|Photo image courtesy of Oleksandr Rozdobudko via 123rf.com|
It's easy to look at all that went wrong with our holiday and feel disappointed. I can remember one year where the behavior was off the charts with our youngest because of the cocktail of holiday over-stimulation combined with major executive functioning issues. It felt horrible when family members had snide comments about my parenting skills or thinly veiled disdain for my child. Another year trauma related to infusing our son made for an upsetting start to Christmas morn. Still another year, I just barely made it home for Christmas after knee surgery complications had me hospitalized. It felt so empty not being able to attend church with my husband and kids that year.
Because years like the ones I described are so incredibly difficult, the gift of retrospect is a must-have. Looking back with gratitude empowers us to face challenges today as well as in the future. Taking time to reflect about days past also grants us the perspective to see how far we have come.
I often find myself thinking, "How did we ever survive that?!" Whether it be behaviors, or traumas, or medical crises, or financial devastation, I have received a clear picture of God's unfailing faithfulness when I can look back and see all that He has brought our family through. Yes, my family has had heartache, disappointment, and tragedy over the years, but it has knit us closer together and grown our tenacity. I have grown in my ability to trust God because I have seen first hand how trustworthy He truly is.
In addition, I can rejoice now that I am not who I was even a year ago. Looking back I can say, "Well, at least I'm not THERE this year!" Too many years in a row my husband and I commented to one another, "This was an awful year. I will be so glad to kick it out the door and begin a new one. We've got nowhere to go but up!" Unfortunately, we would discover in the New Year that things can and do get worse. Thank God that nothing lasts forever in this world! Change would eventually transform our misery, even if was only in attitude and not in our situation or difficulties. I have found that this year in particular, I am much more able to give thanks in ALL circumstances. What a relief to have a better perspective! I am also not the constantly sleep deprived, hopeless, overwhelmed, feeling-like-a-failure mommy that I was several years ago. How can my heart feel anything but FULL when I look at all that sad negativity behind me?
As we recover from Christmas and look towards the New Year, don't just set goals or make resolutions. Be certain to take that must-have gift of retrospect with you! Join in King David's prayer of humble awe. You will never regret pondering the past and gratefully thinking, "Look how far we have come!"
PRAY: "Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?" We have faced so many obstacles over the years. Plans have been derailed. People have disappointed. Circumstances have been difficult. Yet, YOU, gracious Lord, have seen us through them all! Thank You, God, for giving us the gift of retrospect so we can grow in gratitude and gain strength for the days ahead.
~ Barb Dittrich