I’ve popped in to type a rare blog post as the final hours of 2019 ebb away.
This year has been hard. While nothing absolutely terrible has happened to me and my immediate family, it has been a year where my heart has been heavy. Sad circumstances and change have hit those I care about hard, and I’ve felt their pain. Sometimes I think I’ve felt more pain than they have. While I’ve grieved over the bad choices I’ve witnessed others making, they’ve seemingly skipped along, thinking that they’ve made wonderful decisions.
There have been more separations and divorces than I can count. Some have been Christian couples. The family breakdowns have hit my town hard as the wives have left with the children to (usually) head to Perth. This has meant less kids at the school and a loss of friends/acquaintances. One of Rory’s besties is one of these, but Rory has taken it pretty well. I don’t know why, but divorce really affects me emotionally (my parents have been married for 45 years, so it's not that I'm from a broken home). I think I was more desensitised to it when I was younger.
We lost Duncan’s cousin’s husband and a friend who used to go to our church – both to cancer. They both trusted the Lord and their witness in their final days was a great encouragement. I hadn’t been to a funeral for ages, yet went to two within eight days, both just before Christmas.
I’ve witnessed God’s amazing hand in bringing a couple of young adults to faith this year – one with no church background whatsoever, who literally found the pastor’s phone number and decided to come along. It is an absolute joy to see these two young women worshipping God joyfully each Sunday, and it is an enormous encouragement to see how they have already made some hard decisions in what needs to be put off in their lives in order to live for Him. Sadly, for one that comes to the Lord, another falls away. It has grieved me that several people I knew in Perth no longer follow Jesus, either that or I have some grave fears for them (judging by some of their posts on Facebook). When people say, “I’m a new person,” or “I’m not that person anymore”, or “I think differently about things now,” coupled with other things they’ve been posting, it is often a cause for alarm.
There have been some dramas with other relationships and I have put my foot down this year, no longer willing to be a door mat and pushed around. For years, it seemed people think Duncan and I will constantly adjust our plans, especially concerning kids’ routines, to suit them (and then change their plans again and again and expect us to comply) and I won’t. I don’t regret it; it’s been a year of incredible freedom in that regard, but not without friction and grief.
My writing seems to be going nowhere and, like last year, I have felt despondent over whether it is what God would have me do. My novel was sent out, but I heard nothing back. I’m currently doing another full edit to send it out again. I’ve entered this writing competition every month this year, bar one, and have failed to make the short list. I want to give up, but a small determined part of me won’t quit.
My battle with PMDD has lingered on this year with no cure in sight. I cannot take the one thing that could ‘fix’ the symptoms as it would put me at risk of a stroke. So, it seems I just have to battle on and face menopause later on with nothing (that works) to give any relief.
There have been highlights. Our family trip to Exmouth in July/August (must blog about that) was wonderful as I got to see my cousin and her family for the first time since October 2010. It was the first time she’d met my children. I joined a new Bible study group this year, made up of women from my church. It was an absolute delight meeting with women of different ages and stages and getting to know them better. We went into recess for harvest, but hopefully we can meet again in 2020. I’ve been doing Zumba every Tuesday morning and it was so good exercising in such a supportive environment. We all have coffee together afterwards and it’s organised upfront and openly by the instructor; no secret cliques sneaking away together. Everyone is invited and there is no bitching. It’s great!
Although 2019 has at times felt boring and dull, that I was just plodding along doing the day-to-day stuff, it has given me a shake up in that I’ve been forced to question who or what my security is found in. Is it when things are going smoothly, or when everyone around me is well and happy? Or is it in my great God, who holds the world in the palm of His hand. I’m praying the ‘shake-ups’ so many people have been through this year will bring to Him and not further from Him.