The clock is ticking… Some of us are sad to see the year end, while others can’t wait to start a new year. Maybe this year was hard for you. Maybe you lost a loved one or received some bad news. Maybe everything you were working for was taken away. Or maybe you had a good year. You welcomed a child or grandchild into your family, you started your dream job or you were able to take that vacation you’d been planning for years.
As a caregiver, I’ve learned that no matter what kind of year you’ve had, the most important thing is how you see it. Perspective changes everything. I’m not saying we should sugar coat loss or suffering. Some things we experience are absolutely devastating and as humans, we need to grieve. But there comes a time when seeking out the good is just as important.
As a high school student, I had the great privilege of befriending a lovely family who lived not far from our house. I would babysit their kids and then enjoy chatting with the mother once she returned home. I learned a great deal from her about faith, making important decisions and perspective.
Like most people, she hung a calendar in her kitchen with important birthdays and anniversaries inscribed throughout the year. But that wasn’t all she chronicled. Whenever she had prayed about something big and then received an answer or even a breakthrough from God, she wrote it on her calendar and celebrated it, just like Esther and her people celebrated Purim to remind them of God’s deliverance when they were saved from annihilation.
What a brilliant idea! We tend to forget how God worked in our lives and we constantly need to be reminded. So dotting your calendar with answered prayer puts things into perspective. And when you transfer birthdays and anniversaries from this year onto next year’s calendar, including those new celebrations enables you to see the layering of God’s blessings in your life.
Here’s a great example ~ In February 2014, I spent five days in the hospital and had nine blood transfusions (Thankfully I’m fine), racking up a hospital bill of $35,000, not counting the doctors’ bills, etc. I prayed. My family prayed. My friends prayed. My Bible study prayed. And do you know what happened? On March 17, 2014, I received word that the hospital wrote off 98% of that bill and all I had to pay was $607! Makes me giddy every time I think about it. So every year on March 17, I celebrate God’s provision.
As a caregiver, this practice of remembering is extremely important. This year my Father progressed to the latter stages of Alzheimer’s. But we still had some celebrating to do!
April ~ Dad turned 80 and still knows who we are. Dad wandered off and with the prayers and help of many friends and the police, he was found 4 hours later with only minimal scratches and bruising.
May ~ My Father was approved for hospice, so Mom and I are given more resources to help us take care of his needs.
August ~ Dad got to square dance at Grace Arbor. We found a great GPS tracking device that enables us to find him very quickly when he wanders off.
September ~ Mom and Dad celebrated 54 years of marriage.
December ~ Dad celebrated 10 years with Grace Arbor.
As we inch closer to a new year and a new decade, why not adopt this easy practice of remembering the good things and recording them on your calendar? And when it’s a really big deal, like the hospital writing off 98% of your bill, go all out and throw a party!
After all, everyone needs to celebrate!