Last January I wrote a blog and talked about a verse we had claimed for the year. Here is what I wrote: "Josh has claimed Isaiah 43 for our church this year and I am claiming it for myself. Isaiah 43:18 says, "Do not remember the former things, Nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing." I love that! Don't you? In this chapter God goes on and on about the things He will do for His people, the things only He can do. So, I've decided this year I want to forget the former things and get ready for the new! The things only God can do. I think losing weight and keeping my house organized seem like the most impossible tasks known to mankind. But God said, "I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19 So, I've decided not only can I keep my resolutions with God's help, I'm going to expect more. Weight loss and clean floors will pale in comparison with the changes that I'm expecting God to make in my heart and mind. He can do that!"
I had NO idea the new things in store for 2009. My Mamaw lost her house (the house she had lived in for over 40 years, the house I grew up visiting every summer and for holidays) and everything she owned to a fire. Josh lost his hospice job in April and we spent 6 months learning to live on half our income. And then, yesterday, I buried my Daddy. He passed away on Christmas day very unexpectedly. As I read that post from last year I couldn't help but tell God, "This was not what I thought you meant by new things! These were not the new things I was anticipating!" I'm not gonna lie. I would like to say GOOD RIDDANCE to 2009. See ya! Good-bye! Adios! Don't let the door hit you on the butt on the way out!!! That's how I feel right now. My grief is so fresh and so raw that I completely lack the ability to even pretend I'm okay. One moment I experience a peace I have never known and the next my heart hurts so bad I feel like I could just crawl in a ditch and stay there forever.
I wish I could say that because I'm a believer, or even better, the preacher's wife, that I am immune to pain and suffering. That I have been a rock of strength and faith over the last few weeks (and really, the last year)handling the trouble that has come our way with grace and dignity. Maybe I have at times. But there have also been many tears, fits and times when I've told God, "I don't get it." I still don't get a lot of things. There are certain situations and experiences that have happened over the last year that I can look back on and see a purpose. And there are still a lot of unknowns.
As much as I wish I could pretend much of 2009 never happened, I know that to erase this last year from existence would also mean erasing so many of the precious memories it holds. My sister in law's wedding. My nephew's first birthday party. T-ball season. Sarah's first dance recital. Going with my mom and dad to get ice cream for our birthdays. Making Eli's rocket cake. Taking the kids to the battleship in Mobile. Mine and Josh's honeymoon in the mountains. In addition to the memories, I know the most important part of 2009 are the lessons learned and the changes in my heart. This was one of those years that changes you. For better or worse it changes you. How I pray that it has changed me for the better. I asked God to do new things in my heart, I just didn't know how painful some of those changes would be.
I didn't know that Josh would have to lose his job for me to learn a greater dependence on His provision. I didn't know that my Mamaw would have to lose her house for Him to teach me that there is NOTHING on this earth that is secure or will always be there. I didn't know that I would have to experience so much heartache for Him to teach me how to minister to others through the way that they ministered to me. I didn't know I would have to lose my Daddy to appreciate my family and be bonded with them in a way I never knew was possible.
I want to wish you a Happy 2010. I want to hope for you happiness, love and health. But, I have come to learn that those things mean nothing when we don't really appreciate them. I also know it is unrealistic to expect a year free of trouble. We are promised troubles on this earth. So, it is my prayer that whatever you face this year, good and bad, you will allow God to use it to do a new thing in your heart. Even if it hurts...