~ I learned in a deeper and fuller way how very near the Lord can be.
~ I learned that His peace truly is one "that passes understanding" . . . when human fears try to overwhelm, when things look so dark, His peace can come in like a flood surrounding, filling, and encompassing. There are no words to describe how beautiful, how restful, it is.
~ I learned in a so much deeper way that He is truly faithful. Over and over and over. All the time. No matter how many times 'bad' things happen, no matter what sorrows or pains are suffered . . . He is faithful. And I have realized that in a very real and personal way this past year.
~ I learned, in beautiful ways, how special, and what a blessing, the body of Christ is. Our church family especially this past year . . . I never knew that people outside of physical family, could give and love and serve and help and support and be there in times of need like what our church family has been for us. It has been amazing . . . and several times, I couldn't stop the tears, when yet again, such love and care was shown to us. How beautiful is the body of Christ! And how thankful I am for these dear ones that we are blessed to know here.
Outside of all of these, there are the physical blessings that the Lord has given . . . our little farm has grown significantly this past year (dairy and meat goats, rabbits, and bees), so many of our goals and dreams are coming to fruition, our garden produced abundantly despite the long drought, and so much more.
And the definite highlight that marks 2011 for us was the precious, precious blessing of Adelyn. Words fail me to describe how very welcomed and loved she is, and how very thankful we are for this special gift from the Lord. She brings such joy to our lives, and it will be exciting to watch her grow and change over this coming year!
The Lord has indeed been good to us . . . in so very many ways.
"The Lord's lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. 'The LORD is my portion,' says my soul, 'Therefore I have hope in Him.'" (Lamentations 3:22-24)
And now the chapter of 2011 is coming to a close, and a whole new empty year lies before us . . . it reminds me of a book with blank pages. Each empty page is just waiting to be written on . . . and what will fill its pages? What joys and sorrows and blessings will be written in it?
I am looking forward to this coming year, excited to see what it will bring for us and what the Lord will do in it. And ever longing that this next year will continue to be one of learning, growing and deepening in my relationship with my Lord and Savior. My prayer is for not only myself, but for all of you as well, that we will seek the Lord first in our lives, that we will hunger for His word, that we will ever seek to bring our lives more into harmony with His word, walking in obedience to Him and bringing glory to Him. Living lives that are fully, completely, and unreservedly consecrated to Him and for His use.
May the Lord's blessings, guidance and wisdom be yours in this next year as you seek to walk in His ways!
"For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord." (Ephesians 5:8-10.)
*All of the photos shared in this post were ones taken during a much enjoyed afternoon walk today in the beautiful 60 degree, sunny weather that marked the close of 2011.