Saturday, December 30, 2017

Chapter 2017

© 2017 Chantelle Henderson

What a year! 
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. These nine (thanks to #topnine2017) add up to be so many more-countless. Each of these are paragraphs of Chapters from the book of 2017 of my life. 
These aren’t just pictures.  Each one tells a story that describe the vicissitudes of a life marked by unwanted endings and welcomed beginnings. You see, captured in these remarkable and sometimes heartbreaking masterpieces are stories that reveal a daughter losing her earthly father and hero only 3 months prior to 2017.  She was grief-stricken and there was no escaping the worst pain and world-shattering seasons of her 46 year life.   There is the photograph that makes my heart smile because a bond grew stronger and stronger that took my mother from being just my mom to being one of my very best friends.  Among these 9 photos is proof of the fruit of an entirely new season of life and marriage as our youngest son left for college.  We found ourselves being empty nesters for the first time in 20 years.  Strangely enough, as for that whole empty nester deal, we are having a blast-more fun now than ever!  One snapshot captures a marked history of brokenness, hurt, pain, and anguish to a miraculous reconciliation of things I thought would always remain broken, never to be whole again.  It’s proof that with an open and forgiving heart, and communication with honor and respect, anything is possible.  One photo represents me doing things I never saw myself doing in great and amazing ways, but that same photo is also one of humility and discovering characteristics about myself and getting honest about some issues and conditions of my heart that I needed to confront.  I faced some not-so-good obstacles that if I was willing to compromise by even one little inch, it would have catapulted me into a million miles in the wrong direction.  One of my favorites is the black and white in the top middle.  It speaks volumes of a tired and worn out woman who has had enough.  She is tired.  She is restless.  She has nothing left to give.  Her well was empty.  There were days she felt like giving up and checking out because reality was often too much to bear.  But that same woman survived and overcame.  She didn’t give up and she discovered more than ever that the possibilities were endless and that with Jesus, coffee, her Bible, a pen, and paper you're never too old to begin again, start fresh, dream, and walk in your purpose.
I am determined to know Him and make Him known. I know I will fall short and have to reach out for His amazing grace which He so quickly bestows upon me simply because I am His-a child of God, a daughter of the King. 
My “word” for 2018 is “ABIDE”- to rest in His word and promises found in it. It means so much more than just resting, but resting in Him-obtaining that soul rest that can only be found by leaning into and wholly trusting Him. It means that no matter what, I am kept and can be found under the shadow of His wings. It means being patient with others and myself as I learn to trust that He’s always been faithful and that will never change. It means that I must recognize and acknowledge and accept that He is a jealous God who will have no other Gods before Him and that all other idols in my life must be shattered and reduced to dust. It means remaining still and knowing that He is God, and that when He says, “Go.” it is then that perhaps and specifically abiding must take place, lest I fall into my own understanding which has proven time and again to be a lying vanity and provides a temporal and false comfort that I may as well count as loss. It means being steadfast and immovable as He prunes and molds and shapes me to be a better wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend-even in the discomfort and pain at times that accompanies the process. 
Lastly, I wanted to share these memories with you because it served as a reminder that sometimes when you thought you were losing something, you were actually being rescued. Count it all joy when you face various trials and tribulations; both which I found to be ever present in 2017. I re-gained eternal perspective when I realized that I never want to lose myself-my soul trying to gain worldly success and the approval of man. Those things are of no eternal value and are fleeting. 
I am praying for every one of you to have a blessed, prosperous, healthy, exciting, loving, and joy-filled 2018, spiritually, emotionally, physically, financially, and socially. 
All my love, CH

John 15:5
“I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”