I tend to be one of those people that gets caught up in the here and now, in the details of the situation....I tend to lose my overview. When I am working outside in -15 weather, my thoughts are focused on how quickly can I move to a southern state where it will NEVER hit that temp :)...However, living/working in those conditions helps me to appreciate things that I never would have been thankful for, had not my circumstance changed. God in His wondrous grace opens my eyes to the blessings that he surrounds me with despite my sometimes inability to see them.
Thank You God, for 30 degrees - a temperature that doesn't bite my nose off as soon as I step outside!! Thank You God, that I have warm clothes (and hand/body/feet warmers) to keep me from freezing! Thank You God, for helping me see the beauty in the things that sometimes seem not so beautiful at first.
As I look back at 2013, I am struck with the realization of how much he taught me and allowed me to experience. So many lessons that I didn't expect...(why do I even expect certain lessons - God likes to surprise us...maybe that was a lesson in flexibility..) God allowed me to meet so many interesting people, experience new places and cultivate friendships both new and old that have become very special to my heart.
So as I think about the blessings found in 30 degree weather, I have to ask myself, how many other blessings did God have to show me by bringing me through a "hardship"?
Hmmm...maybe it was the "hardship" of losing a friendship that helped me see the blessings in other friendships. Maybe it was the "hardship" of seeing other people having to go through a painful lesson and thanking God that I could learn through their experience rather then having to experience it myself. Maybe it was having to hit rock bottom in my relationship with my Heavenly Father, that helped me realize that all that really mattered was pleasing Him and HIM ALONE...fulfilling His expectations of me - not the worlds, not the churches, not friends or even family - Only HIM!
Maybe??? God doesn't use "maybe's" He has a purpose in every word, every touch, every smile, every sunrise and every rain cloud...every 30 degree day.
So... Thank You God, for my 2013. For the ups and the downs. For the lessons and the blessings.
Thank You for:
1. New friendships made
2. Old friendships rekindled
3. Forgiving me when I never did, will or do deserve
4. Allowing me to minister and serve in very special places...both old and new experiences - helping with VBS, volunteering at the Wilds of New England, working at Manor Gospel Fellowship in NYC on the building and with the food pantry, helping with Operation Christmas Child at Samaritan's Purse in NC, serving at church, helping with homeschooling my fantastic cousins and so much more!
5. The wonderful Bible Studies He has allowed me to participate in this year.
6. Giving me incredible opportunities to ride horses and learn so much at the barn!
7. Wonderful memories made this year
I hope you also have had a wonderful year filled with blessings and lessons! May the New Year bring new lessons, mature our faith as believers and be filled with new, God lead, opportunities!