|Our Christmas 2012 photo: the six of us on vacation this summer.|
Then, on the first Sunday of 2012, way back in January but just a few days after my injury, my pastor's wife felt compelled to read a devotional to the congregation. It was about how the Shepherd breaks the leg of a sheep that wanders so that it learns to stay close to the Shepherd instead of wandering off all of the time.
It struck a chord with me even though I didn't feel like I had been wandering. Yet, my leg was wounded. I had a knee brace, crutches, and was arranging to have an MRI taken. Though I didn't know what it was, I had that sense it was a word from the Lord for me and so I trusted that in time it would be revealed how I had been wandering off.
Now, as I reflect on the year of 2012, I see that the Lord needed to draw me close to His heart for those months. It wasn't due to sin & rebellion but rather it was preparation for future paths. I would desperately need easy recognition of His voice in the days ahead.
Without any official training, we would become foster parents for nine weeks. For a little over three weeks, we had eight children, for an additional five or so weeks we had five kids. It was an education on many levels. The most important lesson being about the provision of God. He sustains and works through me even when there is nothing left. Truly, that is when His best work usually occurs: when there is nothing left of me. At the very least I recognize it better because I know it definitely isn't me.
In the summertime, we had a small reprieve from unusual circumstances in which we crammed in as much fun as possible. Then, we returned to another crisis -- my father-in-law in the hospital trying to breathe after brain surgery to remove a non-cancerous tumor. It has been 15 weeks, over three months. There has been healing and hope in the midst of many setbacks.
What I didn't know in January is how much I would need the Lord and how drained and empty I would feel by the time October rolled around. That was only six weeks into a still on-going trial. How hard it has been to remain daily in the Word. How hard it has been to remember to pray before meals This is from childhood, folks! I grew up giving thanks before every meal. It's what we do. It's kind of like forgetting to brush your teeth. (Now that I say that I have forgotten that a time or two, as well, but not nearly as often as giving thanks.) How could it be that I have forgotten my way in this?
The Lord is kind, gracious, and forgiving. I'm glad that I have been reminded of where I was in December of last year and all that He has brought my family and I through. He goes before us and behind us. I am so thankful. He gives friends and family to support and some really great memories mixed in with the hard stuff. He loves us. He heals us. He takes us through trials. He grows us.
May I stay close to the Shepherd always, no matter the circumstance.
* * *
How about you? Have you gotten caught up in end-of-year reflections?
Any insight you want to share?