I’m sitting on my couch three days before Christmas. I’m queasy, exhausted, and my attitude is less than stellar. It’s been a hard six months. Really hard. Can you be miserable and thankful at the same time? Yeah, I think so – because I’m there. Sometimes though, it’s a battle between the two. Whichever one is winning at any given moment is a toss up.
While I love the fresh start of a new year, I sort of chuckle cynically on the inside when, as the year closes, I hear people say over and over again, “I’m so over this year. Bring it on, New Year!”
It bothers me.
It bothers me because, that attitude completely negates and erases all of the beauty of the current year.
It bothers me because it ignorantly assumes that the turn of the calendar assures perfect days ahead.
…because it frees us from the responsibility we have to grow during adversity, to see where we need to change.
…to see how our difficult circumstances can encourage others.
…to see how God brings beauty from the hard things.
Pardon my snark, but *newsflash* this year wasn’t all bad and next year isn’t going to be all good.
Currently, after a month of respiratory illnesses and stomach viruses for our family, days before Christmas, I’m caring for my little girl who has a temperature of 104 while not feeling great myself. It is what it is.
I could be tempted to to look back on this year and say it was awful. Back in July, after finding out that our 12 year old daughter needed to have a newly discovered congenital heart defect repaired, our lives became a whirlwind. Surgery, complications, hospital stays. Completely blindsided.
We are so thankful that she is okay. So thankful.
I hate to complain about any part of this – because God tells us that we will have troubles – but we don’t have to fear because He has overcome the world (John 16:33). It’s really okay. However, I can have a little seed of bitterness growing inside me at times, after the fact.
Sometimes it feels like, from the outside looking in, that we’re “all good” now. We can dust ourselves off. Trial Over. It makes me want to scream! It’s not over for us. While our lives should be back to normal and our girl is doing so well – we are just starting our emotional recovery.
Having to deal with the scenario so suddenly and quickly, there was no time to process. There was no room to have a break down. It was not conceivable to fall apart.
Now, we have time to think about it.
..to look at itemized statements at all our poor girl had to endure.
…to think about how scary the entire situation was from start to finish.
…to ponder what-ifs.
…to wonder how many tests she’ll have to have next year. How many times will she need poked and prodded?
We are not back to normal. We are scarred.
Do I say “Good riddance.” to this year as it draws to a close? “I’m done with 2017!”
I do not.
While I don’t want to relive this year – how could I hate it?
After all God has seen us through, I imagine that would be like a slap in the face. “No thanks, God!”
After how He has strengthened our faith, shown us how to rely on Him, and displayed His miraculous healing – how can I not acknowledge the beauty of this year?
He has taught us to trust Him more.
He has taught us that He will carry us.
He has reminded us of the purest love.
The deepest peace.
The strongest power.
We are not okay – but this is a monumental year that showcases God’s goodness – because He has opened our eyes. Through difficulty, He strengthened our faith and proved Himself yet again.
Next year will be beautiful too – not without hard days – but beautiful.
Don’t slam the door shut on 2017 this New Year’s Eve. There are lovely and difficult times in every year, in every day.
When reflecting back on your year – let your growth, not specific events, determine its success.
Be at peace.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28