It was quiet at my Granddaddy’s house today. Except for the few times my kids and husband barreled through the door to get a bite to eat or help me situate him, it was just the two of us. And since his dementia has taken over his mind, he’s content to sit quietly. So I had some time on my hands. As I read through several posts that seemed to ardently bid a hearty farewell to 2016, I found myself struggling to embrace the new year. Frankly, I loved 2016. It was a hard, good year, and I really didn’t want to see it end. This was the year that we camped together for the first time as a family (which was an actual near-death-come-to-Jesus experience). It was the year that I embraced new friendships and made significant headway in my schooling and finally read through the Bible in a year. It was the year that my kids learned to cook and made up new adventures in the woods with our puppy. It was the year I watched my husband become a pastor and love his flock with his whole heart. And it was the year, after all the preparation, that my husband was selected for active duty Army chaplaincy. And up until, and including, the very night he swore in, I have been nothing but unequivocally supportive of this joint ministry decision.
But since then…I’m pretty sure I’m completely failing at being an army wife. I read somewhere that before long separations you should try to keep things normal and calm and routine. So right in the midst of all the Christmas activities, I pulled the kids out of school, scheduled 2 trips, and guarded my man like a mama bear does her cubs. I’m over emotional, over sentimental, over zealous, and just plain overwhelmed. Last week I had to buy Michael a pair of tweezers, because we have just never needed two pairs, and I cried while I clicked on the ‘buy now’ button. Almost every time he looks me right in the eye, I cry. If he says something funny, and he always does, I cry in place of laughing. It is the oddest feeling to prepare for him to leave. I’m not sure I know exactly how to explain it, but I feel like I’m preparing to lose a leg. Or my writing hand. Or like I just found out that instead of driving everywhere, now I’ll have to walk. Up hill. While holding a bag of bricks. Barefoot. In the snow. You get the idea…
Thinking about being without my very best friend at the end of every single day is starting to take its toll on me. But once I settle down, and think it through, and move past my feelings and into my heart, I know we are ready for this. God has been preparing us for this ministry for the past 10 years. We likely haven’t been ready before exactly this moment. But I am not so naive to think that I will not struggle with every single available human emotion as I walk through 2017…
Today, my sweet friend came over to visit and asked how I was doing. More pointedly, she asked how I was going to do it…2017 that is.
And right out of my mouth (as if it had really been in my heart) I said, “Jesus is going to have to be enough for me.”
There is (at least) a thousand year old song that I learned at a Seder meal a few years ago called, Dayenu. It means in Hebrew “it would have been enough.” The stanzas go through the miracles God bestowed on Israel as he brought them out of slavery and led them to the promised land, and after each line the song calls out “Dayenu!” If He had only led them from captivity…Dayenu! If he had only carried out judgments…Dayenu! And so on it goes.
The first time I heard the song I obviously sobbed the rest of the night. This is not the first time God has had a talk with me about being my All in All. Before Michael proposed, and all I could think about was Michael proposing, God whispered to my soul, “Who do you desire more??” It was a haunting question that required an honest reflection. Isn’t He enough? If Michael never had proposed? Isn’t He enough? Isn’t He???
So that is my continual heart cry as I face the coming year and….the rest of my life. Because, honestly, if I receive not one more single blessing from God for the rest of my life….Dayenu! If I only had had fellowship with other believers…Dayenu! If I only had gotten to have loving parents…Dayenu! If I only had had a loving spouse…Dayenu! If I only had had three healthy kids…Dayenu!
If I only have Jesus…Dayenu! Dayenu! Dayenu!
Whatever hopes and challenges and blessings and fears you anticipate for 2017, when all is stripped away, let Him be enough for you too. He is big enough and able enough and strong enough to carry eternity, so 2017 should really not be any trouble. We’ll not take one step that will surprise or shake Him. He is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Prince of Peace, the Messiah, Immanuel, the Lamb of God, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Great I Am, the Word made flesh, the Light of the world, and the Hope of my heart. And He is enough. He is so enough. It is ridiculous how enough He is.
Happy New Year, friends.