In 2009, our focus was forgiveness. My father had been diagnosed with cancer and that year he was getting worse. He passed away in November of that year. Before he passed, we were able to talk everyday about the past and present. We were able to have that time to work through things that were never talked about. (big elephant in the room growing up which no one talks about kinda thing) I treasure that time I was given with my Dad before he passed.
"Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away
from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted,
forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." Ephesians 4:31-32
2010 was a year of struggles. My husband's health had gotten worse. Heart disease, diabetes, asthma, and high blood pressure. That was a stress on all of us. We also down sized from a house to an apartment. That was so hard to go through everything when you've lived there 10 years knowing you couldn't take it with you. Yet, with God's help, I realized that it is just stuff. Things that God wanted to strip me of to so that I could refocus. (Looking back gives perspective)
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. Every branch in me that does
not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that
it may bear more fruit." John 15:1-2
In 2011, our word was faith. I was hoping that our struggles would have been over from the previous year, but I was not through being pruned. Doctor bills came in from the previous year and surgery. We had to move yet again. There was a weekend when the electric was going off in one place and the place we were moving into (and already had utilities turned on) wouldn't let us move because they later asked how many kids we had. (was not on the application at all) So, we had one day basically to find and secure a new place to live and get the utilities moved once again. It was a hard year emotionally for me. Without faith in God and friends, I wouldn't have made it.
"And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed,
you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the
sea,’ and it would obey you." Luke 17:6
Renewal was our word for 2012. Through the ups and downs, God constantly renews us. We lift our eyes to our Creator knowing that His plan is what is best. We know that His timing is right. So many times, we don't understand. We want things now. Yet, this year, I have been able to look back and see how our lives are intertwined and He has what is best for all of us in mind. God renews. He renews my strength in the middle of the storm. He renews my heart in the peace of today. I know that another struggle is probably headed my way, but my faith has grown so much. My favorite verse comes to mind.
"He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases
strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall
fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their
strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run
and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." Isaiah 40:29-31
So, what of 2013? It really is hard to say. My little girl will be moving to middle school. My oldest will be moving to high school. (neither one really feels right!!) I would like our new focus to be compassion. My family and I have been through many things through the years. Our life experiences plus our faith in God give us a strength to reach out to others. Volunteering has always been a love of ours. I want to be the one to reach out and love on others. To show that some one cares. I only have a few more years to pass on this trait to my children. I want to show by example the difference compassion can make to another. Jesus came and humbled himself as a servant. I am definitely no better than He.
"As an example of suffering and patience, brothers, take the prophets
who spoke in the name of the Lord. Behold, we consider those blessed
who remained steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job,
and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is
compassionate and merciful." James 5:10-11