A New Year's blessing
May God make your year a happy one!
Not by shielding you from all sorrow and pain,
But by strengthening you to bear it as it comes;
Not by making your path easy,
But by making you sturdy to travel any path;
Not by taking hardships from you,
But by taking fear from your heart;
Not by granting you unbroken sunshine,
But by keeping your face bright, even in the shadows;
Not by making your life always pleasant,
But by showing you when people and their causes need you most,
and by making you eager to be there to help.
God’s love, peace, hope, and joy to you for the year ahead.
This poem was in our church's newsletter, and I love it. Before I knew CHRIST I had this picture of GOD as making the lives of believers perfect. They never got sick, they were never afraid, they never had troubles to deal with, and they always knew what they should be doing. (can you tell I didn't know many believers? At least not well) I wanted that. I grew up in a broken home, in many ways. My parents divorced just as I was going into middle school, and it was really hard for me. I wanted what those Christians had that made their lives seem so perfect. So when I had an opportunity to go to church for Sunday School I went. But I didn't find the 'magic button' that I knew had to be there somewhere. When I was expecting my first duckling I went to a number of churches trying to find it, nope, not there. I finally ended up at the church we go to now, and honestly, what kept me going back wasn't a 'magic button', but the adoration a few of the members had for my new baby. In the decade plus since, I have come to realize that there is no magic button, and believers' lives aren't perfect. There is pain, and fear, and sickness, and trouble regardless of whether or not you are a follower of JESUS CHRIST, the difference is how we deal with it. I know that, even if I am terrified of how something is going to play out, GOD is next to me every step of the way. HE will give me strength to face whatever trials I have to face, and walk next to me every moment of every day. HE'll even carry me if I need HIM to. The new year is here, and with it, new challenges and trials, and new joys and wonders. I hope that everyone who reads this (all...what, 2 of you:) has a year filled with strength and peace and moments that are filled with the wonder of our awesome GOD. I hope that you see HIS fingerprints all over every day of your lives and feel HIS strength and peace filling you up. Love you all!!!
LORD, please fill all the people I love with Your love and strength. Give them an extra measure of peace and faith, and help them to see Your fingerprints all over their lives. Fill them with a sense of wonder and awe at how amazingly much YOU love them. In JESUS' name, Amen.