Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve - Some Thoughts to Ponder

Thank you to my friend, Theresa Thaete for sharing her story for a new year with us this week.

Theresa on one of her missionary trips to Zambia.
2010 was a year of intense dread and sadness for me.

Usually I eagerly anticipated Advent and Christmas; I loved putting up our tree and watching the faces of loved ones opening the gifts I had so carefully chosen. But not that year.

One of our sons was the cause of my misery. He was acting out and seeking to fill the pain in his life with all the things that teens do. I never knew what to expect, every day a new challenge.

I'd often run to the phone exasperated interrupting my husband at work seeking his wisdom. Or dialing a friend, a safe person, to ask for prayer ... or just plain vent.

At times I even chose to leave my home. I didn't feel safe being in the same house with my son.

On one of those occasions, running in fear, I cried again to the Lord; probably for the millionth time. My feeling of guilt (a gift from God) was real. I kind of knew I needed to be running to God first, not to my husband and my friends.

God graciously brought Isaiah 9:6 to mind. (I bet you too have been seeing this verse a lot during the Christmas season.)

Immediately these four awesome titles that God alone bears began to speak to my heart. I repented and my eyes turned from my circumstances and focused on God.

Eagerly and a bit hesitantly I leaned into my Good Shepherd, I listened for His love. The experience of relief was almost physical.

I marveled as God showed up as my Wonderful Counselor over and over. He provided clarity of thought and direction. I noticed I was growing in trust as I reached less for my cell phone. Sometimes I even heard specific words in response to the hard of my life.

I experienced the opening and closing of seemingly locked tight doors; my Mighty God assuring me of His perfect timing and sovereignty.

As my Everlasting Father, I was touched by many expressions of His love and tenderness. He knew what would speak uniquely to my heart. Sometimes I saw how He stretched and disciplined me for  my growth.

(This was one of the most challenging titles for me as I have some deep "father wounds".)

Over and over, His peace comforted me. He was my personal Prince of Peace providing comfort in the intense stresses of life.

Pondering Isaiah 9:6 has become a New Year's tradition for me. Although I cling to this passage throughout the year, it is particularly meaningful as I look back each New Year purposing to see the faithfulness of God. I also list what I'm expecting in the upcoming 365 days and ask God that these descriptors would be my reality in my unknown.

Perhaps thinking through Isaiah 9:6 might be something that would greatly encourage your faith as we start the new year like it has done for me.

Blessings to you in 2016!

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