Father, it's been a hard year in a series of hard years. You know that already of course, since you've been storing up all my tears in Your bottle all along. And I know I'm not the only one who feels that way. Things are hard for a very many people these days, and for many worse than for me and mine. Show Yourself strong on behalf of those who trust You, Lord. In You alone we take refuge. Don't let us be put to shame in our hope.
Thank You for the anchor of Your Word keeping me from being blown too far from my living hope. Thank You that nothing can touch Your children unless You give the go-ahead, and that You won't give the go-ahead unless it is for our good, the growth of Your people, and Your glory. Thank You that, no matter how painful life gets, it's only "for a little while, if necessary." Thank You for the hope that whatever genuine faith comes through this testing may "result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ." I can't even imagine how that will be.
I offer this year back to You, Lord. Bathe it in Your grace. Wash away its stains. Redeem it. I lift to You the ones on my all-day-every-day prayer list. Redeem their sorrows too. Nurture and cultivate the good seeds which have sprouted in this year, seeds of character, love, patience, perseverance, prayer, . . . . You know. Bring forth much eternal fruit from Your truth and grace planted in and through our lives. Let us say confidently with Paul that You cause all things to work together for the good of those who love You, who are called according to Your purpose (Rom. 8:28).
Thank You, Abba, for Your faithfulness,
in 73 medical appointments,
in 2 marginally helpful rounds of physical therapy,
in my first-ever round of acupuncture,
in countless prescriptions,
in my husband's hard work to provide for my needs,
in major surgery for my mom,
in major surgery for my sister,
in 2 epidural injections for me,
in my gallbladder removal surgery,
in a shoulder injection,
in many and various activity and dietary limitations,
in healing my body enough to tolerate moderate amounts of fat and spices by Christmas.
Thank You for pushing me out of my comfort zone over and over this year,
in 2 months of water exercise,
in many of the medical tasks You appointed,
in 4 new physicians,
in a summer of major, loud, prolonged home repairs,
in grace for road trips I didn't feel I could manage,
in a joyful, fun night away for our anniversary (with no increased health problems),
in a long weekend in central Texas with family,
in a difficult church transition,
in sharing the hard parts of my story out loud and in person more than I perhaps ever have.
Thank You for the people in my life,
for the Bible study ladies who prayed all year long and fed us like royalty after my surgery,
for friends far away too,
for my church's new pastor,
for the Watchman prayer team,
for my kind friends through blogging,
for our neighbor and contractor,
for the gazillion times I've read his daughter "I Love You, Stinky Face" and "Where the Wild Things Are" while he and Amore talked
for laughter with my nephews every time I see them,
for my parents and all the help they've continued to give,
for my sisters,
Thank You for the family transitions,
for Mezzo's graduate degree and college teaching job,
for Terza's renewal of her professional certification,
for unexpected job changes for two loved ones,
for Nonni's move to an assisted living residence after 50 years in the same house,
for the things that had been constant which are no longer so.
Thank You for provision,
for medical needs,
for household repairs,
for a replacement when my computer broke in the middle of the repairs,
for the gift of a second vehicle.
Thank You for spiritual markers,
for 26 years walking with You,
for grace to complete my Bible read-through schedule,
for grace to count more than 10,000 of Your gifts in 2013,
for grace to hide 2 2/3 chapters of Your Word in my heart this year,
for 4 ladies' Bible studies completed.
You are good, and Your love endures forever. Hallelujah!