Wow, what a crazy year!
I never would have thought that the 2008, with a cardiac event and a market crash, could have been a relatively boring year in comparison to 2010, with adopting a son and Kimmy and Ian getting married and moving to NC, and 2010 was relatively calm, with regard to hard decisions and internal unrest, compared to this past year. But in all things He is sovereign and I can rest in Him.
We all have trials and those trials are made specifically for us- personally. As a believer everything we go through is specifically designed to bring us closer to God and to conform us more to the image of His Son. Though often we might think that others have it "better/easier" than we do, or they are not going through the difficulties that we are, which might be true right now, our trials, pain and rest are like the perfect "physical therapy" for our growth and strengthening. I just read a FB post from a "friend" who has just lost his wife this month and now his 2 dogs have drown. I would guess that his 2011 was not as "good" as mine. There is some else's 2011 that was "worse" than his.
Some years ago I went to the physical therapist after having my ACL/MCL surgically reattached. This was a couple weeks after the surgery. I had had the same therapist the entire time and so I assume she knows exactly what to do. She pushed and pulled against my leg as I worked it back and forth. I was working hard to get past this treatment so I could get back to work. All of a sudden there is a huge, audible "pop" and almost the exact same pain as when I tore it. Mind you, I have been through surgery, some recovery and now PT for some weeks and I literally thought I was going to have to start all over again. She told me that this was just the scar tissue getting out of the way and that in 3-4 hours it would be fine. I wasn't sure I believed her.
I don't like surgery, anesthesia or pain killers. I don't like missing work, crutches or taking the time to do PT. I didn't want to start over. I didn't like the pain the first time, and I certainly didn't want to start from scratch. Well I didn't have to start over and in a couple of hours it was fine and I could trust her again. I could trust her because she knew what she was doing, she told me what was going to happen and it did. She's human and makes mistakes. God is not and does not.
So, as I look back on 2011 and wonder what God has in mind for me and our family, as I wonder about what is really great about this past year and "couldn't we have done this another way?", as I think taking a shortcut to get to this place would have been much easier, I am reminded that it is not up to me and God is perfectly working ALL things together for my good and His glory.
Here's some of the ALL things;
-a new church family, leaving behind some old friends, many of which don't understand and that is really hard.
-a new career, leaving behind some old friends and work surroundings and substituting it for many unknowns and that is hard.
-a new grandson who is just about as far from us as he can be and yet still live in the US, and that is hard.
- strangely this is hard and new territory for me. A couple from our L2L group left to go to another church for reasons of spiritual giftedness and yet that is still hard for me. Did I do everything I could have? Was I there enough for them? I have to answer "no" to those questions and yet those are not the reasons they are leaving anyway.
Life is full of hard things. People fail us all the time. Friends turn less friendly. Family members move away. Kids grow up. Jobs/careers change. Change is all around us. But God doesn't change and if I look at the changes around me as His working in/on me then somehow it is better. He doesn't make mistakes. His ways are perfect, even though from this vantage point it seems like maybe He made a mistake. That big popping sound was something getting out of the way.
2011 was hard- really hard. I don't want to redo 2011 because it was not that fun the first time. BUT, without 2011 we would not have a new church family, a new career path and meeting and growing closer to people I never would have met if I was still in the same comfortable place as I was in for 2010 and the blessing of being grandparents to Job, a fitting reminder of our year. Full of hardship and yet God is still good, giving exactly what we need to carry us through.
In all things He is good and He has lavished many blessings on us this past year and I am thankful for a hard yet glorious year watching him work.