Friday, December 27, 2013

As 2013 Draws To A Close...

I ponder.

2013 has seen some monumental events unfold! My grandson, Damon, was born July 25th just two days before my son, and his uncle's, birthday. The same son who began his graduate studies in math this year. I still shake my head in awe and disbelief over that one. Yes. 2013 is one for the books.

My husband and I celebrated our 34th anniversary in November. Who knew there was someone on this planet who could, and would, willingly and happily live with me for so long? God. OK. God knew. But I bet it has surprised more than one person! Ha! I bet my parents and brother still shake their heads over that one...and they're all here to celebrate 2013 ringing out.

And 2014 ringing in in a few day. Both my parents are 83 and are in great shape for the shape they're in. They live at home and still do pretty much what they want to do. Slower. But they're kicking old age's patootie! And my brother was able to come home for Christmas, along with his two sons. Time flies! His sons and mine son sat at the card table for Christmas lunch at our parents' home...just like they did when they were little. Some things never change. Thank God! But many do change...including these three. Taller with driver's licenses and college educations. Grown up voices with little boy eyes.

Since 2013 saw the birth of my grandson, that means my daughter and her husband now have TWO children! She really shouldn't be that old...I know I'm not that old...but calendars say otherwise. Did you know calendars lie? They're juggling an almost 4 year old and a 5 month old. Something I didn't choose to do. Mine are 9 years apart, much to my mother-in-law's chagrin. Insert annoying smiley face here. Micaylah has my heart. She helped me preach the Christmas Eve Candle Lighting Service this year...she ran circles around me. Literally. Almost ran into the stand with the Advent Candles on it. And they were lit at the time, too. God's moving her into the pulpit at an early age. Her Pop-Pop moved her out of the pulpit.

Though disaster was averted and there was no burning down the church...we are a church on fire. I know. Looks can be deceiving. Little country church, off a by-pass. That's OK. God's got us right where He wants us. He's at work, has been very busy, and continues to mold, shape, and use us. Quietly. We're becoming known for giving away Recovery Bibles for anyone who wants one. We hear of a local need and we fill it to the best of our ability and if we need help, we get help. We really cannot out-give God. We've got a Circle of Life going. God gives to us and we give to others and God gives us more and...2013 turns into 2014 and God is still on His Throne and we're still off the by-pass going about God's work. And absolutely loving it. We've got a unique place in the Kingdom. It's hard to describe and people who aren't there probably wouldn't understand if I tried to explain it. There are people who wonder how we're even open. We're a tiny congregation that God has lit a Spark in. He's growing us spiritually and we know it. Slowly, but surely, He's bringing others through our doors. But the main thing is, right now, He's tending His Garden. We're loved by God and we know it. We have an inner Peace and genuine love and respect for each other that many congregations, of any size, sadly, don't have. When God's at work and when He's blessing, you know it. We know it.

And, as you know, I also live with a foot in the melanoma community. Our world saw some truly wonderful things unfold in 2013 and these things herald even more promising treatments in 2014. Click on that link and read all about it. And I share this knowing that not everything, even these things, will work for everybody. 2014 will be a year of much sadness and heartbreak, just like 2013 has been for so many. That's the nature of melanoma, and any cancer, and many other diseases. Of this world. But there is HOPE and there is PROMISE and there are ADVANCES...more now than ever.

2013, you've been quite a year. But you are passing and almost over now. You won't be coming back and we have to live with the memories you leave and continue to face any situations that you ushered in. And that's life. We take the good and we take the bad. And God is in the midst. That is the Hope and that is the Promise.

2014...you are that great unknown. While we don't know what you will bring with you, we do know that we will rejoice in some of it and weep over some of it. We will be challenged, changed, and charged during the next year. We're ready for some of it and dreading the rest of it. While you, 2014, are the great unknown, we will hold on tightly to

The Great I AM and we'll get through. We'll soar. We'll crawl. We'll muddle. We'll leap. We'll be on our knees. We'll stand tall. We'll stand united.

Bring it on 2014! In God we trust.

charis