These few days I have been sleeping earlier than I usually do and waking up later than I usually do. I am tired. It has been a demanding year for a number of reasons. First, the volume of work has risen considerably. We have had many more interesting manuscripts to publish. We have had many more invitations to preach and teach. We have had many more opportunities to journey with people. It seems like the Lord was seeing how we would be faithful to the work of Graceworks for ten years before deciding to entrust us with more work.
Then there was LittWorld, the global Christian publishing conference we helped to organise. Held every three years by MAI (Media Associates International), an organisation committed to the promotion of indigenous Christian publishing, this year’s conference had over 250 participants from 52 countries. Many good things happened at the conference but Bernice and the Graceworks team were heavily involved in the organising and running of the conference. It was exhausting.
In many ways, the toughest challenge of the year was helping to care for mum after a fall in October broke her hip. There were many tough decisions to make. Finally, it was decided to move mum to a nursing home. Mum is in Penang, 500 miles away and we had to make many trips to Penang and back. I can’t recall a time in my life when I had to shuttle between Penang and Singapore that often. It took a toll physically and emotionally.
So, as we count down the days to the end of 2018, I feel very tired. And grateful. While it’s true that the year has been exhausting it is also true the Lord has seen us through. He enabled us to do meaningful work. He blessed us with a great conference. And we managed to get mum into a good nursing home. He has been faithful and we are grateful.
I often feel that we are not grateful enough for what we have been given. Perhaps a consumer society turns our attention to what we don’t have (so that we will go and purchase them), and therefore we are distracted from thinking about what we do have. Yet it is in remembering our blessings that we find our hearts refreshed and our faith renewed. After all, the God who cared for us in the past is the same one who will care for us in the future.
So, in the inevitable noise and bustle that usually marks the year end, take time to count the blessings you received in 2018 and, indeed, name them one by one. I suspect most of us will be “surprised by what the Lord has done”. He will surprise us again in 2019.