This week, we are reflecting on our “Top Five Blessings for 2011.” Most of us have heard the modern exhortation, “Don’t live in the past. ” But even the Apostle Paul--who tells us in his letter to the Philippians that he leaves behind the past and presses on toward the future (Phil. 3:13)--understood the value of reflection. Just read his self-assessment a few verses earlier. So, being a cook, here is my own 2011 "P Soup" as I reflect on a difficult, but fruitful year:
5. Pressure--2011 presented pressure for many people in our sphere. For our family, we were adjusting to a new city after six years on the North Shore of Massachusetts (the longest we have lived in one place), a new church (where my husband Tim is pastor), a new high school for our youngest, being a significant distance from family and friends, and my needing employment--and that’s the short list. But the pressure presented opportunity for #4:
4. Perseverance--“Thus far the Lord has helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12). God has always pushed us to “new places” but he has shored us up with his grace, strength, mercy, and a sense of humor.To help my sanity and to challenge myself, I set a goal to read 50 books in 2011 and write about it on Facebook--52 books later, with a lot less television, and a sense of accomplishment, I did it! We have had to persevere in trusting and hoping for #3:
3. Provision--Alleluia! Tim and I minister and collaborate at our church, our daughter loves her school and joined the crew team, our older daughter Maggie had a dream trip to Ireland (where my mom was born), England and Paris, and is in her freshman year at her dream school, our son Sam got engaged to his high school sweetheart and they will both graduate college this year, and our entire family participated in my sister-in-law’s wedding (including Tim performing the ceremony, his first!). God blessed us with not only one mild winter here on the “North Coast,” but two!
2. Pals--God knows how important relationships are to me, and not only did he move our family closer to longtime friends in Ithaca, but also gave me some great friends here in Pittsford I cherish. A new friend and I started a book group last year, and it is thriving. Since our older children attend college in Boston, I have opportunity to visit dear friends and family members a few times a year in CT and MA! Now, if we can only get these people to drive to Western New York more often ;).
1. Presence--2011 was a tough year, but it was also a blessed year because God’s presence was with us, encouraging, exhorting, renewing. This list of Top Five may seem a little odd because the content includes some tough categories, but it is through the challenges of life we remember to lean on the only One who can truly help us, and save us! His presence is our peace.