Last year didn't quite end like I'd planned.
Nor did this year begin like I'd planned.
Starting on Christmas day with my youngest, sickness swept through our home, eventually knocking out all of us except for my hubby. I was pretty miserable on New Year's Eve and celebrated with earplugs and a sleep aid. (Well, that's not saying much because I would've celebrated that way anyway.) I longed to greet 2014 well rested and ready to tackle my to-do list since the first week of Christmas break never really feels like break to me with all the holiday planning and preparing.
In fact, I spent most of the first day of 2014 in an unmade bed. I can't remember the last time I didn't make my bed! My family knows I am truly sick if the bed doesn't get made. ;) I surely hope my rumply start isn't a foreshadowing of how the rest of my year is going to go. Praise the Lord I am feeling much better today!
Well, I have no idea what 2014 will bring, but looking back on 2013, I am calling it A Year of Restoration.
I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you. “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, who has dealt wondrously with you. And my people shall never again be put to shame. ~Joel 2:25-26
While this particular Scripture may literally refer to physical insects that have destroyed crops leaving behind devastation and destitution in the lives of God's people, it speaks to me symbolically. My locusts are the trials, tribulations, and circumstances that have wreaked havoc in my life. Can you relate?
2013 was a year in which God brought restoration to three areas of my life: Finances, Health, and Marriage. It's not really past tense as the restoration is continuing, praise the Lord! First of all, our family has experienced financial restoration. Anyone who knows us knows we've gone through some difficult times since moving to the desert 7 years ago. I won't go into details since I've blogged so much about it already, but through many ups and downs at work, my husband has been so faithful and is now reaping the benefits. God has shown him favor at work and has "restored the years the locusts have eaten."
Secondly, God has answered a prayer that I have been praying for over 16 years having to do with some health issues. I wish I could say that I'd remained faithful in prayer, but I'd be lying. At some point, I did give up hope and even stopped praying. I figured it was my thorn to bear and that God wasn't going to see fit to heal me. It's not that I believed He couldn't, just that He wouldn't. So thankful He has restored me!
And finally, my husband and I have experienced restoration in our marriage. Not that we had a bad marriage, it's just that it was more about surviving than thriving. The trials and tribulations of life (some very much out of our control, or so it seemed) made life hard. Through much humility on both of our parts, God is miraculously restoring our relationship that had become pretty bleh a few months ago. We've had highs and lows over that past 16 years, but I think we experienced our lowest low this past year. But, hey, when we are weak, He is strong, right? It's been so awesome to sort of fall in love again! I guess it's no coincidence that humility played such a major role in our restoration being that it was the word God gave me for 2013. As we clothed ourselves in humility toward one another, God lifted us up in due time. (1 Peter 5:5b-6)
Truly, I am so grateful for our year of restoration. All I can do is give God all the glory for His mercy and grace. I know I don't deserve His goodness and can do nothing without Him. (John 15:5)