A friend of mine posted a question on her blog… “What song will always remind you of 2011?” It got me thinking (and I did post a reply on her blog).
As most of you now, 2011 has been a rather difficult year for our family. Oh sure, it was also a wonderful year with our oldest son getting married in July, but it was also a year of intense emotions for me personally and as a family.
I was reading back on my post from January 4th, 2011 and was chuckling over the list…
Here’s a few things that I’m sure will have impact on our family’s life over the coming 12 months…
1. Our oldest son will complete his teaching certificate and embark on his search for a fulltime career.
2. He will also get married in July, and so we’ll have another daughter!!
3. Our third son will hopefully get his G2 drivers license, so we’ll never see the car again.
4. He will also graduate from Secondary School and start his “post-secondary education” somewhere in some field.
5. Our second son will enter his final year of university and have to decide on where his career will be heading.
6. He will also, no doubt, continue to write and produce songs and have a blast doing it.
7. Our daughter will continue to play sports, sing and just be the wonderful women that she is!
8. Our family will continue to work with, and pray for, the sick in our midst, whether that be in our immediate family, or in our extended church family.
9. Things will continue to evolve at the church and in our roles there.
10. God will continue to be present in our lives.
It all sounded great at the time, but quickly exploded when on January 11th we found out within 45 minutes of each other that:
- Nancy’s sister had left for work that Tuesday morning and hadn’t been seen or heard from since. (See this post and later ones for my thoughts at the time.)
- Three of our pastors at our church were let go for complicated reasons, leaving the church in complete turmoil
Throughout 2011 we were also dealing with my wife’s Dad’s chemo and radiation therapy, and eventually in the fall, a serious viral infection that looked like it might just lead to the end. [On a very happy note, we are pleased to report that he is now doing *much* better now and the chemo seems to be doing the trick!]
Then in the Fall we decided that God was drawing us away from the church we’d been part of for 27 years. It was like losing even more members of your family.
Through all this though, there were two songs that we introduced at church while we were leading worship and both were difficult to sing (because of the two bombshells in January), but were also very comforting.
The first is “You Never Let Go” by Matt and Beth Redman…
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
Your perfect love is casting out fear,
And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life,
I won’t turn back I know You are near.
And I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on,
A glorious light beyond all compare.
And there will be an end to these troubles but until that day comes,
We’ll lieve to know you here on the earth.
Oh no, You never let go through the calm and through the storm.
Oh no, You never let go in every high and every low,
Oh no, You never let go, Lord, You never let go of me.”
We introduced that song at church the Sunday before Brenda’s disappearance and the staffing shakeup. It was (and still is) a very trying time, but we hold fast to the promise, and have certainly experienced, “Lord, You never let go of me.”
Later on, after Brenda’s funeral we introduced the song “You Hold Me Now”. At the time it was hard to sing, but also VERY reassuring….
On that day when I see All that You have for me,
When I see You face to face, There surrounded by Your grace
All my fear is swept away In the light of your embrace
When Your love is all I need And forever I am free
Where the streets are made of gold,
In Your presence healed and whole,
Let the songs of heaven rise to you alone
In this life I will stand Through my joy and my pain
Knowing there’s a greater day, There’s a hope that never fails
When Your name is lifted high, And forever praises rise,
For the glory of Your Name, I’m believing for the day
When the wars and violence cease,
All creation lives in peace,
Let the songs of heaven rise to you alone
No weeping, no hurt or pain,
No suffering You hold me now, You hold me now
No darkness no sick or lame,
No hiding You hold me now, You hold me now.
Knowing the suffering that Brenda had gone through; the suffering that we were going through as we greived her loss; the pain and confusion that our church was going through; it was at sometimes almost unbearable. But the promise of “knowing there’s a greater day” was what kept us, and still does, keep us strong.
Knowing that God’s weeping right along with us; Knowing that He is walking right along beside us; Knowing that He came to this earth as tiny, innocent, fragile child, knowing that He would suffer the cruelist of punishment, and be seperated from His Father; and die so that we may be free, is what’s seen us through 2011.
God is an amazing god. There is no one like Him. None more worthy of our praises.
As 2011 draws to a close, we look back on all the sadness (and the joys!) and know that God has gone before us. He’s “Been there. Done that”. And he’s got great things planned for 2012!
Let this coming year, be a Happy, God lead, New Year for you and your family!!