Sunday, December 27, 2009

End to End

I do not normally spend a lot of time at the end of each year reflecting on the events of the prior 12 months. I guess I just don't think that life is measured so much in years as it is measured in the whole day by day carrying out of life, from the heart. I also do not make New Years Resolutions. That just doesn't work for me. If I am going to change something about my life, I probably have to do it when my heart is severely pounding over the matter, rather than when I happen to get a fresh, crisp new calendar. A clear empty calendar of the year lying in wait just really intimidates me. Because if I know the truth about life, I know that at the end of the year, there will be some days that I wish I hadn't gotten out of bed. There will be some experiences I wished I didn't have to endure. And there will be some days that are filled more with worry than with joy. Sure, the calendar is blank today....but at the end of the year, it will tell a story. I'm just reminded that we cannot predict or control the future. Like I said, it intimidates me.

Today as we have just a few days remaining in 2009, though, I am reflecting. The past 12 months have possessed some of the most monumental experiences for me in my lifetime. In the past 12 months (including last December 08) I have journeyed on 3 International mission trips. Twice to Zimbabwe to serve orphans, and once to the Dominican Republic to help build a church. 5 1/2 weeks of the past 12 months I have been on foreign soil, in hungry nations and I have embraced countless motherless and fatherless children. It's impossible not to reflect on these things.

In March of 2009 my youngest son, Shawn, had open heart surgery to repair a defect. His tiny little heart in his then 20 pound body was removed and held in the hands of a skilled surgeon while a heart/lung bypass machine kept him alive. He had a partial lung collapse, was on a temporary pacemaker, and then was in the hospital several days for recovery. The mere hint of any possibility that would creep into my mind that we could have lost our son would cause me to vomit. The surgeon repaired Shawn's heart. God allowed a victorious homerun that day.

My faith this year has been a fantastic journey. I have dedicated so much effort and time into reading scriptures and really learning from them. I have a serious appetite for more of God's word, and certainly more of his grace and mercy.

But the end of this year is not wrapping up well for me. I am experiencing pain in more than one area of my life. I'm struggling to reconcile some things. My coping skills are declining. I am a person in need of emotional restoration and healing. I really need the God of the universe to help me out here. I want to serve Him, honor Him and glorify Him. But as this year ends, I feel like a helpless child who can only rely on being carried.

From the end of last year, to the end of this life has been an overwhelming journey.

1 Thesselonians 3:12
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else.

1 Thesselonians 4:11-12
Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependant on anybody.

Collossians 3:12-13
Therefore as Gods chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Micah 6:8
He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

MERCY = Compassion or kindness shown to someone instead of severity, especially to someone who doesn't deserve it.

Happy New Year.


Melissa said...

I'm sorry that you're going through whatever it is you're going through. The friend in me wants to take it away. The better friend in me excitedly waits to see what He chooses to do through this situation.

I am hoping this will be the year I get to meet my twin in person.

Pete A. said...

Hi Melissa,

My wife Yvonne and I just read your last 2 blogs. We didn't have much money this year either. We got our 2 kids each just 1 gift, but it was things they wanted. Yvonne got me 1 gift too, that I needed. And we had a quiet, but nice, Christmas

It's not important how much you spend on a gift; it's the love that's connected to it.

Melissa, this is Yvonne. There are a lot of things that we are unable to control. Whatever the relationship problems are that you are facing, pray about it (in your prayer closet) and give it to the Lord. He can work things out better than we can.

(Pete again) Just a last comment - when I was going through a "relational crisis" some years ago, my pastor told me that, however it turned out, I should never feel I was any less worthwhile a person. That was easy to believe, hard to do. But it was "on-target" advice - so am passing it on hoping it'll help you.

Wishing you a God-filled New Year,

Pete and Yvonne Ahlstrom

Tracy said...

Love your beautiful heart! Excited to see how God will continue to use your life to strengthen, grow and build up those around you!! You are a shining light!!