Reflecting on 2009

I’ve been reflecting on last year a bit the last few days. I know most folks do this a little closer to New Year’s Day, but it’s taken me a little longer to get my thoughts in order on this subject.

At first, I had agreed with a friend that 2009 wasn’t a banner year. I don’t recall my reasoning behind that conclusion at the moment. But that was what I initially concluded.

Over these last few weeks God has brought to mind that last year indeed held many good and wonderful things. I saw Him work in mighty and powerful ways last year in my and my family’s lives. I saw many prayers answered last year and many instances of His intervention in our lives.

Some of the things I didn’t understand at the time and some of them didn’t seem so good as they occured. But looking back with opended eyes of faith I see most of them clearly. And I realize that as the Bible promises all things work out to the good for those who love God (Rom. 8:28).

My faith was strengthened and my knowledge increased. He saw fit to used me as a tool for His purposes more in the last year than ever before, likely because I was obediently open to His will, most of the time. And doing His will has been the biggest blessing of all that I was given.

Last year He gratiously opened up a new hobby to me in my leather work/craft. In giving this to me He has allowed me new and different ways to serve Him and reach people I would otherwise not have been able to. His ways are indeed so much farther above our ways.

I pray as we go into 2010 that He sees fit to continue to work in and through me. I pray that I will be more and more obedient to His call, no matter what that call may be.

Blessings

God gives us many blessings in a multitude of ways. He gives more than we deserve in all areas of our lives I believe. But I would like to focus for a moment on spiritual blessings.

I don’t have to be in God’s House to be blessed; I imagine you agree with that. Today, though, I felt His presence so very strongly during both morning and evening services it was awesome. Often when I feel His Spirit so strongly I have to say or do something to praise Him. But tonight I was so overwhelmed with His love, hearing the praise music, the beautiful words spoken by His children, and the good biblical preaching of His Word I was rendered speechless. How great it is to feel the presence of the Living God!

1 Peter 2:3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

Thinking

As I sit here this evening fighting off a cold and respiratory infection, I’ve been thinking about, or pondering upon, as I like to say, how blessed I really am. Let me start by telling you about my cold though.

My grandson began to get a runny nose Saturday. By Monday it was pretty steady, Wednesday it had “color” and he had a cough. My daughter in law called Thursday morning to get him into our family doctor and then called me to see if I could chauffeur them to and from the appointment. Of course I could; anything for him, especially if he’s sick.

Well, as I was getting ready Thursday morning it occured to me: I had the same symptoms as him but about 36 or so hours behind his. Considering the timeline of my babysitting schedule, I was fairly sure we had the same thing and that I’d gotten it from him.

Our joint doctor visit confirmed my suspicion: he had indeed infected me. His had settled into a mild ear infection, common for his age, and mine was going quickly toward bronchitis, common for me. The doctor said that he was a “little pietre dish”, but a loveable one. So the cute little germ carrier had suceeded in making his Papaw sick with his slobbery kisses. But how could I be upset by that? No way possible. Anyhow, we are both taking our antibiotics and on the road to recovery now.

So how does this make me reflect on being blessed you ask? In less than two months I have know two different families that have suffered miscarriages: one a church family member who I dearly love and the other, I found out tonight, a friend from all the way back to elementary school. It would have been the first grandchild for both of these fine men (and their families, not to discount anyone, just that I can identify with them more).

A mere two years ago grandchildren were the last thing on my wish list. In fact, with my nerves at the time, still healing from my last back surgery and becoming re-disabled, I didn’t have the patience for kids at all. Period. Then God began preparing my heart for His plan by introducing me to a wondeful little five year old at church. She and I were instant buddies. And still are. He then introduced me to two great, rambunctious little boys, three and five at the time if I recall right; the preacher’s boys. Again I found myself falling in love with these kids and wondering what it might be like to have a grandchild of my own.

In late April, I think it was, I found out our pastor was leaving to go back and work at his home church. And he was taking the boys with him! I was sad, bummed out actually. Here I had been learning to color again with them and enjoying watching them grow and develop and what-not and they were leaving in a few months. It was a, well, bummer. Thankfully I still has my little adopted granddaughter, as my wife and I called her.

Soon we got two more “granddaughters” from this family as the other kids began coming to church, too. We were back to three again. And getting even closer to these precious little ones every week.

Within months I had gone from not even considering the possibility of grandparent-hood to relishing the thought, though sort of vicariously I reckon you’d say.

Jump ahead a bit more to November 4, 2008: I get the totally unexpected news that in six months or so it’s no longer going to be vicarious but real! I was emotionally mixed, to be honest. But now I’m completely content, seven months into Papaw-dom. The little guy is the light of my life, this side of Heaven and second only to God Himself.

Would I have ever believed the changes He was going to make in me and my life? Not likely. Though I knew He could if He decided to.

So even though I feel run down and sick, I’m so totally blessed by this gift and change Jesus has made in me. And as happy and wonderful as I feel, I’m just as sad and hurt for the two families I mentioned earlier. Why God chose to give us Connor, or why He did when He did I don’t know. Why these two other families lost this chance at this time, I don’t know either. But I do know that His ways and decisions are best for His children (Romans 8:28-29) and I trust Him explicitly. And I praise and thank Him for the wonderful gift and change in my life He has seen fit to bestow upon me and make in me.