Recently someone was sharing the icon they have on their phone; a man holding his nose with one hand, while grasping a bag of trash in the other, labeled 2019. Some may feel the past year was worse than the one ahead. Whereas, that is a positive outlook for a new year, aren’t some of the memories of the past year ones which fill our hearts with joy?
Perhaps last year held the memories of a lost job, lost home, a lost marriage or lost loved ones. Yet you may not have lost anything, but only gained. Additionally, you have memories of family outings, vacations, birthdays, graduations or weddings. You have your health and the freedom to enjoy your family, career, hobbies and interests of life. Yet why was the previous year one to be shunned?
Even if hardships were placed on our path, should an entire chapter of our life be considered refuse? What is God teaching us with these challenges? If we could re-write our life’s book, what chapters would we remove, and which would remain? When I think of my own life, there are many things when I would have used a mulligan; a do-over”, but others though painful had lessons God desired I learn.
My life’s challenges have allowed me to now volunteer to organizations and people dealing with tremendous obstacles. Specifically, thinking of the experiences of this past year which had an impact on my life, one was returning to a community I so greatly desire to leave. As I have shared in previous blogs when I moved to TX in the fall of 2018, I had remarkable faith my OK house would sell so I could remain there, but God said, “no.”
I returned to OK with a burdensome heart, but with the realization this was another component of my life’s book; God’s plan for 2019. I left my church in TX which welcomed me and became family during my six-month residency. I grappled with which church God chose for me upon my return. Even though I visited several where I had been a member, I didn’t feel it was “my church.”
As I attended a local community party, a fellow church member who had been in my home often in previous years, invited me to resume my role at the church, I called “home” for many years. God gave me the answer; return. Yes, God truly speaks to us through others.
If I looked through the “peep hole” of my door of 2019, there was some trash which needed to be discarded. I chose to look through the bright, picture window to see budding trees and flowers from 2019 that will burst forth in full bloom from the beauty of God’s plan for me. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”