? Have I learned anything this year? Was it a wasted twelve months?

In this year, I've decided to pursue writing as a career. I signed with a fantastic agent, and started stacking up a pile of rejection letters. It's called paying your dues. We all go through it and hopefully learn from it. My husband lost his job and remained unemployed for 7 months. Thank God, he was hired yesterday for a job he enjoys! My wayward daughter has made some progress and my younger three continue to grow wiser and more delightful.

So, what have I learned that makes this year profitable for me? What do I have to show for it that will make God glad he gave it to me?

I learned:
1. I can't control everything. Most of life is outside my control, but inside God's, so stop freaking out about it.

2. God is far more concerned with developing Christlike character in me than he is with my present happiness. Happiness is a bonus, so be thankful when it's there but don't expect it.

3. I am not responsible for the choices my grown children make. Their sin is theirs alone. They answer to God now, not me.

4. Sometimes there is no one right answer, one perfect way to respond. I have to accept that if God is directing my paths, then whatever response I make will be used for good.

5. I cannot create Heaven on earth, no matter how hard I try. Sin resides in the heart, and no matter how perfect the outside may be, sin will corrupt it. There's only one utopia, and this isn't it.

6. God is not baffled by my problems and doesn't see them as earth-shakingly impossible as I do. I need to try to gain more of His perspective.

7. God's definition of success is not the same as mine--in fact, it is the opposite. So I need to seek what feels backward to me to be a real success for all eternity.

Not bad for one year. I wonder what I'll learn in the next?