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Archive for December, 2015

great things in 2016

As I look back and reflect on 2015, one thing is loud and clear to me: the year 2015 looked absolutely nothing like I anticipated upon entering it.

We had no idea there would be a sudden job change for my husband, or that we would begin homeschooling our daughter, and, perhaps least of all, that we would witness the birth of a second child, our son.

In these last few weeks since his arrival, in the very early hours, when my house is dark, before the cats are prowling around meowing (screaming) for food, before my daughter is up giving me fashion makeovers, before my husband wakes me for a moment to say to goodbye before leaving for the day…I have held my newborn son. 

I have liked to sit in his room, in the watches, in those early dark hours, and hold him. I have liked to hold him and stare at him, sitting in the old feeble rocking chair I found for a dollar and my dad fixed up for me. 

I have stared at him, and I have cried. I have cried because his chubby round face, so still and so perfect and so lovely, makes me ever so grateful. It brings to my mind all that God has brought about for my family; the external evidences he has given that demonstrate the internal workings he has done. The realized and unrealized burdens that he has lifted, and the quiet joy that he has brought to our souls because of how incredibly merciful he has shown himself to be to us.

I see its realness when I look in my husband’s eyes and see a brightness there. I see its authenticity when I watch my daughter’s selfless attitude and deep love towards her new baby brother. I see its freedom when I search my own heart, and feel the need for his continual mercy.

Watching my family live life, and living it in light of the mercy of our great God, is an astounding, blessed, grace-filled, holy gift; it is a gift that I could never have before imagined until I lived this life, with these people, before this God. It makes my soul fall upon its knees in speechless wonderment. It makes my mind desire to lift itself up to the throne of grace. It makes my heart tremble with humility before the One who has so cheered my flailing, burdened spirit. 

What will this next year hold for us? For me? My husband? My children? Our family? I have made a few plans, a few goals. I want to grow in commitment to the tasks God places before me, and so I pray that I choose to keep at these tasks, and not willingly go my own way in the things I take on.

But above all… in the midst of all that, really…I want to watch God at work, as I have watched him work this year, and the years before it. I want to continue to see my family live life as he works in our hearts to deepen our knowledge of himself. I want to watch him move among the people of my church, opening eyes and deepening faith. I want to watch him expand his flock, bringing the straying and the wandering to the safety of his eternal care. I want to join in singing with the angels, as they rejoice over souls saved. Though I have vision and thoughts and ideas for 2016, I’d much rather it look nothing like I anticipate. I want God to astonish and astound me with his plans and works. I want to end 2016 much like I am ending 2015; in speechless, tearful, joy-filled thanksgiving and praise. 

And so for 2016, my prayers for myself, my family, my church, my community, is this:

Nothing exceeds thy power,

Nothing is too great for thee to do,

Nothing is too good for thee to give.

 Infinite is thy might, boundless thy love,

 limitless thy grace, glorious thy saving name.

Let angels sing for sinners repenting, prodigals restored,

 backsliders reclaimed, Satan’s captives released,

 blind eyes opened, broken hearts bound up,

 the despondent cheered, the self-righteous stripped,

 the formalist driven from a refuge of lies,

 the ignorant enlightened,

 and saints built up in their holy faith.

I ask great things of a great God. 

– from The Valley of Vision

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