we couldn't have known what a difficult year it would be for us.
how we would face opposition. and heartache. and dark days.
how we would desperately need not only to give grace to others.
but how we much we desired to pour it out over those we would encounter.
days stretched into weeks that turned into months.
and months formed the year that seemed to last forever.
i, myself, have left like i have journeyed through the driest of deserts for much of the year.
i have spent less time doing the things i love.
allowing busyness to rob me of joy.
i neglected to carve out room to exhale and breath fresh the air of His will.
this evening, the house is still. the rooms are quiet with the gentleness that long afternoon naps bring.
the trees are twinkling and my heart is storing up these things.
holding them close and pondering how the difficulties of this year have help mold me more into His image.
life would be much more simple if it came beautifully wrapped like the few presents left under my tree.
but it doesn't.
instead, most days feel like the chaotic mess of a living room floor full of shredded wrapping paper and bows and boxes.
and yet, under all the discarded mess the truth remains.
in a filthy, mess of stable, the best gift of all was found wrapped in swaddling clothes. and years later, that same gift would stretch Himself out on a tree so that we may live victoriously free in Christ.
perhaps the hardships of this past year have been gifts.
gifts of remembrance.
gifts of reflections.
gifts of repositioning.
remembering to lean into Him when the days are hard.
reflecting on His abundant grace.
repositioning my heart in accordance with His will.
indeed, we had no idea how much grace we needed to give ourselves when we chose our theme for 2014. but i suppose, the Giver of all things good knew exactly how much we would need a gentle reminder to give grace.