All Praise to Thee My God This Year

         Time. So precious, yet how relentlessly it marches on, never heeding of the weary feet and anxious hearts it leaves in it's wake. On it drives us, bidding us spend every moment while we can, lest we lose it forever. Yet,in the deal there are also wonderful things this soldier brings. Memories sweet and haunting accumulate, like silver snowflakes on a frosty hill. Time brings healing from old wounds and a comforting whisper that all will be well once more. Time brings changes where no one thought the stony ground could sprout another miserable shrub; a magnificent flower grove will bloom if only time is aloud to pass.

       My friends, if only we could spend every single moment as it ought to be spent. If only we live our lives with no regrets for wasted hours and squandered minutes. If only....and we could let our words dwindle to a sigh as we all admit the painful truth, we aren't perfect...we will always waste precious moments, but let us not pause too long on that thought for, time brings us chances, lots of them to try again, and with each attempt, my friends, we waste a little less, we bless a few more souls, we sow a few more seeds of joy, we accomplish a few more acts of kindness. This is our hope that God is with us, He gives time and His strength to take each knock in stride, each blessing in season, and each moment as He gives it, with faith that He will see us through it, and He will see us through victoriously.

       I've always been a perfectionist, albeit a lazy one at times. I think for many years as a Christian, I strove to follow Christ not necessarily out of a love for Him but because He was the key to making me perfect. When people said that one would never be perfect until he died my only response was to wish that I'd die early so as not to live eighty long years of inglorious imperfection! One day last year, I even tried an experiment. I set everything up and decided to try and see if I could have one perfect day. Setting aside the ever present reality of my constantly erring thought life, I decided I wanted to see how it felt to have one day where I did everything pretty much right. God helped me out I'm sure. The day ran like new wheels on a well greased track, but at the end of the day it really struck me, that if day after day followed the way that one had, productive and practically perfect, even then I would feel empty without God, like a snobbish rich lady who possesses and has the power to possess everything money can buy but has not a soul to love or who loves her. It was then that the realization struck me. It was a golden one and one I could do well to be reminded of often. That this life isn't about revelation, I know, don't laugh at me my friends. Seriously though, God doesn't need us to behave flawlessly in order to carry out his "bright designs or work his sovereign will," and He doesn't just clean up after our sinful trails of wreckage and dirt. No, he actually uses our flaws, our blemishes, our terrible, awful, heart wrenching evil, to carry out his beautiful, magnificent good. He uses it all, like the grand artist who makes a careless assistant's accidental brush swipe across his already magnificent work into a still more magnificent rainbow flung out over the sparkling scene.

     I think that may be the biggest lesson God taught me over the past year, and this year, I want to focus on putting it in practice. I want to spend less time thinking about myself and agonizing over the mistakes I made. Confess and repent, yes, but then forget, move on and focus so much on God and others that my flaws don't become so monst'rous any more in the light of God's mercy and grace.

    And now, allow me to share some highlights from this past year.

      Probably the first big thing that occurred in  2016 for me was the Spring ball...I love ballroom dancing, my friends, and enjoy every opportunity I get to waltz away the night with friends!

The next happening was my Junior recital. I got to go up to Indiana for that and my classmate and talented pianist, who also, incidentally, shares my name, was my wonderful accompanist. The recital was so much fun, but not at the level most recitals are so, in spite of my best intentions to stop thinking about myself, I am not going to share any of my dear readers, you will have to be content with a picture.

Maybe for my senior recital I'll be brave enough to actually share something with you all, but until then, I think I'll keep my singing to myself. :) 

 During the Summer was my annual Violin felt good this year as I felt I had finally started to reach a new level in, I don't have a recording of that, though if I did, I might be more willing to share it. ;) 

 The next occurrence was getting to go up to Indiana again for my College's Harvest Fest in late October. I don't have any pictures but that was wonderful from start to finish, topped off with a wonderful session of singing in a stairwell with a few of my talented colleagues. My friends, if you have never sung a-Cappella in four part harmony in a stairwell, you have missed out on a seriously magnificent pleasure in life. It was a memory for me that I will treasure for the rest of my life as I rarely get to sing with others and the stairwell was the closest I could get to the Cathedral tone.

  Finally, the year culminated in my wonderful Sister, Arianne getting married to the love of her life, Brian, in early December. It was a beautiful wedding and a lovely close to a full year.

And that, my friends is my year in a nutshell. Of course there were my studies and my growing number of violin students, not to mention getting my driver's license and a very long, and adventurous bus trip which I have sworn never to repeat if I can at all help it. :)

   I have a lot of hopes and aspirations for this year. Dreams, ambitions, goals. I'm sure we all do whether we've made a list or not, and, trust me, I didn't. In the end, however, it comes down to living each day, each moment in the light of God's presence. A whole year looks daunting from this end, we wonder how we'll get through it. The answer, as it often is, comes rather simply, we do it by living each day as it comes. And with Christ we don't have to live it alone. A friend of mine recently reminded me of this when she reintroduced an old favorite of mine, the hymn, Day by Day.  If nothing else, my dear readers, take the time to read through these beautiful verses penned by Lina Sandell in 1865.
Day by day and with each passing moment,

Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father's wise bestowment,
I've no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best--
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.
 Ev'ry day the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me,
He whose name is Counselor and Pow'r.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
"As thy days, thy strength shall be in measure,"
This the pledge to me He made.
Help me then in eve'ry tribulation
So to trust Thy promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith's sweet consolation
Offered me within Thy holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E'er to take, as from a father's hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land.
If you have some more time, enjoy this lovely rendition by talented singer Ben Everson who sings all the parts himself. 

       Remember that no matter what we face this year, be it tragic or be it magnificent, that "He whose heart is kind beyond all measure gives unto each day what He deems best." Also that, "The protection of His child and Treasure, is a charge which on Himself He laid."

  May this be a year of Praise and Thanksgiving to the one who has given us so much, and may we say as Christ before us proclaimed to Pilate, "It is for this I was born and for this reason I have come into the world, to testify about the truth."

 Let this be our goal this year if nothing else, my friends. Welcome to 2017 A.D.

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April Rhys said...

Oh, this was so encouraging, Christianna! :-) I love you, sister! I really needed to read this, and what peace and truth is brought to me. God is our Savior, mighty and perfect and sufficient, and He will guide as Day by Day. Wonderful rendition of this song too! I shall remember this as we go on throughout this amazing new year! *hugs*