The year after I graduated from college I attended a writer’s workshop at Glen Eyrie, the headquarters for the ministry, The Navigators. I flew to Colorado Springs with dreams of writing a masterpiece and being published before I was 25.
The teacher picked a topic for us and we worked on our articles throughout the week; we were to write about a tragedy or hardship we had faced. I was by far the youngest in attendance and I could not think of anything negative in my 22 years. It became a bit of a joke to my teacher we titled my article, “Being a Peach in a World That’s the Pits”. All these years later I sit at the beginning of 2015, once again in Colorado, and that workshop comes to mind, accompanied by an eye roll and giggle.
It’s really my friend Amy’s fault that I am even thinking this way. She wrote me yesterday and talked about getting ready to write goals for her year and evaluate 2014. I laughed because I too had been compiling a stack of things I would need to do the very same thing. Then today she put this on Facebook,
“I know you are supposed to choose a word for the year that you are starting, but looking back on 2014, I see it was a year of HEALING in so many different ways, and I’m grateful. Here’s to 2015 being a year of JOY!”
I laughed again because I had already thought of a word for the next year, but I was challenged by her comment about looking back and I began to think. The app where I keep such things would “tell” you that didn’t pick a word for this past year . . . the first time in ages I didn’t do it. I think that was God’s sovereignty because only He knew what the year would hold.
When I look back on 2014, I see it was a year of LOSS.
Sounds negative, doesn’t it. Facebook is full of posts where people are recounting God’s goodness in the past year and here I sit being a Debbie Downer (wah-waaaah). But, for the first time in my life, I believe that there are times that can’t be described in happy words and it’s okay to be honest about the hurt and pain a season may have carried. 2014 was a season of loss and the funny thing is the Lord spaced it out in just the right intervals to guarantee continuity. Yes, I believe He did it on purpose. I believe He kept me submerged in loss and I admit that I don’t know why. I also believe He did it for a specific purpose that will bring Him glory (He gives beauty for ashes, Isaiah 61:3) and I submit that I might not ever know what that is. (Man, I hope He lets me know.)
January 2014 – Loss of job and the security a steady income provides and Loss of dear friend – Found out my bosom friend was moving from St. Louis.
April/May 2014 – Loss of my Daddy.
July/August 2014 – Loss of home and friends – Found out we were moving west for a new job.
October 2014 – Loss of church – After 43 years in the PCA we decide that is not the best church in F.C. for us.
November 2014 – Loss of identity – I have struggled to meet people and find a place to serve/”plug-in”.
Each thing that has been removed is a thing or person in which I found security. It’s easy to now admit that I found more significance and safety in these things than I knew . . . it is hard to release them and redirect those needs to their rightful source, my Heavenly Father. Seriously. I am being asked to trust for provision the very hands that took what I loved. And so the battle wages between the confidence that comes from His consistent faithfulness in the past and the fear that comes from the losses of the present.
So I look ahead to 2015 and try to think of a word – one word. Can’t do it. 2015 is going to have to be a two-word year. I am asking the Lord to make this a year where He helps me to TRUST and grow in CONTENTMENT. I don’t think there can be one without the other and I am struggling with both.
I don’t know – maybe, by the time this next year wraps up I will be able to sit down and revisit that article from 1994. Maybe I will have grown and my understanding will have deepened and I can write with wisdom about what we view as the pits of this world and the fruit He brings from what He knows are seeds.
Would this be a good place to point out the verse that says that those who sow in tears, reap in joy because they are sowing as seeds what they could be eating as food, trusting that their sacrifice of hunger now will lead to multiplied provision in the future? I think to. Go ahead and sow the seed that will fall into the ground and die, but when it dies it will bear much fruit. I love you.
I’m encouraged by these beautiful thoughts, Becky. I think I need to choose the same words.
Several rough spots,where it seems words or punctuation are needed. You can read through it or I can read with you; however I’ll be out of pocket from 10:00 to 2:30.
What I didn’t post on FB was that 2011-2013, my words would not be “healing” or “joy.” They would be “survive” and “HARD!” Praying that on the other side of loss, there would be healing and joy for you too, friend. Love you.