I’ve been moved to write to you, friend, about a lot of topics and thoughts that have consumed my mind lately. Unless you have hours to spare to read an extremely long blog post, I will have to save them each for another post. But what a thing to look forward to! For you as the reader, and for me writing to you and sharing encouragement! Thankfully, we’ve made it to a new year and there are so many days ahead to fill my blog with everything I want to share with my readers – visitors, friends, family! These are encouraging notes to myself as well and it stirs joy in me to hopefully encourage you as well!
On that note….
During the week of Christmas, my Mom and I were reflecting on the past 10 years and how we couldn’t believe a decade has come and gone and a new one awaits us. We were thinking of everything that has occurred over these years, to us personally and as a family. The following days, I couldn’t help but to continue thinking about this and more events came to mind…
There’s been personal accomplishments – I graduated college in 2011 with an accounting degree and then 5 years later graduated from the same college with a Masters in Business Administration; I pursued and received a job with Power Design Inc in St. Pete that I am thankful to still have – this job has challenged me; I have grown so much through this place and it’s a career that has shaped me and continues to do so. I moved out of my parent’s home and created a home for myself. // There’s been family loss – my Aunt Colleen and my sister-in-law’s mother fought hard against their battles with cancer and my grandmother was freed from the mental disease that overtook her mind and body. They went home to be with the Lord and their pain and trapped, suffering bodies are no more. // There’s been new life – I became an Aunt, my parents – grandparents, and my brothers – fathers as we welcomed Miss Heloisa Dessie and Mr. Luke Andrew Ryhal into the family. There were three new cousins welcomed into the family as well, Brielle, Calla, and Ethan . // There’s been family growth – I gained two sisters, Jessica and Eliana. // & There’s been things I didn’t think would happen – like my cousin Emily and myself entering and finishing the Savage Race, or both of us, each getting a tattoo – – – These are only a few events that have happened over this last decade, of course so much more has taken place.
Several tears have been shed, fears relieved, prayers answered and unanswered, laughter and joy, relationships broken, friendships strengthened and increased, mistakes made, wisdom gained, memories created, things lost and waiting to be found again… through it all, our lives have changed and shifted over the past 10 years in ways I could never have predicted. It’s how we handle each day and the challenges and joys it presents, that makes a difference – How we choose to live each moment out.
No one knows what the new year, or even tomorrow, holds for each of us. The only thing I can say for certain is that there will be sorrow, there will be joy and happiness, there will be loss and new things begun. But all of this has a place and a purpose.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-15: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. What gain has the worker from his toil? I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also, that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil – this is God’s gift to man. I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before Him. That which is, already has been ; that which is to be, already has been; and God seeks what has been driven away. ”
I love this passage. It’s a good reminder throughout the year, but since we’re at the beginning of a new year, it fits just as perfectly. As we step forward into the next year, one day at a time, we’re not promised moments of ease and without difficulty; we’re told that there will be death, loss, mourning, and suffering, but there will also be joy, beauty to behold, dancing, and the lost will be found. We do not have to worry about the future. God has our lives planned with purpose, we are to only follow in faith and seek Him and His glory in each of these different moments. I read tonight the following, written by Raechel Myers from “She Reads Truth”:
Life and death are not respecters of each other. Mourning and dancing – they don’t always take turns. Not in my story, not in yours, not in our world. While people celebrate weddings and first steps and the sweetness of life, the broken world continues to break our hearts, sometimes at the very same time. The tension is there – wondering when to celebrate and when to cry. Often, the best thing we can do is acknowledge that tension and do both, seeking the Lord as we navigate the complexities of this world.
We must never stop mourning brokenness. It is right to mourn.
We must never cease to celebrate life and beauty. It is right to dance.
Because of Christ, life comes from death. Because of Christ, we will dance again.
As stated in Ecclesiastes 3:14-15, nothing can be added or taken away from that which God has set in place. He is seeking our hearts and obedience. Our next year, and the next decade won’t always be smooth and easy, but it will be beautiful and hopeful and joy-filled. While the same theme of loss and life, sorrow and joy remains, our choices and how we react to life’s events is where change and the impact occurs. Think about what you’ve gone through, learn from it, so that the next time you face adversities, you handle them better and grow even further from them – same goes for myself – As I reflect on 2019 and the last few years, I know my strength in the Lord continues to expand and the more I’m aware, with guidance and prayer, I will face each moment with grace.
Each day calls for our attention and the proper time to handle what the day brings. But God clearly says, that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful! Our sorrows will always turn into joy; comfort is promised to us always. Through faith in Christ. I pray, this year, you come to know this peace and comfort that surpasses anything you can imagine – it’s beautiful!
Now, I encourage you to really take some time to pause and reflect on the past year (or even years) and see where you’ve grown, what can possibly change, what you may need to leave behind in order to move forward, and where you’re headed. 2020 is here and I’m excited for the unknown, because the one thing I do know that’s ahead, is enough for me – and that’s the Lord.