1. The biggest lesson I learned in December has to do with that verse about locusts from Joel 2:25—
“I’ll make up for the years of the locust,
the great locust devastation—
Locusts savage, locusts deadly,
fierce locusts, locusts of doom,
That great locust invasion
I sent your way.”
2015 ranks right up with 2002 as on of the most difficult years of my life. Thirteen years ago, the ‘locust’ in my life consisted of my husband’s almost fatal cancer diagnosis. We learned a lot that year about how God cares for his children and uses the circumstances in a sinful world to draw us ever closer to him.
This past year the locust came in a different, but just as devastating form—this time attacking our youngest daughter. She ended 2014 in a deep, never-ending depression that medication and therapy failed to touch. Just as suddenly, she seemed to snap out of it and rocket to the opposite extreme (we wrote about our journey for the #write31days challenge).
For the first time all year, our family spent time together doing normal. I cherished each day of our ten-day vacation at our eldest daughter and son-in-law’s home in Oklahoma. Every day together felt like God making good on his promise to ‘make up for the years of the locust.”
Don’t get me wrong—God doesn’t cause cancer or mental illness. But he does answer our prayers to grow closer to him and he does grant us opportunities to grow. Those locust plagues allow us the opportunity to become more malleable and stretch in ways we never would have envisioned that we needed stretching.Locust plagues allow us the opportunity to become more malleable. Click To Tweet
He will never leave us or forsake us during a locust invasion—and at some point, whether on this earth or in heaven, he will make up for the times of trials.
2. I still get cold sores when I’m stressed. I need to continue working on healthy ways to handle stress at work, because I really hate getting cold sores. Sometimes, I might even act childish and grouchy when I’m stressed. I have room for growth. At least this year’s cold sore didn’t look as horrible as the one I had last December!
3. I caved to the Candy Crush saga. I’ve ribbed my husband for several years because he plays Candy Crush—but when I finished all the levels of Papa Pear, I needed something mindless to do. So, now I have a new, totally worthless skill set (ok, maybe those games do keep my mind a little sharper because I can problem-solve in a non-threatening environment…yeah, that’s it).
4. I’m a nerd. I’m also ok with that. I have a bird list (this also serves as an anti-Alzheimer’s tactic, because I read somewhere once that learning new skills as one ages helps tave off the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia). In December I saw and photographed my 435th and 436th species of bird. God creates such variety and beauty and I can spend hours just watching and photographing the beauty of his creation.
5. I (re)discovered a board game that doesn’t leave me bored. The first time we played Settlers of Catan (about 15 years ago), Pedro hated it. I loved it, and ended up playing on line 15 or 20 times back when it didn’t cost anything. Our daughter and son-in-law had recently purchased the game, and they convinced Pedro to play. This time, he loved it. We spent hours unwinding and laughing around the kitchen table.
6. There’s a reason I said I’d never paint a house again. But I forgot what it was. We spent four intense days patching walls and repainting the interior of our daughter and son-in-law’s house. About the third day, I remembered the reason. It’s hard work! Their home looks lovely and a difficult task tackled together by people you love is always worth the journey.Tackling difficult tasks with people you love turns hard work into fun and memories. Click To Tweet
What did you learn in December?
I’m linking up with Emily P. Freeman over at her blog Chatting at the Sky.