Our pastor always gives us a word for the year. For 2010, that word is HOPE.
It's a good thing, too because 2010 did not start the way I imagined it.
For Christmas, a friend gave me a copy of Hinds' Feet on High Places. As I read it though, I have this weird feeling that I am living the book! Has that ever happened to you? Lately, I have noticed that my journey seems to parallel that of little Much Afraid. I had some inkling into it when the word "wilderness" kept popping up for me the last couple of weeks. I suppose in preparation of what is to come. Sure going to the High Places sounds magnificent and I would like to reach new heights for God but I'm not thrilled that for her guides He chose Sorrow and Suffering. (I'm not big on sorrow nor suffering.)
My husband and I are having trouble communicating with each other - mostly about the "leaving and cleaving" concept. When is he going to realize he is not his family's savior? He cannot keep trying to rescue them from the consequences of their choices.
I spent the first night of the new year - our 24th wedding anniversary, in fact - soaking my pillow with tears and wondering if we will even reach our silver anniversary. Hello, Sorrow and Suffering. Nice to meet you.
I couldn't stand crying in bed anymore because it was getting hard to breathe. I grabbed the book and sought solace in the bathroom. God and I had a throne to Throne conversation. It was mostly me pouring my heart out to God. Calling on Jesus to intervene in our marriage. When I opened the book, where does Much Afraid find herself? There on the Shores of Loneliness where she was accosted by Resentment, Bitterness, Self-Pity and Pride. Funny, they certainly kept me company last night, too.
Yet in the midst of it all were glimmers of hope. Right there on page 83, "Weeping may endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning." So I went to bed clinging to the book and whispering to myself Acceptance-with-Joy. Acceptance-with-Joy. Sleep finally came.
Well, it is now the next day and I have been cleaning my craft room. DH left to go - to his parents' house? or poker with the guys? - so "joy" isn't here yet. But in my cleaning I found a book by Billy Graham entitled Answers to Life's Problems. Haven't seen this book in awhile. There it was - a chapter on marital problems. I paused to read. Love is not a feeling. It is a commitment. Like Much Afraid, I tuck that pebble in my pocket. Then I came across Charles Stanley's letter from January 2009. I was going to shred it because it's a year old but stopped to read it. It was about a woman who was having marital problems. I felt like it was written for me. No matter what your situation or circumstance, there is hope for you...Your friends or family may walk way, but God never abandons you...The key to triumph in your trials is not your ability to face them - but your total reliance on God's grace. So trust Him, and be assured that 2009 (I crossed it to say 2010) will be one of your best years ever if you simply obey the Father and leave all the consequences to Him." Another pebble to tuck in my pocket.
So for this new year, no matter how it looks around me - or what the next chapter says, I choose to look up. Up to my Heavenly Father who wants the best for me. I also choose to trust. I choose to obey. Most of all, I choose to hope. The hope of the restoration of my marriage to heights it has never seen before. Up in the High Places.
The book has a happy ending, right?