Closing a Chapter.


Each year as the gift wrapping and tag writing come to a close, and I start to hear my own heart beating come to a calm, I start reflecting on the last year for the last week of December. Sort of like an end of job assessment.

Did I accomplish the things I set out to accomplish this year?
Have I grown at all in my marriage, with my kids, and with Jesus?
What do I want to focus on next year?

Usually it turns into an anxiety session about all my flaws and weaknesses. A scratched out paper of reasons why I should just give up and start over. Then I crumple up the paper, scowl and pout (these are some legit adult reactions…).

This year it’s been oddly quiet. Quite peaceful, in fact.
No scoffing.
No pointed fingers at which problem caused my downfall.
No countless scribbled pages.
No guilt.
No anxiety.
Not a pout.

Could it be that the practice of thanks over this last year has begun carving this cancer of nothingness out of me? The poisonous tumor of self-loathing, oddly self-fulfilling prophecy…this horribly dreary road…is finally clearing?

Without realizing it, unthankfulness had become a life sentence. The diagnosis to end my spirit’s existence but keep my flesh alive to witness the torture if what was lost and witness the remnant of the wasteland it had created. I’d heard about cancer, leukemia, AIDS, freak viruses and flus…but no one really warned me that unthankfulness could rob me of life.No one told me it could put me in a vegetative state to stand frozen and witness contaminated nothingness.

As the days, weeks, and months have clocked by, it’s as though the chaos slowed down and I was suddenly attuned to the breathe of God. The way my children play. The way they giggle. The way they love with their hugs and kisses. The laughter I share with my husband. The quiet talks. The sweat, the tears. God’s very life presence beating. Breathing. Transforming.

I haven’t nearly perfected it. I’m not nearly close. I still have so far to go…but some words have come to mind this time in writing. Not a kick to my failings to get into gear. Not angry tears or hatred for what I have put before myself to shuffle through. Beautiful words I had longed to hear in grace as a child amidst the less than perfect grades, piano lessons and goofy quirks. The tender words of a parent to their child in process:
“It’s ok. We’ll get there.”
Such plain and simple words. But they are room words. Room for error, learning, and growth. Words that cover my mistakes without being a cover up.

A lifetime of attempts to cover myself, my ugliness, my mistakes. And in the finality of this year of 2013…in the reflections of my past and the peering into the sun break of the future I may be blessed with, I know for certain I do not want to live another God given day covering up for myself.

This year has been the most honest and freeing year of my life. Breaking the constraints of guilt I’d fastened to direct me to what I’d do next and allowing the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to come in and cover me has not been simple. I gave Him not just the compartments I wanted Him to see, but the ones I wanted to fix up before I let Him see them (which by the way turned into a horrible botched job on my own efforts).

The journey of thanks is far from being over. It’s a life long adventure. It may be a chapter in a blog that is ending, but it’s a chapter in my life I’m not afraid to open and face anymore. Another chapter marked by grace and covered by the sacrifice of the Son of God.