Happy New Year!

Yesterday we sat around the dinner table talking about our memories from 2008.  In many ways, I think the past year has been difficult for our family; however, as the children blurted out their memories, one after the other, I was struck by how many fun and positive and joyful memories we do have from 2008.  

Visits from friends and family, days spent at the zoo, swimming in the pool, bouncing in inflatable rooms.  Friday night bowling tournaments on the Wii, watching the fireworks on the Fourth of July, a day at the circus.  A school picnic and swimming in the river, playing in the building’s hallways with friends, birthday parties, and learning how to geocache.  Trips to visit family and friends, a weekend at the beach, a movie matinee, and a family outing to Dairy Queen.  Sleepovers with friends, school musical programs, and field trips.  An Easter egg hunt, parades, festivals in the park, and a Space Shuttle launch.  Trips to Downtown Disney and a special meal at the Rainforest Cafe’, finding a new church home, and family nights watching The Waltons.  These are the sorts of memories we made in 2008. 

We have had some difficult times too.  It has not been easy to wait for this new place to feel like home.  And in the midst of adjusting to all the newness, we’ve had some fairly significant challenges in the past year.  We sold our home in Virginia, which was both a joyful and a sad thing.  My grandma passed from here to Heaven.  Silas’ Tourette Syndrome symptoms came on with full-force.  Caleb struggled in school, and I began to notice signs of a possible learning disability.  Silas had minor surgery.  Lauren made a close friend, and that close friend moved away.  And there have been other stressful or sad times throughout the year.  I was encouraged, though, that for the children the good memories overshadowed the difficult ones. I think it put some things in perspective for me.  I needed to hear the cataloguing of happy memories; I needed reminding that plenty of good things did happen in 2008!  

As we sat at our table and reminisced about the year, I thought of the Israelites and how God repeatedly told them to remember their story, to teach it to their children.  They had festivals and feasts and special days set aside to remember, but I believe the faithful Israelites also regularly talked about all God had done for them.  I think they often -maybe even daily- remembered God’s promises and His faithfulness in the past to keep His Word.  And I know this built their faith for future trials.  

As we sat around our table reminiscing about the year, God’s presence and blessing on us was obvious.  That encourages me as we enter 2009.  I am sure there will be difficult days in the next year, but I am equally sure there will be sweet times of blessing, and I am sure our Father will be with us through it all.

How about you?  What are your memories from 2008?

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