Happy New Year.
This is what we wish each other. Then, every December 31st most of us seem a little bit shocked by how much the previous year was both wonderful and heart wrenching in turn. Not many of us get to look back and with a sweep of the hand say, “Now, that was a happy one!”
For me, 2014 had some beautiful moments, but none more shining than the launch of my first book, Arms Open Wide. The night of my book launch party was Cinderella perfect and I will never forget it. It was one of those extraordinary moments of God’s grace but it landed in the middle of a year marked with deep, dark paths of sorrow- grief so profound that only a handful of women who have loved me for a very long time accompanied me on the journey.
This world is full of trouble. There are years that have more than their fair share. 2014 was that kind of year for me; yet hidden in the darkness my year of sorrow was a great treasure, an eternal life giving truth-
Jesus, Emmanuel, is in the midst of it all.
The Faithful Shepherd has led me beside waters of rest. (Psalm 23:2)
Night after long night, My Gentle Savior held me beneath the shadow of His wing, close to His heart. I have never once grieved alone. (Psalm 63:7)
He has spread a table of bountiful provision before me (Himself!) in the presence of my enemies.(Psalm 23:5)
He has quieted me with His love. (Zephaniah 3:17)
Even sweeter, God has been faithful to use this season to teach me important truths like-
It is okay to grieve before Him in complete honesty.
He is strong enough, compassionate enough, to hear my “Why’s?” and “How long’s?” and even… “Have you left me, My God?”
The Father taught me that sometimes the purest praise is not loud, joyful singing but the whispered “I love You still, My Lord.” when everything is falling apart.
I learned the value of “practicing’ my faith this past year, especially when my heart is weary.
Pick up my Bible anyway…every single day.
Pray anyway, even if all I can offer is The Lord’s Prayer or one of the Psalms.
Go to church anyway. Take communion. Soak in the read Word and sung praises of The Body of Christ…
Allow my sisters in Christ to love me and pray for me until-
The dawn breaks again.
And when it does, we often find that we emerge changed because God has been faithfully at work in the dark.
“Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion therefore I will wait for Him.” The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, To the one who seeks him; It is good to wait quietly For the salvation of the LORD.” Lamentations 3:21-26