A Bittersweet Farewell to 2009

It is New Year’s Eve 2009.  John and I went out for dinner with our friends the Davis’ and were back home by 8:15.  On New Year’s Eve.  In my jammies by 8:45… with my cup of tea.  Some might call that pathetic.  I call it bliss.  And do not think for one minute that it has anything to do with age!  It’s not an “old” thing.  But I am old enough to know and appreciate the joy of being at home, alone, with my handsome man at the break of a New Year and a new decade.  Bliss.  Yes, after the year that we’ve experienced, this is bliss.

It seems like a very long time ago that I got a phone call from the doctor telling me (ever so matter-of-factly),”Yes, well, Mrs. Tolson, it is breast cancer.”  Alrighty then.  And we were off… on a very adventurous ride  with the Lord over hills and into valleys, through some fires, some  floods and some droughts, and into the grassy meadows alongside still waters.  Diagnosed in May; lumpectomy in June; double mastectomy in July; chemo August-October 15th.  Whew!  Quite a ride.

Really- and I do mean this, it has not been horrible at all.  You see this has, in so very many ways, been one of the best years of my life.  Little did I know last New Year’s Eve what awaited me in the year ahead.  But my prayer that year, beginning back in the summer of 2008, was “to know God better” (Eph. 17-19a).  And know Him better is exactly what has happened.  I’ve known Him in this season to be so absolutely the sweetest.  Just so sweet to me.  I can’t even think of a better word.  Just so sweet.  It’s been an incredibly lovely, intimate time of surrender, stillness and joy that I’ve not experienced before.

Tonight I read some inspiration by Beth Moore from Exodus 33, where Moses begs to see God’s glory, but the Lord told him that he could not look on His face and live.  So (and I just think this is soooo sweet), God hid Moses in the cleft of a rock, covered him with His hand (to protect him) as God’s glory passed by.  Only then did God remove His hand so Moses could look up and see just the back of God, but not His face.  But God’s back was enough to transform Moses and change his life!

As I read through those words again I thought, “Wow!  Yes!  That’s it… God’s ‘back’!”   And the very vivid picture I had in my mind was of me clinging to the back of God – arms tightly around His Almighty shoulders and neck as He carried me on His back (and at times drug me, like two dancers in a ballet) through the dark times and into a “pleasant place” (Ps. 16:5-6).

When this adventure began, I prayed, asking the Lord, “Please!  I do not want to be the same woman coming out of this that I was going into it!”.  Oh, yes, He has been faithful to that end.  Seeing God’s back was enough to transform Moses; to change him mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and yes, even physically.  Thank you, Lord, that clinging to your back has changed me, transformed me.  Your grace is, indeed, sufficient.

I’ve had a lump welling up in my throat all day long and it’s still there tonight.  I feel like I want to go face down on the carpet and just worship Him with tears.  I love Him so much! He is absolutely everything!

And so, I can say with all sincerity that I’m bidding farewell, with bittersweet tears, to 2009- one of the BEST years of my life; a year when I came to know the “sweetness” of the Lord as never before.  I’m sad to see it end, but so very excited about the year to come.  Praise the Lord!

How ’bout you?  How was your year?  What was a big highlight or hardship, a life-changing or most memorable moment for you?  I’d love to hear from you.

Happy New Year to you, friends!  Thank you for walking alongside me, for loving me, praying for me, crying with me and encouraging me.  I do love you so!   And in this New Year…this new decade, may you come to know the Lord in ways you’ve never known Him before.  He loves you like crazy, and He is so worth knowing.

xo – P

The eyes of the Lord are always on you, from the beginning of the year to the very end of the year. (Deut. 11:11-12)