On Saturday evening, the 31st of December, I went to a prayer and praise-type service at my home church. I wanted to just sit quietly and not share any praises; sometimes that is just how we feel. As I sat, listening to others, I pondered recent months and what came to mind? One struggle after another is the answer! Better just be quiet; right? That quiet, yet clear “feeling” that you must speak up; I think we may call it that still small voice.
I stood and began to name a number of things in my life that I was thankful for. There are many. Safety, provision, my church and pastors, friends. It was a good year full of examples of God’s grace and kindness.
Undoubtedly, daughters that have their own faith in God, daughters that are serving God and daughters that are raising my grandchildren to have strong faith is a huge praise in my life. I added that these “little ones” all believe that Jesus is God. To me, that is huge.
As the Bible says in 3 John 1:4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” This could not be more true. Why, then, do I feel almost ashamed when I share this praise? Is it not praiseworthy? Did I not give God all the glory? That is where it belongs. There is no bragging, except upon God for doing this work, despite our imperfections. “Know ye that the LORD he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.” (Psalms 100:3)
Not everyone in that auditorium could share that particular praise. I suspect that my praise feels like a painful reminder to some. And yet, I heard praises last evening that were reminders of shortcomings or loss in my life. I dare say that there was not a woman in that auditorium that could not share stories of loss, some that would shock. I am no exception. My life story contains periods of great sorrow, some of which I have never shared with anyone. Healing does not remove the memory; the scars a reminder.
We can learn to be thankful for the heartaches of life, but these lessons may take a lifetime to reconcile. Through pain, we learn things that we might not otherwise know, lessons we never wanted to learn. We cannot change what has happened, but God can use it and use it to His glory for our good. Faith does not always give understanding, yet it gives the comfort of knowing that – in today’s vernacular – that God’s got this!
Sharing a praise testimony is not bragging on yourself, but bragging on God. Selah.
This year I am going to write about things that we talk about when we get together, things that women think about: our faith and our families. Coffee and tea. Our homes, friends, food and fashion. We talk about ministries and we talk about politics. We talk about what we have read and where we have gone and we talk about our hopes and our dreams.
It is wonderful being a woman and being able to look at things aided by the Light of the World. Now THAT is a praise!
On a personal note, Christmas was sweet. I celebrated because the Incarnation of our Saviour is entirely something to reflect upon and rejoice in. (And I have grandchildren.)
This is the 4th year I have entered into without my husband; how can it be? It was our custom to spend New Year’s Eve quietly, discussing our hopes and thoughts for the year ahead. Usually, we were sleeping before midnight. I kept our traditions and fell asleep shortly before midnight, listening to an audiobook that played for over 4 hours after I slept. I am not the only one that does this, I guess. Am I?
What was I listening to? A book about Angels, by that name, by Billy Graham. Yes, I am thinking to share a few thoughts on this book and others I read this year.
Ladies, we do not know what 2023 will bring our way, but I want to share a verse, no, two verses that encouraged me on New Year’s Eve.
“The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.” (Psalms 46:7)
“The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.” (Psalms 46:11)
I like those verses for a couple of reasons. Most importantly, they remind me that I am not alone and that God is my refuge. He tells me to stop and think about that! I need a refuge, and He is that!
And secondly, He repeats the same counsel a few verses later.
Did your children ever roll their eyes because you have already said something, or told a particular story over and over? Think about how repetitive the Scriptures can be; we never roll our eyes when God repeats something. Am I right?
No matter what the year brings, it will never hurt to keep a sense of humor nearby.
To end with a quote whose origin is unknown:
Every year we make resolutions to change ourselves; this year, make a resolution to be yourself.