November 8, 2006

A Year (and a half) End Review

I just spent some time looking back over my old posts and thinking about how very therapeutic writing can be. I realize no one really reads this stuff, but it's nice to ponder some things in a way that if someone wanted to they could tell me what they thing. Mostly it just helps me to gather my thoughts and ideas in one place. So much as happened in the last year and apparently I didn't write about much of anything during that last 12 months. God has been taking me through some very hard times during the last 18 months or so. It started with a death - though not of a person but of a relationship - and ironically the fog that I felt like I was living in seems to be lifting with the death - actual physical - of another dearly loved one (my Grannie). But this post is not about loss or sadness, but rather about the Joy that is found in Christ. It never ceases to amaze me, how absolutely incredible God is. I have been reading in His word in Ezekiel, about the new heart and new spirit He gives to us when we come to Him. In fact, He gives us His Spirit which causes us to walk in His ways! Now that is truly amazing. There is so very much to be thankful for even in (and maybe especially in) the trials and loss I have encountered this last year.

For instance, Through the loss of one relationship, I learned to lean on Christ and am beginning to see a rebirth in some small ways of that relationship - though it will never be as it once was.

In Kathie's (my Aunt) death, I saw my family draw near to one another in ways we never have before. My father and uncle actually keep in touch with each other regularly and there is a new appreciation and displayed affection for one another. Michelle (my prima-hermana, or cousin-sister) and I have gotten even closer than before (I miss her and love her so dearly). Family has become a priority, something we all make time for. Kathie's trust and peace in God right up to the end, was a testimony to all who knew her.

In Brendan's (my nephew) birth, there was such joy. The first son, of the first son, of the first son. Another Steck man. The first Boy on the Whiddon and Steck side! A new life in the midst of all the sorrow and stress. A reason to celebrate. A reminder that God calls children a blessing! The cycle of life and death continuing, reminding us of the death that must come to our sin and the new life that is found in Jesus Christ.

Grandpop's death, which followed so closely on the heels of Brendan's birth, there was peace. Having been in such pain for so long, he was finally at rest. Learning what it means when scripture call Jesus our Sabbath Rest.

The sudden death of my (distant) cousin Scott. At 30-something, his death sent a blow to us all that I still don't know how to explain. I haven't spent time with him since I was a little girl when he would push me on the rope swing in front of his house looking out over the Lake. (I'll post about him another time). But he was a part of my world, a part of the fabric of continuity in a life that has been wrought with change. A reminder of how even the briefest interactions with people can impact them for years. Also a call to not let those we love, our family and friends, so far from us that we don't know where to begin to be a part of their lives again.

The constant struggle to balance friendship and emotion. Struggling with how long do I hold on to and maintain a relationship with someone who does not seem to care if we keep in touch? And realizing that God knows what is best and through prayer, I can understand that business does not necessarily mean disregard (which is hard for a quality time person like me). And on the flip side, as a person who in many ways feels a correlation between consistent conversation and time together, and closeness of relationship - what does that say about my relationship with God, if I'm whining about other people not calling me back when I could simply see the extra time as time to spend getting to know my Savior even more?

And finally, Grannie. My precious and dear Grannie. Somehow broke through all the negative and helped me to see how a life that is lived every minute of every day with a heart to serve the Lord Jesus Christ, can impact the world (how ever large or small your sphere of influence) in a mighty mighty way. Grannie was probably the most other focused person (and not in a "codependent" way) that I have ever met. As I sat, alone, at her funeral, surrounded by people who loved her (and me) so very dearly, I realized a couple things. 1) I have gotten so far off track from the call to ministry and service that I believe God has placed upon my life. 2) grief is a lot like our faith in God. Each person has to go through it individually (each person must believe for themselves) - no one can do it for you; yet walking through it with others on the same path sure makes it a heck of a lot easier.

So even though it's only the first part of November, I feel as though it's a New Year. I am optimistic that it will be a good year! May be even a GREAT year, if I can hold on to what God has taught me and let Him guide my steps as He causes me to walk in His ways.

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