Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is the Lord. For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river, and shall not fear when heat comes, but her leaf will be green and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit. Jer 17:7-8
yes, it has been ONE year since that day when I cried buckets in the Christchurch airport...and then for a good hour and a half in the air until my eyes felt like sandpaper and all I could do was watch Princess Diaries 2....that's pretty crazy, because it REALLY does feel like yesterday in SO many ways!
But, its been a year, and I was going through my journals tonight and I was once again amazed at all that has happened. The verse there at the top of this post was really important to me for the first couple of months back and I think it does speak volumes about the Grace of God...and how Faithful He was this year in my life.
Because, in reading through 3.5 journals full of prayers, through more heartache than I've ever faced, through some of the HARDEST days of my life...The Lord never forsake, He never left, He never failed.
This year I faced loneliness like never before. I went from having CONSTANT fellowship with people I could pray with, get advice from, get hugs and encouragment in abundance to...well, none of that. Not to say God didnt give me fellowship in Texas He has...but its been different. And I to tell you the truth I am THANKFUL for that loneliness because from it I learned more about God in that solitude that I think I would have EVER learned from having constant companionship.
This year I faced rejection. Looking for a job is nasty business. I still hate thinking about it, for one thing I know my life is probably going to be full of future job hunts. But God really helped me on that road. He gave me encouragment from His word when I just wanted to sleep all day...He gave me a friend who was dealing with the exact same thing, which was extremely helpful ( Kristy, I am continually thankful for your friendship...) and above all He showed me how much His hand was on my life. In the end, I can honestly say that when I finally got my job it was on none of my own awesome prowess...or my amazing resume (CV) ....or my totally amazing interview outfit. Nope, it was just God using His people ( aka. Tom Dudley mentioned me to his Doctor friend at JUST the right moment.) Yes, in the end the fear of rejection was a moot point...I ended up with EXACTLY the job I was suppose to have, and all other jobs were just NOT meant to be.
This year I faced disappointment. I actually think disappointment is a pretty mild word for what actually happened, I think it was more like my heart broke...into several pieces...on several occasions. But, I had an amazing opportunity when that happened. In fact, I remember driving and having to pull over because I was crying so hard. As I sat there in my car, I prayed and asked God WHY this was happening? Why He had chosen not to answer all those prayers?! And then I remember the thought coming into my head of whether or not I was going to stick with this whole "believing" business...I mean, God had "obviously not come through on that one big thing...so what now?" and it was there in my car ( on an extremely uncomfortably hot night) that I realized it didnt matter WHAT happened. That I was going to trust God's good and perfect Will no matter what. It was huge in my life. I will never forget it. And I think that's a good thing...for one thing I know that hardships will come again, hopefully not like that...but even if something WORSE happens, I can still quote the hymn "It is well with my Soul" ...for the life of a Christian is not about having "my way" all the time...no, its about "God's way becoming MY way"...no matter what.
This year I faced sin. Yup, like I never had before. In a lot of ways I had come to the end of my rope when it came to a particular sin in my life, in fact, for a good two straight journals just about EVERY entry is a struggle...and battle that I felt I was loosing every day...but God gave victory. And I saw victory in a whole new light this year. Victory is something I have to choose EVERY SINGLE DAY. God gave me friends to confess to, to be accountable to, He gave His word to guide and direct me, ...but ultimately He gave His son....His son died for my Sin...and every single day I must choose to die to my sin as well....and I have to say its been one of the greatest personal victories of my life. And it happened this year.
This year I faced family and friends. In a whole new way...I talked about this in my last post...and I wont repeat that, I think I said it just how I wanted to, I am still reeling from that revelation! But, I am SO grateful for the people that God has put in my life this year...ultimately its been really wonderful to be so close to my family again, it has been very different to live with then as an adult! But, I have loved getting to know my parents and my sister on an "every day" level.
I think my friendship with my sister was one of the biggest surprises that this year brought. I had NO idea what I wonderful blessing that relationship would be in my life, but it has helped me trimendously. I was also given so many other lovely people to have fellowship with, to re-connect with...so many great people from my church....it has been an honor to fellowship with them again.
This year I faced my calling. Ultimately, my calling this past year was to be with my family through thick and thin....This year called for a lot from all of us-and while I think this particular "thick and thin" situation hasnt ended yet, I feel like God has helped me to be faithful to that. He has also helped me to re-evaluate what it means to pray for others. It has suprised me how much joy and satisfaction I can get from praying for something that I may NEVER get to see the results from ( in person that is!)...not to mince words...this year the things that I was called to do were things I DIDNT WANT TO DO. yup, as you read in my last post..I didnt want to "sit at home and pray for people" and I didnt want to come back to texas...I think all those people that say, " God will call you to do something that you LOVE." is not exactly true...I mean, sure, God gives us passions for a reason...but, sometimes He calls us to do things we wouldnt have chosen to do. But this year, God has been so kind. He has made this "hardship" not a hardship at all. I have found so many wonderful rewards in doing just those very things...that I almost feel silly reminding you that I DIDNT want to do them!
Soooo, I dont know what this next Post-New Zealand year holds...but one thing I have learned is NEVER EVER put such things in a box. For one thing, the wrapping paper would cost a fortune. But, also, this year has held SO many unlooked for events...both hardships and great joys ( I got a job, I was visited by several wonderful friends, I went to Italy, I got an apartment...to name just a few) all of which I can see God's hand in. So, I give God this upcoming year with the same Assurance..... for whatever comes...it will be Well with my Soul.
Thanks to everyone who has been with me in body...all my wonderful friends here in Texas...I treasure you. You make my nights and weekends fun ;-)
Thanks to everyone who has been with me in spirit....all my wonderful friends in other places...I delight in you. Your emails, phone calls, MSN messages and smoke signals season my life.
Some of the many many words of encouragment I got this year in time of need....
"I sought the Lord and He heard me, He delivered me from all my fears." Ps 34:4
"It has not yet been revealed what we shall be..." I john 3:3
"The ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths." Prov 5:21
"The Lord is my strength, my shield." Ps 28:7
"He has made everything beautiful in its time." Ecc 3:11
"My times are in Your hand." Ps 31:15
"Faith never knows where it is being led, it loves and knows the One who is leading." ~ I dont know...
"He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold and I shall not be greatly shaken." Ps 62:2
"Lead on, O King Eternal, we follow not with fears! For gladness breaks like morning wherever Thy face appears..." ~ Ernest Shurtleff