2012 – Thanks For EVERYTHING

I love old stories and books.  I love old movies.  Black and whites, old school techni-color, circa ‘30s, 40s and 50s…I LOVE ‘em all.  All that ‘tragedy to triumph,’ victory in the face of certain defeat and one person can really make a difference inspiration has always warmed my heart. Some of the best stories are fraught with them. One of my favorite movies of all time is an old movie called, “Good Morning, Miss Dove.” Jennifer Jones plays a woman who turned her own personal loss into a lesson in integrity that affected an entire community for the span of a generation.  I watch this movie at least once a year.  She is my hero.  I often look at movies like this and think to myself, “I look forward to the day when I can see that my life has impacted even one person the way this life has a whole town.”

This year, I saw my life in the same framework as some of my favorite old books and movies. To the untrained eye, my life may seem like a never ending tragedy.  Many have watched as my life seemed to be enveloped by loss, disappointment and setback.  But in the presence of fear and failure and loss, I have seen miracles…straight up, honest to God, real talk, MIRACLES that no one can talk me out of or justify away.  I have seen God move on my behalf and on behalf of my family in ways that defy imagination.   I have had the pleasure of being in the unenviable position to see God do things for me that he can only do when all human hope was totally lost.

I lost the only steady source of income for our household in spring of this year.  My sons and I have scoured the area looking for work while trying to put our dreams in motion.  We have laid the groundwork for three different businesses this year by trusting God to lead and direct our steps. Every time we thought that we were on the brink of homelessness (again), God would step in.  God would lay us on the hearts of people and they would just decide to ‘bless’ us just before the electricity or the gas would be cut off.  The car would break down and no one would know about it and just as suddenly a friend would call and ask if we needed anything. 

And then there were seeds that came to fruition.  I would be feeling defeated or disheartened, with no strength left to encourage myself, and my fantastic sons would talk about how I could do anything and tell me that they believed in me. I have a nephew that lives in Virginia that sent me money to pay a bill and let me know that if I needed anything, I had but to ask. He always sends me notes and posts that let me know how much he loves me and his cousins and that he is only a phone call away. But the one that really got me was my nephew Matthew. 

He is one of the two children of my late sister-in-law that we took in after she passed.  Now, Matt really worried me.  I was naturally concerned for my two nieces when they lost their mom, but I genuinely feared for Matt’s life.  We took turns keeping an eye on him for the first 24 hours after Barbara died because we honestly thought he might be suicidal.  In the months that followed, he would often sullen, angry and viciously sarcastic.  I didn’t know what I could do, so I just loved him and always remained honest with him even when it was a harsh truth that needed to be told.  I think he respected me for it. He joined the Army and always kept in touch, even when he was sent to Iraq.  He made peace with his life and with God. He even got married.  And even though this year as his uncle and I have separated and he has divorced, we were messaging back and forth on Facebook and he basically let me know that none of that mattered. He was celebrating that he is still here.  He’s GLAD to be ALIVE! THAT conversation meant more to me than money, more than paid bills, more than my dream job.  It made be believe that my life made a difference!

But WAIT!!! There’s one more thing that blessed my socks off this year.  I had been without the loves of my life for more than 30 years.  The cousins that meant more to me than anyone could understand were mysteriously missing from my life for all that time are back in my life! I have hugged and kissed two of the three rascals.  I keep up with them all thanks to social media and two of them live 10 and 20 minutes away respectively! We’re all grown up and have lots going on in our lives, but it’s the most wonderful thing to know that they are not only in my heart but in my life!  Restoration is a real thing and that gives me hope.

Andraé Crouch wrote a song that says, “I thank Him for my mountains. And I thank Him for my valleys.  I thank Him for the storms He’s brought me through.  For, if I never had a problem, I’d never know that God could solve them. I’d never know what faith in God could do.”

And that is why I can say with sincere gratitude, late in the day on the eve of a new year, “Thank you, 2012. Thanks for everything.”  I’ve seen God more up close and personal than ever before. No one can ever tell me what He cannot do. And because of that, my hope is HIGH for 2013.  I expect God to really blow my mind.



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