Wednesday, December 31, 2014

So Long 2014! God has been so good to us this year!

From Genesis to Revelation. Here are the verses that linger with me as we walked through 2014:
1. Our year started with the best little Christmas gift ever from dear friends---an unheard of, rare vacation where Bob and I and my four kids/spouses were all snowbound together in a cabin in the Colorado woods. Unbelievable time! I have loved being their momma.  Oh! I have more kids. It thrills me being a high school teacher. Seeing God move in the lives of students like Richmond, Adison, Elizabeth, Timothy, Catherine...and the list goes on and on and on and on. My hand is over 
my mouth as this year closes its door.
2. Five years cancer free this year. And the prognosis: you never know, really. My oncologist took me off all of the cancer meds and bade me farewell after 50+ visits. It was a safety net slit open. But, the Anchor of my soul is firm, sure, immovable. Exodus 14:14.
3. There has been an uncommon Providential way of providing for us this year from friends. Like Elijah who found God in rain and ravens. I Kings 19:13 - Elijah found God in the "low whispers." Elijah was on the shelf. Eating from mouths of birds. And a lonely widow is the handpicked one who blessed him. Learned a tad more to stand up when called from the obscure places and speak and share and write and wonder---even when there are so few wanting to listen, wanting what I have to offer.  I wrestle with this.

4. I hope I learned this year an iota better how to cry from my heart not just all that wailing on my bed. It's a Beautiful God pursuing me when I was unlovely. "I will give her a door of hope." Hosea 2:14-15. Oh, I needed hope this year in the midst of real relationships. And God said: I'll have mercy on "Miss No Mercy."  He did. He is.

5. My love for the church grew immensely this year. I want so much to be on a church staff someday. It's the cry of my heart.  I know I am called to the ministry.  A firmer conviction grew within me to not heal wounds lightly saying, Peace! Peace! All is good! Jeremiah 6:14. I love the next verse for it speaks conviction to me: "They have no shame over their sins, for they don't even know how to blush." Jeremiah 6:15. I learned a little more about blushing this year over what is not right in me.

6. "I send my heart up to Thee. All my heart." Elizabeth Barrett Browning. That's what you have to do when the person in your life longest takes your hand for the last time and breathes his last breath on earth. Transferred into the Kingdom, the day he lived for. Surreal. It's over here. And now we hold in our hands a flood of memories. I hope that we become stronger in dependence in our loss. 
  7. Reading through the bible this year for the 9th time in a row---and I thought I couldn't do it once. Still think I can't finish it this year. But nothing will stop me. A friend once said to me: “Face the hard questions that life requires you to ask. Gather with other travelers on the narrow road, pilgrims who acknowledge their confusion and feel their fears. Then, together, live those questions in My Presence.”. And that's what my little tiny community of readers has done for me. There's only a handful of us yet we are trying to live this one messy life of ours with courage to more than hang in there but to follow in our confusion and feel our fears.

8. Reading blogs like yours and Cottrell and Tripp and Buechner and Metaxas and ... I love that you guys don't move to "fix" people or give steps & solutions for life. You offer genuine realness in a webworld that offers to move to fix me. I want to wrestle with words and life. I want to glean from a curious heart that draws me to God. That makes me want to press in and lean on God and find Him in my need. The people I find here hold a present awareness of their own brokenness and that is just beautiful. You understand a little more than most people about the evil that lies within all of us.

9. Nothing in my life has given me words, given me direction, given me life like one imperfect author I read every year. Deut 32:2. I read him over and over and again this year and it happened all over again! Oh! I'm still a mess but a little more of a glorious mess than ever. I think I am doing well in the midst of extremely difficult circumstances, holding fast to a Good God and finding a little deeper rest in Him this 2014. I'm not the same person that I started out this year to be. I give credit to that author who helped me find a little more wider the real Author. Reading books is like having a weighty conversation with a pretend friend. Works for me.

10. Think I somewhat believed a little more that God is at work in me. Way too much I feel that I am waiting for something to happen. The truth is: it is already happening. Daniel 4:23---God is laying me low that I may know. His Strength in me. For those times this year when things have not changed which has surfaced in all 12 months.

11. Our son graduated from college. Headed off to grad school. Law School. Changing alma maters. Emptynesters for sure now.  Stripped of something.  I see God has my back.  Strong Hands.  Like Steel.  The iron rod of the Holy Spirit cause my kids have been in my house for 33 years in a row.  No more.

12. God has given me a little more than last year, an "eye to the Word of God."  I cannot explain that one.  Luke 5:5.  Like the pro fishermen disciples toiling all night long, catching no draught of fish.  Yet. They had an eye to the Word spoken by God---spread your nets, spread your case before God.  I am floored that This Word has so caught me eye like not before.  

13. Faced some impossible odds this year.  God controls my odds.  5 loaves and 2 fish.  It's all God had to work with.  Luke 9:10. I have known depression that I thought I wouldn't even make it through, where I could not even stand up.  My circumstances are somewhat still the same but God is so changing me.  

14. My soul shipwrecked this summer.  Right smack dab by the shore.  I learned a few feet more that tribulations come and they will pass.  Acts 27:39.  He is the God of Tight Places.  I could see the shore but I shipwrecked in that stupid harbor before making it safe to shore.  YET, I still made it to shore.  

15. Divine Providence has me where I am.  And 2014 unsettled me even more.  You see, I think that I am nowhere where I thought I would be in this stage of the game of life. It's not even where I think I want to be.  But I am seeking Christ not chief places. And I'm learning this one day in/ day out---it's the Hand of Providence that has me here---I mean my bags are packed in a storage unit for 4 years now.  I Cor 12:28. Maybe they'll stay packed in 2015, maybe not. 
16. I learned about Right-Now Grace this year.  Hope I learned a little more true to cleanse myself from what controls me. 2 Cor 7:1, 10.  It is right to be disconcerted over what bothers me.  May I be more bothered about how I act wrongly in anything that happens.  His Right-Now Grace purifies me.

17. God loaned a little boy to my oldest daughter.  Our first grandchild.  To watch that unfold was such a #miracle.  I mean, prejudices and pride I held hidden didn't seem to matter as a life hung on the balance.  Psalm 139 - all our ordained days, will we truly live and let go of what holds us locked up in our hearts.  I was able to wrestle with that with some victory.  Immense gratitude holding this fresh face of God to me. 

18. Something clicked for me as 365 days waxed and waned.  Philemon 1:17 - "Charge that to my account."  All the distance people have put between me and them.  The hurtful words.  The missing actions.  The revengeful innuendos.  I don't know how, but my God is---a little more than usual---reversing my thinking and making me care more about what I'm doing to them.  Just charge what they have done to me to my account.

19. I am surrounded by some incredibly supportive people.  I've seen the 2 John 1:2 Advocate of my soul in someways I've never seen before.  If I could sit across from you and tell you how He has cared for me in 2014, it would make you weep with me.  Honestly!  Maybe all we need is one Advocate and our little broken community of lovers.
20. Something peaked for me as the pages fold right this New Year's Eve night of 2014. Reading through the Bible this year has changed me---cause it read me. And I can't keep on unless it is right. I know a little more firmer in my soul of an Anchor in the midst of this darkness in which I sit.  I'm all right cause He wrote to me in Revelation 21:5: "My little child, I am making all things new." I'll be a little more new tomorrow when I wake up in 2015.
                                                                           Merry Christmas and Happy New from The Brandons

Praying for Our Friend Joanne Psalm 131:3 Waiting on God. Hope Now. Hope Always.

House of Blessing Tribal Childrens Home

House of Blessing Tribal Childrens Home
"Whoever welcomes a little child in My Name, welcomes Me." Matthew 18:5 We have posted pictures of the orphans receiving their gifts from you. Scroll down to the post entitled "Today Was the Big Day." Many orphans didn't own anything of their own, but now do, because of you.

My Family

My Family
Britt, Blair, Bev, Bob, Brooke, Barrett


I've met some amazing women through blogging. I would love to hear from you. My personal e-mail is:
I have another blog where I blog daily as a small group of us read through the New Testament this year. It's called A String of Pearls. We carry each other on mats (when we just can't walk anymore) to Jesus and sweet things like that.


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