Like a lot of people, at the end of a year, I like to look back on that year and reflect on it: what all we did, what happened, what we learned, how my kids have changed and grown, and where we are with each other and the Lord.
Looking back on 2010 brings some mixed emotions for me. In a lot of ways, this has been the hardest, most stressful year of our lives. We have gone through a lot. And yet, in other ways, it has been such an eye-opening and blessed year for us! I have learned so much. I have been brought low, humbled, shamed in my lack of faith. I have had many opportunities to grow in that area and am doing so in leaps and bounds! God has amazed me with His gentleness, faithfulness, and provision. He has opened doors that I never even knew were there. He has brought people into my life that I never would have dreamed of. He has steadily and patiently shown me how to trust in Him. He has led me, comforted me, and blessed me so much. When times were the blackest and I was battling extreme discouragement, He was there. Things I couldn't see at the time, I look back on now and know He was providing for me and my family. People would come into my life and I would think, "Oh no. Not now Lord. I don't have it in me. I'm not capable of befriending anyone new right now. It's all I can do to maintain existing friendships."
Yet these people were in my life for some reason! Over and over again, they have shown me unconditional love and have been there for me even when I didn't realize I needed them. In my ignorance and arrogance, I thought I had to be the one to reach out to them and befriend them. I wanted to let my light shine for my Lord; to encourage them. Instead, they have done that for ME! How little I knew that I would need them far more than they needed me!
There have been several friends that I have had for years that have become more than friends over the last year. They are more like sisters to me. They too have been there for me - unconditionally.
As I've lost some relationships with friends or family that I've had for decades, these different friends I've mentioned have helped me through. They have repeatedly pointed me to Christ and encouraged me to trust Him and rest in Him.
This year's trials and grief have brought about another good thing: we have spent way more time together as a family. It has brought us closer and deepened our love and appreciation for each other. I have loved seeing my children draw closer to each other; loved watching them talk together, cry together, have fun together, and in general just enjoy each other on a whole different level. I wouldn't trade that for anything. The relationships they have together are priceless and will help them through some tough days. There is nothing like family!
As I look forward to 2011, I wonder what is in store for us. It's probably a good thing I can't see it. I know we are not completely through this trial we are going through. There will be more heartache, more disappointment and hurt. But Jesus Christ is there! He will never leave us or forsake us. He will not give us more than we can bear. I know I can count on Him to show us the way as we go on from here. He loves and cares for us so much! He will provide for our needs - sometimes even before we know what those needs are! He will give Tim the wisdom and strength to make the decisions necessary for our family. I can rest in that.
I write this to let those who know us, know how we are doing; where we are. For those of you who don't really know us, my prayer is that our love for the Lord and our commitment to serve Him will shine forth and encourage you in your walk with Him. I know we all have our trials. Some may be the same as ours, some may be different. Either way, our Heavenly Father is there for us. He wants a relationship with us; wants us to trust Him and lean on Him for our strength. He will never fail us!
Best wishes to you all for a wonderful, peaceful, Christ-filled New Year!