Grateful that 2013 is ending.
Grateful that 2014 begins at midnight.
Grateful that I am alive to see a new year.
Grateful for God's faithfulness and grace and forgiveness to me, over and over and over again this past year.
Whew! It was quite a year.
Friends getting cancer and other terminal illnesses.
Me getting cancer.
People I care about dying.
One person in particular that I loved so deeply and so dear to my heart leaving earth too early for me.
Hunger and homelessness and poverty and wars abound. Not much has changed since the beginning of time. They are all still around in abundance.
Injustices occur everyday throughout our world.
Misunderstandings occur daily.
We get hurt. We get angry.
We get fearful.
We get lost.
We get so caught up in our own messes, that we forget about others.
Thankfully, there are also good and wonderful things that happened.
At Woodleaf, week after week in "Say So", I was privileged to watch many new babes in Christ profess their new found Savior.
I was indeed blessed watching loved ones get engaged and see the hope of new love.
I was deemed cancer free.
I learned how to pray more and love that my list gets longer.
I was blessed to be involved in 3 small groups with some amazing, God seeking young women in Chico.
And yet....my heart yearns for more.
My heart yearns to be more Christ like.
To forgive much more easily. To forget quickly. To love unconditionally and unselfishly. To extend grace as often as needed.
With others and with myself.
Oh those failures want to keep haunting me.
I want to remember how the Holy Spirit is seen in me in the Father's eyes. That He sees Jesus and not all my failures.
I want to not be judgemental.
And wonder how tired God must be of hearing me say that.
Oh yes, there is much work to be done in my life.
I think I am up for the challenge.
I've never been one for new years resolutions, because lets face it, time would quickly pass by before I broke each one of them; and that would just be another failure.
Why set myself up?
So this year I am not resolving anything.
Instead I am going to focus on something.
A WORD or a few WORDS that I can think about, learn about and practice being in 2014.
I had a few in mind.
But finally came up with THE WORD I will concentrate on.
How much different will my life be if I extend GRACE to others?
I imagine it could be very very different.
How wonderful it would be to be a GRACE GIVING person.
Just like God is to me: Grace giving, full of grace. extending grace upon grace as needed.
OK, this will be a challenge.
BUT i look forward to it.
I will re-read Yancey's excellent book "What so amazing about Grace".
I will re-read "One thousand Gifts" by Ann Voskamp.
I will seek out other books to help me understand GRACE more and ask the Holy Spirit to do a mighty work in me. To transform me into a person of GRACE.
I will reflect at the end of 2014 on how I did and thank God that He continues to change me into the character of JESUS.
It's ALL ABOUT HIM, remember.
May you be thankful for the gifts you've been given in 2013. May you reflect on the goodness and faithfulness of God. And may you learn from the pain and heartache you suffered, that you are never alone.
May the LORD bless you and keep you His in 2014.