The idea of beginning 2013 as a widowed mom hit me very hard last night, on New Year’s Eve after putting our boys to bed. The emotions filled my heart and mind and my heart broke all over again. 2012 coming to an end…the last year my Will was with me and us as our leader, my husband, father to our children, best friend, lover, mentor, confidante, hit me with great magnitude. I could feel my body wracked with the pain of grief as the tears streamed from my eyes in a very ugly…and very healing cry as I cried out to God…as the moans of grief poured from my mouth~from my soul.
It was then that I felt led to go back and look at all of our pictures from 2012. Looking at all of the memories in images on my computer screen filled me with a kaleidoscope of emotions as each image sat before me reminding me of how very, very blessed I was, we were in 2012.
In the months prior to Will going home to heaven and the boys and I surviving our tragic car accident on July 12, 2012…
We experienced great joy as a couple and as a family.
We experienced and lived through trials…but we did it together.
We grew in our faith as individuals and as a couple and shared them with each other.
We experienced laughter and giggles together.
We experienced ah ha moments and immediately shared them with each other.
We worked through challenges and thought through problems and found solutions…together.
We dealt with the challenges of raising our boys and figured out the best ways of leading them, teaching them, training them, disciplining and discipling them..together.
We celebrated amazing unexpected blessings together.
We shared grief of loss of friends and loved ones…together.
We prayed and worshiped…together.
We enjoyed God’s blessings…together.
On July 15, 2012…our lives turned upside down. I was with Will as his life here ended and he left us to begin his new life in eternity with our Savior in heaven. I was so very blessed to be able to say good-bye to this man who was such a gift to me from God.
As I went through the pictures and remembered the moments and reflected on the memories we made in 2012, I felt as if I was saying good-bye to him all over again. God led me through the pain. He led me through the questions. He led me and carried me through all of it and continued healing my heart.
And then he led me to look at the pictures taken since July 15th.
He reminded me of the amazing people He has placed in our lives at just the right time.
The people who helped us at the scene of the accident and the blessing of being able to hug some of them and thank them in person again over Thanksgiving weekend. (I will write more about this very soon!)
He reminded me of the amazing miraculous recoveries that I have made and our boys have made.
As I flipped through the images, he reminded me of the incredible people who have helped along each step of our journey and the new friends we have made.
He reminded me of our new church family who have embraced us so openly with such love and support!
He reminded me of the amazing decisions for Christ that our boys have made…Josh asking to receive baptism and being baptized on November 25, 2012 with some of the Pershings, our daughter Annie, and our church family present and the beautiful miracle of our youngest child, Michael, asking Jesus to come into His heart and life as His personal Savior and boss of his life on November 11, 2012.
He reminded me of the renewed passion in Annie for reaching out to others for Christ through work in missions in St. Louis with her mom and through Generation Next as she steps out of her comfort zone and reaches out to churches, groups, and even volunteers to go speak to groups and churches to ask for their help in reaching her goals for collecting hygiene supplies for girls in Africa so that they can be in school every week of every month and be blessed with love of Jesus in ways that will help them feel the love of Jesus and change their lives.
He reminded me of the new memories we have been creating as a family and our new passion for reaching the lost and reaching out and sharing God’s love in practical ways in our family, town, and around the world.
He reminded me how very, very blessed I am…now very blessed we are.
And he gave me the word “Blessing” and this Scripture passage for 2013…
16 I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters,
making a dry path through the sea.
17 I called forth the mighty army of Egypt
with all its chariots and horses.
I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned,
their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick.
18 “But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
19 For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
20 The wild animals in the fields will thank me,
the jackals and owls, too,
for giving them water in the desert.
Yes, I will make rivers in the dry wasteland
so my chosen people can be refreshed. Isaiah 43:16-20 NLT
I will write more about this passage in a future article…but know this. Just as He did something new for His chosen people of Israel…bigger than He had ever done before…He gives us that same promise.
I decided that I didn’t want to forget one single moment of that “something new He is about to do” in OUR lives this year.
So our family made what I am calling “Blessing Journals”
Today, I sat down with the boys and we each decorated a journal that we will use to record the ways God blesses us each day and the ways we reach out and share His blessing with others. Each of our journals look a little different…unique as we are each unique.
This is my Blessing Journal…I love collage and so it reflects my focus through words I found and letters I put together. I am using a sketch book for my blessing journal and will fill it with journal entries, photographs, collages, art that records the blessings God gives me/us each day and the ways God calls and helps me/us reach out and bless others each day.
Josh working on his Blessing Journal. He wanted to keep it simple and added two words representing what is important to him…God and Family. He prefers to write thoughts in journal entries and sometimes draw pictures and share photos he will take of things that remind him of God’s blessings and how God helped him bless others each day.
This is Michael’s Blessing Journal. He decorated it himself with me only helping with the title…he chose the stickers to make the title. He chose the word family because his family is a big blessing to him. He made a green package as a gift and the other stickers/pictures he chose represent the gifts he wants to save up to be able to help give to children in Africa (through Operation Christmas Child) and a toy he wants to save up for to give a child in need in our community for Christmas next year…these are HIS ideas. He will draw pictures and tell me what to write to record his blessings each day and how he blessed others until he starts learning to write.
Here is what the inside of mine looks like to help you know how I set it up…
My life passage for 2013, Isaiah 43:16-20 NLT.
The passage that guides our passion for blessing others in His Name, Matthew 25: 31-40.
Our family and my goals for Blessing others in His Name and how we will achieve them little by little in 2013.
Details on how and what I will record about how/when we bless others in His name on a daily basis.
How and when God blesses me/my family and how I will record it on a daily basis.
When I need to be reminded of how blessed we are, and next year, on New Year’s Eve, we will sit down and look and read through our Blessing Journals to remind ourselves of how God continues to grow and bless us and work through us…and is doing something new in and through us even now.
And here is something very special to know…while we were working on creating our journals today, Annie felt led by God to do something similar in her own way. I hadn’t had a chance to talk with her yet about what we were doing. And God once again led our family together.
Here is what she is doing to record God’s work in her life this year…
Once she folds a strip of a paper and drop it in there with the date on the back, she will not look at it again until December 31, 2013.
Then she will read all of the strips with the date.
Then it shall be placed in her memory binder of 2013 with the other pictures and journal entries she made throughout the year.
For me, focusing on the word God has given me of “Blessing” for 2013 will help me to stay focused on Him, His work in my life on a daily basis and keep a thankful heart and find joy in each day…no matter what I am facing. I don’t want to miss a thing or ever forget His love and His promise…
19 For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I hope these ideas encourage you to find a way to focus on how God continues to bless your family every day as you journey with my family as we focus on “Blessings” in 2013.
I would so love to hear your thoughts! Please share your comments below! I treasure each one as a gift and pray for each person who takes the time to share their thoughts and heart with me in this space…
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