What a year this has been! In the past, I have felt that some years have been more challenging than others because some years have been filled with more surprises and required my acknowledgment that God is God and there is no other. Little did I know then what 2012 would hold for me.
The best way I can explain what my 2012 has been like is to divide this into two phases: the larger blessings and the surprising daily ones. Scripture uses the term blessing to denote being specially favored by God with resulting joy and spiritual growth. Hmmm, I can honestly attest to the resulting joy and spiritual growth, and I can acknowledge that my experience has passed through the hands of God and that I can receive it as evidence of His “favor.”
• I have been blessed to know God this year in a personal, intimate way that I believe would not have been possible apart from personal trauma.
• I have been blessed with a kind and loving husband with whom I celebrated 42 years of marriage on 12-12-12.
• I have been blessed with daughters who care for me and for each other and who have reminded me that God’s faithfulness extends to the generations.
• I have been blessed by my granddaughter Abigail, who sees me and likes me as I am, who isn’t afraid about the physical changes in my life, and who holds my hand as we walk to keep me “safe.”
• I have been blessed with the presence of my 87-year-old mother and my 84-year-old mother-in-law, both of whom have shown their children the power of prayer, the mercy of God, and the beauty of unconditional love.
• I have been blessed by dear family members and precious friends, who have reminded me in little and big ways that I am loved and am prayed for.
• I have been blessed with compassionate and gifted physicians and medical personnel who model the healing power of the Great Physician.
• I have been blessed by the twists and turns of my cancer—stage 4 lung cancer, then not lung cancer at all; estrogen-positive cancer even after a complete hysterectomy 26 years earlier; fairly uneventful chemotherapy treatment but painful and difficult side effects for the five months since the end of the major chemotherapy; weird reactions and atypical results—all of which remind me that this uncharted territory is not unknown to God.
• I have been blessed by the return of my hair (!) although the growth is very slow and the overall look is one I have never experienced before.
• I have been blessed often with surprisingly good news after startlingly frightening symptoms; most recently, brain scan yesterday confirmed that the regular flashes of light in the far left side of my eye since last Saturday are not caused by a tumor but by a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) and should not cause serious concern. (I could go on and on about this blessing, and I have made a list of “first one thing and then the opposite”! It reminds me that God has a strong sense of humor.)
• I have been blessed to be continuing chemotherapy and anti-hormonal therapy because both are keeping the tumors from growing.
• I have been blessed with the physical challenges that are the result of treatment because these remind me that God is my healer.
As I think back over so many end-of-year reflections and start-of-year hopes, I confess that often my focus has been on myself, on what I wanted to change and on what my dreams for the year would be.
This year, in the words of a favorite folk song, I pray that I will “see Thee more clearly” and “love Thee more dearly day by day.” As Scripture reminds me, “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God” (Micah 6:8).
My life has been filled with blessings, and the truth is that this year has surpassed them all. Thank you for reminding me daily of His grace and love.