Sunday, January 4, 2009

A New Year's 360

Happy New Year Everyone!!!  I know I'm a little late with this latest proclamation but I was trying to wait until it felt genuine and like I actually yelled it with glee.  Let me just admit to you now that those last two to three exclamation marks weren't necessarily from the gut. I tried but really they were a little forced to be honest. 

Of course I mean for everyone to have a fabulous year-don't get me wrong-but I'm just not my usual chipper self about it all.  I'm ready to hear some really good news folks!  I would like to hear that Ladybird Rufflebottoms* got her dream job that pays just the right amount saving her from doing anything drastic about her house. I'd like to hear "business is getting stronger" from a close relative who's worked most of his life to build a company toward retirement only to have it screech to a halt and dry up just when he needs it most.  I would like to know that our precious friends the Wondersteins* will soon get a clean bill-o-health report on their little trooper boy suffering from cancer.  It would in fact be awfully nice to hear that news from some of you as well!  How about less premature death this year?  Or maybe just a specific life rescued from drug abuse and mental woes with a miraculous full recovery.  


If it seems like I'm just looking at the dark side of the room, that's because I have found myself there lately.  I've had a few glimmers of happiness recently though and I don't think I'll reach for the antidepressants just yet.  I feel like it actually takes times like these in our lives to remind us that we are not just here for our own pursuit of happiness, but we are here to muddle through a fallen world until our Saving Grace arrives to scoop us up and say "Well done, good and faithful servant!"  

I don't really expect to hear that upon scoop up.  Right now I'd hear something more like "Why such a weakling, mediocre and lackluster servant?  Could you not have put forth just a touch more effort in my name?" I, of course, would deserve much more of a talking to, but I really can't bear to think about my personal failings right now. 

 Right now  I've got these worries for my beloved friends and family.  I want to help each one of them but in every case I find myself lacking.  All I can really do is pray and sometimes my brain is even too confused to do that well.  I realize I don't have to pray eloquently or list every detail.  I just have to do it.  And often.  God is so amazing to watch in action as he takes care of his people.  He knows more than we do what needs to happen. And he can reach people in ways we never expect him to.  

So I'm forced to trust Him in his choices.  He wants us to need Him and He expects us to call on Him for comfort and answers when we can't find them ourselves.  He has not failed me and He will not fail those who call on Him, even as the heat cranks up on our discomfort.  We can choose to be refined by these fires rather than destroyed by them as the study of Daniel once taught me.  I've made it through a few personal "fires" and I know how the Lord was never more real to me than in those particular instances.  He cares about us more than we can possibly perceive and I know in my human failings that I can trust Him!!!  And it seems as though I might even be getting my three exclamation point exuberance back!!!  

Ok, I think I'm through giving myself this extravagant pep talk in front of you all.  And now that I've dragged you to the darkened corners of my mental room and back, can I offer up some hopeful news?  We have a God that can take over where we leave off!!!  May He help us each pull ourselves up and be all that we were meant to be this year in the joyful and difficult times!  And, my prayer is that He protects us and shows us just what we are individually gifted to do to bring Glory to His Kingdom. YOU ARE MIGHTY LORD!!! And I give you my praise.  Amen
Now that I'm feeling a tad less mopey, how about you tell me something you are hoping to accomplish in 2009.  Do you have a  new exercise plan, a work challenge, or perhaps a new hairdo on the horizon?  Do tell.
(C-berg's in front of some brilliant LED Christmas lights in Oklahoma City)

* some names slightly altered for privacy sake


dive said...

Dear, sweet Shan, you should never be down in the dumps and it pains me to hear that you have been.
This is a new year, full of hope and opportunity and seeing you standing there with your beautiful family gives me every confidence that as the days get longer your blues will disappear like so much mist.

Jamey Clayberg said...

you rock lady... ve vill keep truckin

Sara said...

I'm glad you let me in to that dark corner of your thoughts. Its a cry that I've had many times this last year and even more so lately. You right thought, and I so love the last part of your blog. Its been my prayer lately that God's design for our lives will come to pass. If our plans are faulty and His plans are good and Sovereign, than what is the point in fighting it? Love you, Shan!
BTW, I'm redoing the Daniel study:)

lynn said...

Well those are great photos, Shan. I'm so sorry that you have been down and here's hoping that 2009 improves that for you. I send best wishes with all my love xxx

As for me, no nothing special to enlighten your day with I'm afraid! I've had the new hairdo and then lost my job so that wasn't particularly a good luck charm was it! LOL.

Nope just carrying on, yes the exercise thing and watching what I eat I guess, but for the moment, especially with today's weather, I'm busy playing in the snow! Happy New Year, Shan. I am confident that it will be. x

MmeBenaut said...

Dear sweet Shan, what an incredible friend you are, to feel so deeply the pain of your friends and family. that's a stack of woes there sweetheart. Your role is obviously to be a tower of strength to those who need you. You've proven that over and over in the past.
Sometimes we tend to take on the burden of all the woes in the world, even those over which we have absolutely no control. Prayer helps; it helps them and it helps you so amen to that and also to your courage in sharing with us too.
I agree with Jamey on this one - you rock!!!
Happy New Year Shan, to you and Jamey and the boys. That is one of the loveliest family photos I've seen, despite your sadness.
God bless you sweetheart.

savannah said...

you are grace manifested, sugar! i am honored to know you. continue to hold fast to your faith and all will be well. much love to you and yours in this new year! xoxox

Missy said...

I'm all about keeping the expectations low for 2009 because I'm tired of being disappointed. How positive is that???

What do I want to accomplish this year? This is going to be the year I finally lose the extra poundage that I've made such good friends with. And yeah, I know I said the same thing last January, but this time I mean it. And yeah, I know I said I meant it last year too, but this year I really REALLY mean it.

Maria said...

I don't make resolutions or even goals. I basically simply give myself a good talking to about where I am failing and then I sort of ignore myself. It's my way.

Hope things look up for you soon, Shan...

Tally said...

Wowee! That's your best post! I think the personal stuff always makes the best read. Of course I'm crying b/c I know I'm mentioned. And I am contemplating serious changes. Your friendship has meant more to me than I can verbalize. Just knowing you are praying for me is such a comfort. I'm praying for you too and everyone you mentioned. We all need a miracle this year. For real! XO

Katie said...

Shan it pains me as well to hear that you've been down, especially during what's supposed to be such a festive and joyful season. I think, though, that each of us who hears of the burdens you've been asked to bear, and the worry that you have for your family and friends, will happily take a little load off your shoulders (in spirit of course, because it's a long way to come for a lot of us!) and maybe in some small way that will help you move into the new year with less to worry about. I was smiling a big old grin looking at the photos of your lovely family and those pretty lights and can just see the love there (well, I didn't see the love in the pretty lights, but you know what I mean). I wish you and your family nothing but happiness for 2009! (Well, beyond 2009 as well, but let's just take it one year at a time!)

As for me, I joined a gym so I can swim whenever I want (without a coach yelling at me). I'm hoping that will enable me to keep having wine and chocolate for dinner to no ill effect. How's that for a new year's resolution?

Shan said...

With all of you, I couldn't possibly stay down in the dumps long. Thanks everybody for the wonderful words of encouragement. You know I'd much rather be full of whimsy than whimpers, so I'm going to grab on to the positives and hang on for dear life now and enjoy this new year! xOXo

Sun-Kissed Savages said...

You are great, Shan. And I hear ya.

No wonderful news to share just yet, but I'm glad that you are feeling brighter and lighter now.

And I haven't made any resolutions. Why bother? I already know where I'm broken and what can be fixed...

Scout said...

First, those lights are the coolest.

Second, I know what you mean about being beaten down by bad news after bad news. And I used to work with an editor who often said "I know I'm going to heaven, but I'll be slapped when I get there." I love that line.

Let's try to cheer up while we're waiting to hear whatever we get.

dean r said...

I am growing my hair longer than usual and then cutting it in the spring, but oh wait, I do that every year.
LOVED seeing you and family this weekend!!! later
(oh but i HATE i don't have you in a picture! what up wit dat?)