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Raquel Wroten's picture

The Big Picture

One thing that the New Year never fails to do has to do with the many people God has creatively placed in my life. The excitement of the New Year forces me to ponder about last year’s moments. My thoughts then lead me to think about the relationships that have influenced my life.

Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning I get a cup of coffee placed on my bedside table by my best friend of twenty-two years. My internal clock wakes me up in time to anxiously await this small treat. The aroma of the fresh brew spurs me on to get up and start my day. The hugs in these cups guard my heart throughout the week when work requires my husband to travel across the country. I hold on to warmth of this sweet gesture knowing he will soon return.
As a little girl, I turned to one of my brothers for comfort soon after my father chose to live his life without us. My brother made sure I obeyed my mother, guided me in my studies, and introduced me to the wonderful world of books. Even now, I seldom let a week go by without calling him. He provides a much-needed oasis from my crazy world. We talk about everything and nothing, which means a whole lot to me these days.
I have a friend who continually spurs me on. Despite having the responsibility of her own family, she checks up on me regularly. Encouragement oozes out of her. She makes sure that I hear from her whether by text, email or phone call. She has no expectations in return. Countless times, she has set her needs aside to hear about my dreams, disappointments and frustrations. She has guided me through very difficult times and even now she continues to reassure me whenever I doubt God’s plan for me.
I have also had the pleasure of knowing another friend of mine since my teen years. I have often said that as a child who seldom smiled, I learned to laugh from her. She seeks joy in all circumstances, which in turn can make a trial into an unexpected, hopeful teaching moment. Despite our obvious differences, we mesh amazingly. I can call on her, tell her anything and she listens gracefully. She speaks truth into my life, but most importantly she models it for me. Grace pours out in her speech and in the way she loves those around her.
I could write more about those who have come into my life recently and in the past — my kids, my mother who never stops praying for me, my professors, my mentors and colleagues, etc. I could tell you that some of these relationships have brought me pain and suffering too. Yet, when I look at the big picture, all I see is that these relationships continually shift my focus towards my heavenly Father.
Through them I am reminded that He brings me new mercies every morning. And no matter how hard this world tries, nothing can separate me from Him. Through His Word, my heavenly Father also provides me with His unfailing comfort during difficult times. Joy, truth and grace cling on to my life — all gifts from God! I can go to Him in prayer at any time of the day. What a privilege!
So as I ponder about the events of this past year, I can’t help but wonder about my role in the lives of those God has put in my life. Do I reflect God’s love, grace and joy in all my relationships?
Heavenly Father, I thank you for the people you have brought into our lives. Even in the midst of pain, you continue to supply all of our needs. Help us to be sensitive to others. And help us reflect your love, your grace, your joy and mercy in the lives of others so that those who don’t know you will see you in our relationships. We love because you first loved us. Amen.

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