An Open Letter: Reflecting on 2012; Thoughts on 2013
I’m laughing at myself tonight, because I find it pathetically predictable that I’m writing an “end of the year” blog, along with thousands of other bloggers in the blogosphere today. At least I spared you my “Top Ten Posts for 2012″, the practice of which I find to be a very arrogant practice.
But being who I am, I can’t help but sit here and reflect on the last year, and of course in reflecting, write. My apologies.
But really, I think the direction this post is going to take will be a mixture of 2012 and 2013, so you may have to follow closely.
My crew and I are not doing anything terribly exciting to “ring in the new year”. I have one sick on the couch, the rest of us have been watching movies since I got off of work. We’re taking a break right now before we put in Princess Bride. My oldest girl is at a party in Williamsburg. I wish she was home safe with us.
2012 was another year of conquering and surviving each day as it came. One day at a time. And we did. As I look back at the last 12 months, I can clearly see God’s protection and provision for this family of mine. He provided a new job, allowing me to work from home, which resulted, amongst other things, a dramatic raise in the kids grades. He has kept us healthy. He has provided friends and churches to love and protect and help to provide for us, for which we are truly, truly grateful. Without their help, we would not be standing. And we are doing just that, standing. I’m also proud of my crew as I have watched them grow even closer to each other–they have each other’s back. Keli’s graduation was much more than a graduation–it was a celebration for our entire family that we had reached that milestone. I couldn’t be more proud of Keli if I tried. I love my girl. I love my crew.
But 2012 has not been without its challenges. I’ve struggled more this year than the recent years following my ex-husband’s arrest and imprisonment. I found it to be a year of many more dark days than usual–a true fight against the battle of depression and hopelessness. The positive side to that is that I have had to fight harder than ever to stay in scripture and study and prayer in order to hold on to some semblance of stability (which is a nicer way of saying “in order to keep sane” ) I have had to, and continue to have to fight for joy, as John Piper puts it. I am tired with an all-pervasive tiredness that I can’t seem to shake.
And instead of reaching my “New Year’s Resolution” for last year of breaking out of this cocoon I have tightly and safely wrapped around myself (and as a by-product, wrapped my children in to some degree as well) of solitude and aloneness, I’ve failed and have sunk even deeper into my safe, quiet but lonely world. My introvert side has completely dominated any extrovert I have in me. I hide really well. :)
Switching gears, tonight is December 31st, 2012. The Last Day of This Year. My typical wannabe organized self usually is so excited on New Year’s eve–almost like children on Christmas Eve. I’m always looking for new goals, better ways of doing things, new ways of reinventing myself. So you can see that this time of year really appeals to me. New diets. New cleaning routines. New work routines. New financial and budgeting routines. Because THIS is the year I’m going to get myself together!!
But laying in bed earlier today, having one of those hiding moments, I came to the conclusion that I just can’t do it. I can not put my hope into all of these routines and actions and activities for which I am feeling no motivation for this year. Now, that doesn’t mean that a new diet WON’T start tomorrow, it will, along with a renewed exercise plan. No, what I mean is that this year, in order to keep putting one foot in front of the other, I need something so much more than a new calendar and fitness app on my phone. I can not put my hope into these things, because I have very precious little hope to spare.
I wrote a blog post the day after Christmas on Psalm 42:5-6. The passage is below:
It’s the second part of this verse that speaks to my soul tonight. ”Hope in God.”. Almost as if it is a command. Hope in God, for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. My God is my salvation, He is my only hope. He truly is my only hope for 2013. And if I place my hope in trying to start 2013 with an emphasis on new routines and goals, to the neglect of placing my hope in God, I am sure to fail. I am sure to fail.
So I walk into 2013 with a little more trepidation than usual. My house is not spotless tonight, like it normally is on New Year’s eve. I don’t have lists ready to go for tomorrow morning. I haven’t even settled on a Bible Reading Plan for 2013 yet. But I hope to wake up tomorrow and have a serious talk with my God–maybe even an argument–about the upcoming year. A pleading for his continued mercy, a prayer of thankfulness for all He has done, an examination of my soul leading to confession, and then intercession for the people in my life, for the years that lay before them.
And then my crew and I will start walking through the days of 2013, with the goal of daily placing our Hope in our God, trusting in His protection, provision and love for us. I pray that He will show me how I can minister this year, and how I can parent better. The year will hold much joy and great times with friends and family; the year will also hold trials and challenges; possibly grief. But what is sure is that time will move quickly. Life is short. Heaven, our home is near.
My prayer for you, my friends, is that you, too, will walk into 2013 with your Hope in God and not in resolutions. That your year will be blessed with exceedingly great joy. That your soul will be full with God’s love and mercy and grace. That you will know that you are each very loved by the Duffer family; greatly loved and appreciated by me.
I, too, would appreciate your prayers for my family as we go into the new year. Particularly that my job would become full-time, so that we would have insurance. For continued good health. For times of productive study, prayer and spiritual growth. And that I would continue to gain back confidence to re-enter the world a little bit more this year.