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8X8A5730This last year was a mixed bag for me.

I’ve been calling it one of the worst years of my life, and one of the best years of my life.

To be honest, I didn’t think they could both happen in the same year, but they did.

This year has been chock full of physical suffering, but it’s also been chock full of some healing.

Some things got worse this year, and others improved.

The things that improved help me to remain hopeful, and the things that got worse kept me faithful

There have been times when I’ve felt like I’m waiting for the suffering to stop, and then moments when I’m reminded that it’s not going to happen anytime soon. Perfection doesn’t exist on this side of death, and I’ve been coming to terms with that as I’ve been working on being joyful in my circumstances, and as I’ve been working on being happier with everything just as it is.

That’s not a bad thing; it’s a free-ing thing — to let go of seeking perfection in this world, to let go of seeking perfection in our health.

If it’s God’s will, it will be done.

If it is not, He has a much better plan — and His plan is always for my good.

And the greatest good would be to get to Heaven someday. So if these sufferings pave the way, I’m learning to accept them, embrace them, and give them back to Him — to offer them up.

Screenshot 2015-12-31 at 12.07.07 PM“Whatever God wants!”  (St. Gianna Beretta Molla)

That’s what I’ve learned this past year, and that’s what I’m bringing with me into the next.

My friend Hazel Maria Rose Fernandes shared the following with me, and I thought it was absolutely perfect:

“As 2015 comes to a close, I want to encourage you to look over the past year not with regret but with gratitude. Every single thing that happened, good & bad, served a purpose. Whether it broke you or blessed you, it helped make you more of who you’re meant to be. Let’s make peace with 2015 and everything that happened there so we can close this chapter with grace…knowing that there wasn’t one moment that God didn’t have our best interest in mind…& there’s not any bad thing that can happen to us that He can’t turn for good.”

 Amen. Happy — and Holy — New Year to you all, friends!