Well, 2013 didn’t exactly go as I planned. Or hoped. Or prayed. I had a picture in my mind of what would happen and not happen in different areas of my life, and tonight the reality looks quite different from the dreams.
Maybe you can relate. Maybe the thought of resolutions and dreams and excitement leaves you just feeling weary. Maybe you, like me, have read through all the happy Facebook statuses that are celebrating the past year and bubbly hopeful about the next, and felt a twinge of…what? Jealousy? Cynicism? Or just wistful wishing that things had worked out differently in your own life? Maybe you’re thinking, like I was earlier today: Year 2013, 1. Me, 0.
Maybe 2013 kicked your tail.
And maybe you, like me, are simply looking at things the wrong way.
No, my hopes and dreams did not come to fruition. Many of my specific prayers were answered with the same “Not now. Maybe later,” that I so often give my children. But God did so much for me this year.
He taught me (is teaching me, to be more accurate) that my dreams don’t have to come true in order for me to be happy. He taught me very firmly, but gently, that He is in control of my life, and will do what He wants when He wants, working out His good plan for me in His perfect wisdom, even when it doesn’t look like I thought it would. Or should.
He taught me that He will answer prayer in ways I never expected, and He will always provide exactly what I need exactly when I need it. Whether it is energy after another sleepless night, a wise word for a hurting or disobedient child, grace to parent/homeschool six children when I haven’t had a moment to myself in several days, a kind word for the person who has done me wrong, or extra cash the day a huge bill is due that we had no idea how to pay–He has taught me over and over and over (because I am thick-skulled and keep forgetting) that He will provide all my needs. Even–especially?–when He doesn’t provide all my wants.
He is teaching me that He is all I need. And that I need Him desperately. That I’ll survive if those dreams never come true, and even if worse storms come that make 2013’s frustrations and disappointments seem like a cakewalk–as long as I have Jesus and am resting in Him. He’s teaching me to sing, “You can have all this world, just give me Jesus,” and mean it.
He is teaching me to be thankful for the gifts in my life that I sometimes forget to see when life’s disappointments cloud my vision. He is teaching me to be grateful for the way those disappointments end up making me more like Jesus. He is teaching me to be thankful and in awe of all His promises that are fulfilled through Christ in my disappointments.
And He teaches me every day that His mercies are new every morning. I know that will be true for tomorrow because He says it will. Tomorrow is a new day, and yes, a new year. I’m carrying many of those same hopes and prayers over to 2014. Maybe this will be our year. Maybe we were just a year off in our dream-planning.
But maybe not. I don’t know. All I know after this year is that if I am in Christ, I am exactly where I need to be. So whatever 2014 brings my way, just give me Jesus.