Sunday, January 01, 2017

ANOTHER DECADE - Eleanor Shepherd


         
          2017 will usher me into my next decade. It is one of those years when I will be having another birthday ending in zero. I can’t believe that there have been so many of them now. As I reflected on this my reflection turned into a prayer, that I make today to celebrate the beginning of the New Year. As each decade has passed I have seen new evidence of the faithfulness of God in all the different stages of my life.

            
Gracious Heavenly Father,

      Thank you that during my first decade, I was welcomed into this world by a family that invoked your care for me even before I was born. Even though my childhood was not one of the kind of material prosperity that I learned of later, we always had enough.  I realize now that compared to children my age in most of the rest of the world I was rich in goods as well as in the comfort and security, lacking for so many. How grateful I am for the often unappreciated abundance You provided.

       When my second decade rolled around I was living in Vancouver, the other end of the continent from the place where I was born in St. John’s.  Perhaps that was part of Your preparation for me of a life of travel.  Schooling was different in each of the five provinces where I lived during those years.  Finally landing in Montreal, where You opened new doors for me with university, meeting Glen and being exposed to the other main Canadian culture.  

                During my third decade, as I met and married the mate that You provided we began our own family. We had resources available because of educational opportunities You had opened for us. Thus we could find meaningful work and provide for the needs of our children, in turn. Like us, opportunities were showered upon them by Your grace and our good fortune of living in the developed world. 




           As I entered my fourth decade we found ourselves in the midst of the maelstrom of busy family life. Also we changed careers, moving into ministry together. This opened our eyes in new ways, not only to Your goodness to us but to Your activities in the lives of so many other people. They came to You in their times of pain or joy, confusion or fear and discovered that You were there for them, as we had occasions to walk with them in the journey of faith.


            My fifth decade saw us leave our home country to continue to fulfill our calling in Europe. Sometimes, I felt like Abraham, not really sure about the language and customs of the country that I had come to. Like this Old Testament patriarch, I too found that You accompanied me to this new land and saw that I found friends, medical care and everything I needed. You gave me a whole new world of European culture to discover firsthand. Thank you for these wonderful gifts. 

            
      As our children became more independent and our careers more focused on leadership, I struggled sometimes in my sixth decade. Yet you never failed me and though at times I felt inadequate for the task, You gave me feedback from unexpected people and places to show me that You were able to use my small contribution for Your purposes. I had further proof of Your faithfulness in response to my obedience.

           

        My seventh decade brought great challenges that I never would have anticipated and tested my confidence and trust in Your faithfulness as we faced the accident of our son that left him a quadriplegic and me wondering if You really were as faithful as I had always found You to be. I wondered if my faith was all illusion, but through the grief work and the forced digging deeper into our relationship, I found You there in the darkest night and knew Your words were true.  You would never leave me or forsake me.             


 
      Now as I enter a new decade, I realize that there may not be many more. It depends upon the grace and strength that You provide and my use of the gifts of health and strength that You have given me.  I have been privileged to come to know my children’s children and always You have been faithful. How can I ever thank You enough for Your goodness to me through the decades?  My heart is filled with thanksgiving and praise on this first day or the New Year. My prayer is that I will live out my gratitude and tell of Your goodness every day of 2017. 

Amen.

Word Guild Award
2009
Word Guild Award
2011

2 comments:

Peter Black said...

Eleanor, thank you for opening up to us your thankful, thoughtful and faithful heart through this lovely prayer.
May you and the world be blessed with yet more decades of your living, writing and serving our Lord - even until He comes, if that be the Father's will for you.
Lovely photos and a lovely family, too. ~~+~~

Glynis said...

I just felt like I went on a blessed journey of gratitude and challenge with you, Eleanor. Lovely words. I love your honesty and your faithfulness as you have been preparing your legacy. Many more decades, Eleanor!

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