because I am not a bottom line person and I am wordy you might want to grab a cup of coffee before you read this:-) I am an extremely sentimental person and very reflective. It helps that I have a great memory too!!
I sat down yesterday to not only consume massive amounts of sugar and food but to reflect on 2008. It wasn't a great year but I learned SO MUCH in all of the pain.
2008 started out with a coworker burying her teenager. A teenager that attended the school where I work...Nothing like starting out the year with that:-( Feb brought more heartache when I had to watch two dear friends deal with major medical things...brain tumors and ovarian cancer!! Both are going through chemo now and doing well BUT Feb/March of last year wasn't so hopeful. I also went through the court ordeal and became single after 18yrs of marriage. You don't spend almost two decades with someone and that NOT hurt. That hurt way worse than anyone will ever know or understand unless they have been there. Those who saw me on my "anniversary" this December know how hard this has been. I know that people don't understand watching a wedding video or sitting in a self made pit on that day but it hurt. I can't explain that to those who haven't been there. This summer was also difficult and I had to go back to Florida after almost 2yrs and face family. Family that wasn't happy about my decision to leave!! There was MUCH prayer and support and it turned out great and restoration happened. This summer also had unspeakable things happen and the enemy tried to destroy me..literally....BUT what satan meant for harm God used to bless my socks off!!! It isn't anything I will share in such a public forum BUT I am truly ok!! I even had surgery this Sept because I hadn't been through enough lol Again God took care of me and my children!! Even this Christmas was a gift from Him. My kids Dad didn't show up again after a lot of empty promises! That makes every court ordered holiday this year except the summer when he HAD to return them home! This isn't easy on them either! Oh but they are covered in prayer and I have men in their lives that hopefully will make up for their Dad.
I have seen the hand of God because I am IN IT!! He holds me in His righteous right hand!!
Isaiah 41:10 (New International Version)
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
I have also seen joy unspeakable! I have developed friendships with women that were God ordained. I learned my gifts and how to use them...mostly lol I was called last February to be an intercessor to someone and that has taught me SO MUCH about listening to that still small voice! Amazing how much God speaks to us when we listen....when we sit long enough in silence to hear Him...there is NOTHING like it!! That turned out to be a blessing to me!! I sat yesterday and thought I could sit here and dwell on the negative but really the growth in me came OUT of the pain. I wouldn't know that I could survive anything had I not been through it! And I wouldn't have learned to totally lean on God! I am not saying I need or want to experience pain but dangit I am gonna learn something through it or its would just seem like a cruel joke! God has taught me SO MUCH this year!! I used to be that person that would immediately jump to worse case scenario which earned me the nickname "Cliff" (waving at Jesi!!) since I would go to the cliff! That doesn't describe me anymore!! I have been freed from something that my entire family does! I no longer operate in "my weakness area of worry" (that was for you C!) because I KNOW that God is in control. I have learned to give it to God! HUGE for me!! I have always needed control because my life was out of control. Most of that freedom came from understanding my personality and who I am in Christ. I understand why I react the way I do to things because I understand me and what has happened in my life to cause that....when you know WHY you can change it!! Again HUGE for me!! I know these aren't big things to everyone but I have been on my own since I was a teenager..nobody taught me these things! I jumped into an abusive relationship early and stayed because I didn't know how to get out...Now when I look back I wonder how I stayed so long!!...I moved to Oklahoma to start over and that is SO FAR out of my comfort zone but God stretched me and made me grow because He has plans for me!! And for my children!!! I was reading scripture this morning and for those who don't know I LOVE biblegateway and looking up different translations...I saw this one this morning and had to look it up in the Message
Deuteronomy 11:11-12 (The Message)
10-12 The land you are entering to take up ownership isn't like Egypt, the land you left, where you had to plant your own seed and water it yourselves as in a vegetable garden. But the land you are about to cross the river and take for your own is a land of mountains and valleys; it drinks water that rains from the sky. It's a land that God, your God, personally tends—he's the gardener—he alone keeps his eye on it all year long.
OH MY WORD!! Isn't that exciting?? I have always said Oklahoma was my promised land and I left Egypt...I left the place I lost myself and the place I had to "plant my own seed" because that was the only way to survive...but look at the end of the verse!! HE is my gardener now...He keeps eye on it ALL YEAR LONG!!! I am going into this year hoping it will be better but honestly it doesn't matter...all that matters is I keep my focus on HIM!! No matter what happens He has me:-) I CAN do all things through Christ!! God is good ALL the time and not just in the good. He is always there waiting for us to see Him. He doesn't leave us..we lose our focus and this year my prayer is that I doN'T lose that! I want His love to consume me this year!! I want Him to be my EVERYTHING and not just in words but in the way I live my life. Happy 2009!!!