2013 was a year that not many, if any, in my family would want to live through again. In many ways we feel as if we survived it only barely. God was gracious and brought us through but not without battle scars and bruises. In many ways this year has changed me more than any other. Looking back over it I find that the Lord has taught me much.
Not to be too trusting- I am a person who tends to give my heart to friends and acquaintances far too easily. I trust that others live by the same rules I do. Our family’s number one rule is: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I learned that everyone doesn’t play by the same rule book that I do. I learned that I need to guard my heart and trust slowly because people, even those who profess Christ, are not always what they appear. Scripture warns us of this telling us to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves.
What is truly important- My priorities need to be God first, family second, and everything else somewhere after that. We had our world rocked with Sarah and her issues this year, then we had Papaw’s death. We ended out the year with my dad being in the hospital. All of these things tend to make you re-examine your life.
Hold onto things loosely- Things are nice, they are lovely and can bring back special memories, but they are just things. They are not more important than those we love and certainly not more important than God. We went through a period of really examining ourselves to see what we were making a god of. If we felt that we placed too high a value on it, out it went. Months later, I have no regret for the things that left. When I feel that pang of loss, I remind myself of what is truly important.
Unwanted journey- The journey we have been on over the last year has been unwanted and definitely not something I would have chosen. But it was necessary, or God wouldn’t have allowed it. That knowledge has gotten me through more than a few moments of despair. God allows us to go through His refining fire in order that He might work it in our lives for His good. That’s what I want, His good. Though it is often painful to go along the path He has for us. If we believe that the pathway is going to be easy, we are deceived. He tells us plainly in scripture that we will have difficulties and burdens. When He says He will make our burden light, it is not by the removal of that burden, but by helping us carry it as we travel on our way.
Trying to find our way- It still feels as if we are traveling through a thick forest on a moonless night. Stumbling and bumping into things as we go. But up ahead, there is a light guiding us out of the darkness. At times it is hard to see, but if we look hard we can see it. Don’t for a minute think I am saying that we have ever thought that God has forsaken us, because we didn’t. We always knew He had a purpose. Now, understanding that purpose and how He wanted us to navigate through the darkness is a different matter.
The Lord has blessed us in many ways this past year, and many of these circumstances came about because of our trials. He has been merciful and loving to us and a great source of comfort. We have lived most of the year in seclusion and isolation, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It has given us time to reflect and evaluate. Our hope and prayer is that in 2014 He will grant us the ability to be not so isolated, but we are leaving that firmly in His hands.
This song blessed me greatly during some of my darkest hours. I hope that you will find it to be a blessing as well.
I will be sharing in a few other posts some of the directions in which we feel the Lord is leading us. I will share some of my goals, those we are setting for our family and what I feel the Lord is laying on my heart in regard to My Titus 2 Journey.
How do you feel now that 2013 is over? Was God’s path and plan clear to you, or were you stumbling around in the dark as well? Please share as the Lord leads.