Today marks the beginning of a new year. I can't say as I am sad to see the old one go. It's been a long stretch of life, filled to the brim with changes and struggles. And yet, I wouldn't erase this year even if I could. I have learned. I have grown. I have healed. I have changed. Looking at it that way, I'd have to say it's been a good year. And isn't that the way it always is? God use the most difficult experiences to produce the greatest lessons, the strongest growth, the deepest healing, and the most lasting changes. Yes, it's been a hard year. But because of that, it has also been good year. In light of all this, I've compiled a list of the biggest challenges I've faced this year as well as the best things that have come out of them:
Worst: Losing a life-long friend.
Best: Discovering that I have a strong network of friends and family who are eager to hold me up and help me move forward when I am hurting and broken.
Best: Having the chance to practice forgiveness.
Worst: Grieving Nathan's death.
Best: Watching the memorial tree come back to life after a bitterly cold winter and letting this become this metaphor of my healing.
Best: Making peace with Nathan's death and celebrating the one-year anniversary of his homegoing.
Worst: Experiencing the tearing down of my relationship with God.
Best: Finding out that although God is not who I thought He was, He is still God and still the One I desire above all else.
Best: Having the opportunity to start over in my relationship with God.
Worst: Leaving my little green house with the purple door, uprooting my garden, and letting go of my independence.
Best: Learning how to live in community as an adult.
Best: Having a place to rest, heal, and make decisions about moving forward.
Worst: Realizing there is no future for me in the career I have invested in.
Best: Finding a new vision for my life and work.
Best: No longer needing to succeed in a job where I am destined to fail.
Worst: Struggling to find relief of chronic health problems.
Best: Discovering that sometimes it is better to live with limitations than to exhaust all your resources trying to fight them.
Best: Letting go of the need for an answer.
I am certain that 2010 will hold its own set of difficulties, and while I don't relish that thought, I will say that I am looking forward to seeing what God will do, in both the good times and the bad. Because if I've learned anything this year, it's that God is good. Always. Not just when it feels like it, not just when things go right, not just when life turns out the way we want. God is always good. And for that I am deeply grateful.