I could hear the squeals and giggles traveling down the hallway this morning. The kids were awake on their first day of Christmas break. Joel offered to get up and take care of breakfast. I started thinking about making the coffee. Then, before we jumped up to start the day, we remembered that my parents were downstairs ready to attend to the needs of our children. Relieved, we rolled over and drifted back to sleep.
As I lay there, eyes closed, I began to reflect on the past year. My thoughts lingered upon, and recounted, all the blessings God has poured out on my family. As the list grew, tears filled my eyes and spilled down my cheeks. Overwhelmed by his graciousness, his faithfulness, and his mercy, I whispered a faint “Thank you” to the One who has made all things complete. To the One who heard my spoken and unspoken prayers and pleas – to the One who heard the heart behind my words – and turned his ear to me.
One year ago I struggled to find joy in the season. I found peace and contentment in the One to whom the season belongs, but there was nothing extraordinary that marked the passing year. Thankful for God’s faithfulness, I wrapped up the year realizing that God was good even without a lot of fan-fair and magic. Looking ahead to 2010, I honestly had no big expectations. I never dreamed that so much could change in one year.
One year ago, I was simply grateful for the mercy and grace God extended to me. A year later, I continue to be grateful for God’s mercy and grace. This year, however, I have seen that God not only gives us joy in difficulties, or hope in dire circumstances, but he also seasons our lives with moments of unbridled happiness.
Happiness oftentimes gets a bad wrap because it is contingent upon our circumstances. We are taught that the joy of the Lord is of greater value than fleeting moments of happiness. Yet, this year has revealed to me something quite contrary. God allows us to feel happy…genuinely happy…because he is that kind of loving Father. He allows us to go through hard times, difficult seasons, and painful experiences, so that the depth of our faith is substantial and sound, and our joy is complete in God and God alone. However, he doesn’t forget that a dose of happiness every now and then is as equally satisfying and fulfilling as a joyful disposition. When my kids wake up on Christmas morning, eyes bulging from the pile of gifts and treasures under our tree, I take great delight in their uninhibited happiness. God is the same way. When happy moments come, and we enjoy them fully, I believe he, too, sits back and smiles with delight.
This year, I am feeling overwhelmed with not only the peace that passes understanding that God has poured into my heart, but I am bursting at the seams with sheer happiness. God has not only satisfied my needs this year, but he has also satisfied the desires of my heart. Today I am reflecting upon and enjoying these happy moments.
One year. One God. One moment to say thank you to the One from whom ALL blessings flow.