As this year draws to a close, receive My Peace.

Good thing the quote above was part of this morning's devo.  I needed it . . . many times over today!  (told you it wouldn't ALWAYS be "pretty" reading!)

This morning's reading continued, "This is still your deepest need, and I, your PRINCE OF PEACE, long to pour Myself into your neediness.  My abundance and your emptiness are a perfect match!  I designed you to have no sufficiency of your own.  I created you as a jar of clay, set apart for sacred use.  I want you to be filled with My very Being, permeated through and through with Peace.

So, as I sit home (alone) at 10:19 on New Year's Eve, I can say, that I am filled with peace {again}.  I have needed "filling" time and time again over the past 8 weeks, the past 8 days, the past 8 hours, the past 8 minutes!  As I said, as I sit here ALONE . . . after 20 years of marriage and with 5 kids and 5 grandchildren between us, 6 siblings and sibling-in-laws, their kids & grandkids and our parents, not to mention friends and church family, alone isn't something I am accustomed to.  But, it's o.k.  Now.  It hasn't been o.k. all day, it's been, then it hasn't, then it has, then it hasn't . . . are you beginning to see a pattern?  I FINALLY did.  It was a pattern of "TRUST in GOD, let HIM fill my empty places" . . . "poor me, nothing to do on New Year's Eve" . . . "TRUST in GOD, let HIM fill my empty places"  . . . "poor me, New Year's Eve is really a "couple's" holiday" . . . "TRUST in GOD, let HIM fill my empty places"  . . . "poor me, the phone will ring with plans soon" . . . "TRUST in GOD, let HIM fill my empty places"  . . . "poor me, the girls and their friends are all going to a party tonight" . . . "TRUST in GOD, let HIM fill my empty places"  . . . it was a vicious cycle . . . all day long . . . and into this evening.  AND, it was a SATURDAY.  The day.  The {dreaded} day.  But, this morning, the dread didn't set in as much as last week.  And last week was better than the week before, and so on.  So, I CAN see GOD WORKING.  Week by week, day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment.

My parents DID call and ask if we wanted to go out to dinner tonight, but we had bought steaks and shrimp that we planned on for supper, so we decided to stay home and do that.  It was all good, except I burned the steaks a little bit (Rick did most of the grilling!).  It was all good, except for the empty spot at the table.  It was all good, because GOD was with us.  Another FIRST, New Year's Eve dinner - just the 4 of us . . . and we survived - yet another first - GOD saw us through, again!

I found a link to a WONDERFUL post from another "widow" about how New Year's feels - it was another "just what I needed".  If you are interested, you can link to it HERE!  The author reminded me to look for the ROSES, not the thorns, to make a list of ALL I have to be THANKFUL for (and it's a LONG list!), she reminded me that my cup is more than half full, it RUNNETH OVER - I can be FILLED with HIS very Being, permeated through and through with His Peace!!

Just as I was letting Satan have a foothold and allowing the "pity party" that I was having for myself to become FULL BLOWN, I got a Facebook message from my elementary school "pen pal" (who I just re-connected with this past summer).  "Thinking of you and praying for you. Praying God gives you peace, blessings and continues to comfort you while you grieve.  Have a wonderful evening with your girls.  Much Love"  The "time stamp" on the message said she sent it at about 10:30 this morning - I did not receive it until about 6:30 tonight - just WHEN I needed it! ♥  Aahhh, JESUS NEVER FAILS!  

I also sent a quick text to a dear friend downstate, just asking her to pray for me/us this evening . . . she quickly responded that she was/is and would continue to be!  She and I were able to "chat" on facebook a little later, and after I did a little venting, a little complaining and some "pity-partying", she (and God) helped me re-focus. . . "TRUST in GOD, let HIM fill the empty places"!  I wrapped up my chat with her feeling re-energized in the Lord!  As the girls left to go to the party tonight, I felt the pity settling in again, but continued with cleaning up the house, until I got a text from ANOTHER dear friend - asking how I was doing . . . I answered honestly with "yucky"!  Before I could set the phone down, it rang, and it was HER! :)  We had a nice chat for about 1/2 hour which I think left us both feeling better (both of these dear friends are also spending New Year's Eve "alone", both for different reasons, but both still able to relate to the "alone-ness"!) 

So, tonight as this year draws to a close (1 hour and 23 minutes as of RIGHT NOW), it is bittersweet.  Part of me does not want to let go of 2011.  2011 will ALWAYS be the last year that I had Rick here with me.  It will always be the year that the kids last had their Daddy here with them.  2011 will always be the year we "lost" life as we knew it.  2011 will be bittersweet, filled with good memories (a spur of the moment trip to Alabama, the birth of Lila Faith Marie, lots and lots and lots of love and laughter, a new pancreas for Luanne . . . ), as well as "not so good" (for us) memories.  We will never forget 11/5/11.  I know that the "sting" of that day will slowly become less.  I know that the happy memories will continue to override the sad.  I know that God who has been SO FAITHFUL to us will continue to be no less faithful in the days to come.  So, with a heart of gratitude for all of God's gifts, with a heart of sadness for us, we bid good-bye to 2011.  We look forward to 2012.  We look forward to seeing where God is leading us in this journey to our "new normal".  We continue to ache with missing Rick, but at the same time rejoice for him, knowing WHERE he is!  We continue on, moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day, knowing that heartache WILL come.  People WILL fail us.  We WILL wonder "why".  Some days will seem "easy" and some days will seem impossible.  Yet in each of these circumstances and more, GOD will remain FAITHFUL.  God will remain the SAME.  God will NEVER LEAVE US.  God will NEVER fail us.  God will FILL THE EMPTY PLACES!

"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us."  2 Corinthians 4:7

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