I can’t say I’m sorry to see you go, so let me just shut the door behind you on your way out! You’ve left your mark for sure, as a year never to be forgotten, and tonight as I sit in reflection, my heart is heavy and my eyes are filled with tears. The end of the year tends to bring this upon me as I consider all that the previous year has been. In years past, the tears might have been ones of regret and shame, or even tears of despair and hopelessness, but not this year! No, this year is different.
I remember long ago, at a point in my life before I knew Jesus, when all I desired and held on to was a desperate plea that maybe next year at this time I might at least have a different set of problems. Broken and weary from carrying the same failures and burdens year after year, I had no expectation that the upcoming year would be good. All I hoped for was that somehow it might at least be different! Different would at least be a sign of change; a small of glimmer of hope, as the calendar rolled over bringing with its allusion of a new beginning.
O 2013! You have been different!
I don’t even think I can put into words the upheaval you have caused as you visited my home this year. You came in quietly last January with promises of security and order, and now twelve months later, as you leave, it seems almost nothing has been left untouched and nothing is in its place. I might have once been a woman so longing for change, but as I invited you in 2013, it was with a heart so desperate for something the same. I’m sure you must have missed that memo for what you brought with you is nothing of the consistency and predictability I desired last New Year’s Day. Instead you lugged in sorrow and grief, unemployment, and uncertainty. You moved in with family issues, health issues, and much chronic pain. Oh, if I could have seen what you were carrying in with you, it would have been more than I would have been able to bear, but 2013, as you come to a close, I have to tell you this: Thank you.
Thank you for the change you brought. Thank you for the difference you have made. My heart may be full of sorrow, but the tears are not ones of regret. There is a strange mixture of something unfamiliar where regret used to be, and as you come to a close, the tears falling from my eyes have in them the resemblance of joy. By year’s end I no longer desired for your trials to end, although that would have been nice! What I want most in these moments is the deepest desire of my heart ~ to know Christ. Your winds of adversity, 2013, cleared my heart and my home for Christ to come in powerfully in a way He never has before. You sapped me of all strength, so that I would fall to my knees. You freed me of prayers for comfort and relief, giving me instead, prayers from the heart of my Saviour. You may have knocked me down over and over, but Jesus picked me up, and that trust in His security is not something I would trade for any year of comfort and predictability.
So, thank you.
And thank you for giving the perfect circumstances for God to rattle my foundation so that He could place me firmly on His.
I asked God, not too long ago, to give me an understanding of what the apostle Paul meant when he said that he was sorrowful, yet always rejoicing, because what I want most is to rejoice in the Lord no matter what any year may bring; tonight with this mixture of sorrow and joy in my heart, I realize He has answered that prayer.
Psalm 126 tells us that:
Those who sow in tears
shall reap with shouts of joy!
He who goes out weeping,
bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy,
bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:5-6)
I leave you, 2013, sowing in tears, but full of expectation over the harvest it will bring. You have truly been the worst of times, but I have a feeling, the best of times, too. For the good that will come of the work that Christ has done in my heart this 2013 will bring a harvest that I cannot even begin to imagine. I may be going out weeping, but it’s with much seed to sow, for I know my God is faithful and eventually, I will be coming home with shouts of joy!
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us;
we are glad. Psalm 126:1-3
Goodbye 2013! And thank you!