Let's talk about 2013 for a moment, shall we?
It pretty much sucked.
I cried A LOT this year. More than I have ever cried in one year, I am sure. I cried in front of people that I never dreamed I would cry in front of. After Dan got laid off, I cried on the way to work to every day, without fail, for probably three months.
We had some dark, dark days in 2013. We were on the verge of losing everything. There were days when I was ready to give up, throw it all away and walk out. The worst days were the days where it seemed like we were so close to some miraculous event happening that would seemingly solve all of our problems. Then it would fall through at the last minute, every single time. We spent a lot of time looking for those kinds of miracles, and willing something like that to happen, but everything that seemed so right for us, like it was meant to be, just never worked out.
I prayed a lot this year too. I started out praying for that big miracle. Then I prayed for survival. Then I prayed for a change of heart. Finally, after everything seemed to be failing, I just prayed to know what I needed to do, and for the faith to do it.
We never got that big, obvious sea- parting, life-changing kind of miracle. Not yet anyway, although I'm still holding out hope:)
What we did get was enough for me to say I know some things now, that I didn't now at the beginning of this year.
I know now that God was providing good gifts for us all year, not always what we wanted, but what we needed, as any loving father would do. Some people will scoff at the things that came our way, and call them coincidences, but I know they are more like hints from a God who has told us to walk by faith.
We had people come to our rescue on so many occasions. Sometimes it was cash in our pocket, sometimes it was extra work opportunities that came along at just the right time. Sometimes, it was a neighbor knocking on my door at just the right moment to come in and cry with me. Clothes and shoes for my kids that were the exact right size and fit, a microwave, a dryer- so many other specific needs we had that we never advertised or asked for. They were just freely offered. It is hard to accept help. It is easier when what you are offered is the exact, perfect thing that you just realized you needed and had no way of obtaining for yourself.
The past three years, we have had a bumper crop of peaches off our tree, that we always wound up giving away, because while they were delicious to eat, it was impossible to get the stones out of them, and to peel them. So to bottle them or make jam or anything was more work than it was worth. This year, we got the same bumper crop of peaches. But this year, the stones and peel slipped out effortlessly. So we put up about 30 quarts of peaches, and a few batches of peach jam as well. The only explanation I can find is found in Malachi 3:11.
I know now that the law of tithing works. And I know it's not about money. It's not about God needing my money, and it's for sure not about me getting more money. It's about where you put your trust, and where your treasure is.
In spite of the fact that I have always been and will always be a sarcastic, irreverent, blasphemous skeptical doubter, 2013, in all its messy, disastrous, stressful,emotional, torturous, sucky glory, blessed me with some understanding that I might not have learned any other way. So yeah, while I don't really want to live it again, I guess you could say this year and me are parting on good terms.
However, if 2014 turns out to be less of a drama queen kind of year, none of us will be complaining.