The closing of a year always pulls me into a serious day of reflection. I look back. I consider. I ask questions. It’s a process of evaluation—I want to recognize where I’ve wasted opportunities so that I can be mindful and more careful in the future, but also I want to take time to worship God and offer gratitude for what He’s done in the twelve months behind us.
It has been a year of extreme highs and few lows, we welcomed a new little one into our family, and even though her first days brought concern, she is doing well. But, although few, some of the lows have been deep. LeRoy has struggled the entire year with an undiagnosed illness. Even when he was wrung out with exhaustion from another sleepless night (due to this bizarre illness), he spent long hard days writing with me to complete the book for husbands, and I so admire his tenacity in the face of his physical depletion. For the entire year, we’ve juggled writing deadlines with doctor’s appointments, radio interviews with medical tests, and speaking at conferences with unanswered questions about his health.
The year has been abundant with highs: Writing the book together has been one of the sweetest joys of my life, and I’m grateful that we’ve been able to share the Word together in conferences, plus we celebrated our thirty-fifth wedding anniversary in Canada after one of those. This year has been filled with opportunities to share our story through several radio programs and we never cease to be amazed by the response. Moody Publishers produced a series of videos where we share candidly about the struggles we’ve had in our marriage. Book release day came in September and brought with it a deeper realization of God’s delight in using the ordinary to display His glory.
This was a year of extremes within our nation, we experienced the most unusual election season ever witnessed, we watched as riots broke out, as blood was shed, as blood flowed not only in our nation but across the globe as well. The world isn’t safe. The darkness seems to be crowding in as never before. But this also was a year of intensive prayer.
The fall came, with prayer vigils held in several large cities across the nation. We joined with more than 100,000 women from around the world, for a nationwide prayer event asking God to bring spiritual awakening and revival. We boldly stepped into the darkness to cry out to God to shed His light on our nation.
As I reflect, I’m asking God for confirmation and assurance. Did I spend my time as He would have me to in these past months? Have I wasted the hours I’ve been give to steward? Has it been a fruitful year or barren? Will there be lasting works for His glory? I’m opening myself up to receive instruction before embarking on another year.
I’m laying out several questions before the Lord (and I’ll share some of these in tomorrow’s post), and asking Him to not allow me to waste the time left to me while in this realm, but also to confirm how I should be filling those hours.
It’s always a good thing to evaluate our days and consider whether we are functioning under our own agenda or God’s.
[box]Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin (James 4:13–17).[/box]
What did 2016 look like for you? How was it fruitful? Where did you struggle?
I’ll have some questions for us tomorrow to prepare us for entering 2017.
Image courtesy of Nanhatai8 at www.freedigitalphotos.net