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.