A big sigh. It’s January 7, and I’m finally able to spend some time looking back on the past year and peeking around the corner at the months to come. Today the house is looking somewhat bare and empty with just the English bulldog and little old me at home. Everyone is back at University/ school/ work, and the Christmas tree and splashes of festive color have been packed away for another year. Part of me is aching to have the comfortable crazy clutter of family and noise and mess back again…
.. but most of me is chomping at the bit, longing to get into the swing of a fresh, clean new year.
Glancing back at 2013, it was rather an emotional rollercoaster. The raw rundown includes: celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary in St. Lucia, attending 5 funerals- 2 of them for dear family members in the U.K., witnessing my eldest son’s baptism, and celebrating our daughter’s engagement. There were health concerns, wonderful road trips, a new book published, tearful farewells, and wonderful parties. Life. The only certainty sustaining us through it all: GOD IS FAITHFUL. My lifeline, my anchor, my hope, and my rock.
I have to say, I have a small case of butterflies in my stomach thinking about the next 12 months. Not fear and not anxiety- rather a flutter of excitement. Obviously, part of this is because our daughter is getting married in Montreal on May 10 (the butterflies are now break dancing), and then she will graduate from McGill Uni in Montreal and be on her way to the U.K. with her new husband. Also, my eldest son has some big decisions to make as he graduates high school and decides on his next chapter. My “little” guy is desperate to go to India on a missions trip, my husband’s business is growing, and I have much going on in my writing world and am longing to jump in with both feet with… everything.
But first things first. Putting Him first. Jesus.
It’s easy to get carried away with the very best goals and intentions and New Year’s resolutions (although I gave up on the resolution thing many years ago… inevitable failure doesn’t inspire me!) But I know I have to get my spiritual life on track before I go racing ahead with everything else. It’s a wonderful opportunity, this brand new year, this clean slate all shiny and ready to go. For me personally, I have a new word for this year:
Ask my husband and he’ll tell you- I’m a wall. I rarely fully open up to anyone, but this year I’m attempting to fully open up to God. Yep, I think I’m ready. I have learned (the hard way) that this does not mean saying yes to everyone and everything that crosses my path. It means being open to go where God wants me to GO, and to do what God wants me to DO, and to write what God wants me to WRITE.
He longs for me, (and for you) to be WIDE OPEN. Because then we are ready to receive fully, ready to give our everything, ready to really , truly live. How can I expect to receive the full measure of grace, joy, peace, and love He offers when I’m curled in a ball, all defensive in my “busyness”? Receiving is a huge part of the Christian life, and we need to be willing to receive all God has for us on a daily basis, that we might take it and turn it into giving. Back to Him and on to others.
So how on earth am I going to attempt this OPENNESS?
*By OPENING His Word. And digging. Really digging and learning; not just journaling my thoughts. Even memorizing Scripture (which I am atrocious at!)
*By OPENING my eyes and making lists of the everyday graces that I usually am blind to. Joy thoughts- kicking it off with AnnVoskamps’s One Thousand Gifts Devotional.
*By OPENING my heart: to others- giving time and attention to relationships, and to God- whatever He calls me to do with my time this year.
Phew. Lofty. How about you? Have you had a conversation with the Lord yet about the coming year? I’m not pretending all will be rosy for me- in fact, I know that if I am going in with this fresh openness, I will be under attack all the way. Here’s the thing- I’m not going in alone. The more I’m open, the more I’m filled, and I’m good with that. Quite frankly, I can’t face this year without Him. Remember, GOD IS FAITHFUL.
Let me know what your word is for 2014?
Happy New Year, dear friend!