A Feast Followed by a Sock Party

For the past several years, New Year's Eve has been a time in which I have sought solitude over parties, contemplation over festivity. I like to use the final hours of the year to remember major events and evaluate the year.....or rather, evaluate myself over the course of it. This December 31st called for both solitude and a party, contemplation and festivity. 2012 was quite a year, and I am thrilled to see it go.

I began my morning by reviewing the resolutions I made on December 31st of 2011, alternating smiles and grimaces as I read a list I penned only days before a nightmarish chain of events were set in motion. I had written things like "take Micah on play dates," "read more," "waste less time on social networking sites," "work on my novel," "finish memorizing Ephesians," and "learn to cook healthier meals with more creativity without sacrificing taste." I may have accomplished 4 of 10 resolutions, and believe me when I say that it was quite by accident.

For the most part, I honestly think resolutions are silly. Why do we even call them resolutions? It seems strange for such a flighty race as we to say, "I am resolved to [insert achievement, accomplishment, whatever here]." We aren't privy to the events of the next day, much less to the events a full year may bring. If 2012 has taught me anything it is that we have very little control over what happens to us and what may seem important today is as likely as not to become obsolete tomorrow.

So why do it?

Last year, I wrote on Facebook something about the importance of measuring our personal growth. While I absolutely believe that it is important to give thought to our personal--especially spiritual--progress, one year later I would amend my words with the following: It is infinitely more important to reflect upon the faithfulness of God than to rehash the accomplishments of man. Each New Year's Eve, the Christian is invited to a grand feast--"Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and feed on His faithfulness" (Psalm 37:3).

Recently, I was feeling impatient about a deep, aching longing of my heart that cannot be fulfilled at the present time or in the near future. I prayed with silent, hot tears and felt these precious words form in the slivers of my soul that only God can reach--"My dear child, My faithfulness is best measured over time."

I remember, in that moment, glancing over at the Christmas cards on my refrigerator that confirmed the truth of those words--the couple who struggled so long to have children whose beautiful boys (with a baby sister on the way) were beaming out from the photo like two rays of sunshine, my best friend with her family whose long held dreams were fulfilled in so many ways in 2012, the dear, young mother who just graduated nursing school in order to generate needed income for her family, new babies born, my Jenny looking beautiful and joyous in her family photos. There are many stories of God's faithfulness Scotch-taped to my refrigerator that can only be measured over time--some over the course of a decade, many over the course of a single year. A year is but a speck of dust in the grand scope of eternity, but it has much to offer at the banquet table of God's faithfulness.

Furthermore, I have found that the easiest way to obey the admonishment to "trust in the Lord" is to sit down at the feast. So pardon me while I gorge myself for a moment. While my personal accomplishments were few, I think you will see that GOD accomplished much on my behalf--

1) On January 6, we found out that Sara and Micah had RSV. We began a rigorous regimen of steroids and antibiotics that would last a couple of days for Micah and a couple of months for Sara. In the midst of my child's serious illness and her case of "Colic From Hell," the Lord gave me  inexplicable JOY. I was even happy during months that have always haunted me with depression--a miracle of miracles.

2) Also in January, I discovered I had an allergy to sulfa. I was not sure I would survive the year after this discovery. Things have worsened dramatically since then, and to my astonishment, I find myself still here.

3) Again in January, the Lord delivered me from a lifelong sinful addiction. I had tried to overcome this addiction for years. One night, lying with my sick, writhing infant in the guest bedroom, I cried out to the Lord for deliverance, and He delivered me. It was simple--anticlimactic even--but I have not struggled with that particular addiction since that night.

4) The morning of February 2nd, I had a prophetic dream that has flavored my entire year. God has revealed its meaning to me layer by layer. What once caused me great fear has brought me great peace.

5) During Sara's illness, my relationship with the Lord burst forth with new life. Routine was ripped away from me, so I sought after the Lord in every spare moment as if my life depended upon it. And my life did depend upon it.

6) I faced the unlikelihood that I would be able to have more children with heartbreak, and found healing in giving many items away to friends, family and a Christ-centered charity.

7) The "Colic From Hell" ended when I was forced to stop breastfeeding Sara. I had a deep freezer full of breast milk, but when I went to its stores out of need, I found all of the bags spoiled. I wept bitter tears over that milk, but knowing what I now know, I can see that the Lord intervened on the behalf of my child and myself by allowing that milk to spoil, for it was the milk itself that was making her sick. Sleep and sanity were restored to our household shortly thereafter.

8) Early in 2012, I read Timothy Keller's King's Cross, which prepared me for the storm to come and changed my life forever by changing the way I view the gospel. I recommend this book to Christians, to skeptics, to atheists, to seekers, to all.

9) On May 2nd, my health collapsed. Once again, I felt that death was imminent. It was scary. It was hard. Somehow, I have not only survived the collapse, but I have actually thrived in spite of it.

10) I went hungry for 5 months as I fumbled around for medical help and treatment. In the meantime, the Lord sustained me with His presence. Truly, I have "tasted and seen that the Lord is good."

11) I was ushered into the world of alternative medicine, a world of which I had always felt wary. God has brought me here against my will, heedless to my comfort, and I am very glad He did.

12) In June, our household experienced deliverance from a spirit of oppression and fear. Micah's anxiety attacks stopped, and my lifelong affair with anxiety ended.

13) For the first time in my life, I was asked about the hope that is in me. This is a Christ-follower's dream. Little did I know that I would have to venture into hell to be asked. By the grace of the Lord Jesus and with the help of many Timothy Keller sermons, I was ready to give an answer to a friend I dearly love and respect.

14) In September, I discovered a highly dangerous latex allergy that has deeply affected the way I live. Shortly after, I planned my funeral. There have been some dark moments since the discovery of this allergy, but the Lord has guided me through each one with the light of His presence.

15) God introduced me to Jenny, a new friend who has tremendously impacted my life. It is unlikely that either of us will correctly estimate the importance of our introduction on this side of Heaven.

16) Sara had a tube surgery in August at 8 months old. Praise be to God that we were able to wait so long! Praise be to God that there have been no ear infections since!

17) In 2012, I began to experience the death of ambition, awakening to the joy and freedom to be had in finding that Jesus, Himself alone, is enough.

I look at this list, completely overwhelmed by the Lord's accomplishments and completely underwhelmed by my own. I did nothing worthy of notoriety. A full year passed with my only accomplishments being utterly invisible to the world at large. I am learning that this is not only okay, but God's calling for most of His beloved, a belief which largely explains the weirdness of my resolution list for 2013--

1) Embrace obscurity (an idea based on my current read, which I highly recommend). I have always desired to be great. At something, at anything. And I have always fallen short. This year, I will endeavor to deny my desire to be great, and exchange it for a desire to be faithful in the small, invisible things that no one appreciates.....which brings me to "number two."

2) Do all things "as unto the Lord." I will strive to cook meals, wash dishes, change diapers, bathe children, sweep floors, and wash laundry "as unto the Lord" because--let's get real--no one sees or cares about these things except for an extreme few. Even if I manage to accomplish something remarkable to society, the majority of my life will not matter unless I do it "as unto the Lord." The beautiful turn-around is that when I cook, clean and change diapers for the Lord, these mundane tasks begin to bear eternal significance. I think I can handle that exchange.

3) Allow the love Christ has for me to be my significance. To be less--to be nothing-that He may be everything.

4) Seek to be more Spirit-led. (Seriously, should this one ever be taken off of my resolution list?)

5) Learn to fearlessly speak the truth in love. Love is key.

6) Love my family better.

7) Read more, Facebook less.

8) Begin homeschooling Micah.

9) Learn more about natural health and sustainable living.

10) Get better.

 As I type, fireworks boom across the highway, heralding the entrance of 2013. While I am infinitely grateful for the experiences of 2012, I am not sad to see this year put to bed. It was not a kind year to my family. Tonight, we celebrated its demise with a party.

 We celebrated with a feast--roast with carrots, cauliflower "rice," onion "gravy" and farm-fresh kale chips....
 dark chocolate chip macaroons.....
 and pumpkin custard.
 And thanks to the genius gift-giving of my Jenny, we had a New Year's Eve sock party...
 in which we danced.....
 and danced......
 and danced....
 and laughed.....
 and danced some more.....
 and laughed some more.....
 and took goofy pictures.....
 and pranced around in a little black dress for no reason.....
all in our awesome socks. 
Thank you, Jenny.

I have no idea what 2013 holds. I'm not even going to think the words--"It can't be as bad as 2012." The truth is that it can be....and worse. But I don't have to worry about tomorrow. I won't worry about tomorrow. Things change. Shoes drop. My life is but a vapor which is here today and gone tomorrow. As I wrote on September 30th, the day I planned my funeral--

"God is not 'a tame lion.' He is as wild as He is loving. And knowing that, I have no idea how far my illness is going to go. He is GOD. His ways are unsearchable, His plans are past finding out. He could take me or all that I love in an instant, and it would be His right."

God may not be tame, but He is good. He is kind. He is faithful. He is the same today as He was yesterday.....as He will be forever. Come what may in 2013, I will remain safe in my Lover's arms. And that is all I need to know. For now, I feast.

Join me at the table, will you? How has God proven His faithfulness to you in 2012? Let us be nourished together by His steadfast love and be better able to trust Him for all that 2013 holds in store.

Happy NEW Year!