*Disclaimer- A Word of Warning: This post is not easy to write and perhaps not easy to read. Only proceed ahead if you have the courage to know more about me.
Recently Bert and I sat down to review 2009. I love how, in some cultures, they name a year..."The Year of the Boar", or "The Year of the Pig."
2009 was the year I had dubbed as "The Year of the Flood." I used that term, not so affectionately, since 2009 started with a major flood from our third floor deck that took from January 2009 until late September 2009 to remedy.
Yet "the flood", in my mind, was both literal and figurative. 2009 felt like a year that required a HUGE, HUGE effort on almost every front. While I could pull out some wonderful moments in my memory for '09, and each of those is a blessing I hold dear, the overwhelming sense of "struggle" that was 2009 left me feeling drained and sad. I must have said a thousand times, "God won't give me more than I can handle", but by the end of 2009 my words seemed somewhat hollow.
A good friend asked me a question during all of this. A question of sorts, but more of a statement. She said, "I look at you Christians and kind of laugh. Aren't you caught between a rock and a hard spot? If you screw up and are human, we see you as hypocrites (not living up to your faith), but if things go really well and as you say "prayers are answered", we also are skeptical.
Some of you (and she was kind enough to qualify not me) think you are so perfect. Life is easy for you since you can give God the glory or just say this wasn't in His plans. Which is it?"
Now to some folks, this kind of a question might seem disrespectful to my Faith, yet with my best friends, those I am most comfortable with, we can put huge differences out on the table. We can ask the hard questions and talk about them respectfully.
I answered this complex inquiry in this way:
* Life is NOT easy being a Christian. In fact, the Bible tells me that my life will be harder.
* I am trying, with God's help, to do what He would have me do in situations. I am ANYTHING but perfect. But what I know is that God forgives me, even if some people can't. He holds a high standard for my life and He is ultimately the One I have to be accountable to for all that I do.
I talked to God alot during 2009. Like Ann Lamot says. "He can take whatever questions or rantings you need to give Him."
When my heart felt broken in 2009, broken like it would never come back together again, I turned to Him.
I asked Him how I could have tried so hard to do the right thing and ended up in this place?
Bert has walked with me through all of the hills and valleys of this challenging year. He has listened endlessly as I have cried, sobbed, and questioned. He has been my Hero!
And as we sat down and reviewed this chaotic year, the "Year of the Flood", he said this to me, in his own wise, wonderful and quiet fashion...
"It's really a choice," he said. "You did the best you could, every day. You tried to be loving and honest, and you tackled some huge and very tough challenges, turning to God with every decision."
And then he said "the clincher", the words that helped put 2009 into perspective for me...
"This year made you STRONGER. Easy years don't, but tough years build your character!. I'm proud of you, Honey, that you hung in there to do what you thought was right"
So, TAKE THAT... 2009! I built more character, because of you! I am stronger, because of you! I am closer to God, because of you! I know who my true friends are, because of you! I look forward to 2010, taking all the lessons you taught me!
I AM STILL STANDING, in spite of you! And for that...I praise God!
No matter what happens in 2010...easy or hard, challenged or bombarded...I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.
And she found her soul saying a hearty "AMEN, to that sister!"
**PS. When I finished reading this blog entry to Bert, and turned around in our living room to look out the window, we saw a HUGE, triple rainbow...bright and shining, a full rainbow... or as Bert said, "A big ass rainbow!"
Looks to me like God heard me and He's smiling... :)
Sunday, January 10, 2010
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