Welcome to 2015 - Gratitude and Grace

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Happy New Year! Welcome to 2015! Another 365 day span for which we can plan and be thankful for. Hoping we all got here safely and fully enjoy each day ahead. For me, 2014 was a year of change, struggles, progress and growth; not a bad year, nor my best year. It was a year of learning from and letting go of 2013, which may become a book unto itself someday.

Resolutions or not, we all are sure to face ups and downs in this new 365 day span that lies ahead. Whether you are starting new classes or graduating, a new job or retiring, moving to a new home or bringing home a new baby; blessings and challenges lie ahead, some planned, others not. Looking back 2014 looks nothing like what I planned. I find myself equally grateful for my plans that did not come to pass, as for the unplanned and unimaginable things that did.

I am more grateful for this new year than I can recall being in recent years, particularly for my freedom, health and God's grace. Having spent much of the last quarter of 2014 on crutches and out of work, I had to slow down and make many adjustments. Anyone who knows me knows this was not an easy thing for me to do.

For over a year I had been telling God I was going to slow down and make more time for Him and some things that I knew He wanted me to do. I was trying to do this in some ways, like taking the time for the Lake Champion weekend in September. But on October 6, 2014, I believe He slowed me down.

Just before 11:00 AM on that beautiful day, I knelt beside my bicycle in prayer. I thanked God for many things and asked Him to bring me home safely, as I was setting out for an 80 mile ride. I had gotten a bit out of this habit but was moved to do it this day. An hour later, on a familiar back road, I hit a patch of gravel and lost control, finding myself flat on my back in the middle of the road seconds later.

Realizing my consciousness and my pain, I got up and took a visual inventory of damages, not too bad, but bad enough. It was when I took four steps to the side of the road that I knew I would go no farther under my own power. Lying roadside, I tried to call a friend, unsuccessfully. Before I could call another friend, a guy came along in a pickup and asked if I was OK. I told him I was not and that I thought I had broken my right hip. He called 911 and help was on the way.

As I lie there waiting for the ambulance, I thanked God that I was not hurt as badly as I surely could have been. I also thanked Him for the guy (angel?) who came along to call for help, because I would have just kept calling people I knew. It's a (dumb) guy thing I'm sure! I was in fairly good spirits despite my pain; I even had the EMTs laughing a few times along the way. This was my first ambulance ride to what would be my first hospital stay, which would be two nights. The first night I wanted to and tried to go home, the second night I asked to stay.

Having time to think while in the ER, I thought about my pre-ride prayer and where I ended up. While this might have shaken the faith of some, mine was reinforced. It became clear to me that this was God's way of slowing me down, and He protected me in the process. Eight hours after I arrived in the ER it was confirmed, a fractured right hip socket. The doc said the good news was if I was a good boy I wouldn't need surgery. I asked him to define "good boy," which he said was to not put weight on it (crutches) for 8-10 weeks and no driving. Who was I to argue? So I needed to make immediate adjustments.

"The most beautiful sunrise" - photo provided by Dave Baun. 

When I woke at 5:30 the next morning I witnessed the most beautiful, colorful sunrise through the hospital window. It was then I knew that this was all part of His plan and that, if I was open to it, much good would come of it.

As the next 48 hours passed I began to see miracles unfolding. When it was time from me to be released, my ex-wife picked me up and took me to her home. We have been apart 16 years now. She cared for me for two weeks, with the support of her significant other. I would have never guessed that I would end up there, yet I really couldn't go home alone safely and had no other plan.

During this time I really did slow down and turn my attention to God, Jesus, the Word and His will. Before long I found myself joining a small mens group, I became a new member at FPCB, and was asked to give testimony at a service, which I agreed to, but has not yet happened as of this writing. I've been starting my day with 'Our Daily Bread' each day, reading the Bible regularly and praying often.

I had been saying I wanted to slow down and dig in. Aside from needing a 'little bump in the road' to slow me down, it couldn't have worked out any better. It seems that through my struggles and challenges that I learn and grow the most. God's timing is perfect and His plans are better than mine, Always!

I've heard it said that we make plans and God laughs. Sometimes I'm sure I must be His sole source of comic relief. How about you? Actually, I am extremely thankful that my plans that were forming as 2014 approached have long since vaporized. So now that 2014 is over and 2013 is absolute history, I surrender with gratitude to The One who knows and wants what is best for me. All I need to do is keep my heart, mind and spirit open to His love and leading, and I have no doubt that 2015 will be my best year yet! Hoping it is for you as well!

Dave plays bass for the FPCB Oasis band and is also an aspiring photographer and writer.  He can often be found leaving home with his bass on one shoulder and his camera bag on the other.  He works in the computer networking field but would prefer to combine his passions for music and photography to work as a concert photographer.