A Disappointing Start to the New Year

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It’s the start of a brand New Year. Already this year has been challenging and it’s only a few days in. At the end of the year we had a close friend who lost her brother suddenly with no warning. We were all shocked. Hubby ended up in the hospital during the Holidays, we saw a fatal accident on the way back and then had a friend who lost a close friend to suicide. If that wasn’t enough I came back to Texas to find a friend of mine was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Her husband had to retire so he could take care of her. Doesn’t sound like a good start does it?
I realized how quickly life can twist and turn. One day my husband is feeling fine and in the next few days he is really sick and about to lose his kidneys. One minute your thinking life is grand and the next you are terrified. One minute you have your brother for the holidays and everyone is having a great time and you couldn’t ask for better holidays and then it’s over that quickly. Your brother is gone. Our friends were so concerned for my husband and worried about him when all of a sudden the tables turned and we are concerned about them and upset about their loss.
As we drove by the accident I couldn’t help but think as we drove past how one minute you are driving down the highway. You are probably thinking about the holidays and even talking with your family about how great it was and down the road a few miles it’s all over. Lives have been changed forever.
I have experienced both suicide and Alzheimer’s in my family. Both of those circumstances are difficult for the family members. You instantly become a care taker and your life is over as you know it. One day your loved one is with you and because of a decision he has made he’s gone. Life is different.
Some of these circumstances have brought back some tough memories for me. Memories I thought I had dealt with and could easily forget. But, it’s not that way. You may deal with your circumstance and you may move on, but when a friend goes through it all of a sudden those memories resurface and they are as fresh as when it happened. 
So how do you handle those things for the second, third, or thousandth time? You do what you did the first time you went through it. You asked God to give you strength and courage to face each new day. I have learned its best not to smother those feelings, but to deal with them as they come. We are humans and we will have memories come up and haunt us every now and then. It’s okay. People who we have lost have meant a lot to us and we will never get over losing them completely. We can’t live in the past. We have to move on, but it’s okay to grieve once in a while for those we have lost or for those of our friends or family who are hurting. Just like no one could take away our pain we can’t take the pain away from others.
Recently I found this saying and posted it to my Facebook page
God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow,
Or sun without rain, be He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears,
And light for the way. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it. 
I am often reminded that if we had only happy days and none of the other stuff then we wouldn’t appreciate Heaven when we get there. It’s only in Heaven that we experience life without pain, or tears, or sorrow. While we are on earth we will experience all those necessary things so we can know the power of God and know His comfort. If I had never experienced any of those tragedies I would never have know God’s comfort in my time of need. I would never have experienced His power and strength to help me get through those days. Most of all, I would never have known the compassion family and friends has shown me through those difficult days. 
Life is not fair and life is tough, but I have a God who is tougher and helped me get through those days. Now just as friends were by my side as I dealt with things it’s my turn to be there for my friends as they deal with life’s blows to them. “All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.” 2 Corinthians 1:4-5
So for now I get up dust myself off and remind myself it’s all about helping those I love deal with what they are going through. I shed a few tears remembering those I loved and then I praise God for the time I had with them and all the memories we shared. 
Yes, this New Year’s hasn’t started out like I’d like for it to, but God is my strength. I have faith that tells me that no matter what lies ahead of me this year, God is already there. God is already preparing me for whatever He has in store. 
At the end of last year I was excited about this year and all it will hold and the many new adventures God is taking me through. It hasn’t changed; these are just little ruts in the road that I must experience so that I can enjoy the smooth ride when it comes. I am still excited about all the opportunities I have to serve God this year and these are just a few opportunities that came in a little different way than I had hoped. 
Serving others and helping them cope is something I can do through God’s power and strength. I have to remember it’s not all about me, but it’s about God and how He can use me to help others.
Who are those around you that need a little comfort or help getting through the start of a New Year? Who might you serve and show God’s love, power and strength to? We all have ruts we have to drive through before we get to the smooth road. Let’s help each other get through those ruts in our lives and share God’s love, grace and mercy with those who are hurting. 
Dear God: Please lift those up who have received bad news or have already lost someone at the start of this New Year. Help me to reach out and show compassion to those who need it the most right now. You catch our tears in your hands and you cry right along with us. Give to those who need it now the comfort, love and power to get through dark days. Let them find hope and faith as they travel along this side. Thank you for all you do for us each day. Amen.
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