* Ok, so this one is a re-learn but I think it’s one we all have to learn over and over again: never assume you know where you’ll be in a year. This has been true throughout all of our married life as we’ve gone through so many changes and moves, but it strikes home again now. As last year began, our whole family was focused on the health of my grandmother after she had her stroke in early December. However, as this year begins, while Grandmother hasn’t recovered nearly as much as we would have wished, she is still here with us and relatively healthy, and it’s Granddaddy who is no longer here. As last year began, our church was just barely beginning the journey of finding a pastor. As this year begins, I think many people would have expected that journey to be over, but after a long and at times difficult year, it seems like the progress is non-existent. As last year began, my dad was an owner in Hartland Equipment with no idea that as this year begins he would be a manager for Limestone Equipment. Each year brings changes, it’s part of life. But some years more than others seem to remind us that all our plans are in His hands, and His ways will be accomplished.
* I’ve learned that God at times uses trials upon trials to accomplish His purpose in our lives, and it is a very limited perspective that says, “It’s too much, I can’t handle anything else.” Lord, continue to use these recent trials to become greater while I become lesser.
* I’ve learned that a determination to “hupomene” (“hu-po-me-nay” literally ‘remain under’) in times of trial as James 1 exhorts us to do will be tested in greater and greater degrees as the pressure of the trial weighs heavier and heavier. It’s extremely easy to start to become confused with each test seemingly offering a way out, but once the confusion clears, the assurance that we are exactly where He wants us to be, trials and all, is extremely sweet and carries us through the next test or temptation. Just because a situation is hard does not mean that God wants you to get out of it.
* And I’m learning, ever learning, that without Christ, I am nothing. I am learning, ever learning, that I need grace for every breath, for every situation, for every task, for every heartache, for every joy. If I have done anything well in 2011, if I have accomplished anything, survived anything, gotten through anything, made progress in anything–it is solely because of His grace. May I grow even more dependent on His grace in 2012.
Happy New Year!