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My Annual Reflection…

By February 18, 2024Devotional

As difficult as it is to believe, tonight marks thirteen years since I started writing Transitions By the Book! I know – it seems like I have been writing my entire life and yet, there are nights that I can’t wait to sit down and share my thoughts – much like I did that first evening. Such a dichotomy – something so familiar is still something that I really derive enjoyment from. I have posted 1954 posts during the last thirteen years!

It all started on my 58th birthday. I was getting ready to transition to a new season in my life and, for some reason (undoubtedly divine), I had a dream that I should start writing a devotional and name it Transitions By the Book. I just sensed that the domain name was available and the next morning I checked. It was! Coincidence – I think not!

I had been contemplating writing for some time, but on my birthday, it just seemed the right time to start. And yes, tomorrow is once again my birthday – celebrating number 71! I would never have thought that I would still be jotting down my thoughts all these years later.

In the beginning, I wrote 49 days in a row. Then, a dear Jewish friend of mine reminded me that the 50th year was always a year of Jubilee in the Old Testament. He encouraged me to skip a day – I had been unwilling to miss until I spoke with him that day. Sure enough, I skipped the 50th day… Eventually I switched to five nights a week; taking a hiatus on the weekends. And then, finally, I decided to write two nights a week – Sundays and Thursdays. That meant that our readers could start and end the work week with my musings in their inbox, or online if they preferred. We also started on social media and rest, as they say, is history.

Each year around this time I reflect on the past year. It’s become part of the ritual of my birthday. Parents are long gone, friends continue to age with me and while things continue to change, I also relish the idea that some things never do…

This  past year saw some of the biggest health challenges Janet and I, along with the rest of our family, have ever faced. Janet suffered a series of very serious brain bleeds last summer and six months later, we can see God’s hand of protection all over those events. The fact that she has survived, without paralysis, weakness or any other lingering effects, is absolutely a result of God’s intercession. Even our doctors are surprised at her recovery, reminding us once again how fortunate we are.

As we look back on the past year, our family is grateful that Janet is with us – virtually as good as new. Janet and I also celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary and we have had time to reflect on our changing roles in the family and speaking into our children’s lives as they enter middle age themselves. It has been a joy to grow older with them!

I continue to work some and am able to speak into the lives of people in the corporate world in addition to all the ministry related activities I engage in. What a blessing!

One thing I will be dealing with on the 29th of this month is the four year anniversary of the death of Doug’s and my youngest brother. Ken passed away on February 29, 2020 and so I really haven’t had to deal with his exact date of death yet – until this year. I’m sure that it will also be a reflective day. Thankfully, I know that he was a believer so I have no doubt that angels escorted him to the very presence of God in heaven that Saturday morning almost four years ago when Doug and I made the decision to discontinue life support. We prayed by his side as he left this world and entered his eternal rest. It was a peaceful end.

I would be remiss if I didn’t share the most profound thing that I have learned during the last 13 years. That is the fact that God always shows up! Whether it was being with us when I ruptured a quad tendon almost six years ago, or Kristin’s issues with her autoimmune disorders –  or Janet’s health crisis, God has been with all of us every step of the way. There is a certain comfort in knowing that God has us covered. And we have seen evidence of this at every turn – there is no doubt about it.

My verse for tonight is the same verse that I have used each year in the post closest to my birthday. Because TBTB started with the recall of a verse that my paternal grandmother wrote in a Bible she gave to me on my 10th birthday. The author of Hebrews tell us, in Hebrews 13:20-21, “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Clearly, the Lord has been moving in our family for many years now. I can’t imagine life’s journey without the security of knowing that God is there for us. And there is comfort in knowing that I am called to continue to write – in fact, it adds an element of consistency and dependability in my life.

My encouragement this evening is that God is with us all the time. He created us and has a vested interest in watching us grow in Him. My prayer is that God will continue to guide us, lead us and help us to be the best version of ourselves this next year. We have been truly blessed. Have a  day in the Lord, grace and peace…

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