As I continue to reflect on the past year, I often return to my own discontent with the inability to run on a regular basis. It has been a part of me for almost 40 years, but since 2007, I have struggled with calf issues that come and go. I can still get out and go for a three or four mile run with little or no pain as long as I’ve had several days rest in between. I’ve even been able to run a few longer races over the past five years. Am I just getting old? Am I expecting too much? Do I need to place my time commitments in other areas? I don’t know the answer to those questions. I do know that I need to be content and thankful, especially in the light of the happenings of the last two weeks with Molly and the current skin issues that Zachary is having. My health is good and better than most 55 year old guys. I can still play in the yard with my kids and my dogs. I can put in a long day’s work in the yard or garage. I need to be thankful for the good gifts and blessings He has given – health is just one of them.
As a look back on the past twelve months I see a multitude of blessings. Though we have struggles, our family has so much for which to be thankful. Our friends and family come to mind – so many people that we count as friends who have helped us and we’ve had the opportunity to assist in some way come to the forefront. People from around the whole have given input into our lives in 2014. Others, from right here In Grand Rapids, we have built relationships that go beyond the “Hi, how are you?” We know that God is pleased as His people share their joys and sorrows with one another.
Last week I was privileged to share some thoughts with the 9th through 12th graders at NorthPointe Christian. Our pastor and friend, Wayne Hoag, wrote The One Another Project in 2012 and I used it as a reference. The school’s theme for this year is from Philippians 2:3-4. As we regard one another as more important than ourselves life takes on new meaning. We become more like the example Jesus gave us – to be people with the heart of a servant. Some of the other ‘one another’ admonitions like love, encourage, accept, pray for, and teach begin to take shape in our lives as we see those around us as more important than ourselves.
As I reflect on my service to those around me this past year, I feel those inside my own family have received the short end of my service to others. They are the most important people that God has placed in my realm of influence, but at times I take them for granted and don’t spend the necessary time cultivating those relationships. I love my family and know that they love me, but my actions don’t always show that. Reviewing 2014 has helped me to be even more thankful for God’s mercy and grace in my life. It has shown me that I must always regard my family as more important than myself.