In approximately 1 hour, I will have completed another year of life. It’s amazing how one period of time can feel like both an eternity and a blink of an eye. It seems like only yesterday when I was reflecting on the last hours of Year 25, yet so much has happened that it seems like a lifetime ago.
I can’t say that I’m not happy to see this year go; Year 26 brought a lot of tears, a lot of pain, a lot of heartache. But it’s in that heartache, that pain, those tears, that I can also find the true gift that this past year has brought me, the opportunity to come into a closer relationship with God. Through my uncertainty, I’ve learned to lean more heavily on Him. Through my anger, I’ve learned to forgive as He forgives. Through my regret, I’ve learned the depth of His grace toward me. Through my sorrow, I’ve learned what it means to truly hope in the Lord.
Yes, this year has been difficult, but as I look back, I choose to see it as a time of growth. Almost like “sink or swim.” No doubt that God wants me to be more Christlike. In Year 26 I was challenged to either strive to become more so or to drown in bitterness and self-pity. With everything that happened, and given the woman I am, there was no in-between option. It was a “sink or swim” year. And while I may not be ready to go up against Michael Phelps, I’m still above water and I feel those swimmer muscles developing.
So as I move into Year 27, I expect and welcome continued growth. I’ll admit, I hope that the most difficult part, the breaking down, is over and I can move on to the building up part with relative ease, but I doubt that will be the case. From my experiences in these 26 years of life, I find that once life seems to be moving along with relative ease, my God likes to rattle things around. Maybe (hopefully) there won’t be quite as much rattling going on in Year 27, maybe just a little rattling. Yes, that is my prayer for this next year in life: Lord, I pray you make me more caring, more compassionate, more loving, more like Christ – with minimal rattling. Amen.