No such luck…I only woke with a remembrance that I had something I was going to remember.
So I’m left trying to figure out what I want to write about as we begin 2014.
For the last several years I’ve ended each with a hope and prayer that the new year would be drama-free.
So far…not so much.
But I’ve decided that instead of writing about next year, I’m going to first write about this past year.
2013 was not without its share of drama, trauma, and sadness, but it also offered lots of hope, opportunities and joys.
The biggest thing to happen was the death of my Dad – which although it was most definitely exceedingly sad and difficult (still is), it also provided me which much to be thankful and joyful for. There were moments this year with my Dad that I will cherish always. And there is such a lovely comfort in knowing that my Dad is experiencing the peace and joy of being in God’s presence…something he desperately longed for near the end of his life.
Being with my Dad in his final days and hours was challenging and at times a bit terrifying, but I found myself longing for heaven like I never have before. Most definitely for him…and in God’s timing for all of us as well. What a wonderful inheritance we have!!!
The second biggest thing was the publication of my book, When Happily Ever After Shatters. I can’t thank Focus on the Family and Tyndale Publishing enough for taking a chance on me and my story. I pray that it will continue to encourage, bless, and help readers for years to come.
And between those two big things, there were many things both big and small which caused me to struggle, to rejoice, and to grow.
Good golly! There is no end to the opportunities for growth when you are a parent. I feel like each day I come face to face with a new facet of me that needs to be dealt with…usually its seeing my sin issues played out with near “perfection” in the behavior of my children. At times I can get quite disheartened by it, but I believe God wants me see those discouraging displays as opportunities.
Those moments of revelation are also moments in which I can praise God…I can thank Him for showing me what I need to pray for in my life and the lives of my children.
Speaking of my children…they simply have to be at the top of my thankful list.
My oldest son is back home this year…saving money by going to community college and working. I’m so proud of him. And so very thankful for him. He’s an absolutely stellar young man who also has a wonderfully witty way about him. I’m praying that he will feel God’s leading and be given great wisdom and discernment as he looks and moves forward in life.
My oldest daughter is being homeschooled for high school this year and I’m so thankful to see the kind of young woman she is becoming. It’s such an encouragement to see her mature. She took on a job as the sole nursery provider for an area homeschool group and has gotten nothing but praise and thanks from the parents. I continue to pray for her faith to grow and for her to be a compassionate and gracious woman.
My middle son is also homeschooled (junior high) and it has been such fun to spend time with him. I’m thankful for his desire to grow to be a godly man and his kind and loving attitude towards others. He is always willing to help out anyone who asks. He’s also a kickin’ soccer player! I’m praying that he will choose to spend his time in noble pursuits and that his desire will be for God.
My 2nd oldest daughter is in 1st grade and I’m so very grateful that she is beginning to show improvement at school! God is so good! She has taken on some responsibilities at home and is eager to help (most of the time J!) I’m praying for her to have great academic success, but more importantly to have a greater understanding of how loved she is by God!
My youngest daughter is doing very well in school which is also a huge praise. She is feisty and fun and I’m so thankful for her. Her teacher says she is the star student – always helping, paying attention, and kind to her friends. I’m praying for her to feel God’s peace in her heart and to rest in His love for her.
As it has been for the past many, many years, I’m continually in awe of the friends and family God has blessed me with. They continue to walk beside me, love me and put up with all my ridiculousness.
And, proving that God is kinder than imaginable, He even blessed me with new friendships…friends who read my blogs, my articles or my book and reach out to encourage me. I’m so thankful for the emails, messages, and comments. They always seem to come at just the right time.
Even as I sit on the hallway floor outside two little girls’ rooms, listening to one weep out a strong-willed girls frustration and the other cough and sniffle from allergies, I’m reminded how blessed I am…despite the sniffles and sobs J. I have a house. I have beds for my children. Their bellies are full and their clothes are comfy. I have a laptop computer to write on wherever I want to. I have children who help (with some cajoling) and I have friends who generously listen, support, and encourage.
I am so fortunate to have such a faithful God.
One of my favorite songs just started playing – How He Loves Me by David Crowder.
He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are
And how great Your affections are for me.
I love the line, “When all of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory…”
The Lord continually reminds me that my focus must be on Him. And when it is, EVERYTHING else is diminished, faded, reduced, lessened, and…well…eclipsed.
God and all His glory outshines all.
All the fears, worries, sorrows, weariness, and frustrations which so often blind me to the truth of God’s love, mercy, and faithfulness, fade from my view.
And God is all I see.
I guess that is kind of what I’m trying to do with this New Year’s post. I’m trying to remind myself of who He is and what He has done…not what hasn’t happened, or what happened that has broken my heart…I’m reminding myself of God’s faithfulness.
And as I look back and forward…and at the here and now…I’m seeing very clearly the glory that outshines all other things.
The beauty of God’s faithfulness, provisions, and love even though I have failed more often than not…or at least it feels that way sometimes…even though some things haven’t gone exactly as planned…even though there are many disappointments and sorrows in single parenting and this life…God continues to bring me beauty.
This new year I’m going to lay down at His feet all my hopes and dreams for my kids and for me. Because after looking back over this past year, I’m confident He can handle it all.