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Don't Really Know What to Entitle This One Maybe the best title can be The Landscapes of our Lord
by Mims Driscoll
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So many thoughts fill my head as I come to write today... Much is upon my heart..... I think of the losses that have befallen friends and acquaintances of mine... weird thoughts to have on the very first morning of the very first day of the new year.... 2010..... but they are mine...... they are mine... I think of the new turns of hope that have come my way in recent weeks and am so grateful for them.... yet my heart aches to think of the path that others are walking upon this day......

I remember heading to the cemetery during my father's funeral... I remember watching all the cars pass me.. all the people on the street... it felt so weird for me that the world had kept on moving while mine had felt like it came to a screeching halt. There aren't the words to describe what we are left with when we lose someone dear to us .... the hole is deep, the vacancy raw, the pain real.....

What has caused me to travel this rabbit trail this morning..... thoughts of years past... of dreams that have died... of losses incurred...... There were things that I wanted over the last years that I have only seen die.. hopes only being dashed upon a rock and a heart being left sick by those hopes that had been deferred . There are seasons where loss seems more the card that is being dealt and with it the whole hand.. maybe the whole deck feels full of confusion, loss, agony, tears, anger, and disbelief....

In my mind I have a tendency to elevate those that picked a path, knew what they wanted, planned their course and walked it as they had planned... no detours.... or at least not many.... or at least when I saw those people that is how I perceived them..... my life.. our life ... has not been that journey... I feel like at times we have stumbled our way through many a season to come to a place that we loved and grew and lived only then to see the end of that season bring change... at times great change.... and most of those times have been accompanied by losses...... and new beginnings or hope felt like it existed far off in the distance...

As this new year starts I feel a fresh beginning coming gently upon the shore of my life..... it comes upon the sands that have known the movement accompanied by great storms..... the glass or stone found upon the beach that wave after wave has roared over and as such made it smooth..... I think I am appreciating this new beginning of sorts because I have felt very lost over the last few years... wondering what life had in store as I watched dreams I had wash away.... and there have been times where I have stared into the horizon and stared and stared and stared only to see nothing ...... and as time passes and there doesn't seem to be anything on that horizon a sadness and hopelessness entered into me...

A bewildered feeling ...

I remember a sermon a pastor once preached about deep sea diving and how he had learned that you pick three points of reference so that when you come up out of the water you can acclimate yourself and get your bearings and know where you are....... but for a long while now that ability to find those three points... to find my bearings seemed so allusive and far away......

Jim and I had believed for a long time that our family was to consist of six children. We followed the birth of our oldest child with three other children very close together..... within five years.... It was time to stop then... Four children in 5 1/2 years was quite the adventure to handle...... Then came a time where Joshua was headed into Jr. High School and Rebekah was headed into Kindergarten.

This feeling came upon me that it was time to "complete" our family......

I had up until that point taken for granted that once I was pregnant nine months later there would be a baby... however that was not to be so and the journey to complete our family became a very painful one..... It would take six pregnancies to bring forth the promise that our family would have six children..... ( to bring two more pregnancies to completion) days and moments and seasons of sorrow and confusion were mine to walk through..... and yet now as I stand in this day... I hear my almost one year old say, "ma -ma" as my 3 year old takes his afternoon nap.......

We have walked at times similar journeys as it pertains to vision and dreams for our lives..... believed that something was to happen only to watch all evidence of it fade away...... and yet now I stand in a place where as I look up into the face of the horizon I see hope..... I have begun to think again about possibilities.... about dreams and hopes for what life can hold........ but it has been a journey of time... and days have passes and become months then years.....

I have learned to live in the valley of the shadow of death..... I have learned to walk slower and have learned to heed to the guidance of the rod and the staff..... Psalm 23 has come alive to me.... I have seen that at times I get to walk in pastures so lush and green and full of life while at other times I am lead by waters that are still and my soul is given time to heal, there are times where the favor of the Lord shines my way openly and publically and those that would not like to see me prosper get to see that very thing occur, while at other times I walk in the shadows and into the valley where death's grip fills the air and all around me seems grey and bleak..... The main lesson I have learned is that no matter where I walk "goodness and mercy follow me," and they will do so all the days of my life..... and there will come a day where I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever....

Learning that goodness and mercy follow me no matter what season I am walking in has been the lesson that has carried me through the valleys...... that though He slay me I will still follow Him and though confusion and sadness have their moments and their seasons.. the morning sun does cross the horizon and the night cannot stop the day from coming.....

This new year holds within itself all of its days and times... all of its seasons.... we aren't allowed to see fully as we would like into the tomorrows that will come, but we can see into the eyes of the one, who holds them in His hands.. and we can hold that hand and be lead into whatever landscape the season holds for goodness and mercy will always be our rear guide...... and our sustaining hope is that the forevers that are to come will have us dwelling in the house of our Lord forever......

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