A lesser woman might be inclined to call you a bad name. Looking back, you were a nightmare of a year sometimes. You crushed a lot of hope I had in seeing my plans become fruitful successes during the year. You met me at rock bottom and instead of giving me a pep talk to get me back on my feet, you gut kicked me a few times to make sure I knew my place. You took from me 2 of the most inspirational people to ever grace my life. You devastated a few special relationships leaving me with more questions than answers. You nearly desecrated one of the most valuable relationships I have. You have left our finances in shreds. You've planted seeds of despair that have grown enough to tangle themselves among the beauty of the joy and peace we work so hard to nurture. You stripped our life down to the bare essentials, and forced our focus to narrow drastically. As I watch you go into the abyss where years past are nothing more than lessons and memories, I still don't know if the damage you've done is repairable or not. And should it be?
But on the flip side, you've been generous and loving in your manic moments. For each of those relationships you destroyed, you filled the empty spaces with the goodness
... you nurtured some old relationships, brought back lost relationships and strengthened the connective tissues of some of the deeper, more meaningful ones.
You brought into my world a beautiful, healthy new life, and timed the next one to bless us just on the other side of the new year. Is that your way of making amends for wreaking emotional havoc these past 12 months? A partng gift, perhaps? A gift to start our relationship with 2017 off on a happy note?
You've taught me how powerful forgiveness, (true forgiveness) really is...the kind you never picture yourself having to give, let alone being remotely capable of. You've shown me it's not only a piece of solace in the dark, brokenness of a self's shattered heart, but that it unlocks the possibility for reparation of the other person's brokenness and hurts too.
You've taught me that grace isn't a sticky surface element, but that it seeps into the tightest places when you pour it out abundantly. And you taught me the world soaks it up like water to a desperate man lost in the desert, parched and dried out by the scorching sun.
You've shown me I need so much less to survive than I thought I did. And that the vital things I do need, I need so much more of than I realized I had. You've turned my priorities inside out and shown me how wrong I was in thinking I had them straight to begin with.
You've taken what felt like a life that was taking shape, and whittled it down to a bare, hallow cast. You've left in me the character grain that was there to begin with, the only details remaining being those crafted by the majesty of nature. I'm praying your plan is to let 2017 lovingly pour the mold and shape it into something more beautiful than it started out last year when it was handed over to you.
I have to give it to you; you are an efficient craftsman. You leave nothing undone, unless your intention was to undo it. Everything you did these past 12 months you did with precision. Every ingredient in your recipe was clearly chosen with utmost care, masterfully designed to flavor the pot to your exacting specifications.
For every rock and hard place you sandwiched me into, you gave me comfort. For every dashed dream I had for the year, you reminded me it's not over yet, and my dreams keep coming. For every broken piece of me, you've used kintsugi techniques to repair me. I am more beautiful now, in my vulnerability than I was in my confidence when you and I first met. I'm simpler, more narrowed down and chiseled. There's less excess. The pruning you've done has set me up to blossom beautifully if 2017 will do the nurturing.
But let's be honest...it's not any more up to 2017, than it was up to you. It's God who does the tending, the weeding, the pruning. It's Him who has introduced and taken away. Him who saw me stumble and fall so that I would reach for Him. It was in His infinite wisdom that my time with you unfolded the way it did. It's up to Him to continue molding and shaping, crafting and creating in the year to come. I have no plans for 2017. I won't hold onto a vision for this coming year like I did with you, because those character grains you've left me with are all I need going forward; faith in God, and hope. So as I say goodbye to you, I bid you farewell knowing that the hands that hold me after we part ways aren't those of a new moody year subject to external influence, but those of a mighty creator whose work is always good.