In the book of life, the answers aren’t in the back (Charlie Brown). – Charles Schulz
The sun is rising a little later and setting a little earlier now. Autumn’s waning days tell me that December is on its way. Christmas will be here soon and after Christmas, a new year.
And when December arrives, time will accelerate to the speed of light, or so it may seem. The year’s quick exit will be a welcome relief, I think.
My family has seen its share of difficulty this year. Good-byes, disappointments, and a few bad choices have left their mark. There have been times when we have stumbled, fallen and felt like giving up. But now with the worse seemingly behind us, there is a guarded optimism settling in as December approaches.
We have made it though. We are intact; we are alive and we are ready to have a reason to celebrate. The time we spend together during the Christmas holidays will give us a chance to recall the lessons learned this year and how we can find the value in each one.
Taking time to consider life’s lessons is an empowering way to acknowledge what has happened, and at the same time discovering how each lesson can make us stronger, more faithful and determined to learn more about ourselves. I have the sense these lessons will be among the most precious gifts my family opens this Christmas:
Live right now
You can’t change the past or control the future, but you can give your mind, heart and soul to what is happening right now.
Consider your commitments seriously
Before committing, be convinced; be absolutely sure it’s what you want to do.
Trust recovers slowly
When temptation wins over common sense, trust will return, but cautiously. Be patient. Wait for it. And when trust recovers, put it in a safe place and away from what you know will challenge it again.
Ask to be carried
When you feel weary, allow yourself to fall into the arms of someone stronger and asked to be carried. Your burdens don’t feel heavy to others when their love is used to lift you up.
You see what your create
In misery you see the enemy; in grace you see the possibility.
You don’t have to run 100 miles an hour
Be Still. Listen. Allow the light to find you. Rushing at 100 miles an hour looking for peace will cause you to miss the fact it’s standing in front of you.
Faith never lets go
The next time you fell like giving up, extend your hand; the first thing you grab will be your faith. Hold on to it and know it will always hold on to you.
It’s not about where you’ve been; it’s about where you will be taken
Your past doesn’t define who you can be in this moment. Use the present, this very second, to decide who you want to be and then start heading in that direction.
You are worthy to have what you want
Peace, love and happiness aren’t for everybody but you. You are worthy to have to your heart’s desire, too – all you have to do is ask.
There is love or fear
You have a choice: Live in love or live in fear. There is no in-between.
The most important life lesson
I have already received my Christmas gift.
Recently, Mary Beth and I were preparing dinner while discussing a particularly hard stretch. Standing at the sink peeling potatoes, tears filled my wife’s eyes. She told me she couldn’t have made it through if it wasn’t for my support.
She told me that the commitment I made seven years ago to change has made all the difference in our life today. While I can’t take back the first 18 years of our marriage, I can continue to give her and my family what they need from me most – strength, faith and love.
I believe the challenging times experienced this year have happened for a reason. I believe my family will be made stronger by these obstacles. I also believe God gives us hardship not to break us, but to make our faith stronger; faith not only in Him, but in ourselves, too.
I’m certain the lessons I have learned, and the ones I’m still learning, are ones that will continue to make a difference for me. I’m also certain the lessons my wife, sons and daughters are learning will allow them to experience their world for the better.
December is almost here. My family will soon gather around one another again. I hope amidst the hugs, laughter and tears there will be a clear understanding of the lessons learned this year.
And for me?
My heart is at peace.
This past year has been a wonderful reminder of the most important life lesson I have learned: I am not who I was.
A special thank you
I would to thank fellow bloggers Abubakar Jamil and Farnoosh Brock for inviting me to participate in the Life Lesson Series. While I decided to write about just one year, the lessons learned will no doubt last my family a lifetime.
More than 70 bloggers are participating in the Life Lesson Series. You can read their life lessons, here. I also invite you visit Abubakar’s blog, AbubakarJamil.com and Farnoosh’s blog, Prolific Living – both are full of inspirational and helpful articles.