>I don’t know that it was my best New Years, but I am certain it was not my worst. I was 15, I think. My sister and I had our best friends, Sara and Emily, at our house in Illinois for a visit. We had a great time at midnight going out into the snow covered yard and singing “auld lang syne.” After that we went walked around the neighborhood screaming “Happy New Year” to everyone we saw, even being warned by one concerned woman, “you girls be careful…there’s crazies out tonight.” We thought it was so funny, and now, 12 years later, I still remember it, and warned myself (in my head of course!) on the way home from New Years Eve festivities tonight, “be careful, Sarah…there’s crazies out tonight”. So funny how things like that stick with you.
But tonight, it is not that memory that I am reflecting on the most. Tonight I am remembering the past year. My 2009….
It was a hard year. Very hard year. I wish I had documented the events and happenings better than I did, but unfortunately most of the years memories can only be found in my mind and in my heart instead of in a journal. But, even though they are not all written out, I remember them. And how dear and precious this hard year has been to me. Without this year, I don’t know where I would be. Because, you see, this year, I have hurt, I have cried, I have panicked and I have suffered. But praise the Lord that is not all that happened this year. This year I have learned, I have been comforted, I have grown.
When I think back to where I was 1 year ago–in January of 2009–I remember my luke warm relationship with God. I remember my life of legalism and expectations. I was living to perform for my God and I was failing miserably. In 2009 I faced personal struggles and even personal crisis that caused me to have nowhere to turn but to my God. A God that I was treating as though he lived inside a scripture in an old dusty bible instead of IN ME. In 2009 God brought me to my knees…no, to my FACE before him. He brought me to a place of surrender, a place of hurting, and finally, a place of brokenness-a place of brokenness so bad that I thought I couldn’t take it and then amazingly the brokenness turned into something else. It turned into a place of healing, a place of growing and a wonderful place of true, meaningful relationship with my Savior. A place I had never been before. I walked through hard situations and hard circumstances and through it all my God was revealing things to me. He was teaching me how to forgive, how to pray, how to depend on him. He was breaking down strongholds, freeing me from sin and transforming my heart. And he’s still doing it. God is teaching me things so real and so true it amazes me. I know that as hard as this past year was, and as hard as some parts of my life still are, that I wouldn’t change it. I wouldn’t want him to take it away, because I know that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose. I cling to the truth that God is working when I see it and when I don’t see it. I believe that my savior loves me with an unimaginable love and is fighting battles for me everyday. That he is for me, and that everything he allows me to walk through is for my good and his glory. And I say that knowing full well that 2010 will bring it’s own struggles, it’s own hardships and it’s own trials. But praise the Lord for his wonderful Grace that is sufficient for me!
“…there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-10