A few weeks ago, our pastor challenged us to read Luke 1. I'd recently read it, but went back and reread it. In this first chapter of Luke, an angel tells Zechariah that his wife Elizabeth, past child-bearing years, is going to have a child. Zechariah asks the angel how this can be because of their ages and in turn, Zechariah looses his ability to speak (it comes back, don't worry). Around the same time, an angel appears to Mary, Elizabeth's cousin who is thought to have been about 14, and tells her that she is going to have a child. Her response is different - she believes through faith.
When I went back and reread this passage, a few things popped out at me that hadn't before, and I also began to think about some things.
2013 hasn't been what I'd call my favorite year ever. I've written about that here and here. We've had some battles. Kevin lost his job, my sweet MIL was diagnosed with breast cancer and my granddad has been gravely ill for a few months. But at the same time, I've grown so much and my faith has been so strengthened. And in the midst of all these things, God has bolstered my faith and showed me that He's in control and it's going to be ok.
I've said a few times lately that I'll be happy when 2013 is over, but you know what? That's not the best response. 2013 has brought us so much joy and happiness. It's drawn our family closer and it's given me, individually, so many other things.
Throughout 2013, God has shown that He is good and that He is looking out for us.
The Lord is faithful in all of His promises and loving toward all He has made! Psalm 145:13
It wasn't luck that Kevin found a great job with less stress literally a mile from home. It was God.
It wasn't luck that my MIL's cancer was discovered so early - very early - and was able to be removed surgically. It was God.
It isn't luck that my granddad is leaving the hospital today after nearly seven weeks there. It's God.
He is before all things and in Him, all things hold together. Colossians 1:17
These three examples are just a few ways big ways to show how God has provided and has answered prayers. Cancer, illness and job loss are big deals. But you know what? There are so many other things that are just as "big" in my life and I know in yours even if they aren't "big" as in sickness and unemployment.
I can look back over my 2013 - my not favorite year - and see how God's hand has steadily worked to draw me closer to Him. I can see how He's eased my anxiousness, how He's shown me what matters, how He's led me and fed me His truths and His ways. I can see how He's answered a multitude of prayers, and not always in the ways I wanted. Most of all, though, I can see His goodness, love, grace, mercy and provision written in every corner of 2013.