Reviewing the last year
I’ve just been looking back over our calendar for 2022 to see if we have transferred all significant dates to the 2023 one.
It was an interesting journey over events in our lives both big and small, some forgotten, others brought memories – some good, others negative.
In the past year we have made new friends as new people arrived at church and as our guests from Ukraine arrived to stay while the war plays out. What traumas and disruptions for them. What changes, and for many the separation from loved ones. Most found their jobs ended abruptly; some literally lost their homes; all had left home behind for the sake of their immediate families, especially to keep the children safe from harm. I do hope they have found us welcoming and encouraging as they have journeyed through the past year into the new.
I know most want to return home in time, but they will return to a country torn apart and with rebuilding in all sorts of ways required. We continue to pray for you all as you find the way ahead.
In my own life as I look back there have been many years that I remember as blessed and happy – 1966 & 2005 as I married 2 wonderful men – one at a time! There are also other years I remember with pain – 2003, 2011 brought memories of painful
losses in my family.
My life is no different from others, some times are good; other are deeply sad. My Mum always encouraged us in difficult times to think about what we learned through the experience, to choose what we could change, and to accept what had happened, learning from it.
Dad died when I was 25, Mum when I was 33 – yet their love and advice live on and I am still guided by what they taught me. Neither was a Christian, though my Mum found the Lord and lived for him in the last 10 years of her life. But when I and my 4 siblings were small, we were all packed off to Sunday School twice every Sunday – my parents needed the rest. I am eternally grateful they did so because I learnt so much there which has sustained me through. So many Bible verses spring to my mind when I hit problems and need guidance.
If you are a new believer (or not so new!) I encourage you to read your Bible frequently, let it soak into you so it’s there ready to spring up when you need it. I started the practise in 2002 of reading my Bible systematically and daily. I read each day a certain amount, asking God to show me something new - and he does!! I started at Genesis and just kept reading to the end of Revelation, then back to the beginning again. It usually takes 9/10 months, but it’s not the time that matters, it’s letting God speak through the pages. I know some people don’t like marking their Bibles but I do – high lighter, written comments, underlining etcetera. When I come back to it next time round it reminds me of where I was the years before and what God has done for me since then. Just this week I reread a passage I spoke on in Ghana in 2013 with Wheels for the World. Memories flooded back of people, places, the team and more, and once more I pray for them and the work.
I don’t bother making New Years resolutions for 2 reasons – 1. I never keep them up beyond January 10th and 2. I don’t know what the year will bring me any more than you do!
Let me finish with a few of my favourite verses – they remind me of who our God is
and of who I am in him.
I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.
(love all of it but especially vs 38-39)
I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them they would be too many to declare.
“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come to pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.
Psalm 139:1-3 & 23-24
O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar in all my ways.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.
May you walk with Jesus through the year ahead