I know, I’m already half a month late, but we did actually get our family newsletter out close to the first of the year this year. We were very proud of ourselves! 🙂 Anyway…here is a copy of my contribution to the effort:
This year was another year of major accomplishments for me. For starters, I overcame my habit of falling asleep on the couch and managed to sleep in my bed almost every night, fixed dozens of experimental recipes without killing off any of my family members, didn’t destroy more than one kitchen appliance during said cooking experiments, drove four hours straight without getting drowsy on one of our family trips, gave up my faithful black planner and finally went digital…and the list goes on. Impressive, huh? Come on, I’m an author; I have to take every opportunity to improve my skills of self-adulation and making the ordinary sound incredibly extraordinary. 🙂
Speaking of books (we were, right?), I’ve been reading a biography of the renowned scientist Marie Curie and could identify with her subtly humorous sentiment, “There is the need of new impressions; the need of change, of movement and life, which seizes me sometimes with such force that I want to fling myself into the greatest follies, if only to keep my life from being eternally the same. Fortunately I have so much work to do that these attacks seize me pretty rarely.” Maybe she was taking advice from my dear departed Grandpa who always expressed support for my endeavors, adding, “being busy is good…keeps you out of trouble”! In reality, though, I have learned more than ever this year that it is the grace of God alone that keeps me “out of trouble” and dependent upon Him for strength, wisdom, and joy.
To borrow again from Madame Curie, “It is difficult for me to tell you about my life in detail; it is so monotonous and, in fact, so uninteresting. Nevertheless I have no feeling of uniformity and I regret only one thing, which is that the days are so short and that they pass so quickly…and if one didn’t like the work it would be very discouraging.” It is truly a blessing that in spite of an often busy schedule, I really love the work I do. Whether it’s teaching my piano students, working on projects for our music teachers associations, directing the Adventures in Character children’s program, maintaining websites for several organizations, serving as a Precinct Committeewoman, brainstorming new marketing ideas for the products we’re selling through Sibro Publishing, creating resources and writing posts for Music Matters Blog, or even keeping up with the family ironing, each task can be met with enthusiasm and creativity.
And, lest I allow the predictability and enjoyment of my schedule to become the source of my security, God has seen fit to bring numerous challenges my way. By far, the most difficult experiences this year have been the various speaking engagements that I’ve had. I used to be one of those rare people who actually liked public speaking. But after a couple of emotionally traumatic experiences last year, I joined the ranks of the majority of individuals who are scared to death of speaking to a large group of people. Which is probably why God gave me fourteen such “opportunities” this year! In every instance, He has peeled off more layers of pride and self-reliance and drawn me closer to Himself. I have learned over and over again that I will never be enough in God’s eyes – never righteous enough; never wise enough; never eloquent enough; never humble enough; never attractive enough; etc. But Jesus Christ is all-sufficient. One of the things that struck me during my reading of the Gospels this year was the phrase that God declares several times, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Ultimately, then, it is the presence of His Son, Jesus, within us that brings God pleasure, not our vain attempts to accomplish great things for Him.
May each of us be mindful throughout the New Year that our hope rests not in our accomplishments (thankfully, since I can’t imagine going two years in a row without multiple appliance breakages… 🙂 ), but in the greatest accomplishment of all – that Jesus Christ came to earth as a baby, dwelt in the midst of sinful humanity, and then “suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).