Between Christmas and New Year’s I dreamed that the walls of my home were plastered with 2011 calendars that I was tearing down with a vengeance. It was like I was angry at 2011 and was more than glad it was over.
Repressed emotions? Perhaps.
2011 was a challenging year, but I believe God has a purpose for everything that comes into my life. The challenges were “Michele-shapers” that taught me lessons I couldn’t have learned otherwise.
What did 2011 teach me? Some of the lessons were things I already knew, but the difficulties I experienced deepened their meaning.
1. Being a Christian doesn’t mean I don’t go through difficult times. The rain falls both on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). I live in an imperfect world with other flawed human beings in a body that, like it not, is decaying daily (2 Corinthians 4:7). But I content myself in knowing my Father in heaven has a plan and a purpose for me (Jeremiah 29:11), and that He loves me and will never abandon me (Hebrews 13:-6).
2. My husband is an angel—no, an archangel. I always knew he was one in a million—that’s why I planned the wedding 38 years ago, then told him about it. Although my pain, weakness, disabilities, and restrictions made me feel useless, he took up the slack in housekeeping, cooking, cleaning, laundry—and made me feel loved and cherished. I realized more than ever that he meant it when he vowed “for better, for worse, in sickness and in health.” Our marriage was strengthened in a way that good times cannot do.
3. I learned not only to recognize my limitations, but also to embrace them. Embracing them means I adjust my life and my activities accordingly. I’ve learned to say no. I’ve trimmed my schedule. Some activities, while good, take up the time and energy I need for what God has called me to do. I take naps when I need them and I don’t feel guilty.
4. I don’t have to prove myself. I don’t have to prove my worth. I’m the apple of God’s eye (Psalm 17:8). My husband loves me the way I am, and my children and grandchildren bless me every day. Even though, through the years, they’ve seen me at my worst.
5. I can trust God to set my schedule. I used to worry when I didn’t have enough speaking engagements or writing assignments, but now I realize that God is my agent and manager. My job is to seek Him first, and He will provide all I need—physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Christmas season 2011 was one of the best in my life. A year that began with pain and suffering ended with more joy than I could hold.
Thank you, Father, for Your abiding presence, abundant provision, awesome plan and able protection. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Psalm 121