Looking back and gazing ahead…
There were goals that I set for the past year…some of them were here…and I just looked at the list…in my recollection, I thought I bombed…but in actuality, only 3 didn’t happen…I just read 3 of the series of 7 books…I now have arthritis in not one but both knees and due to the funny way that I walk these days…severely strained my calf…so I have not hiked or snowshoed…and Carl and I always celebrate…just not in that “big” way that we both long for…
Although I had no idea at the time…this year has definitely been one marked by Immanuel…God with me…I wrote a bit about that here. My dear friend and spiritual director gently encouraged me to remember that God was not in the periphery but He was with me…thank you Karen!
In the early morning, I have kept my appointment with the Lord more days than not…He has been with me in my sleepiness…and awakened me with His nearness. Just when I needed a boost, Sarah Mae wanted members for her 5:16 club…you might have to rearrange the numbers for me…but I treasure the morning…I still am NOT a morning person but to me there is just no substitute for putting first things first.
I joined Bev and the Cover to Cover gals and read through the Bible in chronological order and blogged recaps most weeks. Being in His Word this way and with these new friends has changed my life…there just aren’t adequate words for what His Word has meant to me…God with me.
Just a few months ago in October, I took Ann Kroeker’s challenge and thought big…Mega actually and memorized Romans 12…it was humbling…do I really walk out my faith like this…I wondered about that here. It gave me the bug and I will be working on Ephesians 1 in January. God surprises you when you hide His Word…
Carl and I have been married for over 22 years and I will be honest…we have always struggled with finding a consistent time to pray together…but this year, we have settled into a Sabbath rhythm that we love. It has taken some planning way before Sunday on my part to be able to rest on our Sundays but we have made it work…we begin our day with praying together…before the kids wake up…it is such a sweet and sacred time to begin our week together before the Throne of grace. It has helped us keep perspective. There are still some mountains to climb in our life…terrain that we don’t have a guarantee that it will change…ever…that has been hard…it has been at times devastating but again…God has been with us…He has not abandoned us this year or over the last 6 in particular…and even as I type these words, I can see that God has been carving out these spiritual disciplines in our lives over time…day by day…month by month…year by year…but when they are strung together there is a garland of God’s faithfulness that stretches quite a distance.
We have so much to be thankful…and we have been learning to focus not so much on the rough patches but Who God is in the midst of the ruts and divots of life…this past summer, I dealt with unanswered health issues for about six weeks…and actually I believe that I had experienced pain for a couple months earlier than the big attack ( I just ignored it)…I was very vulnerable to you all…and you were so gracious and encouraging in comments and emails over the summer…I wrote about it here and what God taught me here…But for God indeed.
I also learned that it was important to rest…not just on Sundays but to allow my body to rest and recover…why is it hard for women especially to rest and be still? I have learned that I am not always kind to myself and my body. God has been allowing me to take a bird’s eye view of myself and thankfully, I can laugh at my silliness…most of the time. This next year, I have resolved that I will take better care of myself.
Isn’t it grand to be led and directed by the Lord?! A sweet gift that happened in the last portion of the year was finding a new church home…Carl and I always envisioned that we would have a lifelong church and we were pretty stunned that we were starting over at this stage of our lives…but God knew…He wasn’t surprised and He placed our family in a fellowship that is carved in such a special way…one aspect we love is that they study portions of the Word for great lengths of time…last year they walked through the book of Hebrews and in December we began what will be a study of the life of Jesus that will take us at least until Easter 2010…yes, that is not a typo…2010…and I am beginning Ann Spangler’s book Praying the Names of Jesus…it is all working together…you can find more of what I am reading in The Library…
Just this morning as I read the first day of Ann Spangler’s book…it begins with Immanuel…and she says the literal translation is “with us is God”…so no matter what you face each and every day…with us (in the midst of it) is God.
Being a blogger still delights and amazes me…August 26, 2006 was day one at A Work of Heart and I am thankful that I have even one reader…there is never a comment too small or insignificant…I think every blogger would say the same.
My hope is that every time you happen to click on A Work of Heart that you would leave encouraged…and know that you are not alone in this walk that has so many twists and turns…because God is Immanuel…God with you!
Thanks for reading and let’s watch in wonder at all that God will do in the next 365 days,
These are the questions that my devotional asked this morning…ponder them as well…
- How have you experienced “Immanuel”–being God with you, in your life thus far?
- Matthew begins and ends his Gospel (see Matt. 28: 20) with the promise that God is with us. How would your life be different if you began and ended each day with the firm belief that God is with you?
- What does this title of Jesus reveal about his nature?