As I read and study the Bible , I am struck by how many times in the Old Testament the nation of Israel turned away from and back to God. That is the situation in the 1 Samuel text quoted above, and in honor of Israel's return to worshiping the one true God, Samuel took a stone and and called it "Ebenezer" because "Till now the Lord has helped us." Thus, one of the names of God is "My Ebenezer". Ebenezer means "stone of help."
The Lord has certainly been my stone of help this year. It has been a year of change for me and my family, and none of the changes have been small.
In April, after a long 18 months away, my son came home from spending time in a wilderness boys' camp due to a period of anger and rebellion towards my husband and me. Although we have some inkling what caused the anger, it still isn't clear to us why he felt he had to react in the way he did, and we are still coping daily with snippets of rebellion and anger.
In June, my daughter moved to Nashville to start a doctor of physical therapy program at Tennessee State University. Having her live so far away and seeing her in between long interludes has been difficult simply because I miss her. She and I have always been close and spent a lot of time together, but as I look toward the future, I see her asking me less and less for advice and finding her own way. It causes me to wince when I think about it, but I suppose all mothers and fathers do that when their children leave to make their own way in the world, and begin their own families.
My husband is dealing with stress of several kinds and in ways that I don't feel comfortable with, and it is very difficult to see how it is affecting him, especially as he is aging. To be beset with major financial changes at age 62 is hard when you have always been used to having money and doing what you want with it.
And last, but certainly not least, the challenges of having Parkinson's Disease and undergoing deep brain stimulation surgery has really put my faith to the test.
But God has been my refuge, my strong tower, my hope, my Savior, my friend and my Ebenezer this year...my stone of help! Strong and mighty is He who holds the framework of my life in His hands - stronger and mightier than the one who rules this age, stronger and mightier than anger, rebellion, fear, and loneliness; more dependable than money, jewels, silver or gold; and strong enough to carry me through surgery, recovery and learning how to live with disability, The Lord God is my Ebenezer!
I lift Him up today and everyday because I love Him, need Him and desire Him and all that He imparts to me by way of His holy spirit. I could not make it through such tough testing and daily living without Him. Looking back, I know that until now, the Lord has helped me everyday of my life. He has been there through the right and wrong, the fear, the dread, the laughing and smiling, the tears and every time that there has been hope for a new day; holding my hand and cheering me on, advocating for me and calling me forward through the race of life which is, no doubt about it, hard. I am running this race with His help and so today, I lift my Ebenezer for the year 2013. God Almighty, My Ebenezer.
Lord, you know my heart, I don't always show it, but you are the center of my life. Never a day passes without thinking what you think, without a prayer of some sort, without looking to you and your Word about what to do and how to do. Thank you, God, for choosing me, loving me, saving me and bringing me to this point in my life where I realize that without you, my life is meaningless. I thank you for the old year and all you have taught me, and I look forward to the new year which will, no doubt, bring about changes and challenges that I know I could not face without you. None of us know where we will sitting just 12 short months from now, but I pray that nothing with separate me from your love, including my will, my pride and my ability to sin. Forgive me for the things I did in 2013 that did not bring you glory and inspire me to do everything I do in 2014 to bring glory and honor and praise to your great name. I don't know who will read this, Lord, but for each and everyone who passes by, I pray that you will are or will become the center of their life, to the praise of your glory. In Jesus' name. Amen.