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Yes, I See That Hand

As I sat in the prayer room this morning, I remember a brief encounter I had last winter that helped me get my head around how life has changed for us.

Christmas Eve 2008, we went to the prayer room, as we try to do for a while each Christmas eve.  It’s a wonderful place – often fairly empty, one musician and a scattering of people singing a song for a savior on the night we remember His birth.   I’d like to tell you how in tune I was with the majesty of it, but I was in my nearly annual funk a day or two early.

Most years between Christmas and New Year, I dip into a dark place. It’s not the dark night of the soul. It’s more like the frustrated spot of the middle aged guy.  It revolves around this thought:  Am I happy with what I’ve accomplished this year?   And invariably, year after year, I’m not.  I usually approach the end of the year with a jumble of unrealized expectations and the knowledge that I doofed it.

The needle of the soul-o-meter was dipping left that evening as I faced the ending of another year that didn’t turn out like I’d hoped.  The book that I’d heard so much about was not yet published.  Or written, for that matter.   We were selling a house but The Compound was in unlivable condition.  It would be cold, dark months before we would walk into our own home.  I felt dislocated, unknown, tired and more than a little sorry for myself.  OK, a lot sorry for myself.

As I stood to the side of the room, my back against the wall in more ways than one, I confessed in prayer “I’m not happy with what I’ve done this year….I’m so disappointed.  I’m so disappointed.”  I looked down for a moment at Anna, asleep in my arms.  In a moment, I heard the Whisper.  It’s not an audible voice, though I’d love it to be.  Never the less, it echoed within me.

“I know you’re not happy with what you’ve done this year.  But what do you think about what I’ve done?’.

Awkward silence.  Me, too smart to answer quickly.  The Voice, without need of saying any more.

I glanced down again at my 3 month old daughter, then across the room at her twin sister in her mother’s arms.  Hot tears began to drop down off my checks on to her blanket.   The memories of adopting the twins began to swirl through my head, followed by a myriad of things that His hand had done in the past year.  Babies born.  Friendships formed.  Vision dropping like stars into our dreams at night.  We didn’t do everything we wanted to this year, but He did everything He wanted.

I vowed that night that I wouldn’t live another year like the last.  I wanted to learn to see The Hand day by day and live with a grateful heart, knowing that the summary of my life will  not be what I did but rather what He did in my proximity.  I’ve walked it out better this year…not perfect, but certainly with a greater appreciation of what God is doing and the realization that what I am doing is not the measure of who I am.

Yes, Lord, I see that hand.


8 Responses

  1. Amen. Encouraging.

  2. Thank, Randy. I needed that reminder for my own holiday funk. You brought tears to my eyes without a baby being involved–at least not directly.

  3. Wow !!! Thanks Randy….got it !

  4. Thank you for that… I, too, get incredibly depressed (I call it… more like a dark funk–is that depressed?) that same time of the year. I believe we all need that reminder that He is at work, even when we feel we’ve gotten nothing accomplished. He’s a good, good Papa, and doesn’t leave us alone. And when we’re seeking His will and pleasure in our lives, He’s so faithful to acknowledge it. Remind us all, Papa, with those sweet whispers, what You’ve done and are yet to do as the days, weeks, and months continue to tick by leaving us feeling unaccomplished; You are at work! And we love You for that 🙂

  5. Wow! What an awesome thing! Thank you for sharing, I will be borrowing this for our “Thankful” conversation around the table this Thursday! I have 2 young ladies coming,1 just tasting the sweet life and the other still watching on the side line! I pray this will stir in their hearts for a long time!

  6. Wow. Thanks for tears first thing in the morning! Wonderfully poignant, as always.

  7. Dude…stop reading my mail. God spoke to me through this one…and what an important day for it. Thanks for taking the time that you could be resting to write about what God has done in your life.

  8. What a better way to see the year!
    His honor encompasses all things anyways.

    My favorite work of His hand this year is health for my baby girl’s soft spot not closing too early [it was much smaller than most babies’].. He spoke to me to pray with faith.. I did & her head circumference is doing well! In the waiting & watching, I deeply ached for her to not need surgery on her skull [with all of surgery’s pain & bleeding risks].

    Also less chiropractor visits needed for me…
    Health from His hand~ what an accomplishment!!

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