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Sunday, April 12, 2015

A Difficult Anniversary - Remembering and Rejoicing


Leon Crooks
November 21, 1919 - April 12, 2014

Anniversaries are important.  We most often think of anniversaries in relation to marriage, but there are others that we note and experience in life.  

We have just come out of the Passover and Easter seasons, the former is the anniversary of the rescue and establishment of Israel as God’s people, the latter the anniversary of the victory of redemption and the establishment of God’s people in Christ.  

Today I am remembering my father, especially, as it is the one year “anniversary” of his leaving this world and entrance into the heavenly realms with Christ.  It is a day of mixed emotions for me, as I know he was ready and longing to move on from this earth, but it is always so hard to say goodbye.  (Or, I guess, it is legitimate to say instead, see you later.) 

Not all anniversaries are joyful ones.  In the holiday sections of my books, there are special devotions for anniversaries, because anniversaries can be particularly hard after a divorce.  For some, the day that was their wedding anniversary is the difficult day to get through…especially the first time it rolls around.  For others, there is sadness when they remember the anniversary of the day the divorce was filed or finalized.  Some may focus on the anniversary of the day a spouse moved out. 

There are some who have suffered much in their marriages, and the anniversaries related to divorce may be as mixed as my anniversary of dad’s death.  On the one hand, they experience the loss, sorrow and sadness of a marriage broken, with the once uttered promises ringing hollow in their ears.  But they may also experience the anniversary as the day that life was started over, the beginning of a second chance that has delivered them out of their own Egyptian bondage and led them to places they never dreamed could be.

Anniversaries are milestones, important days of remembrance.  Every husband who has ever forgotten his marriage anniversary can attest how important it is because they probably witnessed the resulting disappointment of their wives.

Are there anniversaries in your life that need to be remembered?  

Maybe the anniversary of your commitment to Christ as your Savior.  Perhaps your anniversary reflects on something you have left behind, as the Alcoholics Anonymous members mark anniversaries by years of sobriety, years they have left behind their debilitating habit.  You may have an upcoming anniversary to celebrate, or one to mourn.  

I know that for me, that first wedding anniversary after my divorce was a troubling day, but a day I had to face and begin to lay the past to rest.  Anniversaries remind us of where we have been, but perhaps more importantly, remind us of how far we have come.  God never leaves us stuck in our past; he always invites us forward to new achievements, new opportunities to establish new anniversaries in our lives. 

While life brings some things that are wonderful and exciting, it also brings things that can be troubling and difficult.  It is important to not be so overwhelmed with the hardships that one cannot see the good things in life, some of which even come out of those very hardships.  I hope that some of your anniversaries are celebrations of joy.

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