Reflecting On 2011

Once again I'm ending this year by reflecting and answering some questions. I started this in 2009, and it's nice to be able to look back and see how God has worked in various areas.

1. What were the highlights or accomplishments?
  • Finishing our 'other' house and selling it within 8 days of listing
  • Our trip to Alberta to see our son and his family
  • Finally having a clear vision/direction for our future
  • Our decision to move 'home'

2. What were the major themes?
  • Filming a movie (still to be completed)
  • Ongoing illness for our grandson
  • Renewed relationships with extended family and friends
  • Working on adoption paperwork- an opportunity to ponder and evaluate our lives
  • Questioning the 'status quo'  and finding unexpected answers

3. What disappointments or regrets did you experience?
  • Disappointment in the lack of grace exhibited by God's people
  • No regrets- God's timing is perfect!

4. What was missing from the past year?
  • Time for family fun -what's new?!
  • Peace among the brethren

5. What did you learn from the past year?
  • That we need to put action to our prayers; when God gives us a burden, he doesn't mean for us to wait and hope that someone else will respond.
  • That God doesn't always want us to sit back and accept our circumstances; he sometimes brings situations into our lives to spur us on to action. He expects us to step out in faith and trust him to make a way where there seems to be no way.
  • That we can't bring about change or be peacemakers where other parties are not willing; pride is a difficult thing to overcome, and only God can change a heart. (not new knowledge, but a reminder)

2011 has been a year of challenges and changes for many of our family members and friends....and on a lesser level for us. But through all the difficulties the answer has been, "Seek the Lord and his strength."

 Even when we don't understand what we're going through, and we can't possibly see any good coming from a situation, we know that God is in control, and he is allowing these things for his own purpose and plan. Yes, he could step in and stop things from happening; he could heal a sick child, he could deal with people who hurt us, he could remove leaders from their positions, he could bring a prodigal home, but if he chooses to do something different...well, he must have a good reason, and as hard as it sometimes is, we just need to trust him, keep looking up, keep moving forward, and keep doing right. In his time God will work all things for our good and for his glory, and even if we don't ever get to see the whole picture....well, God is still good isn't he!

The last quarter of this year has brought us a clearer vision of our future, and we're excited about the changes coming in 2012! I'll be sharing more of that in the coming days. Who knows, I may even get back to posting regularly....but I'm not going to promise new year's resolutions here!

Watch for my verse for the year and accompanying song. See you in 2012!

My Verse For 2011 ~ Psalm 105:4

Seek the Lord, and his strength:
seek his face evermore.
Psalm 105:4
Psalm 105:4

Last night during my Bible reading, I had asked God to give me a verse for the coming year. I'd been thinking about it for the past week, but couldn't seem to settle on it. Then I read Psalm 105:4 and knew that was my verse. As I was praying this morning, it was confirmed for me.

 The Lord brought something to my mind..... So often while reading the Old testament, I shake my head over the tendency of the Israelites to forget God. Time and again we read, "....and the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord," and God delivers them into the hands of their enemies.. It occurred to me that I must be just as exasperating to God as those Israelites.

Let me explain...

 2008 was very much a year of mountain top experiences. Brian and I had jumped into serving the Lord with all we had. Brian was involved with a huge building project for the church, I had twenty-four of my songs recorded, printed my song book, as well as my devotional, and a certain little girl had come back into our lives. That fall, Brian became director of the children's program, and together we were leading a class. My favorite verse that year was Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
But I wonder if somewhere along the way, I began (as I tend to do) doing things in my own strength. Not desire has always been to give glory to my Lord and Saviour in all that I do, but...."The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" Jer.17:9

 Not that I was 'doing evil,' but by not seeking God and his strength consistently through his word and in prayer, I was not putting my trust completely in him alone. I was really no different from the Israelites I find so frustrating.
The end of 2008 brought a situation that I was truly not prepared for. 2009 and 2010 brought more difficult circumstances where my life, and my family seemed to be controlled by the actions and decisions of others. So much so, that I felt that we are living in limbo, always waiting, trying to move forward, but somehow stuck. Not a very victorious way to live!

 Knowing that I have no control over the circumstances of my life, and experiencing it are two very different things. The Lord has used these situations over the past two years to teach me, and teach me, and to teach me.  Not a new lesson, (I'm a slow learner) but one that became very clear during my prayer time this morning. I need to not just accept, but to embrace the fact that God has allowed these circumstances for a purpose, and though it may seem that other people are in control, HE is the one in control. And he wants me to surrender my will and my desires, and seek him and his strength....not in the hope that he changes my circumstances, or provides an easier way, or changes other people, but so that he can change ME. So that no matter what my circumstance, I can have peace and contentment IN HIM.

 Easier said than done...I know that it needs to be a daily surrender, I know that I need to purpose in my heart to be more disciplined in prayer and in the word,  knowing that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. One step I've already taken that I hope will help me in this is to sign up for a six week online Bible study. I'm praying that God will use this to help me dig deeper into his word and to keep me accountable, and establish my path, guiding me along as I put one foot in front of the other.

 It's the end of the first day of this new year. I'm trusting that the Lord who has begun a good work in me today will perform it.