December 31st. The day news programs on TV and newspapers do a lot of looking back. I've seen lists of all types on the Internet and in magazines. You know––Best and Worst Dressed of 2010, Best Smartphone Apps of 2010, etc. If you want to find a list for something, you probably can find it with a little searching.
I confess that my own list of what happened in my life in 2010 would not appear to be a "Best" of anything list:
- I put a lot of work into a book that won't be published in 2011 as intended. It's been set aside for a time. And that, of course, messed with my schedule for the rest of the year.
- I fainted, fell, and shattered my ankle, and the recovery time was lengthy (I'm still not 100%).
- My beloved mother passed away after failing slowly over a period of about 14 months.
- I was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent surgery, with more treatment to follow in 2011.
- Two major health issues put major stress on my budget.
- Two major health issues and death of my mom further messed with my writing schedule.
Yeah, looking at that list does make the year seem rather grim. But the thing is, grim that list may be, but God has faithfully seen me through each and every circumstance or is continuing to see me through them. So the year itself does not seem "worst."
I loved today's reading in the updated edition of Streams in the Desert. (Regular readers already know how much I love this devotional.) Here are the first couple of paragraphs:
Thus far has the LORD helped us.
(1 Samuel 7:12)
The words “thus far” are like a hand pointing in the direction of the past. It had been “a long time, twenty years in all” (1 Samuel 7:2), but even if it had been seventy years, “Thus far has the LORD helped”! Whether through poverty, wealth, sickness, or health, whether at home or abroad, or on land, sea, or air, and whether in honor, dishonor, difficulties, joy, trials, triumph, prayer, or temptation —“Thus far has the LORD helped”!
We always enjoy looking down a long road lined with beautiful trees. The trees are a delightful sight and seem to be forming a temple of plants, with strong wooden pillars and arches of leaves. In the same way you look down a beautiful road like this, why not look back on the road of the years of your life? Look at the large green limbs of God’s mercy overhead and the strong pillars of His loving-kindness and faithfulness that have brought you much joy. Do you see any birds singing in the branches? If you look closely, surely you will see many, for they are singing of God’s mercy received “thus far.”
Oh, that makes my heart want to shout, "YES!" I can see God's mercy overhead, like birds in the branches, and the strong pillars of His loving-kindness and faithfulness. Not only that, but as He's brought me "thus far," He has also blessed me with an abundance of friends and readers and a church family who have poured out their love to me and their prayers on my behalf. I am humbled and overwhelmed constantly by their phone calls and emails and comments on Facebook and CaringBridge. Because of all I can look back and see, I know that I can trust Him to continue to take me "thus far" into the New Year as well.
Speaking of the New Year, it's that time again. Time for my word for 2011.
For new readers of Write Thinking, here's what I'm talking about. For the past seven years, I've asked God each December to give me a word (or words) for the coming year. I've learned a lot from this practice and have been blessed and encouraged as God revealed new things to me and sometimes new and deeper meanings about the words themselves. These are the words from previous years followed by my word for 2011:
- 2005: Endurance
- 2006: Victory
- 2007: Peace & Simplicity
- 2008: Intimacy & Devotion
- 2009: Press in/Press on
- 2010: Come Away
- 2011: Rejoice Always
I love this word from 1st Thessalonians 5:16. I'm looking forward to a year of rejoicing always.
And now in closing, I would like to introduce you to the newest member of the Hatcher household. Yesterday was Poppet's 7th birthday. I've been thinking for at least two years that Poppet could use a friend, but since she is a barker (despite my efforts to break her of the noise habit), I haven't thought another dog a good choice, fearing she would simply teach her pal to bark too. So for her birthday, she got a kitten. If she teaches a kitten to bark, I'm going to be a very wealthy woman. 😉
Meet Princess Pinky (Pinky in honor of the pink ribbon I "earned" for surviving breast cancer). Click the photos for larger views:
As you can see from the photos, "pink" is a color I love, so that's another good reason to give the black and white kitty the name Pinky, although I suspect she will be known more as Princess. (In case you can't find her in the first photo, that's her, hiding behind the Christmas bear.)
Happy New Year, friends and readers. See you in 2011. A year of rejoicing.