Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Day

2011 is now completely in the history books.

We started the year in Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine watching fireworks with friends.  We ended the year at home in Krivog Rog spending the evening with our Ukrainian family.

Life during 2011 was full of ups and downs.  There were moments of fear and moments of faith.

We faced the very real possibility of losing loved ones this year, but we are so thankful that they are still with us.  Other years have been different, and it has been our family dealing with the loss of a loved one.  I am so thankful that God still comforts us in our times of loss!

Some days we accomplished what we planned, but many days were out of our control.  Our 24 days in Moldova was over two weeks longer than we planned.  Last week we did not plan to make a trip to Kiev, but we did it because it needed to be done.  That's how life is.  Sometimes you just need to do what needs to be done when it needs to be done.

As I look back, I am grateful for how God has taken care of us and provided for us.  He has enriched our lives by expanding our family.  It is amazing to watch God at work.

If I had it to do over again, I would do some things differently (I know you would, too), but would still be living in Ukraine because that is what God has for us!

Through my life, I have learned that God is always faithful to His Word (thanks, Dad!).   Always. Hebrews 13:5 says "...I will never fail you. I will never abandon you."  That is always true!

Time marches on.  Someone has said, "Time and tide wait for no man."

Ready or not, 2012 is here.  As we "unwrap" the year, will we have wonder and excitement or fear?

We started the new year in Krivoy Rog, Ukraine watching fireworks with one of our Ukrainian sons.  The eighth story view of the city was good, but nothing like last year's fabulous view in Simferopol.

I am certain that 2012 will be full of ups and downs.  There will be moments of fear and moments of faith.

Joshua 1:9 (NLT) says "This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."  I am so thankful that God goes with us and gives us courage when we have none!

I am excited about some of the things that we have planned for 2012.  We look forward to returning to the states near the end of May.  We miss our families and friends and look forward to spending time with them.  But that same plan brings sadness, because it means saying goodbye (for a time) to our Ukrainian family and the many people that we have grown to love here in Ukraine.

With our plans to live in the states for a year or so, there are many unanswered questions.  Where will we live?  What about a vehicle?  How will we adapt to reverse culture shock?  What will it be like living in America again?  What will full-time itineration be like?  Where will we get all the things we need to set up a home again (we saved some things, but got rid of most things)?

The list can go on and on, but I do not worry about those things.  As I look back, we have had similar questions in the past - and God has always taken care of us.  This time will be no different.

Here's a poem I remember my Mother sharing with me - "The Future" (author unknown).

There's an unknown path before me,
And yet I fear it not:
I know through all the years gone by,
Whate're has been my lot;

That a kind and Heavenly Father
Planned out the way for me;
And I know that in the future,
Watched over I shall be,

Yes, I know God's care and kindness
Will ever with me stay
To assist me on life's journey,
And brighten up my way.

So then, welcome, unknown future,
Bring me whate'er you will.
With God's loving hand to guide me,
I shall be cared for still!

What about you?  Are you looking forward to 2012 with fear or faith?

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