I’ve been reflecting on this past year, waiting for some illumination that will allow me to see what it all meant and how to take the next step into 2016 gracefully. As of yet, I have not been given that gift.
It was the most difficult year of my life. That much I can say. It was a “run of bad luck,” a “difficult season.” But what was it all for? Someone asked me recently if I feel that I’ve totally recovered from the stress and I felt the tears sting my eyes. I still ask “why” and wait in the silence. I know that I am recovering and that I am still living with doubts.
There are other things that I know.
I know that the songs that I clung to through the months still sing out truth: You are a good, good Father. I know that I came to know Jesus in a way I didn’t before. His silence slowly became a presence instead of an absence; one that held me. I know that the prayer I prayed in June, when I was calling it a year of blessing – before the miscarriage, before the loss of the roaster, before the anxiety, depression, loneliness, despair – is still true.
Let me be a woman, holy through and through, asking for nothing but what God wants to give me, receiving with both hands and with all my heart whatever that is. ~ Elizabeth Elliot
I don’t have any new year’s resolutions to write out tomorrow. I learned this year that all my carefully laid plans, all my best intentions, my hopes, desires, dreams are not in my hands at all. That trusting is way more than I ever imagined. I know now that walking in grace is not always a comfortable thing. Sometimes it’s like giving birth: painful and joyful and a hell of a lot of work.
It’s not that I am not dreaming anymore. In fact, I know no other way of living but with dreams and plenty of them. It’s just that my heart got wrung out this year and I feel more like slipping into 2016 through the back door, quietly.
When I float my paper lantern out over the ocean tonight it will be with a quiet soul. I am not celebrating the end of this year, even if it was a difficult one. I feel I am moving away from something that is a big part of me without really realizing what that something is; maybe that’s why I’m hesitant to just move on, look to the year ahead.
When I light the candle in my paper lantern and the breeze carries it over the wide ocean I will remember all that this year brought and all that I tried to push away from me with my puny strength. I will remember that it takes constant attention to keep my hands outstretched for whatever God gives. I will remember that I have no idea what 2016 will bring and I will trust that there will be a Presence with me all the way.