Spending time in reflection is one of my favorite things to do each January as the new year begins. That takes time. It all takes time. On January 1st, I could have written "Happy New Year" but I could not have written what is to follow, which in my book is what really matters. Only after time spent reflecting over the past year am I able to share about the theme repeated over and over and over again in my life.
This year God asked me to do some things that seemed hard. Maybe they don't sound hard to other people who have much bigger issues in their lives. But, to me, they seemed hard. A self-sacrificial, never-ending kind of hard. God asked me to do some things that seemed hard, then He gave me the strength to do them. A God who revealed in Himself a great pattern of faithfulness to me.
He asked me to parent a baby who did not know how to sleep, waking 4, 5, 6 times every night, then deciding catnaps during the day were enough for her. And He subsequently gave me the strength to get up each and every morning, to care for my family, to walk through my day with something that actually felt like energy. And more miraculously, He gave me the strength to have a good attitude, which I chose most days.
He asked me to wear a lot of hats. And He subsequently gave me exactly the right amount of time to juggle bookkeeping for our business, co-leading women's ministry in our church and parenting full time. Oh, and being a wife and a friend too. As an added bonus, once in a while He even gave me some spare time to do something fun outside of all those roles, like a crafty project or a post on this blog.
He asked me to spend time with Him every day. On the days when I did, He blessed me with depth and truth and gave the time back in some way. On the days when I didn't, He forgave me. And He called to me in a voice that was a little bit louder the following day.
He asked me to love my family. And He taught me that loving them means snuggling and serving and playing and laughing and escaping together. And that loving them does not mean my house is clean all the time.
He asked me to love unconditionally. And He gave me the eyes to have grace and compassion and perspective. He helped me to walk onto the other side of bitterness and forgive others. He helped me to forgive myself.
God did not ask me to do things that I was already good at, or already had the time for, or already felt confident in. He asked me, knowing full well how incapable, ill-prepared, inept, unseasoned, and outright weak I am. He asked me because I did not have the strength on my own... because He wanted to supply it... because of my vast inability and utter dependence on Him.
In the year 2012, God gave me incredible strength to do what He asked me to do. Even when the things seemed really hard. Especially when those things seemed really hard. And it gives me great hope for the year 2013.