Blessed New Year, 2024!

At the close of every year, I like to glance back through the year and take stock of what the year held, good and hard.  Some years we have big changes.  What changed for you?  Other years just seem to blend into each other with a lot of normal routines and only subtle changes.  What stayed the same for you?  God is a God of new beginnings, second, third and often multiple chances.  He forgives.  He gives us new mercies every morning.  I am forever thankful for that!

In January of 2023 our third grandson was born.  Anxiously, I prayed through the night of his birth, not knowing that he was struggling to breathe.  He lives.  He breathes.  He has a full, beautiful smile, a strong baby body and a desire to keep up with his brothers.  He is a gift that God gave to our whole family. 

In July of 2023, my 91-year-old father got sick with pneumonia and died within 2 weeks.  My mom and siblings and I all cared for him in hospice in my parent’s home.  Time slowed way down.  Life waited on death.  It was a calm and spiritual time.  We sang hymns, prayed, and tenderly cared for my dad.  He died.  He lives in his forever home now.  He was a gift that was taken away, for now. 

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.  Job 1:21

I used to really struggle with that Scripture.  I am learning to love God more for who He is versus what He gives me.  Perhaps I am growing a little?  Maturing perhaps?

What did God bless you with as a gift in 2023?  What did the Lord allow to be taken away from you?  How are you relating to God in both the blessing and the grief?  It’s a journey.  Maybe we are growing a little?  Maturing perhaps?  I suspect God is helping us look more like his son, Jesus.  Jesus is a gift to the world, to you and me.  His life was taken.  He suffered disgrace and murder.  He died.  He conquered death.  He lives.  Because of his love, we live too, now, and forever, through faith in Him and who He is. 

These are some words that filled my 2023.  It’s a bit of a poem:

The Lord, giving, taking, giving, dying, forgiving, suffering, love, living, growing, accepting, blessing, rejoicing, grieving, singing, tender and loving, The Lord.

What words filled your 2023?  What words will fill our 2024?

Lamentations 3:22-23:  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end, they are new every morning, great is your faithfulness. 

It can be very healing to glance back and look at what we’ve come through, good and hard.  It’s a journey.  What new mercies have you received from the Lord?  How are you relating to the Lord in your losses?  How are you growing and maturing, looking more like Jesus?  How will we live in the love of the Lord in 2024, a truly blessed New Year!

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