Today is New Year's Eve, and it is most likely that I will not do anything particularly celebratory today, or as the new year turns over tonight. Still, this day does make me reflect. 2016 was some year. At the end of 2015, also a hard year, I was so hopeful that the new year would bring new hope, joy and peace. In review, 2016 brought new challenges, experiences and heartache. Still, there was hope, joy and (eventually) peace, and I am thankful that I have made it through. My obligatory reflection this year is focused on my faith, and it was prompted by a question posed to me this week...a question that really made me think.
The magic question, which came unexpectedly from a relatively new friend, was this: "Are you afraid of death?"
My answer was quick and sure. No. Unlike poor Mr. Scrooge, I am not afraid of death. I am a bit fearful of the process of dying, and when that comes for me and those I love, I am hopeful that it will be quick and not uncomfortable. However, even if it is painful when my time comes to cross over, I will not be afraid, because I cling to God's promise that I will spend an eternity with him. Because I have accepted his Son, Jesus, as my Lord and Savior, God will look past my unworthiness, and he will welcome me to his heavenly kingdom as a beloved daughter. There will be no more tears or pain or heartache...only praise and love and joy and peace!
In 2016, I suffered a deep depression. I experienced the tragic death of loved ones and the destruction of relationships. There has been job loss and rejection, and the threat of divorce after 29 years of marriage. I stopped knitting. I lost myself this year, and I considered suicide in a very real way. But through it all, I clung to God, and he offered me hope. Hope in his promises. Hope in new relationships and jobs. Hope in healing for my marriage. (He also brought me hope through medical and psychological treatment, which are a very important part of my recovery...but this is not a medical or psychology blog. It's a Pretty blog...)
With my hope restored and my faith renewed, I was able to love again. Faith, hope and love are restored to me, and the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13). With my faith and hope in tact, I can love God and his creation. I can love the lovely and the unlovely, and I can love myself again, because God loved me first. Thanks be to God!
If I had to pick one word to sum up 2016, I'd probably say that this year has been...interesting. I have grown as a person and as a Christian, but the road has been full of nasty potholes, and there has been some damage to my suspension. Even so, I will enter 2017 as a better and stronger person than I was when 2016 rolled around a year ago, and I am thankful for that. There is much to learn from tragedy, but I am ever hopeful that there will be less tragedy in the new year.
What's your word for 2016? And what are you hoping for 2017?
My hope is the same this year as last, that the new year will bring renewed hope, joy and peace to my life and the lives of my loved ones. Oh, and more knitting. I hope there will be even more knitting!
Thanks for stopping by today, dear readers. I wish you hope, joy and peace in 2017 and beyond.
Knit in Good Health!