Top 10 Lessons from 2013

Here it is—New Year’s Eve. Time to reflect and remember all that has happened and what I’ve learned over the past year.

As promised in my last post, here is my Top 10 list of lessons I have learned in 2013 (in no particular order).

Top 10 Lessons from 2013

1.       Live for today…take life one day at a time.

What I did yesterday has come and gone. Tomorrow may never be. Today is where I need to spend my time, place my focus, and live my life. Doing whatever the Lord asks me to do for this one day will place me where I need to be tomorrow.

Matthew 6:33-34: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

2.       NEVER take what I have for granted. Cherish what I have been given and be thankful.

A grateful heart allows me to see the precious gifts from the Lord that grace my life. What I have today, may not be here tomorrow. I must cherish every blessing and be thankful! This is especially important with the people in my life.

James 1:17: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…

Philippians 1:3: I thank my God every time I remember you.

3.       God is always with me…even when I don’t notice Him.

God is faithful to His promise to be with me and never leave me. When I acknowledge His presence, I am filled with great strength and peace. I want to be like a little child with her Father—walking beside Him, holding His hand, and following His lead in total dependence. And never let go.

Deuteronomy 31:8: The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.

Isaiah 41:10: So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

4.       Perspective makes a HUGE difference.

God began 2013 by reminding me to focus on Him and not on my circumstances. Little did I know how important that lesson would be! When my eyes are on Him, trusting in His sovereignty, and clinging to His promises, I am not overwhelmed by the problems that I face. In remembering that He is in control and has a purpose in all things, I find peace and joy in every situation.

2 Corinthians 4:16-18: Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

5.       Memories are not guaranteed to last forever…record them!

I’ve often had the thought, “Things will come and go, but memories last forever.” But my husband’s memory loss and seeing more people with dementia and Alzheimers has made me realize this is not always the case. Memories are wonderful. But I cannot trust them to always be accessible. Making a record of precious moments through photos, videos, journals, letters, etc. is time well spent. This is also something God had the Israelites do:

Joshua 4:20: And Joshua set up at Gilgal the twelve stones they had taken out of the Jordan.

Joshua 4:6-7: In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.

6.       Waiting is a blessing from God.

How I hate to wait! But, oh, what blessings I would miss without it. Waiting compels me to seek God, to depend on His provision and timing, to cling to His promises and the hope that they bring, to learn contentment, and fully trust the Lord.

Isaiah 30:18: Yet, the LORD longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!

7.       God’s light shines brightest in the depths of darkness.

Hardship and trials are not something I welcome. But it is in those times when the normalcy of life screeches to a halt that I come to my knees before God and in desperation cry out to Him. What beautiful light He brings into those dark times. This is something that cannot be seen when all around me is going well. There is an intimacy there with my precious Lord that can be found nowhere else.

Isaiah 42:16: I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

8.       Trusting in the mysterious ways of God will lead to contentment and joy.

I often don’t understand what God is doing and why things happen in my life. But God promises to bring good out of all things. And when I trust Him, knowing that His ways are not my ways, I find sweet peace and joy in seeing the outcome of His work.

Isaiah 55:8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,”  declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose.

Romans 15:13: May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

9.       God’s grace and strength are sufficient to see me through anything.

Coming face to face with many of my fears and seeing God’s provision at every winding turn has allowed me to experience His amazing grace and strength in a new way. When I start to feel overwhelmed, He always lifts me up with His powerful hand and provides for every need—physically, emotionally, spiritually. His grace is sufficient!

2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Philippians 4:13: I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

10.   The supportive care of family and friends is a need God wants me to fill.

My husband and I have been overwhelmed by the love, prayers and care of our family and friends throughout this year. I cannot even express what that has meant to us. In the same way, I want to be used by the Lord to support the people around me with His love and care and lift them up in prayer. I want to be a faithful friend, a shoulder to cry on, a source of encouragement—which is what I have been called to do.

Galatians 6:3: Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Proverbs 17:17: A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Well, there you have it. My Top 10. What about you? Did you take the Simply. Challenge to Remember? If so, please share with us what you’ve learned by commenting below.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Photo by Sabra Penley

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Filed under God's Works, Lessons, Top 10

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