“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV)
For the little over a year since my husband’s unexpected death, life has taken some rather interesting and unexpected twists and turns. Some of these changes have been joyous (like my daughter’s marriage to a wonderful young man), while others have stretched me to capacity.
I have had to let go of much: a husband dearly loved, a job I would never have left had circumstances been different, a daughter whose focus is now a husband (as it should be); said good-bye to family, dear friends, a beloved church, a beautiful home, and all the hopes and dreams for a life which can no longer be. Doors I thought God was opening, have been clearly shut, leaving me with a life I never wanted.
And yet, I am filled with hope for the future.
Looking over this past year, I am overwhelmed with God’s incredible love, grace, and mercy. He has protected me more times than I can count. I see how each one of these closed doors has been an expression of His great love for me. And while life often seemed like shifting sand, an Anchor held me through it all.
When I am tempted to let self-pity sneak in, I remind myself of all Jesus Christ let go of in order that we should be reconciled to the Father. How could I give much importance to my losses in comparison?
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11 (NKJV)
This is the season when we easily become distracted by so many things: shopping, Christmas parties, family get-togethers, plus a thousand non-essentials. The pressure to fit everything in becomes overwhelming and exhausting.
Maybe it’s time to let go of what we have come to expect of ourselves and others and focus on what is most important.
“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” Hebrews 12:14-15 (NKJV)
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