As I consider this upcoming year, my thoughts have been drawn to a song and a word.
The song speaks of experiences that have been made more real to me in 2013. It also references the eternal. The realization that our souls will never be completely at rest till we’re in the presence of Jesus.
The word that has been coming to my mind time and time again is/was borne out of a season of physical suffering.
My Song: My God, I Thank Thee by Miss Adelaide A Procter
My God, I thank Thee, who has made the earth so bright; So full of splendor and of joy, beauty and light; So many glorious things are here, noble and right.
There are many beautiful experiences that color my daily life:
- Sharing life with my best friend, Eric
- A warm embrace from the man that I love
- A visit from a heartfelt friend
- Watching an evening sunset through my kitchen window
- Laughter and play with my nephew, Dawson
- Going home to mom and pOp’s place
- Learning homemaking skills from my mom
I thank Thee, too, that Thou has made joy to abound; So many gentle thoughts and deeds circling us round; That in the darkest spot of earth some love is found.
In the midst of darkness and evil there is still good and joy.
I thank Thee more that all our joy Is touched with pain; That shadows fall on brightest hours, that thorns remain; So that earth’s bliss may be our guide, and not our chain.
God, I thank you that my joy is touched with pain. Wow. Every time I sing this stanza I wonder if I’m fully realizing what I’m saying. How do I learn to thank God for the difficulty in my life, realizing its purpose is eternal? Yes, if my life was simply a succession of joyous moments then I wouldn’t ache and long for heaven. God help me to say thank you when life hurts.
I thank Thee Lord that Thou hast kept the best in store; We have enough, yet not too much to long for more; A yearning for a deeper peace not known before.
I have enough, yet not too much to long for more. I do long. I ache for the eternal.
I thank Thee Lord that here our souls though amply blest; Can never find although they seek a perfect rest; Nor ever shall until they lean on Jesus’ breast.
Perfect rest in the presence of Jesus is what I will one day know. Lord Jesus, please guide me and keep me close to you on this Earth. Thank you that the struggles here have eternal purposes. May I not allow them to turn me away from you, but let them draw me closer to you.
My word: Empathy
I’ve faced a few physical hurdles in the past but they were easily diagnosable and quickly taken care of. Though the minor surgeries weren’t fun to undergo, I was soon back to better health and able to carry out daily activities. I assumed that would be the case when my health declined nearly a year ago. Test upon test revealed more puzzles than answers. Numerous doctor visits lessened the already limited cash flow and provided precious little guidance and solutions. I wondered where God was in the midst of all the upheaval. We asked for prayer from our supportive family and church family. We spent many nights crying out to God. I learned in a real way how precious life is.
I still don’t know what all is going on health wise. I have good days when I feel well and am able to do the tasks at hand. I also have days when my breathing is a struggle, and I desperately wish for the struggle to be relieved. I have to watch what I eat; my body reacts to certain foods. I have to be careful where I go; environments often cause difficulty breathing. In the midst of my ongoing struggle I’ve learned something the hard way- empathy.
Empathy is the ability to understand to a degree what someone else is experiencing because you’ve experienced it first hand. When I see someone wearing a mask, I don’t think they’re crazy. When someone tells me they’re not able to be in certain places because of the environment, I don’t question them. When someone carries their own food to a potluck or Christmas gathering, I understand. I see things differently now because I know how it feels to have these particular difficulties.
I have much to grow in. I ask Jesus to mercifully grow me in 2014. My prayer is that I would be stayed upon Him.