Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Exquisite Gift of Reflection . . . and 2015's Favorite Posts

I love a good year end review, don't you?

For we move ahead best when we fully understand the life-altering impact of what we've experienced and what we continue to emerge from.  Our rose-colored glasses come off and reality shows up bright and clear.  We don't skirt the hard painful stuff or pretend that our lives haven't been turned upside down.  We acknowledge that we are works in progress and embrace what is true about ourselves, our situations, our souls ... whether we like what's occurred in recent days or not.

And like Mary, we sit in stillness, pondering all the things that have claimed our attention, our obedience, our commitment, our very souls {Luke 2:19}.

Whether we write it out, talk it over, or pray it through, we do well to continue the hard work of walking through our pain ... as well as celebrating our joyful victories and accomplishments.  We spy the golden miracles, we wrestle with our tough questions, we grieve our myriad of losses, we rejoice in the loving care that's been sent our way.  

We ask for forgiveness, discernment, courage.  For we've been changed.  The exquisite gift of reflection serves to remind us that we're not who we were all those months ago when the year kicked into gear.

And that can be a very good thing.

*

Numbers {usually} don't lie.  The posts that hit home for you this year pretty much tracked my whirlwind of a journey step by step.  Hands down.  So instead of putting them in some kind of numerical order, I'm simply sharing them in the order that they were written.  Just click on the red links to read / re-read.  

Actually pulling this all together was good therapy.  To see the year in black and white with all its beautiful relationships, heavy-duty challenges, searing heartbreak, and answered prayer has been helpful for me.  Not necessarily easy, but clarifying.  

There's a rhythm in there and I am leaning into the reality of that truth.

In the midst of it all, I see that God is in control.  I feel His tender love and comfort.  I know He rejoices over me with singing, even in those moments when I water His feet with my tears.  He promises He has plans that give me hope and a future.

  I leave 2015 expectant. 

Along the way, the fruit of His Spirit's faithful presence hasn't changed one single bit.  The love, joy, and peace haven't wandered off or gotten lost in the shuffle.  Instead, their sacred bounty has only increased. 

I'm grateful.

*

So here we go ... I'd love if you'd grab a cup of coffee and settle in with me for a quiet time of reflection, a bit of a walk down memory lane.  There's alot here to sit with, so if this is an insanely jam-packed fa-la-la-la-la kind of day, feel free to come back when you're craving a needed respite from the waves of hustle, bustle, and noise.  

And I'll see you again after Christmas ...

January


February


March


April


April


May


May


July

July


August


September


October


November


December

*

Comfort & Joy ~


40 comments:

  1. beautiful post, and great courage through difficult days for you. You're an inspiration.

    Reflection is something I try to avoid. The last year was awful, and by all indications, 2016 will be worse. All I ask is the strength to endure each day.

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    1. Praying with you and for you for that daily strength, Andrew. We never know how much is available to us until we're actually there. God says His strength is sufficient. And that I hang on to.

      Blessings, man ...

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  2. What a year you've had, Linda! I remember many of these posts and the emotions they brought to the surface in me. Thank you for allowing us to share in your joys and sorrows in 2015. I love that you're leaving 2015 with expectancy. May we all follow your lead. Many blessings to you in 2016!

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    1. You've been a faithful companion, dear Lisa. And your post on 2016's One Word came to mind as God gave me that word EXPECTANT early this morning.

      See the seed you planted in this Doubting Thomas's mind?

      ;-}

      Advent blessings to you, to yours ...

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  3. I love your reflection, Linda. God is so faithful. It hasn't been that long since God led me to your site, so I hadn't read many of these posts. I read some with a mixture of grief at all you've been through and pleasure that God has carried you through. Though I had heard of the loss of your dad and grandson, I now have more details of the lives they lived. God be with you and keep you as you experience Christmas without them. May the love and joy Jesus brings fill the empty aches!

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    1. Dear Trudy ... Your kinds are like a great big hug, a huge blessing to me. How thankful I am that God allowed our paths to cross in recent months. I look forward to getting to know you better in the year ahead.

      Greatest blessings to you.

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  4. Thanks for the reflection Linda, some of which came before I started reading. Praying your 2016 will one of excitement and adventure.

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    1. Excitement! Adventure! That'll have to be the Lord at work doing something extraordinary!

      ;-}

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    1. And to you, yours, and your church family, too, Bill ...

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  6. Wishing you and your family a splendid New Year full of Hope, Joy and Good Health.

    God bless.

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    1. May 2016 surprise you with God's goodness, Victor! So good to meet you this year ...

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  7. What amazing memories you have forged! Im looking forward to another wonderful year of your insightful and heartwarming blog posts!! *hugs* - http://www.domesticgeekgirl.com

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  8. Thank you as always for sharing the very heart of who you are here with us in this space you call home. It is a pleasure to visit, a chance to hang out with friends and a soaking in of deep insight that feeds my soul. Wishing you and your family the merriest of Christmases.

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    1. What an exciting holiday season for you! Can't wait to hear about every sparkling moment that you and your family will experience, Mary! God's greatest most joyful blessings on each and every special event!

      Can't wait to hear about it all ...

      ;-}

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  9. A friend to mine, a songwriter, said writing is a way to understanding ourselves. Someone else told me writing is a way to figure out the complexities of life. Regardless, the reason, our writings are definitely beneficial in seeing where we were, how far we have come, what we have learned and have still to learn, and most of all, as you say, to see God's hand in our life. Thanks for sharing your year. I will have to come back with my coffee during this season!

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    1. I'll be sharing a hot mug with you from a distance, Lynn! I'm so grateful to do community with you in this season. Thank you for the insight you bring to each and every conversation you join.

      Blessings ...

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  10. I may need to do some backtracking since I didn't discover your blog until October. The words before posting your links echo in my soul too. Yes, it can be hard work, but more so, it is necessary and it is good. Looking forward to continuing the journey with you, Linda. Wishing you a holiday season full of God's mercy and grace all wrapped in his love.

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    1. October? Wow ... it seems longer. 3 months can travel oh-so-quick as we have learned, yes?

      How good of God to have brought our paths together in 2015. I can't wait to see what He's going to do in each of our lives ...

      May advent miracles abound in your ministry, Debby!

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  11. It's been a difficult year, but God is faithful. Wishing you and yours a JOYous and blessed Christmas, and may God draw you closer to Him in 2016.

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    1. My prayer is that you'll experience God's comfort and hope in new and fresh ways in this bittersweet celebration, June. Thank you for coming alongside me through this year.

      I thank God upon every remembrance of you ...

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  12. What a year it was for you, dear sweet Linda. I pray every day that God comforts you in the multiple losses you have experienced. But I'm grateful that you always seem to trust the Lord no matter what hits you in life. Thanks for serving up the gems from your blog. Love the sweet faces of your daddy and grandson. And Merry Christmas to you and Tim! Hoping that this new year makes that new little abode feel much more like home. :)

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    1. You sweet prayer warrior, you. Only heaven will tell you how much your faithfulness has turned countless lives around. Mine included.

      Enjoy each and every minute of Christ's birthday party with your family. How grateful I am for your substantial presence in my life ...

      Blessings!

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  13. Oh, is it time for a year-end blog review already? Wow, where has 2015 gone?
    Happy Christmas!

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    1. Merry merry Christmas to you, Lux ... I appreciate all you bring to my world.

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  14. I am thankful for the blessing of "finding you" on the WWW! It is always interesting to see what others have read---what rings of truth to those who read us. I pray for your Christmas and New Year--to be filled with warmth and laughter and sweet memories!
    God Bless You & Yours, Linda!

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    1. The blessing of your steady on-line friendship has been a true gift this year, Lulu. Thank you, thank you.

      Let's see what God has for us in the days ahead! I can't wait! Merry Christmas to you and your energetic clan, friend ...

      ;-}

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  15. You've had quite a year, Linda. I remember your 31 Days series, it was one of my favorites. I also went through yesterday and put up my most viewed posts. It brought back the year, but I do want to sit and do more reflecting on what God did in 2015.

    Have a Merry Christmas, friend!

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    1. I loved your family pic, Betsy ... how blessed you are! May those blessings overflow into 2016 in ways that cause you all to marvel.

      Grateful that our paths have crossed often this past year ...

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  16. Linda,
    I still remember your post about your dad, Tyler and your post for Sarah Bessey. What a year you've had. Praying God continues to hold you and yours close in love and comfort. Merry and blessed Christmas to you :-)

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    1. Sweet friend! How very good it's been to walk together through this past year. I'm excited about your work at seminary and can't wait to see what God's going to do in you, through you. Thank you for sharing your life with us ...

      We are blessed!

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  17. Beautiful thoughts, dear Linda. Out of all the blogs I see and read, yours is one of my favorites. I've been encouraged by your words and I've learned from your example as you've encountered one hard thing after another this year. I look forward to seeing how God works in your life and heart in 2016.

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    1. Your kind words are a lovely gift on this Christmas Eve, Lois! You're such an encourager ... and I thank you.

      Christmas's finest blessings to you and your lovely family!

      ;-}

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  18. Exquisite reflections!
    Thank you for sharing your lovely overview of favorite posts. I am glad I read most of them *Smiles*.
    Thank you so much Linda.
    Many Blessings to you my sweet friend.
    Enjoy the holidays!

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    1. Yes, you've been here every step of the way, Ifeoma! Thank you, thank you for being such a faithful sister in this little community. I am so grateful for your part in our conversations.

      Merry, merry Christmas, dear lady!

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  19. Hello friend. Just stopping by to wish you a very merry Christmas.

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    1. Happy New Year to you, friend! I hope your Christmas celebration was filled with joy and laughter ...

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  20. What a good idea to recap the year like that. Thank you for letting us as your readers walk through the beautiful and the difficult equally with you.

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    1. Actually, it was pretty therapeutic {like so much of writing is!} I saw blessings left and right, understood better why I responded to events the way I did, and grasped the immensity of the year's impact on my body and soul.

      It's a privilege to do life with this community, Pary ... and I'm so very grateful that you're a part of us all!

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'I want the people in my life to know that when they come to me, with whatever is on their mind or heart, they will be heard. I am dedicated to hearing the hearts of those around me.'
~ Adam McHugh, The Listening Life

Linda