Fresh Vision

Don’t you love a brand new year? A reason to reflect upon life meanings, and God’s work, and the year ahead that He’sstretching1.jpg graciously allowed us to see and anticipate?

I’m so thankful for the past being the past, amen? That God has brought me through the valleys, has proven His watchcare over me and my loved ones, and I can face whatever 2008 brings with Him by my side. The awesome thing is, in looking back, any dark valleys are gone. I see only the mountaintops. My memories are awash with His presence, His provision, and His promises.

So my personal hopes for this coming year have a lot to do with appreciating where God has me, and what He’s given me to do with my life. I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky woman normally, but each year I learn there is a whole lot more to happiness than I ever knew. Like being content no matter what happens. And going the step further to rejoice, even if the day He’s made for me is full of disappointments. Like the line in Facing the Giants, “If we win, we’ll praise Him, and if we lose, we’ll praise Him.” It’s not really about me and my happiness, but cultivating a constant of joy is a great gift to me, to my loved ones, and to the King of Kings.

I’m not just waxing spiritual poetry here. It is possible to praise God through illnesses, through unpaid bills, broken promises, and put-off dreams. I’ve done it. I’ve also wept, cowered, and raged against the wretchedness of it all and it didn’t get me anywhere. Believe me, clinging to God’s promises gives a peace and hope that is indescribable. Don’t miss out on it the next time chaos pays a call. Be open to it and whatever God can teach you through it. Don’t shoulder the loads of life alone–they’ll come crashing down on you. It may seem crazy to thank Him for the hardships, but I dare you to do it and watch Him at work in you.

So let’s all be doing what we love, and loving what we do. Be it ever so humble, or ever so challenging…it’s what we’ve got, and we’ve much to be thankful for!

A New Year’s Prayer

May God make your year a happy one!
Not by shielding you from all sorrows and pain,
But by strengthening you to bear it, as it comes;
Not by making your path easy,
But by making you sturdy to travel any path;
Not by taking hardships from you,
But by taking fear from your heart;
Not by granting you unbroken sunshine,
But by keeping your face bright, even in the shadows;
Not by making your life always pleasant,
But by showing you when people and their causes need you most,
and by making you anxious to be there to help.
God’s love, peace, hope and joy to you for the year ahead.

8 thoughts on “Fresh Vision”

  1. Amen!!! This is so true. God uses hardships to help our souls to grow, and to show us his love and strength. I have gained much of the wisdom and faith that I have today, by enduring my hardships. In a poem I once wrote, even in the deepest darkest pits…beauty still awaits. This life is but a drop in the bucket compaired to what eternity holds for us. It is good to remember it is not all there is. I truly am blessed by reading your web site. Juli

  2. That’s the one form of prayer I’ve found dependably answered – praying for strength. It seems as though the act of asking for it someone releases it if you really mean it. I say this as someone in my fifteenth year of an incurable progressive illness who’s mostly bedridden now.

  3. What a beautiful prayer for 2008!

    I read an article years ago about the persecuted church in China and one member’s quote never left me. She said, “You Americans pray for God to remove your troubles. We pray for God to strengthen our backs.”

    More and more I’m learning to pray less for escape and more for God’s strengthening me with His presence as we walk the painful paths.

  4. Thank you all, I’m blessed by you guys, and so appreciate your prayers!

    Juli, thank you for sharing that…especially for the reminder to keep what we have here on earth in the perspective of our eternity!

  5. Amy, I must have been commenting about the same time as you because I missed your above comment until now! I love that quote–heard it first at your blog and it stuck for a while but I’d since forgotten it! Thanks for the reminder, and for always being real!

  6. Paul, thank you for sharing this with us. What a blessing to be able to still praise after so many years, and such a challenging test to your faith. May God grant you much grace my friend…

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