My custom on New Year’s Day used to be to brew coffee all day, relax and read the previous year’s journals. I always found it intriguing to look back at the things that had happened and how God got me through them!
The last two New Year’s I’ve been somewhat displaced and don’t even know where my journals are! But this morning I was thinking back over the year. Actually, my mind went to the year before as well. It’s been a rough two years. A sister diagnosed with a brain tumor, my aunt was mugged in broad daylight at the mall, and my son had a tragic wreck from which he is still recovering. All of that happened in 2008. I have spent all of 2009 in various nursing facilities with my son as he slowly recovers.

As I reminisced, I tried to keep from letting the feeling of homelessness swallow me.

This morning as I was studying I ended up in James chapter 1 where he says to count it all joy when you encounter various trials. In this familiar passage, James says that these tests produce endurance. Now that’s a term I understand!

You don’t wake up one morning able to run a marathon. It takes months and sometimes years to build endurance for the race! Life isn’t a short, fast sprint to the finish line. It’s a long journey more like an Ultra. (An ultra is anything longer than a marathon which is 26.1 miles)

I spent a little time thinking about how endurance is built or established. Why didn’t God just make us able? Well, in one way He did. He made us able to build endurance! He did not make our bodies to never get ill. He made them to heal themselves! We would become very weak if we were never exposed to bacteria or other intruders. Our bodies were designed to fight off disease. Without a defense, there would be no strength. Without testing there would be no endurance.

Have my struggles made me stronger? I had to think on that for a little while. I wondered What have I learned? What have I held on to?

Immediately my mind went to a familiar psalm. The psalmist penned, My heart is fixed! I will sing! (Psalm 57:7) I must say with David that my heart is fixed; it is steadfast. I do not have the strength to let go of God! He has been my mainstay. Not by keeping terrible things from happening, but by continuing to walk through them with me as He is coaching me to not give up and not give in! Nothing changes Him; He is still on the throne!

Paul went through some stuff too. He gave us an exhaustive list in 2 Corinthians 11:22-29. But isn’t this the same apostle who told the Philippians to rejoice in the Lord always? And the same Paul who instructed the Thessalonian believers in everything give thanks?

Who knows what a new year may bring for us? Just like all other years, there will be rough times and smooth times. So let our song always be the words of David: my heart and my flesh my fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

There have been times when I didn’t feel like I could move one more step into another day; but God has been my strength and as the hymn states, the anchor holds!

I don’t really do New Year’s resolutions, but I do plan to continue holding to Him with all my strength as has been my custom and I don’t plan on changing now! He has been our dwelling place in all generations. (Psalm 90:1) I don’t plan on moving from there!

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