This is our family posing on Cardiff Beach near San Diego for a reunion photo in early November. Our three sons, two daughters and son-in-law gathered to celebrate dad's birthday and being together at the same time in the same place. This doesn't happen often as we have two who live on the east coast, a distance of 3,000 miles away.
I wrote these words a few years ago for a Christmas card. . .
"The year floats away,
swallowed by persistent
tides that return to scatter
memories along the shore,
the sweet and the bitter sweet."
Another year gone, so quickly it seems. We recently watched the movie, The Sound of Music and as I ruminate over the past year the words to this catchy tune come to mind - "So long, farewell". . .this year is now stored in my memory bank. I believe it's good to reflect on what has transpired during the year. We can't get this time back, we can't change anything, but we can rejoice in what was good, and praise God for what went 'wrong' in our opinion, knowing that His hand was always upon us.
To borrow a line from Charles Dickens, "It was the best of times; it was the worst of times." For us, the best was having all of our children together under the same roof, if even for a short while. The worst, my husband had health problems and was in the hospital four times. There was a time when I thought he might be singing Christmas carols with the angels this year, rather than being here with us. And, of course like most families, we had everything in between the best and the worst. Life can be a little unruly at times, but as a child of God I know that He allows only what is ultimately best for us. He leads us down the right path even when it isn't one of our choosing. It's so important to know these truths. . .
"In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Honest scales and balances are from the Lord; all the weights in the bag are of his making." Proverbs 16:9, 11
We often worry if we've "done enough" for the Lord when in reality, God isn't counting on us for anything. . .
"The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth. . .And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he gives all men life and breath and everything else."
Acts 17: 24, 25
This passage goes on to tell us that God has determined the times set for us and the exact places where we will live. Because the truth is that we live and move and have our being in him. Knowing this is what enables us to experience peace in all circumstances.
We know man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. . .I Samuel 16:7. When God looks into our heart do you know what He wants to see? He wants to see His image. He wants to see Christ in us, not our failing frail humanness.
"As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him." 11 Samuel 16:7
As we bid 2014 farewell, my prayer for all my readers is to know God is your protector against what appears to be senseless and evil of this world. You will have a good New Year if you hold on to Biblical principles and desire to feel God's presence in your life daily. Trust Him, He's your heavenly Father; this is how to have a very Happy New Year.
Lord, thank you for watching over our family this past year. Help us to remember every day that you are a sovereign God who loves us, knows our name, and holds us in the palm of your hand.