This time of year, our culture is beset with long looks in the rear view window. The media lines up posts and stories with bulleted lists of 10 or 25 items evaluating movies, headlines, political gaffes, tragedies, scandals, salaries, winning ads.
The Garners look back with tremendous gratitude for a year with joyous accomplishment as #1 Son finished his high school rowing career with a second place at Regionals and third place at States and graduated from Granby High School with honors, one of only 18 in his class to earn the International Baccalaureate diploma. He completed his fourth mission trip with Appalachian Service Project, and finished up his requirements to earn his Eagle Wings from Boy Scouts of America.
GraceNotes and I finished up our second full year of homeschooling! We both thoroughly enjoyed learning about a part of the world that isn’t typically studied – the Eastern Hemisphere. Each week she looked forward to her classes at HomeSchool Plus (co-op) and we enjoyed watching her creativity and technique blossom in Studio Art, and her wonderful performance singing, dancing and acting in her Musical Theater Class’ production of The Ultimate Superstar! She played in her fifth Piano Guild (as did Ian), and several recitals through the year. For the second year, she aced her Stanford Achievement Tests (required by the State of Virginia to show progress in home education), scoring above average in every testing category.
A highlight of our year was our “back to nature” family hiking vacation we enjoyed before we took #1 Son to GMU. And after a short break GraceNotes and I embarked on our third year of homeschooling with Sonlight’s World History – Ancient through Medieval. We missed our #1 Son terribly, but he had lots of fun earning a spot on Mason’s Ultimate Frisbee team and finishing his first semester .1 (one-tenth) of a point shy of Dean’s List.
2012 was also a year of frustration. We were extremely disappointed with the presidential election. And, over the summer we found ourselves unable to continue almost three decades of association with our former faith denomination, and for different reasons, over seven years of prayers, presence, gifts and service at our local church. We are committed Christians, so it’s been vastly different experiencing Advent and Christmas without a faith community. It was a little odd, really, a little lonely. But then, we were lonely at our former church – busy, active – but lonely. So the end of the year finds us seeking a faith community where God’s Word is proclaimed with precision, passion, prayer and praise. It would be refreshing if we could find authentic Christ-driven friendships too.
Looking forward to 2013 we have to admit to some trepidation about the nutty economy, and the nuttier political approaches to it. Mr. Garner is self-employed. Need I say more? Yet we are also being quite deliberate about renewing our commitment to our God, to our family, to homeschooling and to sanctity of life efforts. We are evaluating our schedules, our finances, and our attitudes. We are determined to trust God, and to seek His will as we make decisions and consider options.
We love this prayer, which seems to address everything on our minds:
This day (year) is Your gift to me;
I take it LORD, from Your hand,
and thank you for the wonder of it!
God, may I see Your presence in this Your day (year),
every day and every way…
All that I am, Lord, I place into Your hands.
All that I do, Lord, I place into Your hands.
Everything I work for, I place into Your hands.
Everything I hope for, I place into Your hands.
The troubles that weary me, I place into Your hands.
The thoughts that disturb me, I place into Your hands.
I place into Your hands, Lord, the choices that I face.
Guard me from choosing the way perilous of which the end is heart-pain and the secret tear.
Rich in counsel, show us the way that is plain and safe.
May I feel Your presence at the heart of my desire, and so know it for Your desire for me…
Help me find my happiness in my acceptance of what is Your purpose for me:
In friendly eyes,
in work well done,
in quietness born of trust,
and most of all,
in the awareness of Your presence in my spirit.
Oswald of Northumbria, Celtic monk (605-642)
This beautifully written offering of the soul by a voice from antiquity, Oswald of Northumbria, comes by way of my favorite prayer book, Prayers for Today: A Yearlong Journey of Contemplative Prayer, by Kurt Bjorklund. We recently read this prayer during our family devotion time and found it really helped us to orient and consecrate ourselves and our actions both in the near present and the future, to our eternal and everlasting God.
If you found this prayer as helpful as we did, please feel free to click here to download and print the free printable I made of this beautiful text. If you have a prayer text that is leading you into the New Year, would you please leave a comment and share?