yard with grass and house

A Year in Review {2013}

The Lord thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.   – Deuteronomy 1:31

I try to read this particular devotional every day of the year. Sometimes, I’m more faithful than others.  The new year strengthens my resolve to do a little better than before. Last year, as I read today’s devotion, I remember that the final verse- 1 Samuel 7:12 which simply says, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us,”  stuck out and consequently with me all year.

I clung to it through all the ups and downs.

Today as I read the same page, it was the first verse quoted above that I’ve meditated on throughout the day.

Seeing it all compiled there in a few minutes overview gave me a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the challenges, mercies, provisions, tribulations, and kindnesses of the Lord over the last 365 days.

This year has certainly been no different.

In fact, I personally have found 2013 to be a very emotionally charged year as my New Year’s day began with a positive pregnancy test of a baby that wasn’t to be part of our lives save for a few very short weeks.

Once the whole miscarriage process ended, we were immediately blessed again and so in a way, I feel very much as though I’ve been pregnant for an entire year so far and now only the Lord knows how many more days into the new year the baby will stay tucked away.

This year Providence also brought us from an old job to a new one where there is a tremendous freedom for my husband to be a part of his children’s lives. An answer to years of prayer.

2013 was our seventh year… a year of planned rest and rejuvenation for our gardens. As January, February, and March passed and I wasn’t planting seedlings in the basement, I quietly wondered about how the Lord would provide for us during the year and a half until I was once again harvesting from the garden.

He quickly began giving us gifts in small, yet delightfully sweet ways- raw honey and maple syrup and our first pound of peaches from a tree we planted a few years ago.

And a much larger gift as the new job ended opened us up to being able to move from our old home, our first homestead, to a new and larger one that we will hopefully be able to reform into a beautiful and nourishing landscape that will better meet the needs of our growing family! Something we never could have even dreamed about as we made the decision in June 2012 to follow the resting principle as found in Exodus for 2013.

While there were many reasons why we left, one is that now have been blessed with 3 times the acreage and resources to steward and are grateful for that provision. I’m experiencing a mixture of eagerness and apprehension at the task before us and hope that I’m up to the challenge of keeping up with the nearly 9000 square feet of gardens- not including the greenhouse space- this coming year.

We had a rough and unexpected beginning in our new home which made the challenge of moving a large family across the state all the more difficult. It made it difficult to recover and find our new normal ebb and flow of days.  I feel like things are finally starting to slow down a little bit- just in time to add in a new baby and find yet another normal. But there were blessings even to be found from that sadness as it forced us to reach out and quickly become part of this new community, which has been something I never would have expected to enjoy being a part of, as I tend to be more of a hermit-type.

Over the next couple months, we were shown a sneak peek of the possibilities, dare I say- fruitfulness- this new homestead will bring- in the form of blackberries, grapes, raspberries, elderberries, and pasture land that has the potential to give us a full season of grass.

We successfully made beef on the homestead this year- our first calf to freezer venture which went much more smoothly than our last butchering attempt…

We raised our first flock of Freedom Rangers with zero predator loss… that’s not to say there were not losses, but it nice not to live in fear of what was happening to the poor birds while I slept…

BOTH our kittens from this spring died…

I went to my first produce auction, which could turn into a dangerous addiction should our gardening attempts fail, but not as addictive as my new fondness for the butternut squash we bought a hundred pounds of while there…

I learned to pressure can…

And I didn’t have to chase our current batch of pigs for nearly as long or certainly not as often as the ones that started off our 2013 new year!!

The Lord thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place. I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself- In his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old- As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him.

Even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you- This God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.

Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee- Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. For your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.

Deut. 1:31; Exod. 19:4- Isa. 63:9- Deut. 32:11- Isa. 46:4- Ps. 48:14- Ps. 55:22- Matt. 6:25, 32; 1 Sam. 7:12

Daily Light From the Bible by Samuel Bagster

Hope you have all had a blessed and reflective last day of the year and that you meet tomorrow with a zeal to face all of the challenges and blessings that 2014 will hold!

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