RENEW — to make like new; restore to freshness; to make new spiritually
As I look back on 2018, I see a year of difficulties, challenges, heartache, despair, depression, loneliness, brushes with death, and isolation. Not that good didn’t happen – for indeed it did. New relationships were formed, visits filled with laughter, death avoided, broken bones mended, and life carried on even as I often set still unable to absorb or face the emotional tumult within.
Life and emotions seemed out of control as I moved from one emotional crisis to another – many times frozen and unable to acknowledge the fears, sadness, and heartache that gripped my soul, suffocating me in attempts to steal my joy and even my life. My heart grieved with each new challenge, each new trial as grieving squeezed life from me, tears – gallons of tears flowed – some down my cheeks and at other times drowning my inner being as I carried my burdens alone – not sharing – not wanting to add to the burdens of those I love – pretending to “live” as I slowly died inside; feeling that no one could truly understand my sorrow. Afterall, life around me was good, right?
Broken bones were again strong, time was spent with grandchildren as they learned to drive, retirement finally came allowing time with spouse and travel, grown children were doing good despite ups and downs, excitement of graduations & college of a first-born grandchild, new family members through marriage and a special DNA cousin find were part of 2018. There had been so many good things along the way. Yet, even as I tried to count blessings, the loss of the “normal” use of my ankle, age related issues continued and accentuated my aging body as I physically and mentally slowed down, becoming an “old woman” or so it seemed. At times my only joy seemed to be food, which only added to the depression as I gained weight, continuing to suffer in silence as my relationships changed, drifting away and leaving me feeling isolated even when I was in the midst of others. Attempts to restore myself spiritually failed. My physician of over 20 years said he had never seen me so low as he increased depression medication – “another pill! Oh great, that’s really helpful!” I thought as I left his office.
Thanksgiving finally comes and there is a slow – albeit very slow shift in attitude and outlook. As I continued to try to count my blessings while at the same time lamenting the loss of so many things dear to me – God seemed to speak –
Marilyn, this is YOUR time, find JOY in it!
It was then that I knew that I was turning the corner. 2019 would be a better year as my state of mind and heart began to change. I had not selected a “word of the year” in 2018 but today I would say my word for 2018 was “despair”. As I look toward 2019 and continue to listen to my Lord, I know that my word for 2019 is RENEW. I’ve already started the process by joining Weight Watchers, reducing depression medication by 50% with a goal of 100% reduction, changing my outlook on life, and “letting go” of all things that are outside of my control. I no longer allow my mind, my heart to dwell on the past or on negative outcomes. Instead I am looking forward to 2019 and to learning all that God will teach me about the simple but powerful word, RENEW. As the Holy Spirit reawakens my spiritual awareness and reinvigorates my relationship with Jesus, I will DELIGHT in Him knowing that in all things he will renew my strength, give me wings to soar and a desire to run the race of life with a renewed energy as I seek Him each day.
But, those who wait on the Lord shall RENEW their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31 NKJV
Capitalization in scripture added for emphasis.
Written 12/21/2018; Published 1/7/2019