This year has been an interesting one. I don't even think I can describe the many ups and downs that I have experienced this year.
I started the year off losing my Grandma Jennie. That was hard on my family. She was the rock of my mom's side of the family. My grandfather died long before I was born, and she managed and led her large family on her own so well. It seems like when an elderly person dies one of two things happens. Either the funeral is very small because they have out lived all the people they know, or the funeral is large because of the people in the next generation were touched too. My grandmother's funeral was the latter. With 7 kids, lots of grandkids, and even more great and great-great grandkids Grandma Jennie still managed to make all of us feel special and loved. Even when she was falling deeper and deeper into the Dementia that eventually took her memories of us, she was still so kind and loving to the people she saw as strangers.
There have been some awesome things happen this year too. I did things that I have never done before, like hop on a plane with my best friend and fly to Chicago for 12 hours of roaming the city and exploring. I moved out of my parents' house and have been becoming more of a grown up. (It's not always sunshine and daisies, but it has been an adventure!)
But the biggest thing to happen this year was my relationship with Jesus. It has been a year of learning how to trust, hope and pray and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I was talking to a friend last night, telling her about all the things in my life that have been leading me back to the disciples in the Bible.
The disciples were Jews who were just doing what they had to do to get by when Jesus comes along and radically changes their lives. The Gospels lay out the story of their time with Jesus. They were able to see miracles and blessings over and over again. They had their doubts, but they still followed him on this radical journey. They saw people healed and saved and 5,000 men (besides women and children) fed from a little boy's lunch.
But they also saw Jesus receive notice that a good friend was dying and he didn't go to him right away. I'm sure the disciples were confused, and maybe a little angry that he was ignoring one of his closest friends in his time of need. And by the time they arrived, Lazarus had died. I'm sure everyone was hurt that Jesus would allow something like this to happen. But he had a purpose, even in death. He was able to show the mighty power of God by bringing his friend back to life after days of being in the grave.
The disciples saw many ups and downs in the years that they followed Jesus around, and all of them had very different experiences through that time, but they all had one thing in common. Something that they all learned equally, maybe in different ways, but it was the same truth ingrained in each of them. They learned who Jesus was and what he was capable of. That is what I have learned in this difficult year. I have learned a little more of who Jesus is and who it is that I serve.
We have a few more weeks left in 2012. I would encourage you to seek out some truth about who he is on your own this year as well. You will not be disappointed.