Today is my birthday. One of the things I enjoy doing every October 14th is looking back on the past year and praising God for all He’s done. I am always especially reflective on my birthday, but even more so this year.
This year has been a roller coaster for me. So many things have been up and down, back and forth, constantly changing:
- After 35 years of marriage, my parents are divorcing. To say it has wounded me is a gross understatement.
- My husband’s job has been stressful and the future is uncertain.
- My awesome next-door-neighbors moved away.
- I sent my baby off to kindergarten.
- Our sweet family dog died last month.
- My grandmother was recently diagnosed with colon cancer.
No, these are not the lyrics to a country song, this has been my life this year.
I am grieving over losses and changes, big and small. One week I can’t stop crying and the next some good news has me walking with a spring in my step. But then the cycle repeats itself. For the past eight months, over and over.
I’ve come to realize that I have little control over my circumstances. God is the only one who is in control. Even though things have happened that I wouldn’t have asked for or planned, I look back and see Him at work, not only in the circumstances, but also in me.
He’s helped me to realize what true security means. I didn’t realize that I had placed so much of my security in relationships, my husband’s job and our bank account. I realize now more than ever that relationships can be broken, jobs are unpredictable and no matter how much money we’ve saved, it will not last forever.
But I’ve recently come to a place where my heart is hopeful, not in my circumstances, but in the Lord. The other day I told Him, “Either way, Lord, I will praise you.”
Whether my fears are realized or my wildest dreams come true, God is worthy of my praise. My hope and trust belong to Him, always. He is the constant through this crazy roller coaster ride of life.
“Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord, my soul. I will praise the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.” – Psalm 146:1-2 NIV
My praise is not dependent upon my circumstances, but on the condition of my heart. When I am withholding praise and trust from the Lord, it’s because I’m trying to control things, most often things I cannot change. But when my heart is at peace in Him, I can’t help but praise Him, no matter how many times the roller coaster ride continues.
Our praise cannot be at the mercy of circumstances, but firmly rooted in our certainty that God holds us, cares for us and works on our behalf.
Today and forevermore, let us resolve in our hearts that God is in control and He is trustworthy. May this be our declaration in every season and through any circumstances we face:
· Whether things change or they stay the same: Either way, Lord, I will praise you.
· Whether the divorce goes through or the marriage is restored: Either way, Lord, I will praise you.
· Whether or not my husband loses his job: Either way, Lord, I will praise you.
· Whether the doctor says the news isn’t good or the cancer is gone: Either way, Lord, I will praise you.
Friends, whichever way our lives turn out, let us praise Him!
“For what you have done I will always praise you in the presence of your faithful people. And I will hope in your name, for your name is good.” Psalm 52:9 NIV
Thanks for letting me share my heart with you on my birthday! I appreciate you!