2017, A Great Year

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“Faith don’t come in a bushel basket, Missy. It come one step at a time. Decide to trust Him for one little thing today, and before you know it, you find out He’s so trustworthy you be putting your whole life in His hands.” Lynn Austin, Candle in the Darkness

The day before our son received a cancer diagnosis in late February, he wrote a rare post on Facebook, “New job, new city, and bringing a new life into our family … 2017 is shaping up to be a great year!”

He’d texted me earlier that month to say the year was off to a great start because Clemson University, his alma mater, brought home the 2016 National Championship.

At the end of last year, I overheard him telling his dad about 2017 being great since he and his wife had several promising things in the works.

My stomach tightened each time I heard “great,” and not because I didn’t think 2017 held a lot of possibility, but because sometimes we don’t perceive great in the same way God perceives it.

Almost a decade later, I still remember my “great” year that brought me to my knees. I wrote about it here, “The year was 2008 …

Great typically requires footwork, and a lot of it. It means change and not always the kind we want. Coming into greatness often means walking through trials and feeling emotions we hadn’t factored in when we did our planning.

Great means being in relationship with God, in relationship with others, and living our purpose.

I had doubts about whether our family had worked out matters of the heart enough to usher in greatness. Like in Romans 2:29, the verse says “heart matters” are the heart of the matter for God. Since I didn’t think we’d gotten that far yet, I questioned what it’d take to make it happen.

What would “great” cost us?

I was bothered enough to mention my son’s text in February’s blog post, “It’s Always Something.” Even though I trusted what I wrote, I still felt uneasy about the messiness I mentioned, “My son’s right, 2017 will be great even with its messy moments because it is always something, and sometimes it’s something beautiful.”

For one minute, I wished I had not prayed long and hard for us, asking for realness and restoration and godly relationships minus the things that sometimes come alongside like devastation and humiliation. I’ve held my breath while we have skirted those last two.

Just before our son’s biopsy confirmed stage 1 cancer, not the result we hoped for, he and his wife, who is pregnant with their first child, had a baby scare. Thankfully those test results turned out well.

Less than a week after my husband John and I returned home following our son’s surgery, John’s 87-year-old dad took a fall, hit his head on a brick stair, and was rushed into surgery. Doctors did all they could over the next fourteen days, but last week we said goodbye to Pop Pop. He died the day before Easter.

In light of reassuring calls and messages, friendship, and signs that life was happening as intended, my stomach calmed down and so did my spirit.

Historic Great Cross at St. Augustine, Florida at sunrise

 

I didn’t have to wonder anymore. I was witnessing the price of greatness.

While John listened to his dad’s surgeon talk to the family in the Neuro-ICU waiting room, he leaned close and whispered, “Is this what great looks like?”

I believe it is, and we notice it most during times like these.

Great is recognizing our dependence on God.

Great is cherishing others’ demonstration of God’s love.

Great is acknowledging God’s goodness when we have to let go of things we want to control and keep.

Finally, great is learning the lessons God teaches by way of suffering, grief, and letting go because He calls us to the emotional journey before He allows us to take the action journey.

In other words, He prepares us for the great things (great according to Him) that He’s put in front of us to do.

How great is your year? It’s not so much about our surroundings as it is about coming around to Him.

In This Together,
Kim

Thanks, Pixabay, for photos of the Great Wall of China and the historic Great Cross in St. Augustine, Florida.

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15 responses »

  1. Smiles, Big Smiles, “Great” Big Smiles. ..

    Your blog reminded me of the Beatitudes, how “blessed” reveals itself to us through our journeys of life events, often not feeling pleasant, happy, or great as we go through each, but oh what a beautiful Life it becomes, even as we draw from that inner spiritual strength. God continues to bless you, your family, and all of us.

    • Joel, I love, love, love your comment. ❤ It's been forever since I've read the Beatitudes. I want to go back to them and sit with what they have to say. I remember them being beautiful, but I bet even more so now.

      I wish I could have appreciated all along how grace-filled Life becomes because of our struggles, but I'm grateful I've finally gotten here. I was able to see it throughout the past two months and it was such a blessing.

      We've felt loved and supported the whole time. Thanks for being a good friend. 🙂

  2. It seems I’m reading a lot of things lately that discuss similar themes, both spiritually and secularly. I’m sure it’s not coincidence… I am so sorry about your father-in-law, Kim.

    • Natine, I love when I hear the same thing again and again. By the second or third time, I know to pay close attention because there’s a special message in it for me. Well, I usually love it unless I don’t like the message. 😉

      Pop Pop had a wonderful life. It was bittersweet letting him go. ❤

  3. I love the opening quote because I’m living it. And apparently I’m having a “great” year. Once again I see us going through somewhat parallel journeys in both our lives and our faith. Every time I start to write about my latest issue, another one crops up. I certainly wasn’t expecting a health issue of my own amid everything else. But my faith continues and strengthens. Thanks for writing this because it captures a lot of what I’m feeling. I hope you find peace as your great year goes on.

    • Hahaha, Mary! I wonder if anyone wants to swap their years for our great ones. 😉

      I was so sorry to read about your health issue on Facebook. I stopped right then and said a prayer for you. I hope it’s nothing serious, but maybe enough that you can get a little rest. Should I wish that for you? I am happy you’re getting out some when Rich has assistance.

      I appreciate this year’s faith-building experiences and I appreciate even more having you to relate to and walk our writing journeys together.

      Let’s keep sharing stories about our “great” year. We may be amazed by the end of it. Much love! ❤

  4. I love everything about this post. I’m going to save it so I can read it again and again. God definitely blessed you with a gift and you are using it. I soak in everything you write.

  5. From Facebook (Kim Henson) ~

    Isabel Thoroughgood, BradleyandJan Bellis Schenk and 12 others

    2 shares

    Joel Carter Left a comment Kim
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · April 26 at 8:47pm

    Kim Henson Thanks so much, Joel Carter. I hope I have time to read it and comment back this evening. Packing to babysit tomorrow. 🙂
    Like · Reply · 1 · April 26 at 10:21pm

    Joel Carter Enjoy
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · April 26 at 10:24pm

    Kim Henson Joel Carter, I sure will.
    Like · Reply · April 26 at 10:25pm

    Tammy James Quinn Lovely post ❤
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · April 26 at 9:03pm

    Kim Henson I sure appreciate it, Tammy James Quinn. It's been a special time John and I didn't expect considering all that's happened around us.
    Like · Reply · 1 · April 26 at 10:22pm

    Rhonda C. Hensley I found myself holding my breath while reading your post. As if, I was feeling those emotions from life's experiences. Afraid to exhale for what might lie ahead.
    Great and insightful reflection. Oops there is that word!!i
    Insightful post. …See More
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · April 26 at 11:16pm · Edited

    Kim Henson Rhonda C. Hensley, I held my breath for a month, so I get it, and then finally started letting go. I stayed so exhausted until then. You said it … these sorts of things change us forever. Some people get bitter. I'm grateful to know better and that w…See More
    Like · Reply · 1 · April 26 at 10:34pm

    Lyn Snyder Proud of you!!❤️ You write beautifully!! Have not given up on lunch. Next week😘
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · April 26 at 9:43pm

    Kim Henson Awe, you're a GREAT cheerleader, Lyn Snyder. 🙂 I haven't given up either. I stay hungry, so I'm ready anytime. ❤ Love you!
    Like · Reply · April 26 at 10:36pm · Edited

    Gail Altman I am thankful for your sharing. Always speaks to me.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · April 27 at 5:39am

    Kim Henson I appreciate having you as a reader, Gail Altman. ❤ Thank you.
    Like · Reply · April 27 at 8:54am

    Lucille Zimmerman I love this.
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · April 27 at 7:53am

    Kim Henson Thank you, Lucille Zimmerman. ❤
    Like · Reply · April 27 at 8:54am

    Delilah Lewis Awesome message Kim Henson. I love all your family. God is so good.😘
    Unlike · Reply · 1 · April 27 at 10:01am

    Kim Henson Awe, you're such an encouragement to me, Delilah Lewis. ❤ We love you too!
    Like · Reply · April 29 at 12:19pm

  6. From Facebook (shared by friends) ~

    Mary McKerihan Wilson shared your post.
    April 27 at 12:44pm ·
    I can really relate to my friend, Kim’s, post. Both of us are having “great” years and we are growing in our faith. I love the opening quote.
    Show Attachment

    2 likes

    Kim Henson Thanks for passing this along, Mary McKerihan Wilson. ❤
    Like · Reply · 1 · April 27 at 11:22pm

    JJ Warren Snyder shared your post.
    April 27 at 11:14am ·
    Another beautiful post written by my sweet friend Kim Henson. ❤️
    Show Attachment

    Kim Henson Awe, thank you, JJ Warren Snyder. ❤
    Like · Reply · April 27 at 11:27pm

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