search me: count it all joy

Saying goodbye to 2016, I’ve had a lot of thoughts. This year was full of great things, terrible things, unexpected things and things that make you go hmmm. Let’s recap, shall we?

At the end of 2015, I was looking forward to a great new year. It didn’t start off that way. I got a terrible sinus infection after Christmas and it lasted well into the second week of January. But, once I was over that, I was ready to get the new year going.

My daughter graduated high school in June. She started college in August; this meant she’d have to move into the dorm. This was a requirement for all freshmen, even if we only live twenty minutes from campus.

My youngest son got his license and his first job this year. Considering his grades are pretty good, he’s also been given quite a bit of freedom. He spends a lot of time with his friends, but also enjoys hanging at home with his family.

My oldest son came home from his Army duty station in Germany.

My husband and I stepped down as youth leaders at our church.

Finally, I worked up the nerve to tell my family exactly how I feel about… well, everything.

These are some of what I would call highlights and lowlights of my 2016 year. Although some of the low points were pretty low, I still count it all joy. I think I’m able to do that because I know that God has a plan. Even if His plan includes what I would consider negative things, there is a purpose for it.

My daughter moved out and I missed her terribly (yes, she was only twenty minutes away) because I was used to seeing her every day. She came home quite a bit, but when she wasn’t around, I learned to make time for myself. The time that I would usually spend with her, whether we were just talking or watching our favorite TV show, I now spent on writing or praying or just thinking.

My youngest son got his license and I worried. I worried so much that I would make him text me as soon as he got to school, when he was leaving, when he got home. That started in March. What did I learn? I learned to trust in God. I strengthened my faith by praying. I spent more time in His Word and learning about how He was in control. I learned to worry less and trust Him more.

My oldest son came home from Germany. To me, this was the biggest ‘lowlight’ of the year. He had always struggled with being responsible, being an adult and making logical decisions; one of the reasons he got out of the army in the first place. It was a big adjustment when he came home. It was as if the last three years hadn’t happened, nothing had changed. He only lasted two months with us before he moved in with his biological mother. Now, I honestly have no idea what’s going on in his life. This wasn’t just another lesson in worry. I’ve learned patience. I believe that there is nothing I can do to ‘fix’ him or his life. God will do that, in His own time.

I told my family how I felt about my childhood. I told them about the misery I endured. I told them about things I had never talked about before. My lesson here is forgiveness. Once I let it all out, I was able to forgive. I, by no means forgot about anything and they definitely didn’t ask for forgiveness, but I had to give it. Now, I am at peace with the way things are. I don’t have a relationship with them and that’s ok. It’s hard to forgive someone for something when they continue to do the same things they should be sorry for, but I did it. I just cannot have them in my life and I’m ok with that.

My husband and I have been the interim youth pastor and leader at our church for the last year and seven months. We learned a lot, but we felt it was time to step down. I feel God is ready to use me in other areas of our church. I am looking forward to the way God is going to move in our church in 2017.

It’s important to learn from the bad and appreciate the good things that happen in your life. Treasure the ones closest to you. Reach out to the ones not so close. Share the love of Christ. Do the right thing, even when nobody is looking. Find your peace in knowing you are a good person and that God loves you.

I am looking forward to 2017 – with God, all things are possible!

via Daily Prompt: Treasure

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