I am not one to make any major resolutions when a new year comes around. I have goals, and things I would like to accomplish, but I don’t like putting a timeline on things. One thing I have learned in the last few years is that time is not my own, and my life is not my own. The Lord is in control, and it is my desire to live my life driven by the Lord’s will for me. I get so caught up in striving for particular things, which often make me lose sight of what the Lord may have for me, so I suppose my resolution for this year is to daily rise searching the Lord and His Word for what He would have me to do.
So instead of looking forward and declaring my aspirations, I would like to look back. When I think of the year 2014 I immediately think of the major events that happened. There was new birth, death, time spent in the valley; there were so many ups, and some downs. The Lord is good, and I want to praise Him for the work He has done in my life this past year.
This past year we had two new babies in our family, and news of another one on the way. I think in today’s society new life, and birth is taken lightly too often. What a miracle it really is, and when I think of the two little ones that have joined our family I am overwhelmed at the joy I can recount that they have brought to my life. Every birth is a miracle from our Creator, and I thank Him for the joy of new birth.
In May of 2014 my grandmother passed from this world. When I look back and remember this time of grief my heart hurts anew with the pain of missing a loved one. It always hurts when we grieve the death of someone we love, but the Lord God is ready to give grace in these times. I praise the Lord for the comfort, and strength that He gave during this past year, as I grieved, and then adjusted to life without any grandparents left. It was very difficult for me to say goodbye and let go of my last grandparent, and the Lord had to remind me very often that we are to be of a heavenly mind.
One of the most difficult times of this past year was a period of time in September/October. This was a time where I went through a very difficult spiritual battle. Satan was fighting for my soul during this time more so than I had ever before experienced. I found myself dealing with a level of anxiety that I had never before experienced. Satan is ruthless when we are weak, and he was filling me with so many doubts and fears that I would not dare to even lie down to sleep at night, I didn’t have an appetite, and I found myself physically shaking with fear throughout the days and nights. The reason I am sharing these details is because it was during this time that the Lord did a wonderful work in my life. I have never had to call on my Savior in the way that I had to during this time. The hunger I had for His word and time in prayer was so marvelous. The Lord taught me a few vital lessons during this time in the valley; first of all He taught me that out of my own self I absolutely cannot do anything, and that unless I am fully and completely surrendered to Him we cannot be victorious. Secondly, He showed me time and again that there is power in the name of Jesus, and we can claim His name, and the blood of Christ over the evil one and he will have to flee. There is power in prayer, and the Lord gave me fresh confidence in prayer.
Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. –1 John 5:14-15
I am not one to share these types of things with people when I am going through them, and I recognize that it is strictly a matter of pride that I don’t. The Lord is working in me to overcome this sin of pride, and I am thankful for His forgiveness. It is my desire that the Lord God receives all the glory due Him for the way He delivered me during this time.
When I reflect on the year I see the grace of my Savior laced in every detail. As I go on to this next year it is my prayer that the Lord will find me a willing vessel for Him. I want to close with a prayer that I have prayed many times as my own, that I found in the book of prayers called “The Valley of Vision”.
The prayer is titled “Desires”
O Thou that Hearest Prayers,
Teach me to pray.
I confess that in religious exercises
the language of my lips and the feelings
of my heart have not always agreed,
that I have frequently taken carelessly upon
my tongue a name never pronounced above
without reverence and humility,
that I have often desired things which would
have injured me,
that I have depreciated some of my chief mercies,
that I have erred both on the side of my hopes
and also of my fears,
that I am unfit to choose for myself,
for it is not in me to direct my steps.
Let thy Spirit help my infirmities,
for I know not what to pray for as I ought.
Let him produce in me wise desires by which
I may ask right things,
then I shall know thou hearest me.
May I never be importunate for temporal blessings,
but always refer them to thy fatherly goodness,
for thou knowest what I need before I ask;
May I never think I prosper unless my soul prospers,
or that I am rich unless rich toward thee,
or that I am wise unless wise unto salvation.
May I seek first thy kingdom and its righteousness.
May I value things in relation to eternity.
May my spiritual welfare be my chief solicitude.
May I be poor, afflicted, despised and have
rather than be successful in enterprise,
or have more than my heart can wish,
or be admired by my fellow-men,
if thereby these things make me forget thee.
May I regard the world as dreams, lies, vanities,
vexation of spirit,
and desire to depart from it.
And may I seek my happiness in thy favour,
image, presence, service.
(The Valley of Vision, Edited by Arthur Bennett, The Banner of Truth Trust ©1975, Printed in the U.S.A. by Versa Press, Inc.,East Peoria, IL)