Hope, personified…

It’s meant to be a reflective day, this final day of the year. Three hundred and sixty-five days ago we were all doing the same thing–being contemplative.
Perhaps some of us spend the day reflecting on the year that is finishing, and all we’ve survived. Some years are like that, aren’t they? If you journal (or blog) it’s fascinating to look back and view the trail of events throughout the months. In my reflection, I am always surprised to see what I survived, and how God truly walked me through things that I’m glad I didn’t know we’re coming. I might have run for the hills had I known in advance! But, I see His hand throughout, holding me close.

I took a look at photos on weather.com of the disasters from 2011. Wow! It was an eventful year! It made me thankful. Thankful that my family is together and safe.

I truly write from a thankful heart. Each moment of each new day, there is so much to be thankful for.

Though it is interesting to look back, I find it much more intriguing to look ahead. Though I can’t see what’s coming, I am full of hope–eager to see what amazing things God has in store.
I have a precious little Jack Russell named Lily who is hope, personified. Well, I’m not sure I can use the word “personified” about a dog, but you get the point.

She is so smart! If she hears me open the veggie drawer in the fridge and get out the veggie peeler, she will come running from across the house hoping that I’m peeling carrots–a messy job for me which means scraps for her. She also knows the sound of the cheese grater (another messy job), and just let me open a rotisserie chicken, or pull one out of a pot to take the meat off! How she can wait for hours with hope blooming in her little doggy heart waiting for one little possible morsel of chicken fat is beyond me. Nothing can distract her. She waits expectantly.

That is how I look forward to 2012. The outcome is unclear at this point. I don’t know the events that will unfold. I do, however, believe deep in my very soul that God has amazing plans in store for me. That at the end of this year, I will see the bumps in the road that I have traveled over the year, but more importantly, I will see how I was delivered into a place of gratefulness knowing that I was taken care of. Because I always get much, much more than just a carrot peeling or a chicken scrap. I have feasted on blessings too numerous to count.

I have set some goals for the upcoming year. Not resolutions. Though I appreciate the concept of making a resolution, In the past, I have lacked the resoluteness to follow through. So I’ve set some goals. Things I want to learn. Ways in which I’d like to be better. To start, I have been memorizing Scripture. I leave you with a portion I’ve been memorizing this week. May it stir your heart with gratitude as it has mine.

Psalm 139

 1 O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
 2 You know my sitting down and my rising up;
         You understand my thought afar off.
 3 You comprehend my path and my lying down,
         And are acquainted with all my ways.
 4 For there is not a word on my tongue,
         But behold, O LORD, You know it altogether.
 5 You have hedged me behind and before,
         And laid Your hand upon me.
 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
         It is high, I cannot attain it.
 7 Where can I go from Your Spirit?
         Or where can I flee from Your presence?
 8 If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
         If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
 9 If I take the wings of the morning,
         And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
 10 Even there Your hand shall lead me,
         And Your right hand shall hold me.
 11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”
         Even the night shall be light about me;
 12 Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,
         But the night shines as the day;
         The darkness and the light are both alike to You.
 13 For You formed my inward parts;
         You covered me in my mother’s womb.
 14 I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
         Marvelous are Your works,
         And that my soul knows very well.
 15 My frame was not hidden from You,
         When I was made in secret,
         And skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
 16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.
         And in Your book they all were written,
         The days fashioned for me,
         When as yet there were none of them.
 17 How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
         How great is the sum of them!
 18 If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand;
         When I awake, I am still with You….
 …23 Search me, O God, and know my heart;
         Try me, and know my anxieties;
 24 And see if there is any wicked way in me,
         And lead me in the way everlasting.”

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