Reflections

reflection

“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” ~ Psalm 34:8

“I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.” ~ Psalm 91:2

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High: To shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning, and thy faithfulness every night…” ~ Psalm 92:1-2

“It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.” ~ Lamentations 3:22-23

It seems almost unreal to me, but it is now December 31, 2015. In just about 12 hours (in the Eastern Standard Time Zone), another year will be history. It has been quite a year for us! It has been a year of struggles and sorrows, but also one of blessings and joys. We have spent most of this year praying and waiting and praying and waiting and praying and…well, you get the idea. Though it has not been the year we had hoped and planned for, we have seen God answer prayers and provide in ways we never could have imagined.  Allow me to give you just a few examples:

  • God sustained us financially through eight months of being unemployed. He opened doors of opportunity for my husband to help with construction/remodeling/odd jobs while we were waiting for God to give us wisdom about what to do next. Several times throughout those months, we also received monetary gifts in the mail just when we needed them to meet a specific need. When He gave us peace about “blooming” where we are “planted” until He gives us further direction, He provided a job for my husband within two weeks. (This post is not about my husband, but I must say that I am continuously amazed at his positive, “can-do” outlook and gracious spirit. In the five months he has been employed at his “secular” job, he has received multiple commendations {including some from the owner of the company} for his vision and drive to complete various projects and his eagerness and ability to acquire new skills. He has an ability to find common ground and make conversation with people of all age groups and from all walks of life! Though his desire is not to stay in this line of work indefinitely, there is no doubt in my mind that God opened the door for that job and will use him to influence others for the cause of Christ while he is there.) Thank the Lord for provision!
  • During the late winter and spring, we spent lots of time on the road. We visited Tennessee and West Virginia helping my parents as they transitioned from one ministry to another. We were also able to visit my youngest brother and his family in north Alabama. In April, we drove out to Washington to visit my husband’s family. Though I did not necessarily enjoy all the long hours crammed in the vehicle like sardines, we did make lots of family memories visiting places like Wall, Mount Rushmore, and Custer in South Dakota; Little Bighorn National Monument in Montana; Spokane Falls in Washington; and the St. Louis Zoo. By the time May ended, we had logged close to 7,000 miles without one single major vehicle problem!! Thank the Lord for protection!
  • During all of our travels this spring, we continued to homeschool, taking our materials with us on every one of our trips. When we anticipated a move down South during the summer, we were thankful to find a Christian school within driving distance that would allow our children to develop new friendships as we settled into a new area. The Lord, however, had other plans. By the middle of summer, it was apparent that we would not be making that much anticipated move, and we again faced the decision of how to best educate our children this year. With the school year fast approaching, the Lord opened the door for us to put our oldest three children back in the Christian school where they greatly desired to be involved. They are all thriving in their studies (Thanks, of course, to their awesome teachers!) and enjoying the fellowship of both old and new friends. The girls have also enjoyed getting to play volleyball and basketball, as well as getting to participate in choir and band. Thank the Lord for fulfilled desires!
  • Shortly after the kids returned to school, our pastor asked me to teach a weekly Christian Womanhood class at the Bible college our church hosts. Since I still have two younger ones at home, his wife graciously volunteered to take them into her preschool/kindergarten class during that hour each week. It was such a blessing to be able to take my girls with me as I got to participate in that ministry, and my four year old looked forward to going to “her class” every week! Thank the Lord for new opportunities!
  • During a normal year, we would set aside part of our budget each month to save ahead for Christmas. As has probably already been apparent, though, 2015 has not been a normal year. As we approached the holidays, my husband and I both began to pray that God would provide the finances necessary for us to give gifts to our children. (Yes, I know that gifts are the not the point of Christmas! However, the last 18 months have been filled with much uncertainty and change for our children. They have handled it like real troopers! I wanted this Christmas to be a bright spot in their memories!) As we neared the end of November, my husband was offered the opportunity to work overtime on some Saturdays to complete a special project at work. In mid-December, I checked the mail one day to find that we had once again received an unexpected gift from an unexpected source. Then, our mortgage company sent a letter saying that they had overcharged our escrow account all year and would be sending a refund. (Plus, our payment will be going down starting in February! Hallelujah!) The Monday before Christmas, my husband was given a generous bonus from his job (with a hand-written note from the owner of the company, by the way!). These are just a few of the ways that God blessed us with more than we deserve this holiday season. We have also enjoyed getting to spend some extra time together during the kids’ break from school. Because Christmas and New Year’s Day both fell on Friday this year, my husband has had two four-day weekends in a row and has been able to spend some extra time at home with us. We have enjoyed getting to look at Christmas lights, watch classic Christmas movies, and play games together! Though it was nice to be able to give our children some of the gifts they desired, the greatest memories came from getting to enjoy a restful holiday season together and being able to see God’s hand at work in even the “little things”! Thank the Lord for answered prayer and unexpected blessings!

Though 2015 has had its share of discouragement and disappointment, it has also been a year where God’s grace has been sufficient. We certainly would not have predicted the way this year has turned out for us, but we can look back and say that God has been good! He has been faithful and has blessed us far more than we deserve. As you reflect upon this last year, I encourage you to look for the good and the blessings. This does not mean that you have had no trials or heartaches or troubles in 2015; it simply means that you are choosing to put your focus upon the good hand of God upon your life. Take the time to write some of them down. You may just find that your change in perspective gives you new hope for what 2016 can hold!

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