Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Blessed Year 2008

This morning in church we were asked to remember back on the year and think about the good things that had happened in our lives, the difficult and painful times and the memories attached to all of those events.

I must say it's been quite a year for me.

It's been a year of gifts. Most of them I have really enjoyed and with overwhelming thanksgiving and gratitude, I have used them to propel me forward in my journeying with God.

Many of them have been a first for me.

I participated in a two week intensive course in worship in the Spring. This opened my heart and soul to the incredible world of knowledge and understanding pertaining to the worship artisan and creative leader. Then I ventured out on a two week tour and biblical/historical study in Italy with 40 other students and faculty from our local university and absolutely fell in love with the beauty and history of that country. It brought visual understanding to so many of the history books I had previously read. Finally, I was able to touch the stones put in place by Francis of Assisi, and I was able to walk down the streets like so many before that had given their lives for their faith in Christ.

Then I spoke in church. A first all around for me. I also had a moment of courage and confidence and applied for the masters ministry module program (after being out of school for 33 years) and began reading every spare moment for the course which was held in October. What an amazing time those two weeks were. I met people from all walks of life, all ages, different continents throughout the world and we all came together with one purpose in mind - to know more and to grow in our understanding and knowledge of who this God is that is calling us forth.

Later that summer I decided to apply for a position at our local university and surprisingly ended up with the job of student life director.

Throughout all of the past year, I have found myself more than a few times on my face before the Lord, begging him for direction, wisdom, courage, strength, discernment ... I could not go forward one step without knowing that he was there beside me, with me, arm in arm, saying (ever so kindly, ever so gently,...) "this is the way, walk here..."

Everything this year has been so much bigger than how I see myself or what I see within me. It still is. I feel stretched in every possible way - emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually. Sometimes I don't know why I made the decisions I did. I have moments of such insecurity and fear and intimidation that I want to run and hide in my safe place again. The world does not need what I have to give. Let me just live within my small box, my small world where I am safe.

But I can't go back. I've tasted and experienced such life, such knowledge, such insight, such love ... that I can never go back to being small again. Unless, of course, he wants me there.

I also received a gift this past fall that was painful to receive. It knocked me for a "loop" , left me reeling for a bit and I lost ground. But God is so good and I know that this struggle is a gift because it makes me more desperate to reach out to my God to help me.

I look forward to the New Year with some fear and trembling - still uncertain of the future and my commitment to all that I have taken on. I can only go forward a step at a time, relying on his strength, his grace and his mercy to get me through.

I have so much to be thankful for. God is amazing and I love him more deeply, more honestly, more devotedly than ever before.

The most special gift of all that I received this year was the birth of my beautiful little granddaughter, Noella Robyn Ana, on September 14th. She indeed is a treasured gift and I'm honoured that she is named after me. I look in her eyes and see the Creator. I whisper in her ears that she is a gift from God and for as long as I am able, I will remind her of that.

My heartfelt prayer, my deepest desire for this New Year that is upon me is that I would have a pure heart before God. I long to worship him in a pure and more holy way. I long for more holiness in my life. I long for more of Christ to be evident in me. I long to know him better, to love him more - to be used more for his purposes....

This is my most sincere wish -my most longed for dream for 2009.

Colossians 1:15-17

"Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over all creation. Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see--kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities. Everything has been created through him and for him. He existed before everything else began, and he holds all creation together."

As I meditated on "he holds all creation together", I thought that when I really think that this world may crumble and fall apart because of the chaos globally, and the uncertainty in the future, God is still in charge. He has his best man on the job - Christ. It will be kept intact, this world will be restored, redeemed, renewed, rebuilt.

Then I thought if he can hold all of creation together and keep it intact, then he must be able to hold our lives together and keep them from shattering, and our hearts from breaking.

How often have we felt like everything was being uprooted, and torn apart...yet Christ kept us together. We are intact in him, because we are part of his body and he is the head. He is the firstborn and supreme over all creation. He is the visible image of the invisible God and we are created in that same image.

Christ holds creation together, Christ holds us together.

Believe this deep within your heart.